Delta Adds Limits To How Many MQMs You Can Earn Through Credit Cards

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As much as there are aspects of Delta SkyMiles that drive me nuts, one thing that the program has going for it is that they make it pretty easy to earn elite status through credit card spend.

How Delta makes earning status through credit cards easy

You can earn a full waiver of Delta’s revenue requirement for status by spending $25,000 per year on their co-branded credit card, and on top of that you can earn tons of elite qualifying miles for reaching certain spending thresholds.

Specifically, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card (both personal and business) offers 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $25,000, plus a further 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $50,000, while the Delta Reserve Card (both personal and business) offers 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $30,000, plus a further 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $60,000.

So in theory if you had both the Platinum and Reserve Card, and spent $110,000 between them, you’d earn 50,000 MQMs. Meanwhile if you had all four cards — the personal and business versions of the Platinum and Reserve Card — and spent $220,000 between them, you’d earn 100,000 MQMs. That almost gets you all the way to Diamond status.

Delta-First-Class

Delta is adding restrictions to earning status through credit card spend

Rene’s Points notes that changes have been made to the cardmember agreement for the Delta Reserve Card as it relates to the Miles Boost opportunities. This section now reads as follows:

You may receive a Miles Boost award based on your eligible purchases for the calendar year. A calendar year is from January 1 to December 31 regardless of when you open your Card Account. This means in your first year as a Card Member you may have fewer months to accumulate eligible purchases towards a Miles Boost award.

The Miles Boost award and the eligible purchases required to receive the bonus are shown below.

Annual Eligible Purchase / Miles Boost Award
$30,000 / 15,000 miles and 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles
$60,000 or more / an additional 15,000 miles and 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles

Some Miles Boost award restrictions
You can now only get two Miles Boost awards for each Card account. In addition, if you have more than one Reserve Card Account linked to the same SkyMiles account, you are eligible for only two Miles Boost awards each year.

The wording on these new restrictions is a bit confusing. What I’m not yet sure of is if the limit is a total of two Miles Boosts across all Delta Amex Cards, or two Miles Boosts across Delta Reserve Cards and two Miles Boosts across Delta Platinum Cards. The earnings capability here is either being cut by half or three quarters.

So while this won’t impact those who get just a couple of Miles Boosts per year to top off an account (which is probably a majority of people), this potentially has a huge impact on those who primarily earn Delta status through credit card spend.

I’ll try to track down the exact details of these changes, though it’s clear that some major restrictions are being put in place.

Does anyone presently earn more than 30,000 MQMs per year with Delta through credit card spend?

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Comments

  1. Figures… Delta was the airline that originally ‘diluted’ the frequent flyer experience by allowing “credit card spend” to fill the First Class seats with people who only fly a few times a year.
    Guess it finally dawned on them that the people actually buying airline tickets were the ones to focus on.

    Standing by to see United and American match this move, as they always follow.

  2. This is great news for those that actually earn status by flying.

    Too bad so sad for those manufactured spend credit card scammers who got status through their shady purchase schemes.

  3. @Tachyon_OGG-SBA-IAD. How can United follow? They don’t have a way to earn PQMs unless you have their Presidential Plus credit card which you can no longer get…

  4. Well said, Jimmy! Next up, no longer getting the required MQD’s waived by spending 25K on Amex for PM and or DM.

  5. Either way, on AmEx terms and conditions, it says you can only get ONE bonus per year per ACCOUNT… So it would be actually just making sure the legal from AmEx matches Delta. One is not supposed to receive bonus from 2 amex cards… but we do receive them because the system lets us.

  6. Clearly dykwia Goldbox has not seen how much $DAL earns from AMEX each year and how spending matters more than ever for upgrades.

  7. I dunno why they’re killing the golden goose. $220k of spend at roughly 240bps of merchant interchange is $5280 of gross revenue right there, before counting any annual fees.

  8. I have a (personal) Delta Amex plat and a Business Delta Amex plat — so together they generate 10Kx2x2 = 40K MQMs per year for me (on $100K spend). If they only allow 30K MQMs I will definitely drop a card because the companion fares on these are the only other benefit, and difficult to use.

  9. Great move. Hopefully they eliminate this completely. Airlines have gotten to caught up in these credit cards. I have my Amex Plat for work. I shouldn’t have to get another $550 annual fee card just to get better upgrade priority. I spend 25K per year flying Delta. I should be prioritized over someone who spends 5000 per year and gets Diamond free from the credit card MQMs and waivers.

  10. Airline status should always only be able to be earned by BIS flying and actual airline spend, not credit cards. The small boosts are OK, but beyond that isn’t. Same with hotel status.

