I Don’t Love Delta’s Changes But I’m Going To Take Advantage Of Them Anyway

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Chasing Delta Status

Chasing Delta Status: Why I Changed Course Overnight

A few months back I laid out my plans for chasing Delta status.  After Delta rolled over Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) for everyone from 2020 into 2021 I had decided to get on the Delta status train.  I had a decent chunk carried over, some Delta flights already booked and grabbed a Delta Reserve with a healthy MQM bonus.  My plan had been to earn Silver status with a huge MQM rollover.  Delta allows elites to roll over any MQMs they earn above their status tier. I currently have enough MQMs to earn Gold status but I do not have enough Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) to unlock Gold status.  That means I would carry over around 35,000 MQMs into 2021, enough for Silver status from day one and most of the way to Gold. It seemed like a great plan until Delta made some changes.

What Changed On My Delta Status Quest?

A month or so ago Delta said they would be rolling everything over from 2021 into 2022. This even includes what people earned in 2020 since that rolled over into 2021 already.  While this is a super generous policy I am not a fan of it. I understood in 2020 why they did it, many people lost out on status they earned in 2019 because of the pandemic.  While the pandemic is still ongoing in 2021, travel levels have returned to near regular levels. This offer is negatively impacting anyone who actually had butt in seats, or spent on the Delta cards, in 2021.

Even if I don’t like the changes I plan to take advantage of it now. This offer effectively changed my mind on spending towards the MQDs spending waiver on my Delta Reserve card.  If you spend $25,000 a year on your card you get a MQD waiver on up to Platinum status, which normally requires $9,000 in spend on Delta flights.

On top of the MQD waiver, if you spend $30,000 on your Delta Reserve or Delta Reserve Business card you also get a MQM boost. You normally earn 15,000 MQMs for this spend but it is increased to 18,750 this year. That is exactly what I decided to do.

Chasing Delta Status - gumballs

My Delta Status Plan Now

I have already earned Silver status for the year but am sitting on 61,000 MQMs. The plan had been to roll everything over above the 25,000 level needed for Silver status. But, since it is all rolling over anyway I might as well shoot for the moon.

I have one more flight for sure this year on Delta.  That should net me another couple of thousand MQMs.  I am currently at $5,105 MQDs for the year, remember that award tickets counted this year too. I would probably fall just short of spending enough for Gold status and would be over $3,000 away from Platinum. By spending on my Delta Reserve card I can help both figures.

I started putting all of my spend on my Reserve card after the announcement and am getting close to the $25K MQD waiver.  Once I reach the $25K that will bump me up to Gold status since I already have over the required 50,000 MQMs.  If I spend an additional $5,000 on the card, getting to $30,000 for the year, I will also earn 18,750 MQMs. Those bonus MQMs will put me above the 75,000 required for Platinum status.

The cost involved will be $25,000 in spend, since I already had $5,000 done for the welcome offer earlier in the year.  If I had put that on a 2% card instead I would earn $500 in cash back / rewards. Will I get more than $500 in value by having Platinum status in 2022? I think that it is likely I will.  As a lowly Silver I did get upgraded to Comfort+ on one of my flights this past weekend, so there is a little bit of value already.

card art

Chasing Delta Status – Final Thoughts

While I am not a fan of Delta’s roll over policy this year, as someone that put in the effort to earn status, I am going to take advantage of it while I can. With this unique opportunity I am changing up my Delta status plan at the last minute. By doing this I should end up with Platinum status when it is all said and done instead of just Silver as I had planned earlier in the year.  Will it be worth the effort? Only time will tell but I look forward to finding out next year.

Bonus – Preplanning Delta Status For 2022

Since I will have enough MQM to earn Platinum again next year, because of the rollover, I will probably do the $30,000 in spend again.  I’ll also try to build up my MQM stash to roll over any surplus MQMs into 2023 since everything over 75,000 will roll over. That means everything I earn in 2022 will roll over into 2023 plus the 5,000 MQM cushion I already have built in. To make it even easier I could hold off signing up for the Delta Reserve Business card until 2023 when it has a good MQM boost.

With these roll overs Delta has implemented chasing Delta status in 2021 will play a large roll in 2022 and 2023 as well. That adds a lot of value into this proposition even though I have no idea how to quantify it.

Has Delta rolling over MQMs changed your plans at all? Let me know below.

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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15 COMMENTS

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15 COMMENTS

  1. When Delta announced the 1st MQM Roll over in 2020, I did the same thing last year. Had Gold most of the year and then Platinum around Oct 2020.
    The 4 upgrade certs are an added perk too
    I didnt think I was gonna get a lot of Upgrades flying out of Seattle, but 100% Comfort+ success and at least 40-50% in 1st (similar travel time and departure, I check how many empty seats for a higher success rate)

    Nothing better than upgrade to Comfort+ or better to Vegas, Free adult beverages!!!

  2. Although not in the corporate world anymore, I also am playing the same game. Silver to Diamond here I am! I’m pushing all spend to the Reserve card as well as my Amx Delta Skymiles card and will collect a whopping 80k extra MQMs this fall due to a home remodel! I’ve already been upgraded this summer on regional and international flights and plan more international flights for 2022, so I’m pretty excited about the perks! Now if only I could get my Global TSA pre-check done!

  3. 800,000 mqms and counting… (with 45k MQDs and 96k card spend so far in 2021). The 2022 accelerator is pretty ridiculous for someone who flies a lot, and to europe 5x this year

  4. I’m another one of those folks who was silver in 2019 and who is now looking at several years of platinum due to infinite MQM rollover. Don’t forget to account for the Platinum Choice Benefit in your calculations, which has a floor value of $200 (the 20K redeemable mile option) and possibly significantly more than that if you play the regional upgrade certificate game.

  5. Gold will mean very little next year(as will Platinum) given that status is virtually free when you start combining ’20 and ’21 for anyone who had any sort of balance at all. Sure, bags will be free but forget about upgrades unless you’re Diamond.
    Even as a Plat with the Reserve card I was 27th out of 65 for MSP-SLC(yes I know both hubs) last week on a Tuesday.

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