Delta’s $250k Dare to Diamonds – 10x Increase on MQD Credit Card Waiver

Travel elite status has both ego and practical appeal. We can rationalize a lot to achieve it.

Delta is issuing a preposterous dare to its elite members to see how badly they want to keep Diamond Medallion status: the credit card MQD waiver in 2018 (for 2019 status year) is increasing 10x from $25,000 to $250,000.

2019 Delta MDQ Waiver Change

Decuple Dare You

Delta is issuing a preposterous dare to its elite members to see how badly they want to keep Diamond Medallion status: the credit card MQD waiver in 2018 (for 2019 status year) is increasing 10x from $25,000 to $250,000.

A more modest increase probably would weed out a fair number of Diamonds qualifying this way. Instead, Delta put up a headline-grabbing number that goes right to ego appeal. Be a player, show you can drop $250k.

This is smart marketing, giving Diamond more perceived cachet to it target audience. Delta is aggressive in chasing celebrity and high net worth business, while in contrast, United focus more on corporate contracts. They want The Points Guy types to have their staff shake $250k out of the sofa cushions. Pikers like me that will now stop at Platinum will only cost a tiny amount of revenue.

Key points:

  • Won’t affect 2017 qualification for 2018
  • Won’t affect 2018 qualification for Silver, Gold, and Platinum, those remain at $25,000 credit card spend for MQD waiver
  • Won’t affect those outside the US, which are still not subject to MQD requirements for any status
  • No change to MQD requirements (non-credit card waiver), still $15,000 for Diamond

This will ‘thin the ranks’ mainly to those who qualify fully by flying. There is always a zero-sum contingent in road warrior circles happy with such changes as long as they aren’t the ones to lose status. The pull up the ladder behind them and smash it types.

I’ll address my new airline elite status strategy in the next post.

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  • mogando

    and that’s the biggest irony because AA is the only one flying 3-class first on their transcons to LAX and SFO, and usually the LAX-JFK one is filled with the true celebrity types.

  • Well noted, just because Delta implies Delta One is first class, it is not, and I trust people in position to fly at the front of 3 cabins know the difference between 3 and 2.

  • mogando

    strange point about $250K is that it fully crosses into Amex Centurion qualifying zone, which comes with a whole ton of prestige on its own and status comps (far more than Amex Platinum). Compared that to *just* DL Diamond.

    And that’s before mentioning the ultra obvious fact that Amex MR points are far more flexible than DL miles.

    Third aspect is customer service. Maybe it’s a unspoken secret program, but I’m unaware that Amex customer service really does THAT much more for you for extra spend for other card products, but they really can move earth and sea for their Centurion members.

    Centurion card itself isn’t amazing for pure rewards ratio against card spend (1 MR/$ zzzzzz), but it sure is a whole lot better than any DL co-branded card.