  11. Mr. Credit Card Salesman:

    How much DL earns from AMEX? Is that similar to the revenue you generate from referral links (by broadcasting that multiple cards and MS + upgrades and free status by not flying) in order to maintain your blog and put food on your table at home?

  12. Yes, I get 30,000 MQMs on my Delta Reserve card. And then I get 15,000 on my husbands reserve card. And that gets me to platinum. Will he be able to still gift the MQMs to me or not?

  13. So someone like Carole above flies 45000 miles per year and gets upgraded ahead of someone who flies 75000 miles per year AND spends of $9000 on Delta flying! THAAt has got to change. Also Diamond should NO WAIVERS. Look how big the upgrade lists are… look how many Diamonds are on each flight. I was #17 using an RUC from LAX-HNL! Crazy! Time to toughen up and make sure those who spend big bucks flying get SOME benefits back .

  14. As a Delta PM who earns status 100% though butt-in-seat miles I’m very happy to see this change. Let those who actually fly enjoy the benefits.

    Thinning the elite herd should also help with upgrades.

  15. The purpose of a company is to maximize profit.

    Loyalty programs reward customers that contribute the most to a company’s bottom line. This is especially true of SkyMiles. If a credit card holder spends enough to reach that profitability threshold, then s/he should get the benefits that go along with it. It doesn’t matter if it was from BIS flying or from buying Shawn Mendes posters through the shopping portal.

    At the end of the day, all that matters is profit.

  16. Sorry to disappoint all of you REAL diamonds, but you will see very like impact from this.

  17. What about gifted boosts? I have family who have the card and I get one or two from them if they don’t need it. On top of my earned two.

  18. @vasya

    Fair enough. I haven’t followed the UA credit cards since I cut up and sent back my vanilla Chase MP and Presidential Plus cards years ago when I divorced them and moved to American. My wife just challenged over to Alaska 75K Gold and I’m thinking of following, as the AAdvantage program atrophies to nothing…

  19. Not sure what to make of it. I get 30K MQM from my biz reserve, then my wife “gifts me” 30K from her Reserve. I am assuming I’ll be fine.

  20. Just for clarification, I never get upgraded as a platinum. I try to get status so that I can cancel award tickets for no fee and I can get a better schedule when there are schedule changes. So I don’t see how my spend on Delta Amex affects anyone.

  21. What a bunch of cry babies. I would bet that most of the people bitching are not the one actually spending the big dollars, it is your companies. Frankly I would like to see the end of free upgrades and make people pay for a seat in first. It is about time for freeloaders to stay in the back of the bus where they belong. Cheers

  22. Pretty sure it simply means that if you have both Reserve accounts, you can only get a max of two bonus between the 4 offered. You can still collect the 4 bonus from the Platinum offering if you have both of the platinum cards.

  23. Just read this on Delta.com:

    To review the rules, please visit http://www.delta.com/memberguide. If in any calendar year your Eligible Spending on your Delta Reserve Card is $30,000 or more, you will be awarded 15,000 Bonus Miles and 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). If in that same calendar year your Eligible Spending on your Delta Reserve Card is $60,000 or more, you will be awarded 15,000 Bonus Miles and 15,000 MQMs. You may be permitted to have more than one Options, Classic, Gold, Platinum, or Delta Reserve Card from American Express account; however, you are only eligible to receive one annual bonus for each type (i.e. Options, Classic, Gold, Platinum, or Delta Reserve) of Delta SkyMiles Credit Card account from American Express.

    They must mean one annual max bonus – because of course you receive 15k for the first $30,000 and 15k more for the second $30,000. But it appears it may be saying if you own ANY business cards, along with the regular card, you can only get one per type (ie Reserve or Platinum).

  24. A retired teacher, I work (and spend) carefully to achieve Platinum status. I have Reserve and Platinum cards. Yes, I earn mileage “boosts” from both cards. I only fly Delta and also support them by paying high annual fees on both cards. Delta profits from these fees! I pay for my flights myself. I will never achieve Diamond level because I’m not a business person having my ticket paid for by someone else. Should I happen to be upgraded to the front of the plane, it’s not cool to feel discriminated against by flyers that consider themselves elite because they fly at the expense of others! Stop being so arrogant!!!

  25. Well said.

    Do business travelers deserve to get perks and status? Sure, perfect, great. Do they deserve to have elitist, shitty attitudes acting like they’re superior to others? No, that’s a crock.

    What actually I am impressed by are people who do not fly for business all the time, and pay for their tickets and earn status on their own (specifically the ones who are not loaded with $$$). That takes skill and being clever and should be lauded in these days of cats from consulting companies soaking up status very easily.

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