Delta Air Lines is eliminating Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM) and Medallion Qualification Segments (MQS) as elite status qualifying metrics. December 31, 2023, officially marks the final day we can earn MQM and MQS. (Are you taking a Delta flight that day solely to earn MQM one last time? I’m thinking about it!)
In the past, Delta ran a promotion called “Elevate Your Status.” SkyMiles members could purchase MQM, MQS, and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) to help them reach the next tier of Medallion status. (They did not offer Elevate Your Status in 2020, 2021, or 2022. Remember that Delta rolled over everyone’s MQM to 2021 and 2022.)
The prices were usually insane.
Consider this 2019 offer. It ranged from 1,000 MQM + 3 MQS + $2,399 MQD for $2,399 to 12,500 MQM + 18 MQS + $3,399 MQD for $3,399.
The previous year, the most expensive offer René received was $1,599.
The promotions usually went live the first week in December — although 2019’s dropped the first week of November. Delta hasn’t yet announced if they’ll offer “Boost Your Status” this year.
Even though the MQM and MQS metrics are sunsetting, part of me wonders if Delta will have one final MQM “sale.”
Why Would Delta Sell MQM — if MQM Are Going Away?
MQM are not something tangible. It’s not like they sit in Delta warehouses and the airline must sell them to make room for other stuff. (Ed, I ordered some ham sandwiches to arrive in January — can you finally clear out all that space where you store the MQM? Best, Glen.) There doesn’t need to be an “Everything Must Go!” clearance sale.
But here are four reasons I think Delta might sell MQM one final time.
Some People Still Need Status for 2024
There still are flyers chasing elite status tiers for the 2024 SkyMiles year. They must lock up the required MQM (or MQS) and MQD (or soon-to-be-dead Delta Amex Waiver) no later than December 31, 2023. We’re posting MQM runs whenever we find something that we think is worth it for this time of year. You can generally find much better deals taking those trips than for what Delta’s sold MQM for in the past. That said, not everyone can travel during the end of the year — or at least as they may want. Their only might be to buy MQM, MQS, or MQD.
Rollover MQM Convert to Status Extensions, MQD, and Redeemable SkyMiles Next Year
MQM will roll over to 2024 for Medallion members qualifying for elite status.
There are three options for us to redeem them — and we don’t have to choose just one. We can mix and match.
- Extend our 2024 Medallion status for 100,000 rollover MQM per year — with no limit on how long you can extend it (MQM balance permitting, of course)
- Convert them to MQD at a 10:1 ratio (i.e., 10,000 MQM = $1,000 MQD)
- Convert them to redeemable SkyMiles at a 2:1 ratio (i.e., 10,000 MQM = 5,000 SkyMiles)
Depending on how expensive MQM would be, it might make sense for some people to top off their balances. But the only scenario in which I see that working is a Diamond or maybe Platinum who’s just shy of a 100,000 MQM threshold and wants to extend their status. If you spend $3,400 just so you can convert 12,500 MQM to $1,250 MQD next year, then I think you have other problems worth addressing first.
Pursuing the Soon-to-Be-Quite-Valuable Million Miler Program (or Advancing a Tier)
Delta Million Miler status and its various tiers currently is reached through accruing MQM — no matter how you earn them. Flying, of course, is one method — but remember that premium tickets come with bonus MQM earnings (i.e., many First Class tickets earn 150% MQM). Four Delta American Express cards allow you to earn MQM simply by spending prescribed amounts.
But starting January 1, 2024, actual mileage flown will be the only metric counting toward Million Miler status. In other words, people with zero Delta MQM accrued during their lives will actually have to fly one million miles.
However, the lifetime Delta Medallion status for Million Milers gets much better next year, too. For example, Delta’s 3 Million Milers will enjoy Diamond status each year. Again, this is a subjective situation but it might be worth some people plunking down some cash and getting the lifetime status sooner than later — especially if they’re thinking of trying out other airlines.
Because Delta Can
I know people who take advantage of the Boost Your Status promotion. Delta is more than happy to take their money.
I can’t imagine it costs Delta much money to implement and run the Boost Your Status promotion. It’s found money for them. One person would have to drink a lot of booze and eat a stupid amount of snacks during free upgrades to Comfort+ and First Class for Delta to lose money from someone getting a status bump this way.
We don’t yet know if Delta will resurrect the Boost Your Status promotion before MQM and MQS are put out to pasture. But there are a few reasons I can see them announcing the promotion one last time.
What do you think?
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