Several Delta SkyMiles® American Express cards allow members to (at least partially) earn their way to Medallion status each year.
One tool is spending $25,000 in eligible purchases across eligible Delta Amexes. This allows you to skip Delta’s MQD requirements for various status levels (Silver: $3,000; Gold: $8,000. Platinum: $12,000.) A mere $250,000 in card spending is required if you want to earn Diamond. (But it’s probably more cost-effective to actually spend $20,000 on Delta flights or take a few partner mileage runs.)
There’s also another perk to meeting your prescribed Delta Amex spending threshold: doing so serves as a tie-breaker in the great Delta upgrade hierarchy. (It’s #5 on the list, after Delta Corporate Travelers and before Million Miler Status.)
But how can people quickly reach the $25,000 (or $250,000) MQD waiver? It’s a question we occasionally receive, so let’s tackle it.
Quick Warning: Don’t Spend What You Can’t Afford
Let me be very clear about this: elite status is not worth going into debt. Don’t charge a bunch of purchases on your credit card hoping you can make enough money to pay them off.
Only spend money you actually have. Trust me.
Which Delta Amex Cards are Eligible?
First things first: before you go wild and spend a bunch of money on your credit cards, let’s make sure you have at least one eligible Delta Amex.
Cumulative spending made on one or across the four below cards count toward the Delta Amex MQD waiver:
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
Purchases on a Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card will not count toward your MQD waiver spend if those are the only Delta Amexes you hold.
But if you have at least one of the Delta Platinum or Reserve credit cards, then your Delta Gold Amex spend will count against your MQD waiver.
In other words, if you have a Delta Gold card — and it’s your only Delta Amex — but spend $25,000 on it, your MQD waiver accrual will be $0. Ouch.
But if you get a Delta Reserve or Delta Platinum card, that $25k spend on the Gold will earn your MQD waiver.
With that, here are some of the major ways to rack up those SkyMiles — and the MQD waiver!
Use Your Delta Amex for All Purchases
Use your eligible Delta American Express card for every purchase if you’re serious about earning the $25,000 MQD waiver through Delta Amex spend alone.
That means potentially passing up better earnings on other cards. For example, the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 3X on dining purchases (including food delivery services). The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card gets you only 2X.
But if that’s OK with you, then party on!
There are exceptions, of course. For example, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express members may earn up to $10 monthly in statement credit when using their card to pay eligible U.S. wireless providers. (Enrollment required. Terms apply.) If you hold the Amex Business Platinum card, consider putting $10 of your payment on that card and the balance on your eligible Delta Amex. (This is what I do.)
Prepay Your Bills
Bills. We all got ’em.
If you have enough money to prepay some (or all) of your bills, this is potentially a great way to knock out a chunk of your $25,000 MQD Waiver. (This assumes American Express is accepted as a form of payment.)
Think of all the darn bills many of us pay:
- Cell phone/wireless service (I added some extra money to my Verizon payment the other day.)
- Public Services
- Keep in mind there are usually some Amex Offers for streaming that pop up from time to time
Consider prepaying as many of your bills as reasonably possible. I can’t remember when a company or utility said, “Nope! Do not give us more of your money! We won’t have such nonsense!”
Again: only prepay as much as you can reasonably afford. Don’t forgo eating for a week or shiver in the cold because you’re out of money — all in the name of elite status. If you can’t prepay something, don’t.
Buy Delta Gift Cards
If you know you’re going to eventually shell out money for purchasing Delta airfare, consider buying Delta e-gift cards now and saving them for later. Up to five (5) Delta gift cards can be redeemed at a time online (or more if you call Delta’s reservations phone number).
Remember that Delta gift cards:
- don’t expire
- earn MQM, MQD, and MQS
- earn redeemable SkyMiles
Some people have several insurance policies, others don’t.
Many car-boat-motorclye-RV insurance companies accept American Express. (Our medical insurance company doesn’t, unfortunately.)
If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, as your provider if they accept credit card payments. (I remember when René had a mortgage, he had the homeowner’s broken out. He used Ameriprise to pay it.)
Sadly, my life insurance company doesn’t take credit cards (ugh, my life insurance provider is killing me! 😉 ).
Bills, insurances, and now taxes?
I know, I know. But think of the legroom and free drinks you’ll enjoy when you reach elite status.
I know some people who earn plenty of points/miles and MQD waiver headway using their Delta Amex to pay their property taxes.
I pay any federal or state income taxes each year (personal and/or business) online and use a credit card when it makes sense. Most processing fees are in the 2.2-2.8%-ish range. Again, if you want to hit the $25,000 waiver ASAP, paying your taxes is one way to help do it. You’ll take a slight hit financially. It might be worth it to you. Or it might not.
Kiva is a 501(c)3 U.S. nonprofit organization facilitating microloans to entrepreneurs worldwide. For example, you can loan $25 (or more) to someone in the Dominican Republic whose food business needs to purchase more supplies to stay in business. Or loan $25 (or more) to a business in the United States that needs more cash for expenses and overhead. Or…
Kiva accepts payments/donations through PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. There are no credit card fees for these transactions. And those loans code as purchases. See? Everyone wins! (Potentially. We’ll get to that in a minute.) When a borrower pays you back through Kiva, you can withdraw the cash directly to your PayPal account.
Keep in mind these aren’t investments. Kiva loans are just that: loans. They do not accrue interest. You’re doing this because you’re a good person and can float people some money. It will take a while (months to maybe over a year) for you to be paid back.
I’ve made dozens of loans through Kiva. I feel good about it each time.
Have I ever been hosed? Yup. A couple of times. I’ve lost about $80 across the several thousand dollars I’ve loaned over a few years. (Borrowers from the United States have been the flakiest people, FWIW.) But far and away, my experiences are positive.
Greg at FrequentMiler authored a great post about his experiences and best practices for making loans through Kiva. Check it out.
Those of us who have kids in school (or if you are in school) know all about shoveling out money for expenses: supplies, activity fees, books, and all that stuff. Before tuition (when applicable). Paying your school purchases is a wonderful way to knock out some of your Delta MQD Waiver.
Oh, the days when I worked for employers who didn’t issue company credit cards — and reimbursed me for charges I made on the business’ behalf. Flights. Meals. Gasoline. Supplies.
I took a bunch of free trips thanks to those companies.
So, if you’re lucky enough to be reimbursed for job-related expenses, you have struck oil. You probably already figured that out. But if you haven’t asked, give it a shot. The worst that can happen is your boss says no.
A new year means it’s time to start figuring out to earn Delta Medallion status for 2023. If you’re going to do it through Delta Amex spending, I hope our ideas above help a little!For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this link. For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this link.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please visit this link.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please visit this link.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please visit this link.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, please visit this link.For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please visit this link. For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, please visit this link. For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, please visit this link.
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