People are growing desperate to hit MQD requirements to meet or keep their Delta Air Lines Medallion status levels.
Traditionally, one of the best ways has been flying trips on Delta partners — and crediting the trips to a Delta SkyMiles number. (In fact, René posted one yesterday.)
point.me (formerly known as Juicy Miles) is a company that specializes in booking award trips and mileage runs. They can book trips on all airline alliances and come up with great trips.
Miles Jackson is one of point.me‘s fantastic Mileage Run Concierge Consultants. He’s also very well-reversed and knowledgeable when it comes to Delta and the SkyTeam alliance.
Mr. Jackson and I were talking shop recently. That turned into a discussion about Delta’s changes to the SkyMiles program. And then we chatted about mileage runs.
I asked him to (re)introduce himelf to the blog’s readers, explain a little bit about what he does, and tell us why point.me is such a strong option for people wanting to book mileage runs.
And he, for one, thinks it’s Delta Diamond status will still be worth it.
A Chat with Miles Jackson!
I am one of the dedicated Mileage Run Concierge Consultants at point.me. We specialize in helping our clients earn elite status through leverage Mileage Runs; maximizing earnings at the lowest out-of-pocket expenses. Over our history, we have saved the average client perhaps 65% or more off the standard costs of elite status. This holds true even more so for those seeking the top elite status.
Let’s talk about Delta, particularly for Platinum and Diamond Medallions.
Delta Mileage Run Musings
It’s been a tough three years for the traveling public, even more so for elites. Delta has been adequate in their efforts to keep elites engaged with the SkyMiles frequent flyer program by extending status and even rolling over MQDs and all MQMs for a while.
Of course, the latest decision by Delta to increase its Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement for elite status is a gut punch to many. While Delta loyalists tried to make lemonade, Delta continues to serve up more lemons. Actually, we have known this change was coming; there had been talk of it pre-pandemic and only due to the calamity of the COVID crisis staved off their decision until now. Still, as many have expressed, it comes at a most inappropriate time as inflationary factors are impacting global economies.
I deal with a lot of top elites, across all major programs, who really are often the first to be impacted by program changes. The sentiment I hear from many Delta elites echo that Delta could not let travelers ‘catch their breath’ before dealing out this latest blow on top of the recent turmoil in the travel landscape.
One of the things I pride myself in while working for elites of all programs is the personal touch; understanding the needs and preferences of each client.
It’s really tough in today’s climate to earn huge MQD numbers in a single Mileage Run for a reasonable fare. Two and a half years ago I would have said sure, but, gosh, so much has changed since the pandemic. The landscape for travel has changed post-pandemic. SkyTeam is having an especially troubling time.
Fewer aircraft, fewer airline employees, fuel prices going higher, and a HUGE surge in travel demand post-pandemic have driven fares up dramatically.
Add to that the loss of China Eastern, Alitalia, and other SkyTeam components, and it’s very difficult (especially in the last four months of this year.) With these partners out of the picture for many clients, it’s a really tough task to find great earnings leverage for your fare dollars.
Perhaps when the Asian carriers and more destinations open back up, it will be possible. Therefore, you will have to fly more than one Mileage Run to earn a sufficient amount of MQDs to hit your target.
I always tell clients that Mileage Runs are a combination of three variables; time, cost, and comfort. There is a delicate balance between these three to maximize the experience and results for each traveler.
When crafting Mileage Runs for clients, I try to understand where each falls on these three criteria. Many clients have the money, and want to travel in comfort — but simply don’t have the time. That’s where efficiency plays a big part in their customized Mileage Run.
Other clients prioritize comfort, for various personal reasons. That’s when I give extra attention to the carrier, aircraft, cabin class, and seat selection.
Also, connections play an important role in time and comfort management. Unfortunately, airlines still have reduced schedules from the post-pandemic era. So, connection times, as a whole, have increased for many destinations.
My Q&A With Miles Jackson
Chris: Why it’s time to go for Diamond now and/or for 2024?
Miles: I think looking forward, a lot of experts agree that the latest MQD requirements set by Delta beginning next year will result in a glut of Platinums. Most of those Platinums will come from current Diamonds who “fall off” or simply don’t chase the $20,000 MQD requirement.
For those who are Diamonds, this means more upgrades on more flights. Getting to Diamond Medallion NOW means more Regional and Global Upgrade Certificates will be at your disposal for future travel. That’s going to be invaluable for a couple of reasons.
First, fares are very high in this last quarter of the year. I don’t expect that to change until the “post-pandemic” surge of travelers settles down. So, having the ability to purchase a lower fare but fly in a premium cabin just makes sense.
Secondly, there are a lot of miles and points flyers out there who have been accumulating these over the past three years. Travelers need some “ace up their sleeve” to get the best cabin — and these certificates are potentially gold if used wisely.
Chris: Why is NOW the time to book an MQD or MQM mileage run(s)?
Miles: By nature, I am a “do it now” personality. Every day, I search for great deals. I have taken many a Mileage Run not aware the day before I was even going on such a trip. But when the deal comes, I am more than willing to go. A Mileage Run today is worth two in the bush, sort of…
A Mileage Run taken today delivers redeemable SkyMiles and Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) which still rollover in Delta’s frequent flyer program. There are still some great opportunities to grab up these — plus MQDs towards next year’s elite status.
Chris: How can point.me help with positioning flights and hotel accommodations?
Miles: This is an area we have greatly expanded in the last three years.
