Credit Cards Elite Status

Delta Made a Strange Move – In Addition to the New $250K Waiver

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Written by Charlie

In addition to the new $250,000 waiver for Delta Diamond members, Delta and Amex made another small move that seems to be quite pointless.

This morning, I wrote about the new $250,000 in spending required to waive the qualifying spend requirement for Delta Diamond status. It is a clear case of Delta wanting to weed out Diamond Medallion members who fly the miles but don’t do the $15,000 in spending on airfare (but still take a nice cut of profit from the few who will spend the 1/4 of a million on Amex cards).

Delta Made a Strange Move

But, it was not enough, apparently, to require $250,000 in spending on Amex cards. Amex will be taking a hefty profit from all of that spending from transaction fees as well as the annual fees (which some of will go to Delta). So, what else could they do to try and eke out even more of a profit with this move?

delta waiver

The Delta Blue card will not let you spend the $250K for the waiver – by itself

In the fine print of this latest change for Delta Diamond members, it reads this (bolding mine):

*Effective January 1, 2018, the MQDs requirement to reach Diamond Medallion Status for 2019 and beyond during the qualification year will be waived if you make $250,000 or more in eligible purchases during the calendar year with your eligible SkyMiles Credit Card. The MQDs requirement to reach Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion Status during the qualification year will remain the same and be waived if you make $25,000 or more in eligible purchases in that year with your eligible SkyMiles Credit Card. Also effective January 1, 2018, the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card will no longer be eligible for the MQD Waiver.   However, if you have another Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card with the MQD Waiver benefit in addition to your Delta Blue SkyMiles Credit Card, Eligible Purchases made on the Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card will continue to count towards the MQD Waiver.  

If you are not familiar with it, the Blue Delta Skymiles card is a recent product that Amex put out. It has a low spending threshold ($500) for a small bonus (10,000 miles) but it earns 1 mile per dollar and has no annual fee. Basically, it works very well for the person that Delta works very well for as an option for travel but they don’t want to pay an annual fee.

Only Fee Cards Will Work

While the card currently works (along with the other Delta cards) to provide the MQD (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) waiver for elite status, Delta made the decision to preclude the Blue Delta card from giving that waiver for Diamond members with the new $250,000 in spending. Of course, if you have another Delta card (read: one that has an annual fee), then it will count towards that amount with the spending.

What’s The Point???

To me, this is a petty move. I doubt that many people at all would try to hit the $250,000 in required spending for the Diamond waiver with only the Blue Delta card. I mean, that much spending on the Delta Reserve or Delta Platinum cards would at least earn you elite qualifying miles that would help with your status! Not only that, but it is a personal card so no one will be using this for heavy business spend.

So, in reality, there would probably be only a handful of people that would have been trying to put $250,000 in spending on that card so they could avoid paying an annual fee. But, Delta decided they want to squeeze an annual fee out of those few people to get even more profit.

This was a pointless change to a card that just launched and just one more sign that Delta and Amex are more about the pennies than the passengers. Hey, I am all for trying to make a profit with a business but moves like this just demonstrate that the customer is not part of the equation for some decisions – no matter what Delta tries to say.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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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.