Last Minute Short Haul Status Strategy

Old Aug 1, 19, 10:44 pm
  #1  
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Last Minute Short Haul Status Strategy

Recently started a business in Florida. Wife and I live in NYC. Midway through acquisition, find out wife is pregnant with first child. For a number of reasons, this means we're staying in NYC for now and I'll just have to travel to Tampa all the time. Baby born - amazing experience. I'm traveling to TPA most weeks. Due to many factors, my flights are always bought last minute and I'm typically spending $260-$420 for each leg of the one way flights nyc-tpa and tpa-nyc. Every week. As i'm going nearly every week now, i'll surpass the diamond spend level sometime in October. I'm already past the gold spend requirements.

That said, I've hit $7k in spend on Delta (~$3k each with JB & UA) but am still not close to hitting even silver status because of the miles/segment requirements. Still main2, still gate checking bags on 25% of the flights and still sitting middle seat and/or last row most flights - many times in situations where I cannot work during the flight. I could upgrade to Comfort+ but after paying that much for a flight and this being my own money.... i just can't bring myself to spend an additional $70+ dollars on it. I spent $50 to upgrade to what I thought was a bulkhead preferred seat the other day - turns out it's not a bulkhead, it just looks like one on the seat map and I'm pretty sure it was slightly smaller than normal coach because the C+ in front was able to lean back more than a coach seat (which they did). I'd love to pledge my loyalty to an airline for the simple benefit of being able to pick a seat out that will allow me to work during the flights.

Long story - short question: Has anyone had any luck finding a way around MQM/MQS? Is there anyone at Delta who appreciates short-haul profitable flyers and who has the ability to give me a challenge or simply a MQM waiver to at least silver?
HeIsAudiHereUnlessHesFlying1 is offline  
Old Aug 1, 19, 11:21 pm
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Seems like you spend enough that, if you put all of your spending on a Delta Reserve, the MQMs would come in handy?
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Old Aug 1, 19, 11:27 pm
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Sorry, they will not give you a waiver or challenge. However, your math is escaping me. NYC-TPA is 2K miles roundtrip. Do that weekly for 3 months (now through October) and you have 24K MQM's which is almost Silver (and should certainly put you over the top with what you already have). The Delta Platinum and Reserve Amex cards often have a MQM signup bonus if you don't already have one (typically 5K for Plat and 10K for Reserve). Plus there are the annual MQM boosts if you spend enough on them. And then there are mileage runs.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 11:42 pm
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I feel your pain. I used to be an east coast commuter who counted ATL-LGA as a long flight...

Short answer is you just have to grind it out on DL. Amex boosts help some, but I always found that by the time I was close enough on MQMs for Amex to push me over, I was almost there on MQS anyway. Not sure how open you are to mileage runs (given the newborn at home - congrats!), but that seems to be the only way to make a big enough swing at things.

The other option is something like WN where the status tiers are revenue based. If you've done DM-level spend with DL, those dollars if spent on WN would have been enough to get AList Preferred I think.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 11:56 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
Sorry, they will not give you a waiver or challenge. However, your math is escaping me. NYC-TPA is 2K miles roundtrip. Do that weekly for 3 months (now through October) and you have 24K MQM's which is almost Silver (and should certainly put you over the top with what you already have). The Delta Platinum and Reserve Amex cards often have a MQM signup bonus if you don't already have one (typically 5K for Plat and 10K for Reserve). Plus there are the annual MQM boosts if you spend enough on them. And then there are mileage runs.
This is perfect. It's late and I didn't think that a card would give MQM boosts. Looks like i can get 10k MQMs for signing up and another 15k MQMs after hitting 30k in spending which will get me silver immediately and put me at gold by October. Thanks!
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Old Aug 1, 19, 11:58 pm
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AMEX is a good option if possible, otherwise the short answer is to do a MR. Fly a cheap long-haul flight, you could earn 20k MQM in a couple days and for a few hundred dollars.

Yes, this costs time, and yes, you might be better just spending more for C+ or better seats, but there's no way around the MQM requirements.

Keep in mind that even if you get Platinum, you won't necessarily be able to avoid crap seat assignments if you are always buying on short notice.
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Old Aug 2, 19, 12:01 am
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Amex Reserve - Just looked into this and it will do the trick. Thanks all!
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Old Aug 2, 19, 4:46 am
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You could fly NYC_ATL_TPA and double your segment count
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Old Aug 2, 19, 5:58 am
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As someone who books a lot of short-haul government fares for others, this is an annoying issue. My boss will end the year with $7K+ MQD, but will only have enough segments for Silver.