We have a couple of certified travel agents on our team (I am one) and we partner with the country’s largest travel agency to help fill in all the pieces of long Mileage Runs.
Again, catering to the specific needs of individual clients, we can try to make connections in airports that feature lounges or in-terminal hotels, if desired. For stopovers, we can seamlessly include hotel bookings into their reservations which is a great convenience feature for the client.
Today, with the huge bulk of our clients positioned as “hub captives” we have to work continuously to identify the best non-hub strategies for leveraging their earnings. In nearly every booking from an airline’s major hub, I simply include this in my design of the perfectly individualized crafted Mileage Run for clients.
Chris: What other advantages are there to allowing point.me to craft a personalized Mileage Run?
Miles: Chris, a great question and there are so many reasons why it’s smart to let us do the heavy lifting for clients.
First of all, we can truly craft an individualized Mileage Run that checks off all the boxes for a client.
We literally can design a Mileage Run itinerary that a consumer (and even, sadly) that Eye of the Flyer can’t either find or book.
A lot of potential Mileage Run and fare deals pop up daily across the internet but often they are unbookable for the average person. Using our expertise and agency resources, we have unlimited access to every seat, every flight, and every fare structure possible within an airline’s inventory.
Secondly, with our relationships with the airlines, we are able to get a courtesy hold on a confirmed reservation. This allows the client time to review the trip’s dates and potential earnings before committing to the ticket’s purchase! That’s huge!
Thirdly, we know the rules and policies of every airline involved. We know their inter-relationship and earnings calculations with each program partner. That’s not an easy feat! As you might expect, these do change often. For example, many clients have approached us wanting to fly to Italy on a fare they found featuring a cheap Alitalia ticket. Unfortunately, SkyMiles members earn zero SkyMiles, MQM and MQDs under the new partner agreement. That changed when the previous Alitalia went bankrupt.
Clients who book a specific airline’s ticket may find they are traveling one or more legs on a codeshare partner. Will that flight credit earnings to their frequent flyer account? In many cases, they may not! We know the answers ahead of time.
Lastly, we have seen an unprecedented amount of large-scale schedule changes. Clients who book with us benefit by having our partner ticketing agency monitor all flights for flight cancellations, schedule changes, and even aircraft swaps. We often work in the background to fix all these, including having to adjust re-positioning flights.
In fact, the computer-driven schedule change mechanisms of Air France and KLM have recently cancelled any codeshare flight for passengers when there was even a one-minute change in the schedule! That creates a ton of stress for travelers.
So, all in all, point.me team offers a lot of peace of mind for clients booking Mileage Runs with us.
One big thing I would like to share with your Eye of the Flyer readers, Chris, is that while the airlines are asking for higher and higher spend requirements, this actually makes point.me‘s service a bigger bargain with each increase.
Take for example Delta’s Diamond Medallion MQD requirement of $15,000 today. That represents about $17,000 in paid tickets to Delta, if booking directly with the airline. This is because taxes and fees are deducted from the fare for MQD calculations. A lot of our clients were able to save 70% or more of that amount this year! That’s because leveraging a Mileage Run on the right SkyTeam partner, in the right fare class delivers huge earnings for a fraction of the Delta cost.
Going forward, if our historical numbers hold true, $20,000 in MQD’s to Delta (costing a passenger perhaps $23,000 in Delta tickets) might be acquired for a savings of $15,000 – $16,000 out of pocket!
There’s your number one reason why to book with point.me
It’s always interesting to get some insight from Miles. What do you think about going for Diamond? Will you take mileage runs to make it happen? Please tell us in the below Comments section!
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Point.me (John) save me ~$3500 on one MQD focused run this summer that got me a little over 5800 MQD. I only paid ~$2300 for the ticket and their charge (well worth it). For the time, cost, and comfort equation, it was ~3days total, cost ~$2300 and comfort… well at least there was airport lounge access (for two stops ~10hrs each), sleeping and lounge showers. I’ll likely be using them again in 2023 to make it over the big $20k MQD hump.
Nice overview of what Point.me can do..We will all need them next year with the $20,000.00 update to get and keep status!!!
I just completed a mileage run with point.me ! I needed 21k MQM and 3600 MQD to get to platinum from silver ! I was skeptical about the fees . But once completed, I will say every penny for the fees was worth it . It was biz class I paid 2500 for . Got around 5200 or so MQD, 21k plus MQM , and over 30k sky miles ! I am indeed waoed!! No more doubts ! Will use them again even for points trip !!
OCT 31 arrived back in Atl 11/3.
Your amazing service is just what I need, given my
Wonky mile run searching ways !
Thank you so much!!!!!
I recently used point.me to book a mileage run for me. I have not taken the trip yet, but my experience with them was wonderful. I tried to book partner trips myself but soon became frustrated. I contacted point.me and within a few hours, received a message asking for information from me. Once I provided the information, I received a notice that an itinerary had been found for me. My agent has been very helpful and has answered every question in a position and helpful manner. So far, I have been totally satisfied with point.me and will use them in the future.
PointMe is amazing and I have been using them for a couple of years now. My agent John worked out an amazing mileage run for me and even managed to get my mom out to Dubai to meet me there and all for a fraction of cost you would expect to fly business class. John called this morning because he was concerned about hurricane Nicole impacting my mothers travels. He worked some amazing magic and got my mom a direct flight out of Atlanta and the last business class seat on the flight. PointMe is the way to go. It’s hassle free and worry free and they are proactive and attentive. We got to relax while they did the work to help us. There really is no other way to fly in my book. I choose them always.