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TPG reader Kevin sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning Delta Medallion status:
“I have a Platinum Delta SkyMiles card, and I’ve passed both thresholds to earn bonus Medallion miles. Can I get another Delta card to earn even more elite miles, and if so, is that a good strategy?”
Several airlines offer paths to elite status through spending on co-branded credit cards, but Delta is perhaps the most generous. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card offers 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $25,000 in a calendar year, and another 10,000 MQMs when you spend $50,000. Meanwhile, the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express offers 15,000 MQMs when you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, and another 15,000 MQMs when you spend $60,000.
Kevin wants to know if he can earn bonus elite miles from more than one of those Delta cards, and the answer is yes. Between the two, you could earn 50,000 MQMs each calendar year — enough to reach Gold Medallion status without setting foot on a plane. Furthermore, each of those cards has a business version with similar bonus opportunities; in theory, you could earn 100,000 MQMs annually from spending alone, and that doesn’t account for any welcome bonuses that may include additional MQMs in the first year.
Whether it makes sense to hold more than one of these cards depends a lot on your travel and spending patterns, and how much you value Delta elite status. On one hand, you get elite miles along with some useful benefits: Both cards come with an annual domestic companion certificate, and the Reserve Card offers Sky Club access when you’re traveling on a Delta-coded or Delta-operated flight. (You get other perks like a free checked bag and priority boarding, but those are redundant once you have elite status.)
Earning an extra 50,000 MQMs each year could easily mean the difference in reaching top-tier Diamond Medallion status, or could at least help you requalify consistently for a lower tier. You’ll also get a waiver for MQD requirements, so it will be easier to maintain your elite status in years when you don’t have many paid Delta flights.
On the other hand, the annual fees for the Platinum and Reserve cards are $195 and $450, respectively, so there’s a significant cash outlay each year just for having them. More importantly, the spending requirements for the elite mileage bonuses are substantial; you’d need to spend $110,000 annually to max out the MQMs on the Platinum SkyMiles card and Reserve card combined. That creates an opportunity cost in terms of lucrative welcome bonuses and more valuable points you could be earning.
If you live in a Delta hub or if you’re a devoted Delta frequent flyer, and if you can meet those bonus spending requirements without sacrificing too many other opportunities, then I think getting more than one of these cards is a reasonable strategy. Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so you’ll need to evaluate based on your circumstances.
For more on Delta co-branded cards and Medallion status, check out these posts:
- Choosing the Best Credit Card for Delta Flyers
- Will My Delta MQMs Roll Over to the Following Year?
- How to Get Airline Elite Status Quickly in 2016
Know before you go.
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