Delta Wants You to Pay an Outrageous Sum for Elite Status – But You Can Earn It MUCH Cheaper

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Delta Wants You to Pay an Outrageous Sum for Elite Status – But You Can Earn It MUCH Cheaper

Joseph HostetlerDelta Wants You to Pay an Outrageous Sum for Elite Status – But You Can Earn It MUCH CheaperMillion Mile Secrets Team

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If you’re in the hunt for Delta elite status, Delta has one heck of a “deal” for you.  Folks can purchase Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) to help them achieve elite status with the airline.

This promotion is called “Elevate Your Status.”  It’s a promotion they often have at the end of the year which is targeted and unique to each person.  Factors could depend on how frequently you fly Delta and your current elite status.  So you’ll have to look to see how much Delta will charge you.

But judging by reports, you’ll pay between 13 cents and $1+ per MQM!  So for example, if you’re 8,000 miles shy of achieving your desired status this year, the lowest you can expect to spend will be ~$1,000+ for those missing MQMs (8,000 MQMs X 13 cents each).

But there’s a MUCH cheaper way to earn MQMs.  However, with this promotion you won’t just be buying MQMs, you’ll also be getting Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs), which are needed to qualify for Delta elite status.  So there is a small segment of Delta frequent flyers that this deal might make sense for.

There Are Better Delta Elite Status Strategies Than Purchasing MQMs at an Exorbitant Price Tag

AMEX Delta Credit Cards the Cheapest Way to Earn MQMs in a Hurry

To earn Delta elite status you’ll need to earn a certain amount of MQMs or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) and earn a certain amount of MQDs within a calendar year.  You can earn an MQD waiver for the first 3 elite status tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum) if you spend $25,000+ in a calendar year with an eligible AMEX Delta card.  And to earn an MQD waiver for Delta Diamond Medallion status it takes an outrageous $250,000+ of spending on an eligible AMEX Delta card in a calendar year.

You can earn an MQD Waiver By Spending a Certain Amount With an Eligible AMEX Delta Card

But you can earn healthy amounts of MQMs with some of the AMEX Delta cards.

Both the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card come with 10,000 bonus MQMs after meeting minimum spending requirements (not to mention the valuable redeemable miles you’ll earn from the card’s welcome bonus).  These cards both have a $450 annual fee.  So if you open one and achieve the welcome bonus, you’ve effectively purchased 10,000 MQMs for $450.

That’s a rate of 4.5 cents each ($450 annual fee / 10,000 MQMs).  Practically 1/3 of the price that even the luckiest Delta member would receive from this “Elevate Your Status” promotion.  Just note that you will NOT earn Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) by opening either of these cards (although you can earn an MQD waiver as mentioned above).

And when you use one of the AMEX Delta Reserve cards for $30,000 in spending in a calendar year, you’ll earn another 15,000 MQMs.  And if you spend an additional $30,000 in the same calendar year ($60,000 total) you can earn another 15,000 MQMs (30,000 total).

Also, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express both come with 5,000 MQMs (and a good amount of redeemable miles) after meeting minimum spending requirements.  So by opening these cards and earning the MQMs, you’d be effectively purchasing them at a rate of 3.9 cents each ($195 annual fee / 5,000 MQMs).

And when you use one of the AMEX Delta Platinum cards for $25,000 in spending in a calendar year, you’ll earn another 10,000 MQMs. And if you spend an additional $25,000 in the same calendar year ($50,000 total), you can earn another 10,000 MQMs (20,000 MQMs total).

But signing up for a credit card in an attempt to earn elite status by the end of 2018 isn’t practical for most of us, that’s a ton of spending in a short amount of time.  It makes more sense to earn the bonus MQMs if you’ve already got one of the above cards.

Or you could always pick up a card in anticipation of earning Delta elite status next year, but you’d probably want to wait until the intro bonuses are higher.  With American Express you can only earn the welcome bonus on a card once per lifetime per card.  So it’s better to apply when the offers are increased.

For most folks, the cheapest way to earn MQMs or MQSs, and MQDs is typically by flying with Delta.  You could put your money toward airfare that earns MQMs instead of just flushing it down the toilet.  Here’s hoping you have a few spare vacation days!

What’s your Delta elite status strategy before the end of the year?

The information for the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases with your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after you reach $30,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in the calendar year.
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding and enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.‡
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access.‡
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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