I get that Delta has a formula for status qualification that they seem to like, but there should be some consideration for high MQD customers.
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Old Aug 2, 19, 6:37 am
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Originally Posted by WWads View Post
I get that Delta has a formula for status qualification that they seem to like, but there should be some consideration for high MQD customers.
"When everyone's elite, nobody is..."

There already is consideration for both high MQD and high MQM customers in the current elite qualification program. Delta requires both for status, and with that they already have too many elite customers. No need to make it easier to qualify.
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Old Aug 2, 19, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by HeIsAudiHereUnlessHesFlying1 View Post
This is perfect. It's late and I didn't think that a card would give MQM boosts. Looks like i can get 10k MQMs for signing up and another 15k MQMs after hitting 30k in spending which will get me silver immediately and put me at gold by October. Thanks!
As a new Reserve card holder, note that if you are targeting spend for a particular date that the 15K MQM Boosts are not recorded in your SkyMiles account immediately when you hit it with AmEx. When your monthly statement with AmEx closes (the exact date is in the Amex account info online), AmEx notifies Delta. Then you get an email asking what you want to do with the MQMs. You then choose either to gift them or to add to your own account, and that's when your Medallion status changes, if you crossed a target threshold. I believe the initial bonus for card spend landed in my account quicker - it's the 15K Miles Boost bonuses that are tied to monthly statement close date.

A bit annoying but not the end of the world if you can plan accordingly. I think this is because if you are delinquent in any way at month end, they don't credit you (gulp).
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Old Aug 2, 19, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by WWads View Post
As someone who books a lot of short-haul government fares for others, this is an annoying issue. My boss will end the year with $7K+ MQD, but will only have enough segments for Silver.I get that Delta has a formula for status qualification that they seem to like, [B]but there should be some consideration for high MQD customers.[B/]
From DL's perspective, why should they give any more status (thus benefits) than they have to or need to when they're already getting $7K in revenue WITHOUT having to give away such perks? DL is already giving your boss and other such customers what he and those other customers want or need, either because they already have the preferred schedule or route or whatever. Why give away extra, "just because"? If your boss doesn't feel he's getting value from his $7K, he could always look for another carrier. That may come at other costs, such as having to deal with connections, less operational reliability, or whatever. But from DL's perspective, they're giving enough value to your boss to get his $7K without having to give away anything more to get it.
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Old Aug 2, 19, 7:34 am
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Also keep in mind that once you hit gold (which it sounds like you will), you'll be entitled to free SDC/SDS, which can be tactically leveraged (with some effort) to help make some of the last-minute bookings more affordable.
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Old Aug 2, 19, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
From DL's perspective, why should they give any more status (thus benefits) than they have to or need to when they're already getting $7K in revenue WITHOUT having to give away such perks? DL is already giving your boss and other such customers what he and those other customers want or need, either because they already have the preferred schedule or route or whatever. Why give away extra, "just because"? If your boss doesn't feel he's getting value from his $7K, he could always look for another carrier. That may come at other costs, such as having to deal with connections, less operational reliability, or whatever. But from DL's perspective, they're giving enough value to your boss to get his $7K without having to give away anything more to get it.
In theory, a short-haul/low-segment/high-spend customer who is savvy enough to care and in a competitive market like NYC might realize that the current qualification schemes make it very hard for them to qualify for anything but bottom-tier on any of the airlines. For last-minute tickets, it's not that difficult to be paying 50-75 CPM, so $25k is only 50k flown miles at a stretch, maybe more like 40k flown miles. Add in personal travel/CCs and that's good enough for bottom-tier on two airlines or barely mid-tier on one.

So, realizing that, this person is instead spending $7k on DL but also spending $6k on AA and $5k on B6 and $4k on UA and $3k on WN or something like that. If DL came in and said that spending $25k on DL would give them PM with lower/no MQM/MQS requirements, that completely changes the above equation, throws CPM out the window, and puts a strong pull on $18k worth of spend not currently going to DL.

I'm not saying that this is going to actually occur in big enough numbers for DL to ever have an MQD-first qualification system; but for people like OP there is an argument for it. I would bet that at least some of the $6k OP has spent on UA/B6 would have gone to DL instead if they told him MQD alone could help him qualify faster. (OP, absolutely correct me if I'm wrong on that.)
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Old Aug 2, 19, 10:21 am
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Yeah maybe one day delta will come up with a plan for high-spending short-haul flyers. I will hit over $20k MQD this year and be at Gold.
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