Boy, oh boy, did Chris, in a post this past week, stir up a hornets nest of comments from readers around the globe. While I had no input on his post – I agree that once you / me / we have been vaccinated (and waited two weeks past either the double-dose ones or the single shot Johnson & Johnson) the risk of travel is GREATLY reduced as long as we follow the now-standard safety protocols.
I am DAYS away from getting my first Moderna JAB. By the month of May, I should be two shots done plus two weeks clear — i.e. I can again begin to think about travel. I am not going to go “hog wild” (oh, BBQ – num) as I still want more time to go by to let more folks get their vaccinations and more time for the bug to begin to go away. That said, I do plan one trip in May just to have broken this nasty streak of well over one year since the last time I was on a jet!
With all of the above in mind – it is time to begin thinking about 2022 when I am again likely to be able to “somewhat” enjoy travel like it was back in 2019. Yes, I know it will likely take all of 2022 to get the entire planet their vaccinations done but I have hope that it will happen quickly with so much going into the effort.
But I am frustrated about what to do. See if you agree with me and or can help me make a wise, safe, reasonable and intelligent frequent flyer choice.
As a Delta Million Miler, I have
lifetime errrr “annual” complimentary Silver Medallion status. But that has zero impact on my rollover MQMs. I still need to EARN status to have any kind of rollover. I have a large chunk of MQMs and I don’t want them to go away so I have options:
1) Since I have had ALL of the Delta co-branded Amex cards i.e. have harvested the new card bonus for ALL of them I can freely upgrade and downgrade my Delta Amex cards with no risk of lost points. So my one choice is to upgrade my downgraded Delta Amex card back to a Platinum or Reserve card and spend 25k to be MQD exempt and thus roll over MQMs.
2) Fly and spend enough to be Silver or Gold and rollover the rest. If I do the above I will rollover less MQMs but enter 2022 as a Platinum. But, if I wait to upgrade my card till 2022, I can just spend money this year directly with Delta (or partners) and rollover more and enter 2022 at a much lower elite level.
I don’t really like either of the above options, really. I don’t plan to fly THAT MUCH the rest of 2021 — even though I will have been vaccinated and don’t like the idea of mileage runs until COVID has begun to wane much more than right now. I am leaning towards the card upgrade and spend to at least be Platinum. But I think 2022 is going to see a tidal wave of Platinums as many will be in the same situation as me.
So, what next?
I am considering a mega Delta partner elite mileage run in January of 2022 and thus qualifying for Diamond in about one week. I would then have “free” Diamond status for 2022 having earned my 2023 Diamond status.
But… is it WAY too soon to think about this?
First off, the obvious 500 pound gorilla in the room, is what will COVID be like by January 2022 around the world? I am making the giant-leap assumption that by then the bug will be rapidly declining and we will no longer see headlines like this one. I may even by that point have had some kind of booster shot to follow up from my current shots. Will there be some kind of simple vaccine passport making travel mostly simple vs. testing testing etc?
Next up is what Delta may do. Business travel will be dead most of the rest of this year. It may, slowly, very slowly, begin to show some signs of life in Q4 but I really think it will never ever return to the levels of 2019. Way too much can be done over Zoom for both simplicity and massive cost savings. If Delta wants to keep those who will be still jetting around they need to consider something for 2022. I am not saying another year “push” like this time, but something has to happen. In my head the best option for Delta is to push again but not offer another round of Choice Benefits like last time i.e. just push status and MQMs.
But maybe Delta will offer big bonus spend and fly deals in Q4 instead. Or, they may offer reduced re-qualifying deals in Q4. I really don’t want either of these as I would rather crush it in 2022 than limp into 2022 with Diamond locked up again.
Now, if Delta does push us again into 2022, there is no urgency to do anything and if I book any deals now they are going to be somewhat a wasted effort.
Lastly, with my current stash of MQMs, I can with card spend i.e. MQD exemption, plus bonus MQMs from card spend be Platinum all of 2022 and 2023. If I am not able to return to a life of somewhat normal flying that will likely be enough for me and I can knock out 25k each year on a Delta Amex in moments (like eating the small fee and paying and or over paying taxes as an example).
My gut, for now, is telling me to wait to see how the year progresses but the travel enthusiast in me is so optimistic about a return to normal-ish-ness that I want to get started booking and planning and traveling.
Gosh, this is hard.
Help! – René
Disclaimer: The blog’s owner holds stock in Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax, and Pfizer.
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.