UPDATE: There have not been any negative changes. For details, see: No, Delta didn’t add limits to earning status through spend (myth busted)
Update: The above offers are expired and/or not currently available through Frequent Miler.
Amex has recently sent out a cardmember agreement amendment to Delta Platinum (Update: This offer has temporarily expired.) and Delta Reserve cardholders. A few readers reached out to me for fear that the changes meant that they would no longer be able to spend their way to high level elite status. That would be sad if true! My wife and I have been spending our way to Diamond status thanks to the ability to earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) through spend with these Delta cards. I much prefer mileage running from home than actually flying butt-in-seat to earn top tier status.
Anyway, my initial reading of the new language was that it was simply clarifying restrictions that were already in place. However, Rene’s Points reads it differently. Let me explain…
There are four distinctly different Delta credit cards that let you earn MQMs through spend:
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles Consumer Card: Earn up to 20,000 MQMs after $50,000 spend via two 10K MQM Miles Boosts.
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card: Earn up to 20,000 MQMs after $50,000 spend via two 10K MQM Miles Boosts. (Update: Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.)
- Delta Reserve Consumer Card: Earn up to 30,000 MQMs after $60,000 spend via two 15K MQM Miles Boosts. (Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.)
- Delta Reserve Business Card: Earn up to 30,000 MQMs after $60,000 spend via two 15K MQM Miles Boosts.
- Update: The above offers are expired and/or not currently available through Frequent Miler. (Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.)
Presented above are the annual limits that have already been in place. I found out the hard way last year that having two of the same card (the Delta Platinum Business Card in this case) did not mean that I could earn more than the maximum 20,000 MQMs in one year from that exact card.
So, the way things have been is that a single person could earn up to 100,000 MQMs in a calendar year through spend (you can also earn additional MQMs by having others gift them to you from the Delta Reserve cards, but that’s another discussion).
The amendment that was sent out said, in part:
Some Miles Boost award restrictions
You can only get two Miles Boost awards for each Card account. In addition, if you have more than one Platinum Card Account linked to the same SkyMiles account, you are eligible for only two Miles Boost awards each year.
The above language was for Platinum cards, but Reserve cardholders received almost the same language (change “Platinum” to “Reserve”).
What does it mean?
I didn’t think it meant anything new. To me, the language simply reiterated what I already knew: if I had two of the exact same card, such as two Platinum business cards, I could only earn 20K MQMs via two 10K MQM Miles Boosts. That was true before. If my understanding of the wording is correct, the per person limit is still 100,000 MQMs per calendar year.
A couple of readers assumed that the new language meant that if you have a business and personal Platinum card, you can only get a total of 20K MQMs. I think that’s a logical reading of the new wording, but I’m hoping it’s wrong. If it is true, then each individual is limited to 50,000 MQMs total — 20,000 from your Platinum card and 30,000 from your Reserve card.
Rene’s Points asserts a third meaning: he believes that you are now restricted to two Miles Boosts for your consumer cards, and two Miles Boosts for your business cards. If that was true, then the best you could do is have both a personal and business Reserve card and earn up to 60,000 MQMs total.
Trying to get an answer
To get clarity, I tried calling Amex and online chatting with them, but I didn’t get anywhere. I have to give credit to one phone rep, though, who admitted that she and her supervisor didn’t know the answer. She promised to investigate and get back to me within 24 hours.
Regardless of what she finds, I’m not sure that I can ultimately trust what anyone says is the answer. This is a complicated situation that probably only affects a small number of high spenders. The only people who truly know how this will work, I think, are those who coded it.
The best way to find out is to experiment. My wife and I have a couple of cards that have recently met the next bonus threshold. If we earn MQMs when those statements close, I think it would prove my no-changes theory based on the Miles Boosts my wife and I have already earned.
Unfortunately, until we have concrete proof, this will remain an open question. What do the new terms mean? Is it the end of my Diamond days? (hint: no, there is a work-around).
To be continued…