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Welcome to a weekly feature on the Delta Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
One of DeltaPoints most viewed posts month after month is the Rookie post about just what Delta Medallion levels are. Just what are all the ways you can EARN these points and just what are they? Let’s break it down rookie style.
MQM stands for Medallion Qualifying Miles. Other airlines call them EQM or Elite Qualifying miles but like all things Delta ‘we’ like to be different. The last word is what creates the most problems. Most “normal” people think of mile or point as something you spend and or use. This is NOT, again NOT the case with MQMs. An MQM only counts toward your elite status with Delta airlines.
OK what are Delta’s the elite levels? First read that popular post about the levels. If you are back we can keep going now.
So since you cannot spend these miles or points, how do you earn them? First flying. If flying Delta, and purchased the ticket at Delta.com, each and every awarded mile, no matter what the fare class (i.e. paid not a free ticket), will always earn at least 1 MQM.
The BIG exception is what are called consolidator or discount fares. These type of discount fares are not bookable on Delta.com for you and me. How could you end up with one of these low MQM yield fares? It can happen if you book via a travel agent or if your company books bulk tickets or negotiated fares with Delta or some travel sites as well as package deals that are say a cruise and air together. This is murky water so be careful. This does not automatically mean all tickets booked through portals will not earn FULL CREDIT, but things can change so be careful.
Next earning more for a ticket. Delta does award more if you are paying more and flying what is called “full coach” or Y class or higher earn 50% more (note B class also earns more). Once you get into F or J class you can get 100% bonus or 200% of the miles flown. Thus a 1000 mile trip in F class would earn you 2000 MQMs.
The tricky part comes in when it comes to Skyteam partners. In the past, as long as it was Skyteam, you could trust you would get at least full credit. Now, you have to be very careful as the rules do change often. For now, the only way to be completely sure is to be on what is called a code share flight, that is one that has a Delta number or DL attached to the flight. This does not mean others will not earn you full credit and even bonus credit, but you have to check what the current rules are at Delta and when you booked the ticket as well.
For me, in addition to flying for business or personal trips, each year I fly some (ok a bunch) of what are called mileage runs. Delta Points blog even maintains a page only for mileage run deals just for the purpose of building your MQM totals for this year or with rollover for next as well. For some of your time and reasonable prices you can rack up 5,000 or 10,000+ MQMs in a few days of flying!
So this is all about flying. Most understand you can earn qualifying miles with BIS or ‘your’ butt in seat that is flying in an aircraft. What are the other ways to earn these miles?
One of the simplest ways is via AMEX credit cards, both personal and business. The biggest of these is the Delta AMEX Reserve card. It has many perks, but we are focusing only on MQMs today. With this card, you get 10,000 MQMs with your first purchase. Once you spend $30,000 each year by 31DEC you receive 15,000 more bonus MQMs. Spend $60, 000 by 31DEC and you pick up 15,000 more. You can do this with both a personal and business each year. The date you get the card does not matter, it is 31DEC spend and post date on your statement that matters. There is one more perk with this card, you can pick who will get these MQMs – you or anyone you want. You can maybe see the perk here. Your wife could also get one or both of these cards and with spend send you these bonus MQMs (but NOT the initial 10,000 bonus MQMs)!
Are there others ways? Yes. For the past few years Delta sold MQMs for a rather hefty price. Two years ago you had until 31DEC to buy them. This last year you had until 31JAN to get this done. Just know this is a very expensive way of getting the qualifying points.
What else? For many years purchasing a Skyclub membership at year end has awarded you some MQMs and I would bet this trend will continue for a while to come.
Another lucrative way came for several years by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points earned from any Membership Rewards credit cards, when sent over in a large block of 100,000 points at a time, gave you 50,000 or 25,000 MQMs as a bonus of the transfer from AMEX to Delta. There was no such bonus this year, but many hope they will return soon.
Is that it? No but these others are hit and miss. There have been charity donations that have awarded MQMs. Also some targeted offers but these are rare so don’t bank on them but do take advantage of them if the deal is right for you.
These are all the ways I know of that you can earn MQMs. Please also be aware, no matter how you earn your MQMs, all of them will count toward your grand total of lifetime MQMs toward million miler status even those you buy year end!
There are other questions that will come up from this in regards to today’s post about gifting status or other ways to get status but that is not what this is about. This is about all the ways for you to boost your MQM balance any year with Delta. – René
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