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Changing Country of Residence in the Post-MQD Era (Definitive)

Changing Country of Residence in the Post-MQD Era (Definitive)

Old Feb 16, 2013, 12:50 am
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Changing Country of Residence in the Post-MQD Era (Definitive)

Background
I thought I'd begin a definitive thread that documents changing your country of residence in your SkyMiles profile. With the advent of the MQD requirement and its applicability limited to residents of the U.S., Delta has removed the ability to change country of residence on Delta.com and replaced it with an audited process to prevent U.S.-based customers from getting out of the MQD requirement. Even if you already had addresses in multiple countries registered to your profile, you are no longer allowed to change the primary address, nor are you allowed to delete a U.S. address from your profile if that is your only registered one. This is done so U.S. members do not easily get out of the requirement.

NOTE: I do not condone fraudulently using a non-U.S. address to get out of the MQD requirement and am against it in principle. You should only register an address that you live in or maintain verifiable residency in. As you can see in Delta's T&C, you may be audited and penalized for fraudulent activity.


Things Affected by Address
Depending on your country of residence as listed in your address, the following items may differ:

• Eligibility for MQD Qualification
Example: Beginning 2014, U.S. members must meet the MQD threshold on top of the MQM one to make status. Non-U.S. members are specifically exempt from the MQD requirement.

• SkyMiles Marketplace Redemptions
Example: Japan Marketplace has JCB travel coupons, while U.S. market has items for sale as well as store gift cards. Access is restricted depending on country of residence.

• Eligibility for Market-Specific Promotions
Example: You may need to live in Japan to receive 2X miles on a NRT-SIN flight during a promotional period.


Delta's T&C For Address Changes (LINK)
Residency: Country of residence is determined by the primary address in the member’s SkyMiles account at the time of qualification for Medallion status. Documentation may be required for some types of address changes. Please see the SkyMiles Membership Guide for more information and a list of acceptable documentation. Delta reserves the right to audit an account at any time for residency requirements, request further supporting documentation and update the address for any member's SkyMiles account using the National Change of Address (NCOA) data filed by relocating postal customers, but shall have no obligation to do so. Accounts found in violation are subject to penalty, up to and including termination of Medallion status and closure of the SkyMiles account.


Who To Contact
Via Fax
Fax: 404-715-9220 (Medallion members)
Fax: 404-773-1945 (All other SkyMiles members)

Via Mail
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
SkyMiles Account Support
Dept. 654
P.O. Box 20532

Atlanta, GA 30320-2532


Acceptable Documentation (Copies) to Prove Residency
• Government issued ID with new address (Drivers License, learner’s permit, Country/State-issued photo ID card
• Utility bill in customer's name showing new address, dated within the past 60 days
• Deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, or residential rental/lease agreement showing proof of ownership at new address, with customer's name and signature. Lease must be dated within the past year.
• Bank statement with customer's name and address, dated within the past 60 days (may block out sensitive information)
• Payroll statement with customer's name and address, dated within the past 60 days (may block out sensitive information)
• Postal Service change of address confirmation form
• Current automobile or life insurance bill, or homeowners or renter insurance bill (cards or policies are not accepted)
• Copy of school records/transcript from a school in which the applicant is currently enrolled, issued by an accredited school
• Postmarked mail with forwarding address label (must display the customer's full name)
• Receipt for personal property taxes or real estate taxes paid within the last year
• Letter from member's employer on official company letterhead, detailing member's current address. Letter must be signed by employee’s supervisor with supervisor’s full contact information


Sign Your Documentation Request Form!
I speak from personal experience when I say that all copies of documentation must have your signature in it. If you do not sign it explicitly, then Delta will reject your request.


Sample Rejection Mail
If your request is denied for whatever reason, here is an e-mail you might receive from Delta. It's not terribly specific, but in my case, I was able to figure out what was lacking:

Dear [Customer Name],

Thank you for contacting us about the SkyMiles program.

Certain address changes, including those moving from a primary address within the 50 United States and the District of Columbia to one outside of the United States, require the submission of documentation and cannot be completed over the phone or online.

