As the year wraps up, some of us must face the #FirstWorldProblem of plotting courses for our airline elite status plans and any associated credit card spending.
Mrs. Carley and I made our decisions — and feel pretty good about them. So, here’s our plan. (And we’d love to hear yours, too. Please share in the below Comments section.)
Dropping Down Delta Status Levels
We’re both Platinum Medallions. I was Diamond before our daughter was born. My wife enjoyed “Diamond-lite” status when traveling with me. But now that we’re three travelers, things are a bit different.
I could’ve hit Diamond again a few years ago but instead gifted her the Status Boost MQM from my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Cards. Plus, we like holding the same status levels. This makes family travel easier for us.
We’ll finish the year with more than enough MQM to both be Diamond. But neither our MQD nor our Delta Amex Spending Waiver totals will bring us anywhere near the required amounts ($25,000 and $250,000, respectively).
I’m close to re-qualifying as a Platinum simply through MQD earned flying Delta. But I’ll likely begin 2023 as a Gold Medallion(!) — and roll over enough MQM for at least Platinum status.
Mrs. Carley is a whole’ nother story.
MQD-wise, she’s halfway to Silver. We have one trip planned next month that’ll bring her $600 closer. She might take an MQD status run. Or we may use points and vouchers to pay for another trip or two to push her over the hump.
Do you mean you didn’t hit the Delta Amex MQD Waiver this year? Some people may ask me.
Nope. Not even close.
We put most of our spending on transferrable/flexible points credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, and American Express® Gold Card.
However, we also added new credit cards to our arsenal and were busy meeting minimum spending requirements. (More on that in a minute.)
Why We Stopped Spending on Our Delta Reserve Cards — for 2022
If we worked hard and got creative, we could probably still meet the Delta Amex MQD Waiver before the end of 2022.
But then we’d lose a bunch of MQM that otherwise would roll over to start 2023. We want to begin the year with an MQM stockpile.
So, that’s why we stopped spending on our Reserve Cards.
When January 1, 2023, hits, we’ll each spend $25,000 on our Reserve cards (actually, $30,000 so we can earn the Status Boost MQM) ASAP. Then, we’ll be (at least) Platinum for the rest of 2023, all of 2024, and through January 2025. (For those interested: she carries the personal/consumer Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card; I hold the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card for my corporation.)
A couple of my clients blessed me with a bustling first quarter of 2023. Nearly all of that work is in Los Angeles (where I live), so I won’t have much time to travel. (I painfully declined several MQD run invitations from friends.)
By the time I wrap up those projects, we’ll likely be close-ish to the $25,000 MQD Waivers. (And I’ll be in desperate need of a vacation or four.)
Our Credit Card Plan for the Rest of 2022
One reason I didn’t go nuts on my Delta Business Reserve Amex is I was busy meeting spending requirements on new credit cards.
The latest to find homes in my wallet were the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card and Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Card. I’m due again to apply for a new card in late December. I’m not sure if I will or not.
As much as we like Delta, their redemptions for international business class trips are (for the most part) awful.
So, we’re branching out.
We love Delta domestically — but until their premium cabin redemption rates drop to something more affordable, we’re loading up on transferrable points on other cards.
Our 2023 Credit Card Plan
Our priority is to hit the $25,000 MQD Waiver on our respective Reserve cards. Then we’ll reevaluate our budgets, schedules, and goals. We might go nuts and pursue Diamond. Or, we’ll shift our spending to other cards.
The rewards credit card world constantly changes, so who knows what’ll be in store when that time comes?
My wife and I decided to reach enough Delta MQD to start 2023 at lower Medallion levels than we have now. We’ll roll over a bunch of MQM — and have a great head start on status for the next two years.
So, we put our Delta Reserve Amexes away for the rest of the year. We’re instead focusing on new credit cards and using others with transferrable or flexible points.
What are your plans going forward? Please tell us in the Comments section!
To see rates and fees for the American Express® Gold Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
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