Buy Up To Delta Medallion Status For 2016

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

See Terms and Conditions for complete details. If you have further questions, please visit Frequently Asked Questions.


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).

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Bottom line

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?


  1. I’m currently a Delta Diamond, but stopped traveling for work this year. Have enough miles to qualify for Gold, but nowhere near the required MQDs.

    Any ways to get around this? I know if I had a Delta card and spent 25K in the year the MQD requirement is waived, but I’m not able to spend 25K in the next 30 days.


  2. I do think the window for credit card MQM bumps may be over – well, not for the signing bonus, but for any other spend thresholds.

    I checked with Amex yesterday, and although I just made the next bonus, it won’t post until my statement closes on 12/26. Anyone applying and starting now won’t make it.

    Unless I’m missing something.

  3. Unless you’re going to miss out on Gold or Diamond by *this* much I don’t see the need to purchase the MQMs or make a mileage run. Gold gets you waived same-day standby fees which was the reason I seriously debated a mileage run at the end of 2014. Turns out since then Delta flights in and out of my base airport have changed enough where that perk really doesn’t matter much. Diamond’s “Pick Two” perks is reason enough to make a run.

    I’m at the Platinum tipping point. I’ll make it on segments but not roll over many miles. I’m considering upgrading my Delta Gold Amex to Platinum for the 10,000 MQMs but since my spending is already over 25K I’m not sure I’ll qualify. A call to Amex for me may be in order. Anyone that has been in that situation care to comment? If you’re over the 25K threshold and upgrade to Platinum do you get the 10,000 MQMs?

  4. I was Platinum two years ago on Delta and let it lapse. Based out of DFW I never received one comp upgrade so didn’t really see the benefit.

  5. @hawaiian joe, yes, you can buy up united qualifying miles anytime during the year on any flight reservation. They cost way less than this, usually about 12cents or less per mile earlier in the year, and more like 20 cents per mile now. You also get redeemable miles for this price, however, you do not get any credit toward qualifying spend.

  6. Prices seem to vary based on the user. For me (former Gold Medallion, currently no status, 15k MQM’s and 4000 MQD’s for 2015 so far), the prices range from $495-$1095. Still absurd but way cheaper than the numbers DL gave you…

  7. @Deltasucks: you’re going for Silver so it makes sense that prices would be cheaper for you.

    @Mark Palmer: your only option might be to “move” to another country. MQDs are only required for US travelers I believe.

    @Neil S. It doesn’t matter when it posts, as long as you have spent the money in this calendar year, your bonus MQMs will also be applied to 2015. So even if your statement closes on Jan 1, you will still get credit towards 2015 MQM totals.

  8. The interesting thing is that they are not allowing everyone to buy up. I’ll probably end the year at around 67k MQM. No offer for me (I can hear Richard Anderson doing the Soup Nazi bit :)).

  9. @Gaurav,

    I was also receiving the message on the Delta site that “my account was not eligible to purchase MQMs”. I called Delta and they immediately corrected whatever issue was causing this message and enabled the option to purchase MQMs. If you are interested in purchasing the 10,000 MQMs you need, call Delta and see if they can correct the issue.

  10. hi Chris, thanks for the follow up. I wasn’t really in the market for a buy up, was just checking to see how much it would cost.

  11. @chris

    I too am not eligible for some reason. I just got off the phone with Delta, to which they told me to call back in an hour bc there is some issues with the website. He also said, if I didn’t receive an email, then I may not be eligible. I hope that is not the case – I will call back in an hour and hopefully talk to someone who can work the system a little better.

  12. Does anyone have the link on how to buy MQMs on Delta’s website? I did a search on the website (logged in) and nothing came up. I’m going to be about 10k short of diamond. I’m sure it will be cheaper to just fly to hawaii and back but I am so tired of airplanes!!!! Thanks 🙂

  13. The pricing of these miles is insane and even though I am only 560 miles short of Platinum I refuse to be extorted!

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