Movers & Shakers: How My Plans To Maximize Delta’s New Policies Have Changed

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Chasing Delta Airlines Status

Chasing Delta Airlines Status

Last year I shared my plans on chasing Delta Airlines status. With all of Delta’s rollovers, and award flights counting towards earning status, I figured now was the time to more than dip my toe in to the airline status realm. The main reasoning behind it was that I would be able to get more than 2 years of Delta Platinum status with minimal effort. At least when compared to what it would require normally. The winds have shifted a bit with my plans so I figured I would update everyone where I am at. Plans always need to be fluid, with multiple options, so I figured sharing my thought process would be beneficial to some of you out there.

This is similar to what happened last year when I had originally planned on just getting Silver status but instead ended up going after Platinum. I’ll share my plan coming into this year, what my backup plan was and how I ended up going to Plan C.

My Original Plan For 2022

I currently have around 90,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) because of rollovers from 2020 and 2021, plus what I have earned already this year. That is more than enough to maintain my Platinum status through 2023. My current balance would also allow me to carry over at least 15,000 MQMs in 2022 if I reach the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) needed ($9,000 for Platinum status).  There is no way I am going to spend $9,000 on Delta flights so I will need to spend the $25,000 required on a credit card to get an MQD waiver. That can be done on a Delta Reserve or Delta Platinum card (personal or business).

My plan going into this year was to wait until the annual fee hit on my Delta Reserve personal card. I would then close the card and grab the Delta Reserve Business card, the only Delta card I have not received a welcome offer on. This would allow me to double dip the card a bit. I could spend the $25K on it I needed for the MQD waiver but also earn a welcome offer along the way.

The problem is that I got stuck in Amex pop-up purgatory after I devised that plan. Unfortunately, it is a place I find myself still today. So my Plan A to grab a Delta Reserve Business card, and double dip it on my way to the $25K MQD waiver, is out the window.

Chasing Delta Airlines Status

Shifting To Plan B – Pan Handling For A Retention Offer

With my Delta Business Reserve plan in the recycle bin I decided to pivot to trying to get the most I could out of my current card. I consulted our massive database of retention offers and saw some pretty juicy ones for the Delta Reserve personal card. I fired up Amex chat and see if I could snag one of those sweet 50K no spend offers floating around.  The bar was not set to high for Amex either, I probably would have taken anything halfway decent to get this all rolling. Instead, I was hit with a big fat nothing burger.  It is safe to say that plan b didn’t go the way I wanted either.

Plan C It Is – Let Me Downgrade You

Let me upgrade you says Beyoncé? Nah, sometimes a downgrade is just what the doctor ordered. After the Amex chat agent said there was no offer I decided to move to plan c, the downgrade. I asked the rep to move me to the much cheaper Delta Platinum card. The nice part of this move is, outside of saving hundreds on the annual fee, the fact that the earning structure is improved.  Earning 2X at the grocery store makes makes swallowing $25K in less than optimal spend go down a bit easier.

The fact that spending $25K on either card for the MQD waiver works made this play possible. The $25,000 in spend required will also trigger the 10K MQM status boost spending bonus. That will add to the MQMs I roll over into 2023, nicely putting me right around Silver status levels.

Chasing Delta Airlines Status

Should I Have Gone To Plan D Though?

There was a way to potentially do a little bit better here though, what we will call Plan D. Instead of simply downgrading my Delta Reserve to a Delta Platinum I could have got my cake and ate it too. I could have closed my Reserve card and my wife could have referred me to the Delta Platinum card. If she had a referral offer for 25K or 30K Membership Rewards it would have been like getting a little welcome offer on the card AND getting the need MQD waiver.

I decided against this because my wife didn’t have any great referral offers. She is kind of in referral lock up like many out there right now and the best offer she had was for only 15K in points. That didn’t seem worth the effort and it could potentially prolong my time stuck on the pop-up naughty list. Having said that, if she had a better offer, or even one of those +4 on all spending offers, this would have been the way to go for sure.

Chasing Delta Airlines Status: Final Thoughts

Hopefully this breakdown of my thought process laid out all of the options available to you if you are in a similar boat. Even if you are not currently chasing Delta Airlines status at least it gives you an idea of what is possible. After all, in this game there is always more than one way to skin a cat! Standard operating procedure should be to look at all options available and then pick which one works best for you.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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4 COMMENTS

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Is it really worth getting 2 SkyPesos per grocery dollar, when one can get 5% next day with the Paceline Visa card? I like Delta, where I am Diamond Medallion from pre-pandemic activity, but I don’t think the status is worth this much.

    • I don’t know if Paceline would let you do that volume before a shutdown. Let’s say you could get 4% that is $1000 in cash back vs $500 with of Skymiles you get this route (not valuing the MQMs at all). Do I think I will get over $500 in value next year from the status? Yeah I do but others might not. That is a decision everyone needs to make for themselves though.

  2. PLAN E–earn $3,000 MQDs organically (I’m 40% there and considering this plan), start 2023 with Silver, pay tuition/taxes/rent in Q1 to quickly hit the MQD waiver and enjoy Platinum through the 2024 program year.

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