Delta makes it easier to earn elite status without flying in 2021 — but is it worth it?
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available.
With the ongoing pandemic keeping many travelers grounded, that becomes even more important for elite status seekers. Early this year, Delta announced a slew of updates including elite status extensions and Medallion® Qualifying Miles (MQMs) rolling over to 2021.
And now, there’s further good news on that front. Select Delta SkyMiles-branded credit cardholders can now earn even more MQMs with the “Status Boost” benefit in 2021: a full 25% increase in MQM earn at existing Status Boost milestones
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Let’s take a closer look at this latest offer and if it’s worth spending more on your Delta Amex credit card.
The new Delta Amex promotion
The Delta cards that are included as part of the elevated MQM offer are:
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles Platinum
In 2021, you can earn 25% more Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with an elevated Status Boost perk. Earn 12,500 MQMs for every $25,000 you spend on purchases on the Delta Platinum Card in the calendar year, up to two times. That’s an additional 2,500 MQMs on top of the 10,000 MQMs you already earn with Status Boost in the calendar year.
That means you can earn a total of 25,000 MQMs after spending $50,000.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve
In 2021, you can earn 25% more Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) with an elevated Status Boost perk. Earn 18,750 MQMs for every $30,000 you spend in purchases on the Delta Reserve card in the calendar year, up to four times. That’s an additional 3,750 MQMs on top of the 15,000 MQMs you already earn with Status Boost.
So you can earn a total of 75,000 MQMs after spending $120,000.
This promotion activates right after a previous offer is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. Through the end of the year, you’ll earn 500 MQMs for every $1,000 spent — up to 25,000 MQMs over the course of the promotional period. And remember, MQMs earned this year will roll over into 2021.
Why this new offer may be appealing
If you’re striving for Delta elite status, it just got slightly easier hit without having to even step foot on a plane next year.
Earning Delta Medallion status
- Silver Medallion: 25,000 MQMs plus 3,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs)
- Gold Medallion: 50,000 MQMs plus 6,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs)
- Platinum Medallion: 75,000 MQMs plus 9,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs)
- Diamond Medallion: 125,000 MQMs plus 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs)
These thresholds are what you need to earn in order to hit each level of Delta status. With the cards mentioned above, MQD requirements for Silver, Gold, and Platinum are waived when you spend $25,000 in a calendar year. However, you must spend a whopping $250,000 on the card to enjoy the MQD waiver for Diamond Medallion.
Who should (and shouldn’t) utilize this offer?
If you don’t currently hold Delta elite status but have some significant spending coming up in 2021, these new offers could be a nice way to help snag Medallion status without flying.
This could also be a good way for low- or mid-tier elite travelers to unlock added perks, again without setting foot on a plane. Many Delta loyalists don’t fly enough to reach Platinum Medallion status, but this new offer could provide that necessary boost. Jumping from Silver or Gold Medallion to Platinum includes a number of enhanced benefits — most importantly, Choice Benefits.
That said, if you’re already sitting at the Platinum or Diamond tiers with Delta, these new offers may not entice you to spend more on your cards. Unless you envision a struggle to reach MQM thresholds in 2021, you may want to hold off.
Be sure to evaluate your own situation to know whether these bonus MQMs are worth pursuing.
Previously announced Delta card benefit updates
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card cardmembers who earn a $100 Delta flight credit will have the expiration date for that credit extended to Dec. 31, 2021.
- Any unused Companion Certificates (including those issued in 2019) from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card will now expire on Dec. 31, 2021. Note that you must book and travel by the end of 2021 to use these certificates.
- Unused Sky Club guest passes from the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card will now expire on Dec. 31, 2021.
This latest promotion from Delta and Amex makes it easier to hit MQM thresholds for elite status. It may be a compelling reason for cardholders to put spending back on a travel card, even when travel has been drastically reduced for the time being.
However, bear in mind that Delta hasn’t announced changes to spending requirements. Once Jan. 1, 2021, arrives, you’ll still need to earn the required Medallion Qualification Dollars next year, or spend enough on your cobranded card to enjoy a waiver of the applicable MQD requirement.
If Delta is your airline — and status is something you’re still seeking out for next year — it could be worth diverting your spending from other credit cards. Just be sure to carefully consider just how much these MQMs will help your pursuit of Medallion status in 2021.
Featured photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees