How I Plan On Using The Platinum Delta Amex To Earn Status

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Update: These offers for the Delta SkyMiles® Credit Cards from American Express are expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

Through November 8, 2017, there are increased sign-up bonuses on Delta’s co-branded American Express cards, as follows:

While we’ve seen some increased sign-up bonuses on Delta Amex cards in the past, these bonuses are as good as they get. Personally the bonuses are especially interesting to me this year, as I start to shift some of my loyalty to Delta. I’m currently completing a SkyMiles Platinum Medallion challenge, and am trying to decide what status to go for next year.

How the Delta Platinum Amex can help you earn status

While the Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card seem ideal for the casual traveler, the current offer on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card seems especially compelling for someone who is going for status with Delta.

In addition to the huge sign-up bonus of 70,000 Delta SkyMiles per card, you can also earn 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles per card when you spend $4,000 within three months.

If you were to apply for both cards and plan the spend so that it’s completed in early 2018 (which is possible since it’s less than three months until the end of the year), you could start off 2018 with 20,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles just for completing the minimum spend.

On top of that, you could earn further Medallion Qualifying Miles based on the spend you put on the card. Specifically, for both the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card you can earn:

  • 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $25,000 in a calendar year, a further 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending a total of $50,000 in a calendar year
  • 10,000 bonus redeemable miles after spending $25,000 in a calendar year, a further 10,000 bonus miles after spending a total of $50,000 in a calendar year
  • A Medallion Qualifying Dollar waiver for Silver, Gold, or Platinum status by spending at least $25,000 on the card in a calendar year (you now need to spend $250,000 to get a waiver for Diamond)

Put another way, if you spent $50,000 on a Delta Platinum Card for non-bonused spend you’d earn 70,000 redeemable miles plus 20,000 bonus MQMs. You could do that on both the personal and business versions of the card, meaning you could earn up to 40,000 MQMs that way, in addition to the 20,000 MQMs that you can earn as part of the sign-up bonus.

That means acquiring the two cards and spending a total of $100,000 could net you 60,000 MQMs, which is nearly enough for Platinum status alone. I’m not saying it’s worth putting that much spend on the cards, but just demonstration how many MQMs you could earn.

How I plan to use this to earn status

I’m just finishing up a Delta status challenge, and already have a discounted business class ticket booked to Beijing for early next year, which will earn me over 20,000 MQMs. Assuming I apply for both versions of the Delta Platinum Card and complete the spend at the correct time (which I plan to do, as I haven’t had either card before), I’ll already be at over 40,000 MQMs.

If I have both cards, I could essentially earn 10,000 bonus MQMs per $25,000 of credit card spend, up to 40,000 additional MQMs. I wouldn’t put $100,000 of spend on my Delta Amex cards, but if I did, I would have already qualified for Platinum status.

Under the old system that might have been worthwhile as a way of earning Diamond status, but nowadays you’d have to spend $250,000 on co-branded Delta cards to get a revenue waiver for Diamond status, so that might not be worth it anymore.

However, the great thing is that Delta offers rollover MQMs, meaning that any MQMs you earn above the status you qualify for rolls over to the following year. So for example, if I finish 2018 with 125,000 MQMs but don’t qualify for Diamond due to the revenue requirement, I’d start 2019 with 50,000 MQMs. That’s pretty compelling as well, especially as the main thing I’m trying to get out of Delta status is some benefits when traveling domestically.

Bottom line

While all four increased Delta sign-up bonuses are great, the current bonuses on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card are most interesting to me. I haven’t had either card before, and being able to earn up to 20,000 MQMs as part of the sign-up bonus is pretty awesome, in addition to being able to earn further MQMs through actual spend. That doesn’t even account for the 70,000 bonus SkyMiles you can earn as part of the sign-up bonus.

I really feel like I’m making the switch to Delta a bit too late here, and am realizing that it must have been fairly easy to earn Diamond status in the past.

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Comments

  1. We’ve had the platinum for a while. Can’t beat multiple free checked bags and a companion ticket. The card is in my wife’s name and she’s a silver medallion. We got upgraded to C+ to AMS, and I even used her “you’ve been upgraded” gate page for a first class seat in a 752 to SLC (while she sat in back with the kids). Plus the extra mileage earning is nice too.

  2. Rene’s Points had an awesome article about how to hit the MQD Requirements for Diamond by flying cheap first class/business class fares on SkyTeam Partners… Through this method, you can hit the MQD waver for Diamond by just spending $3,000 out of pocket – assuming you can find the tickets.

  3. Delta elite status is basically worthless. I did a status match from Alaska earlier this year and found out that in addition to being a garbage airline (old planes, lousy hard/soft products, terrible service) , the benefits of being a Delta elite are basically slightly better treatment when your flight inevitably gets cancelled.

    The absolute biggest problem is the 72 hour rule, which seems engineered to screw over their customers ‘because they can.’ Whereas on Alaska as an MVP Gold and JetBlue as a Mosaic you can change a ticket right up until departure (which is handy if you’re holding out for another flight or a similar one opens up with upgrade availability) , but on Delta you can’t even pay up to a nicer seat.

    Additionally, if you want to change a non-award ticket to the following day they charge an outrageous $200.00- even as a Diamond member! Southwest customers get better treatment.

    Total garbage airline. To say nothing of their terrible real-world operational performance, terrible planes, and terrible airport terminals.

  4. I personally don’t think you’re late to the party. AA had a great program for years – and you enjoyed it for those years. Times change, and now you’ll get to enjoy something else for however long you want.

    We all say this, but it really is true – status isn’t what it use to be. Buying F tickets are very easy anymore.

    I’ve been a Delta elite for 10 years, and finally going to try something else (Alaska Airlines). Enjoy learning about Delta, and don’t forget to also try the SkyBounus program. I use my SkyBonus points for my Exceutive Sky Club membership.

  5. @Lucky I don’t know that it was “fairly easy” to earn Diamond. When the revenue requirement was added, so was the card waiver. But you still required 125K MQMs and either $15K MQD or $25K card spend to make Diamond. What was really happening was that some folks were high Platinum (flying about 100K miles, but maybe only $10K revenue) and using the Delta Reserve/Platinum cards to make Diamond. Delta wasn’t making nearly enough money off that card spend to make up the difference in revenue. And the folks flying well over 125K and $15K revenue were getting pissed off about all the new Diamonds. Huge topic of discussion in the Facebook Diamond Medallion groups.

    But I think using miles flown plus card spend is a very legitimate tactic for Gold/Platinum status. And Platinum is pretty good, really.

    Yeah, Delta has an older hard product. But they maintain it well. I fly 150-175 K miles/year and find my flight delays to be around 10% and my flight cancellations to be 0. And their IRROPS are the best around in my experience. Important stuff for business travelers.

  6. So is it definitely this case that the signup bonus MQMs post for the qualification year in which you achieve achieve the threshold? Like, if I open it now, but don’t fulfill the requirement till January, the MQMs will be for the 2018 qualification year?

  7. @Ty – I may have misunderstood your question but I think the scenario you describe matches mine from late 2016 exactly. Got the card in the last week of October 2016 as I started a Platinum challenge, completed the spending requirement in mid January 2017 and the MQM’s counted toward 2018 qualification because they were credited to the account in January 2017.

  8. I have no reason to strive for top tier status with any airline (because I am paying for the seat I want now) but I find Delta Platinum to be pretty nice, and pretty easy to get for my travel pattern. More than 75% of the time when I have bought a coach ticket, which is usually on flights under 1,500 miles, I am getting a first class upgrade, and I am always getting a Comfort+ upgrade. But what I like most in contrast to my final years as a AA EXP is that my upgrades are going through waaaay earlier. I am getting first class upgrades more than 96 hours before departure, I feel like the last time I got an upgrade that early on AA was about 2005. Comfort+ upgrades are usually going through within 1 hour of booking. Granted I never fly through ATL so that is no doubt a big factor in my upgrades.

  9. I think Delta is the way to go with domestic flights. It really is a well-oiled machine with a fine product. I’m actually at LGA right now getting ready to board my first flight with them in about 5 years, and I’m very impressed with the service and ability to customize the flight to my liking. Also some interesting domestic redemption opportunities, some as low as 5K miles or so. NYC-ORD was only 7500 in economy or 9500 in Comfort+ (and 20K or so in F).

  10. “Total garbage airline. To say nothing of their terrible real-world operational performance, terrible planes, and terrible airport terminals.”

    You’re aware this is factually inaccurate, right? Like, DL has the best operational stats of the big U.S. 3? Where have you connected through on Delta? Apparently not Detroit. World-class airport terminal! Compare that to going through ORD sometime and come back to us.

  11. The Delta Platinum Card standard offer is 35k bonus miles and 5k MQMs (status qualifying miles) for the first $1,000 spent but if you want to use my referral below the bonus jumps to 70k miles and 10k MQMs (Silver starts at 25k) for the first $3,000 spent in 3 months + $100 statement credit towards a Delta Purchase.

    Referral link:
    http://refer.amex.us/SCOTTNqPI6?XLINK=MYCP

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