Credit Cards

Mid-Year Elite Status

With the passing of June 30th, we are officially half-way through the year. For those of us who have elite status, this is the time to focus on where we are at and what we need to do to hit our desired elite goals before the end of the year. In many ways, this time of the year for me is a little like the halfway point of a marathon. You evaluate if you have kept pace with your desired goal while at the same knowing how you are feeling as to whether or not maintaining that pace is going to happen for the next half.

Such is the way it is with me. I am sitting at 32,000 MQMs (Delta’s Medallion Qualifying Miles) which is over Silver Medallion status (25,000 MQMs in a year) and short of Gold Medallion status (50,000 MQMs in a year). I know I can hit Gold before the end of the year (I am currently Platinum through March 1, 2013), but I really want to hit Platinum again (75,000MQMs in a year). Gold gives many of the same perks (Same-Day-Confirmed, which allows me to change to a different flight on the same day of my scheduled flight within three hours of departure for free; Skyteam Elite Plus; 100% Redeemable mile bonus on miles flown; SkyPriority access; international lounge access when flying Skyteam partners) but there are two big ones that I will miss – ability to gift Silver Medallion to someone and the ability to redeposit award tickets at no cost (otherwise, it would be $150 per ticket). Since my family and I will be overseas next year and may have to come back once or twice, that is a huge one. Finding international award availability is not impossible on Delta but it can be difficult, especially for four people. So, the ability to ticket an award ticket as low as I can get it and then keep checking for it to go lower and change it at not cost is huge for me. I would be having to change it at least twice next year which would cost me $1200 if I am not Platinum. No thanks!

So, the goal is Platinum (Diamond is DEFINITELY not going to happen, just like me hitting 3:00 in my next marathon is not going to happen!). I have a few flights planned in the next couple of months, but those would just put me over Gold. I need an additional 25,000 miles to reach Platinum. I know, other things could come up towards the end of the year and help push me over. The only issue with that is that my family and I are going to Greece in November for the whole month (and maybe longer), so I can’t count after that time as a possibility. What do I do?

Delta American Express Reserve

Enter Delta American Express Reserve card. I have held this card before (the business version) but have not had it in a year. I currently have the Delta Platinum American Express card and wanted to upgrade it so that I did not have another hard credit inquiry outside of my normal application cycle. Normally, when you upgrade, you get the difference in the bonus between the card you currently have the card you are upgrading to, not the regular bonus you get for applying for the card outright. However, when I looked at my upgrade options, it said that I would get 10,000 MQMs (which is the regular offer) for upgrading after my first purchase! Perfect! I went ahead and upgraded and was approved.

Always take screenshots to verify!

Now, step 2. If spend $30,000 on the card within a calendar year, I will get another 15,000 MQMs PLUS a bonus of 30,000 Skymiles for a total of 60,000 Skymiles and the 15,000 MQMs! Pretty good, yes? The only problem? How to spend $30,000 in 6 months when that is WAY beyond my normal spending habits. 🙂

To start with, the spending I have already done on my Platinum card rolls over to my new card and the spending totals. That helps a little. Besides that, I will be looking for more deals of things that I can purchase and resell as well as buying tickets and items for friends and having them reimburse me. Even if I take a little loss in the process, it will be ok. To do a mileage run (a trip for the express purpose of earning qualifying miles) at a really good rate (4 cents per mile) would cost me $600. So, anything less than that would be less than a perfect mileage run and I get to stay home!

That is my mid-year elite status update! So, if you have any big purchases you want to send my way, let me know! 🙂

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.