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

Jan. 09, 2020
5 min read
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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.</strong>

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

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).

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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 JustFly.com, 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 JustFly.com for as low as $2,805.

JustFly.com showing JFK to SYD in business class for $2,805. (Image courtesy JustFly)
JustFly.com 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 JustFly.com 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 JustFly.com (Images courtesy JustFly.com)
Flight from JFK to SIN on China Eastern for $1,879 at JustFly.com. (Images courtesy JustFly.com)

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.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases