Alternative Methods to Earning MQMs with Delta

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MQMs (Delta lingo meaning Medallion Qualification Miles) are used to determine the number of miles you have earned towards status for the given year. Typically, you earn MQMs by actually flying on a paid fare, however, there are currently a few additional ways to earn those MQMs and reach your desired status.

To earn status you must earn the following number of Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) in a given calendar year (January 1-December 31).

  • Silver: 25,000 MQMs or 30 segments
  • Gold: 50,000 MQMs or 60 segments
  • Platinum: 75,000 MQMs or 100 segments
  • Diamond: 125,000 MQMs or 140 segments

Also keep in mind that MQMs rollover each year. This is a huge perk of the program where any MQMs earned above your Medallion qualification level on January 1 will rollover to the following year. For example, if you earned 120,000 MQMs in one year. This will earn you Platinum status (75,000 MQMs needed), and you will then have 45,000 MQMs rollover towards status for the following year (almost close to ensuring you earn Gold status for the following year – 50,000 MQMs). There is definitely a strategy that can be played here. Let’s say you flew more than the norm this year and are on the cusp of reaching Platinum status (75,000 MQMs), but next year will not fly enough to probably even earn Gold (50,000 MQMs). You can decide to fly another airline at the end of the year, earn Gold status, and then rollover a decent number of MQMs to ensure you hit Gold again the following year. This is definitely something to think of depending on how you value each status. Some perks are more beneficial to some than others. Click here to see the list of benefits at each status level.

Currently there are two additional ways to earn MQMs that do not require you to actually fly on a Delta or Delta code-share flight:

  • EXPIRED: Transferring 100,000+ American Express points to Delta [for first time transfers only] —  Transfers of 100,000 points or more will give you 25,000 MQMs towards status. Additionally, all transfers will receive a 50% bonus. For example, if you transfer exactly 100,000 points and this is your first time transferring American Express points to Delta, you will net 150,000 Delta miles and 25,000 MQMs towards status. This will automatically give you silver status or help you obtain a higher level. You must register first prior to transferring any points over. This promotion ends September 30, 2011.
  • Delta SkyMiles Credit Card — There are two Delta credit cards that offer MQMs:
    • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card: Other benefits of the credit card include:
      • Check your first bag for free on every Delta flight
      • Receive Zone 2 priority boarding on Delta flights
      • Receive 20% In-Flight Savings on food and entertainment
      • Complimentary companion coach ticket each year upon renewal
    • Delta Reserve Credit Card: Other benefits of the credit card include:
      • Enjoy Delta Sky Club access
      • Check your first bag for free on every Delta flight
      • Complimentary First-Class companion certificate each year upon renewal
      • Access to Concierge services
      • Receive 20% In-Flight Savings on food and entertainment

Personally, I think the American Express transfer option is a MUCH better value as you get the 50% bonus and automatic silver status. While these Delta credit cards give you the MQMs they come with a hefty annual fee. They also have some great benefits, but many are already granted with Delta status. Both these cards do come with a yearly companion certificate which sometimes make up for the annual fee (if not more). Keep in mind though, typically with companion tickets, there are certain restrictions (i.e, minimum ticket cost, fare codes, etc.). However, if you fly Delta often and do not have status (nor will earn status), the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is a much better value. While this card will not earn you any MQMs, it includes the exact same perks as the platinum card minus the companion ticket.


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  1. Good post. You need some changes reg AMEX Reserve card. You get 10k mqm to start. Then if you charge $30,000 you get 15k mqm. Charge $60,000 anther 15k mqm. You can have both a personal and biz card. You can also send mqm to a friend. So, if you and wife both get personal and biz cards, and send them all to one person, you could get 130,000 mqm before your first flight or diamond status. (yes you would have to spend $240,00 in a year on the 4 cards but still you could do it)! Maybe cheaper to get a Delta Private Jet card that give you FREE diamond status:

  2. I agree with Jason, I personally have the Reserve card, but Platinum Card is the best bet.. Amex Gold cost you $99 yr. plus you get a $99.00 companion ticket / Platinum Card cost $150 yr, plus a free companion ticket. So if you have the Platimun Card and use the Free Companion ticket you are already saving $50 per year.

  3. I traded 100,000 Amex points last year for 25,000 MQMs plus some regular Delta miles. Anyone know of anything like this going again this year?

    • @Stephen – We haven’t seen a Delta promo in awhile when transferring points from Amex so my assumption is we’ll see something relatively soon. However, there really is no telling!

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