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Audit your mileage run: How Delta's miscalculation almost cost me Diamond Medallion status

Nov. 09, 2022
3 min read
delta plane
Audit your mileage run: How Delta's miscalculation almost cost me Diamond Medallion status
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Last week I flew from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Copenhagen Airport (CPH) on Delta Air Lines.

The trip wasn't a mileage run per se — I was meeting my cousin and a friend for a short trip — but I needed the Medallion Qualification Dollars to keep my Diamond Medallion status. After flying this trip and factoring in my other year-end travel, I will be at just more than 15,200 MQDs for the year.

However, a miscalculation in Delta's system shorted me 273 MQDs. If the mistake had gone unnoticed, it would have cost me my status for 2023.

See, when I landed back in New York, Delta credited my account 593 MQDs even though my ticket cost about $954. I wasn't expecting to earn MQDs on all of that spending — MQDs are only earned on the ticket's base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges, commonly dubbed "YR" — but I knew something was off.

DELTA.COM

I checked an elite status tracking spreadsheet I maintain and quickly confirmed I should have received 866 MQDs for my JFK-CPH-JFK itinerary. According to my receipt, the ticket had a base fare of $266 and $600 in carrier-imposed surcharges. This brings me to my missing 273 MQDs. In turn, I was also shorted just more than 3,000 redeemable SkyMiles too, as my redeemable mileage earnings were calculated on the incorrect $593 base fare plus carrier-imposed surcharge.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. I called the Diamond Medallion line and explained the situation to the representative. He called the SkyMiles department, they noticed their error and the representative told me they'd recalculate earnings with the correct fare and surcharges.

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Roughly an hour later, my account was credited with the correct 866 MQDs and 9,526 redeemable miles, worth about $134 per TPG's valuations.

DELTA.COM

If I hadn't noticed this error, I could have lost my Diamond benefits over a simple mistake in Delta's system. Or, I would have had to panic-book a flight after finishing my holiday flights home and realizing I hadn't qualified for my status. Needless to say, that would not have been a cheap (or fun) endeavor right after the holidays.

Related: Quick Points: How and why you should regularly audit your loyalty accounts

Take my experience as a reminder to always check your loyalty account after you fly. Then, recalculate your earnings and ensure you received the proper number of redeemable miles and elite metrics. If you don't, you could leave miles and elite status on the table.

I also encourage you to build a spreadsheet that logs your flights throughout the year. I add all of my flights to this spreadsheet as I book them, alongside their Medallion Qualification Miles, MQDs and redeemable SkyMiles earnings. Then, I have a running number that adds all of them up and adds them to my current MQD balance. This helps me plan and audit my account quickly as I travel throughout the year, and it keeps me in the loop on how close I am to the next elite status tier.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees