When WON’T My Delta Medallion Qualification Miles Roll Over?

Oct 2, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Mondays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

With the changes Delta recently announced to its Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) waiver for Diamond status, a lot of readers have questions about rolling over Delta’s Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). Here’s an intriguing one from TPG reader Blake about MQMs and qualifying on segments…

I just got Silver status with Delta via segments and should end around 24,000 MQMs. Since I qualified for Silver, do the MQMs rollover or do I have to gain at least 25,000 to rollover any additional MQMs?

TPG Reader Blake

We give Delta SkyMiles a lot of grief, much of it well earned. But on the flip side, Delta is the only major airline that will rollover any extra elite miles you earn above your status tier for the year, helping you to get a head start on your elite mileage for the next year.

The rules on rollover MQMs seem complicated, but actually they can be summed up in one simple two-prong test: In order to rollover any MQMs into the next year, you have to earn at least Silver status, and you can only roll over miles above the MQM requirement for the highest elite tier you earned.

Let’s break down exactly what that means with a few examples. This first one is directly from Delta’s Medallion Benefits terms and conditions:

If a Member is gifted Gold Medallion status in 2017 and also earns 30,000 MQMs and $3,000 MQDs in 2017, they will be able to roll over 5,000 MQMs since they met the earned Silver Medallion Qualification requirements level.

In this case, the elite member earned Silver status by meeting both the MQM and MQD threshholds. Therefore, the extra MQMs above 25,000 — which is the MQM requirement for the Silver tier — will rollover.

However, to take another example from Delta:

If a Member is gifted Platinum Medallion Status in 2017 and also earns 22,000 MQMs and $7,000 MQDs in 2016, they will be ineligible for Rollover MQMs since they did not meet the qualification requirements for earned Silver Medallion Status.

The fact that this person was gifted Platinum status is irrelevant to rollover MQMs. Since they only had 22,000 MQMs and didn’t earn at least Silver status, they don’t get any rollover miles.

What if this same Delta elite who was gifted Platinum status instead earned 78,000 MQMs for the year, which is more than the tier requirement of 75,000 MQMs for Platinum? You might think in that case he or she would rollover 3,000 MQMs… but they would actually rollover 28,000 MQMs. That’s because in the example above they still only had $7,000 MQDs, which is only enough to earn Gold status, even though they were gifted Platinum. So all the MQMs over 50,000 — which is the tier requirement for Gold — would roll to the next year.

How about if you earned Platinum elite last year with $9,000 in MQDs and 110,000 MQMs? In that case, you did earn status and would get 35,000 MQMs rolled over to the next year, since that’s the excess above the Platinum tier requirement of 75,000 MQMs. But be careful, because if you want some of those miles to then roll over to the year after that, you’ll still need to earn at least Silver status with either $3,000 in MQDs or by spending $25,000 on one of the Delta Amex cards like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

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Rollover MQMs can help you get a higher elite status (and a better chance at upgrades) in future years on Delta.

We can also create an example that takes into account the new MQM waiver policy for Diamond that will be in place for 2018. Let’s say you earn 125,000 MQMs in 2018 but only $9,000 in MQDs, and you don’t get the new Diamond MQD waiver because you can’t or prefer to not spend $250,000 on your Delta Amex card. Then in this case you would actually roll over… a whopping 50,000 MQMs! Why? Because you’ll have still earned Platinum status with $9,000 MQDs, so all your MQMs above the 75,000 MQM tier requirement for Platinum will roll over to 2019. So even next year, it won’t be a total waste to earn a bunch of MQMs without getting enough MQDs or a Diamond MQD waiver.

And finally, what about Blake’s scenario in which he earned Silver status via segments? Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, he can only roll over MQMs above his elite tier requirement, which is 25,000 for Silver. So with only 24,000 MQMs, his elite miles won’t roll over at all, even though he qualified based on segments.

Sorry about that, Blake, but hope this helps explain Delta’s rollover rules, and thanks for the question. If you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.

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