A year-end tradition is fully underway here at the blog.
We’re hearing from readers who are concerned about reaching their Delta Amex Status Boost/bonus MQM thresholds before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. Even if you didn’t qualify for status this year (or last, I guess), you might still be chasing MQM because all of them roll over to next year — regardless of Delta status level.
And here’s where problems are creeping up.
Status Boost Totals vs Actual Qualified Spending
Please, please, please do not use the Status Boost counter on your Delta Amex Platinum or Reserve’s account page on American Express’ website as the be-all, end-all when it comes to your eligible spending.
We wrote earlier this year that Amex was having problems getting the darn thing to work. It appears that the tool still might not be up to snuff. My Status Boost totals are off by over a thousand dollars. (Other readers are in the same boat.) I hit my spend thresholds a couple of months ago — and always go over by about $1000-$15000 (painful as that is) just in case something wonky happens. (I have authorized users on my cards who sometimes forget to tell me when they return things late in the year.)
I treat the Status Boost counter as a good guideline. But I don’t depend on it for my actual spending numbers.
(In fact, I logged into my Amex account the other day and it said my Delta SkyMiles balance was zero. So that bell and whistle were off by hundreds of thousands of points. So that’s why I don’t take too much stock in those counters.)
Keep in mind that annual fees, late fees, cash advance fees and charges, and interest charges do not count toward eligible spending as far as Status Boost is concerned. People have burned themselves in the past by not realizing this.
So here’s what I recommend doing now:
Log on to your Delta Amex account at American Express. Select “Statements & Activity”
Select “View by Year”
Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a sum of everything you’ve spent this year. Write down that total number. Let’s say it’s $30,300.
Then go to Category –> Fees & Adjustments
This will show you, well, the fees and adjustments you’ve paid this year. So if you have the Delta Reserve Amex and paid $550 toward the annual fee, that’ll be reflected on this page.
Get the sum of your fees and adjustments. Unless you racked up a ton of fees and interest or got Amex to knock a bunch off your account, this section should be one or two lines.
Subtract that from your Year to Date totals. In our example: $30,300 – $550 = $29,750. You’re $250 short of that $30,000 threshold. Yikes! You have to make some purchases that’ll post December 31 or sooner.
Or if you’re positive that you met the threshold and Amex is somehow wrong, give them a call ASAP.
How Can You Rack Up Spending Now?
If you find yourself short of a bonus MQM spending threshold and can afford to reach it, here are a few ideas that may save you the heartache of missing out on MQM.
- Load up your Amazon balance
- Prepay your cell phone bill
- Prepay your insurance
- Prepay utility bills
- Stock up on groceries from Instacart
- Make a donation to Kiva.org
Those are six examples that came me off the top of my head. You, of course, know your expenses, budget, and spending habits (gosh, at least I hope so). So do some quick thinking and figure out what you can right now spend.
For the next week, we’ll hear from readers who just missed their MQM spending thresholds. Some will ask for last-minute suggestions. Others will write to us in early January and ask “if there’s anything (we) can do” to help convince Delta or Amex to “do something just this once.” (Sorry, no. We’re not that powerful. 🙂 )
So take a few minutes right now to check your spending totals — and then enjoy your MQM!
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