Members will need to submit one of the following documents via mail or fax to complete the address change request, and the document must reflect a residential address and may not be the address of a corporation or business. Please see below for a full list of acceptable documentation:

-Government-issued ID with new address (Driver's License, Learner's Permit, Country/State-issued photo ID card)
-Utility bill in customer's name showing new address, dated within the past 60 days
-Deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, or residential rental/lease agreement showing proof of ownership at new address, with customer's name and signature. Lease must be dated within the past year (please block out sensitive information)
-Bank statement with customer's name and address, dated within the past 60 days (please block out sensitive information)
-Payroll statement with customer's name and address, dated within the past 60 days (please block out sensitive information)
-Postal Service change of address confirmation form
-Current automobile or life insurance bill, or homeowner's or renter's insurance bill (cards or policies are not accepted)
-Copy of school records/transcript from a school in which the applicant is currently enrolled, issued by an accredited school
-Postmarked mail with forwarding address label (must display the customer's full name)
-Receipt for personal property taxes or real estate taxes paid within the last year
-Letter from member's employer on official company letterhead, detailing member's current address. Letter must be signed by employee's supervisor with supervisor's full contact information (name, address, email address, and phone number)

Members should include their SkyMiles number and signature on all requests and documentation, and mail or fax the request and supporting documents to the SkyMiles Account Support group at:

Fax: 404-773-1945

Mail:
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
SkyMiles Account Support
Dept. 654
P.O. Box 20532
Atlanta, GA 30320-2532

Please remember that Delta reserves the right to audit an account at any time for residency requirements, request further supporting documentation and update the address for any member's SkyMiles account using the National Change of Address (NCOA) data filed by relocating postal customers, but shall have no obligation to do so. Accounts found in violation are subject to penalty, up to and including termination of Medallion status and closure of the SkyMiles account.

[Customer Name], thank you for giving us an opportunity to respond to your concern. We highly appreciate your Medallion loyalty to Delta and look forward to the privilege of serving you soon.

Sincerely,

[Representative Name]
SkyMiles Account Support
http://www.delta.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does the process take?
YMMV. Delta can get to it in as little as 1 day or take more than 5. I've experienced both. Delta had no issue rejecting my first request within 18 hours due to the lack of signature in my documentation, but I reinitiated the process, did it correctly, and have not heard anything from Delta after 5 days.

Q: What if my government ID/support documentation is in a language other than English?
This may be a specific issue for countries that do not use the Roman alphabet, such as Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan. Since my address change (U.S. to Japan) is pending, I will update this later with the results of my request. But in my letter, I was extremely specific about how to write my Japanese address in English, and told Delta to verify it with Japanese-speaking staff if they really wanted to make sure I was being truthful.

Q: Can I have the local Delta office in my country of residence process an address change?
I looked in the Japanese Language SkyMiles Membership Guide and it says to send all requests to the addresses listed above. You can try calling in to see if they can accept your request, but the rules say country of residence cannot be changed over the phone.

Q: What counts as a country of residence?
Basically, a residential address (home, apartment, dormitory) that has your name tied to it in some fashion. Theoretically, you should be living there for a substantial period of time within a given year, and you receive other correspondence in that address (credit card or utility bills, tax forms, etc.).

Q: Can my place of employment count?
Delta specifically forbids using your employer's address for determining your country of residence.

Q: Does my citizenship(s) matter at all?
No, what matters is your residency. For example, I have U.S. citizenship, plus citizenship for another country, while maintaining residency in Japan. The U.S. is my original home so I have my U.S. address registered in my profile, but I currently live in Japan, so I want to be subject to Japan's SkyMiles membership rules.

Q: I spend substantial amounts of time in the U.S. and another country that is not the U.S.. Which address should I choose?
It's up to you to decide. Either one should be fine as long as you are not committing fraud by submitting residency you are not normally qualified for. Before MQDs were instituted, Delta allowed you to change primary addresses with the click of a button, so there must be people who maintain such a need. I used to use my U.S. address to utilize the U.S. marketplace as well as my personal policy of keeping U.S. airlines (DL, UA, AA) with my U.S. address, and Japanese airlines (JL, NH) with my Japanese address, as the airlines tend to give more focus and benefits to customers in their home country.

