Delta Reserve and Delta Platinum MQMs Guide [2020]

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Delta Airlines is unique when it comes to credit cards.

This is because they allow you to earn full-blown elite status via credit card spend while most other airlines only provide partial “bumps” to help you improve your elite status.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about earning MQMs with the Delta Reserve and Delta Platinum. I will also talk about the MQD waivers that can help you fast track your way to elite status.

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What are Delta MQMs?

Delta MQMs stands for “Medallion Qualification Miles.”

These are not miles that you use to redeem for award flights but instead these are miles required for earning elite status with Delta.

Here are the requirements for all tiers of status for Delta:

Medallion TierMQMs or MQSs requirementMQDs requirement (only for US residents)
Silver25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs$3,000 MQDs
Gold50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs$6,000 MQDs
Platinum75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs$9,000 MQDs
Diamond125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs$15,000 MQDs
Delta Medallion qualification requirements

As you can see, the bottom level of elite status known as silver status requires 25,000 MQM’s while the top level requires 125,000 MQMs.

Keep in mind that you also have to spend a certain amount of money which is known as the MQD requirement which stands for “Medallion Qualification Dollars.”

You can actually have this requirement waived by spending a certain amount on your Delta credit cards and I will talk more about that below.

Delta Airlines A330-323 N821NW at JFK July 25, 2019

Earning Delta MQMs

With the Delta SkyMiles Platinum, you can earn 10,000 MQMs after $25,000 in eligible purchases, up to 2x per calendar year.

This means that if you spend $50,000 in a year you can earn a total of 20,000 MQMs.

With the Delta SkyMiles Reserve, you can earn 15,000 MQMs after $30,000 in eligible purchases, up to 4X per calendar year. 

This means that if you spend $120,000 in a year you can earn a total of 60,000 MQMs.

In addition to these cards, you can also earn more MQMs with the business versions.

With the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business, you can earn 10,000 MQMs after $25,000 in eligible purchases, up to 2x per calendar year.

With the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business, you can earn 15,000 MQMs after $30,000 in eligible purchases, up to 4X per calendar year. 

So if you spent a total of $240,000 in a year between the four of these cards, in accordance with the MQM spend requirements, you could potentially net 120,000 MQMs.

That would put you only 5,000 MQM’s short of hitting the requirement for diamond status!

Since the welcome bonuses for these cards usually have an offer of something like 5,000 to 10,000 MQM’s, you would be able to more than hit the income requirement for top elite status.

One thing to note is that you are only eligible to receive one annual bonus per threshold for calendar year for each type of Delta credit card.

So you can’t get two Delta Platinum cards or two Delta Reserve cards and expect to earn the MQM bonuses multiple times for each card.

Tip: Something that not a lot of people know is that you can gift MQM’s two other individuals. However, the gift recipient needs to be designated within 30 days of the MQMs being made available.

MQD spend waiver

The other important part of the equation is the requirement for spend.

In order to earn elite status with delta you will have to meet certain spend requirements which are shown below.

Medallion TierMQMs or MQSs requirementMQDs requirement (only for US residents)
Silver25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs$3,000 MQDs
Gold50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs$6,000 MQDs
Platinum75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs$9,000 MQDs
Diamond125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs$15,000 MQDs
Delta Medallion qualification requirements

Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) are calculated based on the money you spend on Delta-marketed flights.

These are flight numbers that include the “DL” airline code.

Government-imposed taxes and fees are not included in MQDs, so if your flight costs $358 (including $51 in government-imposed taxes/fees), you would earn 307 MQDs.

You can also earn MQDs on partner flights. For these, MQDs are calculated as one-fifth of the “redeemable miles” you earn for the ticket.

For example, if you earn 1,500 “redeemable” miles on an exception fare, you would also earn 300 MQDs on that fare.

The great thing about these Delta credit cards is that you actually can get that spend requirement waived by spending a certain amount of money.

For Delta Platinum, Gold, and Silver medallion status you can get the spend requirement waived if you make at least $25,000 in eligible purchases within the qualification year.

A qualification year is from January 1 to December 31 of any given year and the end of the qualification year will always be December 31 regardless of when your account was opened.

That is a pretty reasonable spend requirement and if you are gunning for the MQM perks you will likely be able to meet that quite easily.

However, if you are going for diamond status then things are much tougher.

In order to get that spend requirement waived you must make at least $250,000 in eligible purchases within a qualification year.

If you are maxing out the MQM perks for both of the personal cards and both of the business cards then you might be able to hit the spend requirement as part of that plan.

In that case, you could obtain top elite status with Delta simply by spending a lot on your credit cards.

It’s not an easy thing to accomplish but it is one way that Delta stands out from other airlines when it comes to earning elite status.

Tip: You can confirm whether you have met the eligible purchase threshold for the MQD waiver by logging into your SkyMiles account on delta.com or in the Fly Delta app.

When it comes to the spend waiver, eligible purchases made by your authorized users will count towards the purchase threshold.

Your spend on different Delta credit cards will count towards the spend waiver.

The eligible cards for the spend waiver include:

  • Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card.

Other cards will not be eligible for the waiver.

However, if other cards are linked to the same SkyMiles number spend on those cards will count towards the waiver spend threshold.

These cards include the following eligible cards:

  • Delta SkyMiles Blue Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Gold Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Business Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card

Final word

If you are serious about earning Delta elite status then the MQM perks on the Delta credit cards can be a fantastic way to fast track your way to elite status.

And if you are someone who does a lot of spend on your credit card but it does not do a lot of flying, these perks can also allow you to still earn elite status without even doing much flying at all.

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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