Do Delta Medallion Elite Miles Roll Over for Multiple Years?
TPG reader Patrick emailed me to ask about earning Delta status:
“I fly with Delta a lot and rack up a ton of Medallion Qualification Miles. I currently have over 470,000 MQMs, 280,000 of which rolled over from 2015. If I don't earn any more elite miles from here on out, but I have a credit card to waive the spending requirements, will the MQMs I have continue to roll over year after year?"
Most airlines toss out any elite credits you earn above your status tier, but one valuable and unique feature of the Delta SkyMiles program is that you can roll over excess elite miles from one year to the next. For example, if you earn 60,000 MQMs (and $6,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars) in 2016, then you'll qualify for Gold Medallion status and still have 10,000 MQMs to jump-start your elite qualification in 2017. It's a great system because your flight activity continues to be rewarded even after you've crossed a status threshold.
Rollover MQMs are treated just like MQMs you earn from flying or through most other methods, which means they can roll over for multiple years provided you meet certain requirements. In Patrick's case, he has effectively earned 470,000 MQMs this year even though many of those were actually earned in 2015. He'll re-qualify for Diamond Medallion status (which requires 125,000 MQMs), and the remaining 345,000 will roll over to 2017.
Those 345,000 MQMs will be enough to earn Diamond status again next year, and he'll still roll over at least 220,000 MQMs to 2018. The one caveat is that you must reach at least Silver Medallion status for miles to roll over. If you fall short, then any remaining MQMs will disappear at the end of that qualifying year. With that in mind, it's important to make sure you meet or waive the revenue requirements each year, since MQDs do not roll over.
On the bright side, all your excess MQMs are eligible to roll over even if you only earn enough MQDs for Silver Medallion status. For example, if you earn 100,000 MQMs but only $3,000 MQDs in 2016, you'll qualify for Silver Medallion this year and roll over the remaining 75,000 MQMs to 2017.
Rollover miles benefit both frequent flyers and airlines by continuing to offer an incentive for flying once you've obtained a certain elite status. I'm surprised that other airline programs haven't followed suit, and I'd love to see major carriers like American and United offer a similar benefit.
For more on the SkyMiles program and earning airline elite status in general, check out these posts:
- How to Get Airline Elite Status Quickly in 2016
- Last-Minute Elite Status Strategy for Delta Medallions
- The 8 Best Cards for Flying Delta