Act fast: You can earn Delta Silver Medallion status with just one trip

Jan 9, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that you can earn Silver status with the one trip.

There’s an incredible opportunity to earn elite status with Delta Air Lines, and in business class no less. The flights are operated by Delta’s SkyTeam partner, China Eastern, and both originate at New York-JFK. One flight will take you to Singapore (SIN) for $2,095 round-trip; the other will take you to Sydney (SYD).

China Eastern A350-900. (Image courtesy of Airbus)
China Eastern A350-900. (Image courtesy of Airbus)


The Sydney trip is pricier but also nets you a lot more Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). In fact, the Sydney itinerary nets you more than 9,500 MQDs, more than 36,000 MQMs and more than 50,000 redeemable Delta SkyMiles, according to our calculations. That’s enough to get you Silver Medallion status if you are starting from scratch.

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Rene’s Points was the first to find these trips. The good folks there found flights from New York to Sydney on Feb. 19, 2020 and a couple of days in April.

You can use ITA Matrix to find the flights on China Eastern. You can’t book through ITA Matrix, but you could try replicating the itineraries you find on Google Flights or other online travel agencies (OTAs). I’ve had luck with, Travelocity and Expedia. Some of the flight combinations even give you a couple of days in Sydney.

China Eastern business-class fare from ITA Matrix. (Image courtesy of ITA Matrix)


I was able to find this itinerary on for as low as $2,805. showing JFK to SYD in business class for $2,800. (Image courtesy JustFly) showing JFK to SYD in business class for $2,805. (Image courtesy JustFly) showing JFK to SYD in business class for $2,800. (Image courtesy JustFly) showing JFK to SYD in business class for $2,805. (Image courtesy JustFly)


As I mentioned above, there are also itineraries that take you to Singapore, and if you don’t have much time to take away from work, you can spend as little as nine hours on the ground there for a grand total of $2,095. We were able to replicate Rene’s Points’ find for dates in March and April, but play around with the dates. This trip would give you almost 8,000 MQDs and a whopping 31,000 MQMs.

Flights on China Eastern in business class to Singapore as low as $2,096. (Image courtesy ITA Matrix)
Flights on China Eastern in business class to Singapore for as low as $2,096. (Image courtesy ITA Matrix)


A search on yielded an even cheaper fare for a Singapore trip — just $1,879 round-trip.

Flight from JFK to SIN on China Eastern for $1,800 at (Images courtesy
Flight from JFK to SIN on China Eastern for $1,879 at (Images courtesy


If you decide to book, add your Delta SkyMiles number to any reservation to ensure that you earn all the miles that you just paid for. For more on how to use partner flights to qualify for Delta elite status, check out our guide to earning qualifying miles and dollars on Delta’s partner airlines.

If you’re looking for a short-cut to status there are several Delta cards that can help with that, so be sure to sign up and check out our “best of” list below.

The best Delta credit cards

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

As far as what you’ll get onboard China Eastern, our own Ethan Steinberg reviewed both the China Eastern 787 in business class, and the China Eastern 777-300 in business class. He wasn’t too impressed. Be sure to check out his reviews.

Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg.

Featured image of business class on board China Eastern’s 777-300ER by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.

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