What is a Medallion Qualification Dollar?

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Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) are the total spend a Delta SkyMiles member had made on flights marketed by Delta Air Lines minus government taxes and fees in a calendar year. These flights are identified as having a Delta flight number, which begins with the two letter code “DL”. Additionally, the MQD requirement is waived for all non-U.S.-based SkyMiles members.

To achieve elite status with Delta Air Lines, you must achieve a certain number of Medallion Qualification Dollars in a calendar year along with either a number of miles or flight segments. In a nutshell, MQDs are a way for Delta to ensure that Elite members have spent a minimum amount of money with the airline, as well as flying a certain number of miles or segments.

Qualify for Delta Medallion Status

What Counts as Medallion Qualification Dollars

Per Delta, Medallion Qualification Dollars are:

The sum total of the SkyMiles member’s spend on Delta-marketed flights (flight numbers that include the “DL” airline code), inclusive of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges, but exclusive of government-imposed taxes and fees. MQDs also include select partner airline flights and select exception fares.

To meet the qualifying requirements the following must apply:

  • Flights must include the DL airline code
  • Spend includes the base fare and carrier-imposed charges, but excludes government taxes and fees
  • Fares not eligible for mileage accrual will not earn Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQD’s)
  • You can earn MQD’s for tickets issued by Delta’s partner airlines
  • When earning with Groups 1, 2, 3 partner airlines, you will earn MQDs at a rate of one-fifth of the base miles and class bonus miles of the itinerary

Medallion Qualification Dollars in Action

Medallion Qualifying Dollars are a component in earning elite status with Delta. To earn status you need to meet the following MQD requirement, and Miles or Segments flown:

  • Silver Medallion when you spend $3,000 MQDs and earn 30,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or 30 Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs)
  • Gold Medallion when you spend $6,000 MQDs and earn 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs
  • Platinum Medallion when you spend $9,000 MQDs and earn 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs
  • Diamond Medallion when you spend $15,000 MQDs and earn 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs

How Can You Avoid The Medallion Qualification Dollar Requirement

If you hold a Delta co-branded credit card from American Express, you are eligible for a waiver of the required MQDs if you spend $25,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. This waiver applies to any SkyMiles co-branded credit cards including:

As of January 1, 2018, the Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) Waiver for Diamond Medallion Status has increased from $25,000 to $250,000; a 10X increase.

Delta Medallion Benefits

Once you have achieved a Medallion Status there is plenty of benefits Delta offers its members, while Delta has recently overhauled their program and now offers its Elites more Choice Benefits, including enhanced options for Diamond members, and even Elite status with Sixt car hire for Medallion Gold members.

What is a Medallion Qualification Dollar?
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Comments

  • Simple and straightforward explanation of a MQD. Good post.

  • So, as I understand Delta Connection flights and other partner airline flights qualify as long as the flight has a DL number, even if it also has other airlines’ numbers?

  • You have to love SkyPesos.

  • Interesting post! Thank you.

  • Really hope they re-offer a co-branded Delta SkyMiles credit card in Canada.

  • Miguel Jauregui says:

    Great post. I was under the impression that MQDs were accrued only if the flight was purchased directly off the Delta website, not going through a 3rd party like Expedia to find the flight. Can you clarify that it doesn’t make a difference where ever the flight is purchased, as long as the flight number has the “DL”, it’ll still qualify for MQDs? Thanks!

    • Miguel, there are a few circumstances where tickets issued will not earn MQDs, such as those purchases through hotwire or priceline when the airline is not disclosed prior to purchase. However, most all other purchases will count. You’ll need to read through the terms on the page for your specific circumstance, but tickets purchased through Expedia are eligible for MQDs. You may only receive a fraction of MQDs.

  • I had never even heard of this before this post! Thanks for sharing

  • So is it correct that you cannot earn MQDs when booking through third-party sites like Kayak, Expedia, etc.?

    • No, that is incorrect. There are some fares that are ineligible for MQD earning, such as Priceline or Hotwire fares where you don’t know which airline you’re buying through prior to purchase, but otherwise, you can expect to earn MQDs

  • Also, if you have a status with Delta there’re some crossbenefits when you stay in SPG properties as they’ve got a partnership but I can’t remember what they are actually

  • I just hope MQD (or EQD in general) does not spread to anymore airlines.
    Calculating and tracking EQD is such a pain in the neck, I can’t believe how much time I ended up wasting with calculating/tracking EQD.

  • “Additionally, the MQD requirement is waived for all non-U.S.-based SkyMiles members.”

    So if I am a Delta SkyMiles member living overseas, can I have this requirement waived? Could you provide info on how to go about doing that? Thanks!

  • So MQDs are earned at the time ticket is booked or the time the flight is flown please? Thanks

  • Is there a way I can see the detail for my current year’s total MQDs?

  • I am wondering if money spent in 2017 for travel in 2018 applies to the MQD requirement for 2017 or 18?

