This week I have started to turn my attention back to the mileage run blog and I have to tell you there have been some block buster HUB deals I have pieced together this month. I am going to do my best over the last few months of 2016 to find as many as I can from all over and that includes the major Delta hubs.
The real importance of looking at this NOW rather than later is we have seen now for years and years and years in December Delta selling you MQMs at, not just prices that keep growing faster than an “EpiPen” per year, but even charging different people different prices for the same number of MQMs. Talk about shameful – how would you like your local store to charge you a different price depending on who you are! So we want to avoid getting duped this way by the mothership and the way to do that is check your numbers before it is desperation time.
The first real question to ask, is it worth it to YOU to even go for status anymore? When it comes to hotels I have made the choice to give up chasing status. Well, that is not completely true since I still have status that I am “gifted” each year from a number of travel cards like Platinum status from my Chase BANK IHG rewards Mastercard and thanks to my non-Delta AMEX Platinum card I will get SPG Gold status as well as Hilton Gold. I have Silver status (all but worthless) with my Marriott card for now and Club Carlson Gold with my card. But the main point is I am not driving my spending for hotel stays to retain or gain status. I can make due with “free” status perks. So with Delta, you need to decide if all the program cuts and destruction over the past many years make it no longer a goal for you to drive all your spending to Delta.
Now that we have that out of the way, for you who ARE looking to reach some goal of Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond it is time for choices. What choices? The first one is super simple:
Either the personal or business Delta AMEX Reserve card, if you have NEVER ever in your lifetime held them, as I have shown, are to me the best choice and can not just give you sweet perks but also a one time 10,000 MQMs bonus. Since you also get 10,000 SkyMiles worth at least 1 cent each when buying a ticket (so $100) the net cost out of pocket for the first year of the card is only $350. If you compare that to a mileage run cost you are talking 3.5 CPM or cents per mile to “buy” the MQMs for the cost of the 1st year annual fee. That, to me, is a flat out bargain since you don’t have to get on an airplane to fly to get them.
Since we are talking about buying a ticket with SkyMiles or especially the “Pay with Miles” (PWM) perk of any of the Delta AMEX cards, some should consider this as an option to gain more elite points. To make it simple, you do earn FULL elite points or MQMs when you PWM, but you only earn SkyMiles based on any part of the ticket paid not with points. While personally I tend to avoid this because you are only getting 1 cent per SkyMile value it can work for some in a pinch. I like to see my redemptions at 1.5-2 cents each in value (or more) spending them on Delta One or partner business class awards.
After that you are down to two choices. The first, once you have either the Delta Platinum card or the Delta Reserve card, is meeting the yearly spending goals and have them posted before 31DEC to get MQMs from spend. You still have lots of time to get that done but do not get lazy. Do this NOW rather than later and stressing out.
The next choice is clearly the most obvious one and that is FLY! I am sure you have lots of flying before the end of the year but look at the numbers and check them twice because being a few hundred (or a few thousand) MQMs short at the end of the year is maddening. Better NOW to consider a cheap mileage run if you are just shy or on the boarder as those extra MQMs will rollover (for now) into next year as long as you are MQD exempt or have at least met the $3,000 in spend for the lowest status.
So there you are. Time for you to decide. Is it worth it anymore? Where will you “land” next year? Maybe pushing for Diamond is now really worth it when your wife / +1 can get “Diamond Lite” status when traveling with you on the same itinerary (starting sometime next month, we are told). To me, for now, keeping my Diamond status is well worth the effort. In the years to come I will, like we are doing today, evaluate if at that point I can say the same! – René
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