For my case, previously, sure, I didn't technically "live" in the U.S. on a day to day basis, but I still received credit card statements there, used that address for voting purposes, filed taxes there, and so forth, so I didn't feel bad about maintaining that as my Delta residence. Now, there's a considerable drawback, so I decided to do the process correctly.

Q: How often can I change my primary address (change it between countries)?
No specific limits are stated in the T&C as far as I can see. In theory, you should change it as often as you perform a legitimate move, and that includes eventually bringing it back to the U.S. if that is your next fixed location. However, not only is changing it time consuming (plus the cost of an international fax or postage), but many changes in a short span, especially going in and out of the U.S. at convenient times, may trigger an audit. Be truthful when making these requests.

Q: Does my SkyMiles address affect my eligibility for certain credit cards?
It doesn't appear to. I have held both the Platinum Amex (U.S. version) and the Delta JCB card for Japan simultaneously, and their benefits overlapped. My Delta profile had a U.S. address at the time I held the JCB card, while I applied for the U.S. Amex while living in Japan. Whether you qualify for a certain card depends on the card issuer for that specific country (such as needing a SSN for the U.S.), not your SkyMiles profile address.

Last edited by FireEmblemPride; Feb 16, 2013 at 8:38 am
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 12:58 am
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Changing Country of Residence in the Post-MQD Era (Definitive)

Nice post. Everyone wishing to change country of residence starting in 2014 should be ready for DL to go over their info with a fine-toothed comb, particularly if you would not have met the MQD requirements had they been in place in previous years.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 1:06 am
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What is this customer-unfriendly company going to demand to do an international address change for children who don't even attend school and yet are resident outside of the US?

Don't they realizing there are many DL-flying families who live outside of the US and buy tickets for pre-school children too?
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 3:48 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
What is this customer-unfriendly company going to demand to do an international address change for children who don't even attend school and yet are resident outside of the US?

Don't they realizing there are many DL-flying families who live outside of the US and buy tickets for pre-school children too?
Overreaction. If the parents provide sufficient documentation there's no way DL won't let their children have the benefit of the change.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 4:07 am
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Originally Posted by HongKonger
Overreaction. If the parents provide sufficient documentation there's no way DL won't let their children have the benefit of the change.
The rules above don't say that. Children not in school don't have leases, mortgages, utility bills, etc. to use as documentation. Moreover, a child could easily live with parents based overseas but attend boarding school or university in the USA. Shouldn't they be able to use the parents' home address abroad as their address rather than being forced to have DL stuff sent to their school, especially if the parents control their accounts?

In fact, even a spouse could have difficulty if spouse has no local job overseas and the lease/mortgage, utility bills, etc. are all in the name of the partner.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 5:16 am
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Originally Posted by HongKonger
Overreaction. If the parents provide sufficient documentation there's no way DL won't let their children have the benefit of the change.
DL's overreaction. DL's overreaction is evident in the list of stuff they claim they may require while failing to appreciate the nature of a lot of their overseas-flying customers.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 6:41 am
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It's troublesome for military members, being out of the USA for 9 months when on tour. Residents of the USA, yes, but spending the majority of the year overseas. If they really wanted to implement this requirement, it should be across the board to all their SM members.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by KissFlyGoodbye
It's troublesome for military members, being out of the USA for 9 months when on tour. Residents of the USA, yes, but spending the majority of the year overseas. If they really wanted to implement this requirement, it should be across the board to all their SM members.
Don't US military generally have a US provided APO/FPO/DPO address? A lot of overseas DL passengers don't even have those in the US.

