Need a Boost Towards Delta Elite Status? Buy Qualifying Miles for a Mind-Numbing 88 Cents Each!

Just as they did last year, Delta is offering to let you buy qualifying miles towards your elite status and the money you spend count as qualifying dollars as well.

The need for qualifying miles in a revenue-based elite program is perplexing to begin with . Other than that they’ll sell you the miles. And that they encourage you to spend on their co-brand credit card because:

  • Spending $25,000 on the co-brand American Express cards in a year exempts you from the spending requirement

  • You can earn qualifying miles through your spend on their American Express products

More expensive than American’s status buy up offer, Delta charges prices that vary based on your status.

One Mile at a Time reports the price for Platinums as:

  • Buy 2,500 MQMs for $2,195
  • Buy 5,000 MQMs for $2,495
  • Buy 7,500 MQMs for $2,795
  • Buy 10,000 MQMs for $2,995

$3000 for 10,000 qualifying miles, or 30 cents a mile, is shocking. 2500 qualifying miles for $2195 is 88 cents a mile. At least under the American offer I can imagine someone saying “I could fly for less, but my time is valuable.” At $3000 you’re going to need a salary of about half a million dollars before an average wage vs. travel time makes up for the difference in cost versus buying a ticket.

Since those with lower status pay less for incremental buy up miles, Rene’s Points reports on:

  • Buy 2,500 MQMs for $995
  • Buy 5,000 MQMs for $1,295
  • Buy 7,500 MQMs for $1,595
  • Buy 10,000 MQMs for $1,795

Of course the credit card route is the far cheaper one. So this is for non-US members, for those who don’t qualify for the cards, or a tax on not planning ahead.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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