October 2, 2017
Complete Guide to Delta Elite Status Qualification

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Airline elite status unlocks a lot of perks for frequent travelers, like priority boarding, no bag fees, VIP phone lines, First Class upgrades and more! Here’s all the benefits available for United and Delta elite members. The rules for earning airline status can be confusing as they’re riddled with important details while offering several shortcuts. I want to try and simplify the process for you here. Delta offers four tiers of Medallion Status-Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.



As you can see, every tier requires increasing amounts of MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) or MQSs (Medallion Qualifying Segments) and increasing amounts of MQDs (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) or a MQD Waiver.


Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) are generally earned through flying Delta and select Delta partners. The number of miles earned is based on the distance flown and fare class. Note that MQMs are entirely different from SkyMiles (the redeemable frequent flyer miles Delta awards for flying).



Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQS) refer to the number of individual flights taken. For example, a Delta flight from New York to Paris, with a connecting Air France flight from Paris to Yerevan would earn two MQS because you took two flights (operated by Delta and one of its partners).


Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD) is a spending requirement to achieve the varying levels of elite status. When booking Delta or partner flights through Delta, you earn MQDs equivalent to the fare minus taxes and fees. If you purchase your ticket through a partner airline instead of directly with Delta, (for example, you book an Air France flight through AirFrance.com) you’ll earn MQDs based on a percentage of miles flown and class bonus. You can select each Delta partner individually to see how many MQD’s you’d earn by booking through them instead of Delta.



Medallion Qualifying Dollar Waiver: Delta has four co-branded credit cards with American Express. If you make at least $25,000 in eligible purchases on the Gold, Platinum, or Reserve credit cards in a calendar year, Delta will waive the MQD requirement for Silver, Gold, and Platinum status. If you make at least $250,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year, Delta will waive the MQD requirement for Diamond status.


Earning MQMs is much easier than earning MQDs if you can book cheap long-distance economy class flights. If you spend enough on an eligible credit card, it’ll by much easier to qualify for Medallion Status. For example, without a waiver, you’d need to earn 75,000 MQMs (or 100 MQSs) in a year and spend $9,000 to earn Platinum status. If you can waive the MQD requirement, you only need to hit 75,000 MQMs (or 100 MQSs). There’s two ‘shortcuts’ to earning MQM’s worth knowing about:


  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card: Cardholders who make $25,000+ eligible purchases in a calendar year will earn 10,000 MQMs. Cardholders who make $50,000+ eligible purchases in a calendar year earn an additional 10,000 MQM.
  • Delta Reserve Credit Card: Cardholders who make $30,000+ in eligible purchases in a calendar year will earn 15,000 MQMs. Cardholders who make $60,000+ eligible purchases in a calendar year earn an additional 15,000 MQMs.

Hopefully the qualification terms in the above chart makes sense now that we’ve gone over all the terms in detail. Please comment down below if you have any questions!


Images Courtesy of Delta

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