With DL, customers are getting an airline frequent flyer program that is becoming bureaucratic and Byzantine like government. It is not uncommon for the DL foreign-flyers in my family to have no documents showing their address abroad -- at least it's easy to open an account abroad with any address.
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Last edited by GUWonder; Feb 16, 2013 at 7:36 am
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 8:02 am
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Why do people always feel the need to game the system! Follow the rules or just fly another airline.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by MR_MAMA
Why do people always feel the need to game the system! Follow the rules or just fly another airline.
DL games its customers and DL thus gets the customers it deserves.

As the ultimate game players in the industry, DL's being paranoid about its customers and treating its customers as if the customers are a threat and game-player. This is no surprise because DL sees it customers in customer-unfriendly ways when it comes to SkyMiles customers.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 8:17 am
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It should be kept in mind that while changing to a foreign address will exempt you from the MQD requirements, it will also make you ineligible for most promotions.

I cannot remember ever being eligible for a targetted promotion (except for the first few months after Delta started flying its own metal to Israel) and most general promotions also require you to be a U.S. resident.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
DL games its customers and DL thus gets the customers it deserves.

As the ultimate game players in the industry, DL's being paranoid about its customers and treating its customers as if the customers are a threat and game-player. This is no surprise because DL sees it customers in customer-unfriendly ways when it comes to SkyMiles customers.
And that's why I made this thread. The fact my rejection came in a very short period, while my correct request hasn't been processed after several days just shows to me how much contempt DL seems to have developed for ordinary customers.

It's as if DL will look for any excuse not to change an address despite the obvious, if it means restricting someone to the MQD requirements. And this thread will exist to ensure the airline at least remains transparent.


Originally Posted by Dovster
It should be kept in mind that while changing to a foreign address will exempt you from the MQD requirements, it will also make you ineligible for most promotions.

I cannot remember ever being eligible for a targetted promotion (except for the first few months after Delta started flying its own metal to Israel) and most general promotions also require you to be a U.S. resident.
Yup. Pick your poison, basically.

Added the following two questions to the OP:

Q: How often can I change my primary address (change it between countries)?
No specific limits are stated in the T&C as far as I can see. In theory, you should change it as often as you perform a legitimate move, and that includes eventually bringing it back to the U.S. if that is your next fixed location. However, not only is changing it time consuming (plus the cost of an international fax or postage), but many changes in a short span, especially going in and out of the U.S. at convenient times, may trigger an audit. Be truthful when making these requests.

Q: Does my SkyMiles address affect my eligibility for certain credit cards?
It doesn't appear to. I have held both the Platinum Amex (U.S. version) and the Delta JCB card for Japan simultaneously, and their benefits overlapped. My Delta profile had a U.S. address at the time I held the JCB card, while I applied for the U.S. Amex while living in Japan. Whether you qualify for a certain card depends on the card issuer for that specific country (such as needing a SSN for the U.S.), not your SkyMiles profile address.

Last edited by FireEmblemPride; Feb 16, 2013 at 8:37 am
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by Dovster
It should be kept in mind that while changing to a foreign address will exempt you from the MQD requirements, it will also make you ineligible for most promotions.

I cannot remember ever being eligible for a targetted promotion (except for the first few months after Delta started flying its own metal to Israel) and most general promotions also require you to be a U.S. resident.
Indeed. Trial by fire, one way or the other.

There have been some target promotions and other select benefits for DL customers resident overseas, but they mostly seem to have gone the way of the dodo.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 9:55 am
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Why Euro Medallions?

I've always wondered why DL has European Medallions? When you moved to Europe in the NW/KL JV they automatically transferred the miles to Flying Blue. Given the lack of marketing they do for non-US flyers you'd think they'd just have the JV partner deal with them.
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by motytrah
I've always wondered why DL has European Medallions? When you moved to Europe in the NW/KL JV they automatically transferred the miles to Flying Blue. Given the lack of marketing they do for non-US flyers you'd think they'd just have the JV partner deal with them.
It may get back to that; but for now DL is hooked to the IOS cash co-pay on DL award tickets and it wants the SkyMiles non-flight partner money that it gets from the business of customers resident in Europe and elsewhere that credit activity to DL. Also, there are international markets where DL cannot do what NW used to do with KL.
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