It’s the end of the year, which means a lot of people are looking at their frequent flyer accounts and trying to figure out how to squeeze a few extra miles out of their travel so they can qualify for the next elite tier.
Towards the end of the year it’s pretty normal for airlines to let you “buy up” to the next elite tier, should you be a few thousand elite qualifying miles short.
A couple of weeks ago American announced their Elite Boost promotion, whereby you could buy up to the next elite tier if you were within 10,000 elite qualifying miles. The cost ranged anywhere from $399 to $2,499, depending on how far you were from the next elite tier, and which tier you were going for (for example, buying up to Executive Platinum cost more than buying up to Gold, since it comes with more benefits).
Delta has now revealed their end of the year promotion for buying up to status. Through December 31, 2015, you can purchase up to 10,000 MQMs to help get you to the next elite tier.
Here are the details:
Still hoping to reach Diamond, Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion® status for 2016? Good news — through December 31, 2015, you can buy up to 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that will apply toward your 2016 status.
Dollars spent purchasing MQMs will be credited as Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs — U.S.-based members only), to be posted* to your 2015 MQD balance and apply toward your 2016 status.
And don’t forget:
- MQMs purchased will be deposited to your 2015 MQM balance
- MQMs purchased through this offer are non-refundable
- Dollars spent toward MQM purchase will apply to your 2015 MQD balance
- You may purchase a minimum of 2,500 up to a maximum of 10,000 MQMs for one SkyMiles account for the 2016 Medallion year
As statued above, you can buy MQMs in 2,500 mile increments. How much do they cost? It varies based on which status level you have, but on the high end it seems like Platinum Medallions are being given the following prices, while other status levels have lower prices:
- Buy 2,500 MQMs for $2,195
- Buy 5,000 MQMs for $2,495
- Buy 7,500 MQMs for $2,795
- Buy 10,000 MQMs for $2,995
Those are some insane prices, at up to ~30 cents per elite qualifying mile.
In almost all cases you’d be better off taking an extra flight if you have the time. Keep in mind that Delta also makes it fairly easy to earn MQMs through credit card spend, so if you’re short on qualifying for the next tier you can always spend your way to status otherwise (or even just applying for a card and completing the minimum spend will earn you MQMs on some cards).
The prices for buying MQMs through these promotions are insane, and I’d only use them as an absolute last resort. In almost all cases you’re better off taking an extra trip at the end of the year, or in the case of Delta, spending your way to elite status (though it may be too late in the year for that).
Have you ever paid to “buy up” to the next elite tier?