  • Thanks, Howie. At one time I thought I had been given the option of linking my Marriott points to an airline. That was a long time ago, though, and it may have been a link to miles….not dollars. It looks like I’ll be $550 away from Gold status at the end of 2017, and I’m trying to figure out how to get there! I’m not sure I’ll be able to fit in one more trip this calendar year. Bummer. So close. It’s this new dollar requirement that gets me. Segments and miles I way exceed.

  • Does purchases for Delta travel packages (other than the actually air portion, i.e. the hotel etc portion) qualify for MQD?

  • Thanks for this. Do all ticket charges purchased for me count toward my MQDs? For example, if my client books a ticket for me, but the ticket is in my name, do I get the credit in my MQDs, or do they? Thanks very much!

  • If buying a ticket directly from Delta, do you get 1 MQD per $1 spent on the actual ticket fare ( less taxes and fees)? Is it always a 1:1 ratio? Or, are MQD’s amounts affected by ticket class or level ( ie Basic Class vs Main Cabin vs First class, etc…).
    Thanks in advance for your response.

  • Kelly M Hagan says:

    After reviewing all the flights I am scheduled to take this year, and I am short 100 MQD ($100). If I pay for Delta Comfort or in-flight wifi, will those dollars be MQDs? Thanks!

    • MQDs are based on your FARE. You’ll need to upgrade / change your ticket if you want to earn MQDs. You should contact Delta directly about your specific ticket and see if you can upgrade it to a comfort+ or first class fare to earn the additional MQDs. They can calculate it for you on the phone. Purchasing Wi-Fi will not count towards MQD.

  • When do you get credit for the MQD spent? For instance, if I book a trip now for February of next year, will it still count towards this year’s MQD? I have met my MQM for the year, but about $1k away from MQDs. Thanks.

  • I am not sure I saw in postings.

    Does MQDs rollover like MQMs?

    Thanks!

  • What is the situation regarding travel when Delta rebooks you on to another (non-partner) airline because of cancellation of their flight. In this instance it was an 8500 mile flight with about 1100 MQD’s so was no insignificant.

  • Howie,
    2 Million Miles with Delta(but still struggling to “get it” with MQD$. I’ve hit miles for the year, no problem. But I am $43 dollar short of the 15k Spend on MQD’s to achieve Diamond. So is there anything besides booking and flying a flight before the end of the year that can get me there?

    Thanks
    Kirk

  • I buy tix for my family when we travel together. Do I get the MQDs since they are purchased on my CC?

  • I am purchasing 5 Delta tickets for my daughters family to come visit us. Will I get the MQDs for all five flights? Also, I am the second cardholder (my husband is the main cardholder, we have different card numbers). If I charge these flights on my card, will I get the MQDs or my husband?

    • Each Skymiles member earns MQDs and MQMs on their own flights, so the money you’re spending on other family members will count towards their own elite qualification. However, the MQM waiver (not having to worry about meeting the dollar threshold because of spending on a Delta co-brand card) will credit to the Skymiles account that is associated with the card used to buy the tickets.

      The current spending requirement is $25,000 in annual spend on the Delta card to avoid the MQD requirement for all status levels except Diamond (which is $250,000 in credit card spending). In other words, if you pay with the Delta card that earns miles in your husband’s account, the MQD waiver will apply to his quest for elite status. https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/medallion-program/how-to-qualify.html

  • I read most everything posted here……I didn’t want you to have to answer this question if you already had. I can see several times where you have mentioned… “The current spending requirement is $25,000 in annual spend on the Delta card to avoid the MQD requirement for all status levels except Diamond (which is $250,000 in credit card spending.”

    My questions are these…

    What are qualified purchases for the spending requirement of $25,000.00/$250,000.00? Are we talking groceries, fuel, McDonalds….anything? Or is the 25,000 specific to Delta purchases?

    Additionally, I see in your post on 3/27/19, you talk about “In other words, if you pay with the Delta card that earns miles in your husband’s account, the MQD waiver will apply to his quest for elite status.”, so would it be reasonable then to get out from under my husband’s Am Ex and get my own where i am the primary, so that we are both earning MQD’s? Currently, he is he primary on our Am Ex and if i understand what you have posted here that means that any spent on the Am Ex goes towards his elite status and NOT mine. Correct?

    Sorry if these are redundant questions.

    Thanks for your time in advance, this website has been the most helpful I have seen.

    • Hey, great questions. First, any spending on the Delta cards—McDonalds included :)—will count towards the 25K EQD qualification waiver. When you earn the waiver, you’re exempt from Delta’s requirement that you spend a certain amount on Delta flights to earn status. In other words, using the co-brand card let’s you get around spending a certain amount on Delta flights specifically.

      The Delta cards earn MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) at specific thresholds of spending. When you spend 25K on the Delta platinum card, you get 10K MQMs – this is independent of the MQD waiver (but for the Delta Platinum card, it happens that the threshold for both benefits is spending $25K).

      So, spend 25k on the Delta platinum, get 10K MQMs and a MQD waiver that you don’t need to spend x dollars on Delta flights. The benefit goes to the primary cardholder, so if you want to earn status yourself, you’ll want to get your own Delta Amex. Hope that helps. This post has more detail on everything.

  • I read all of the comments and none answered this very specific question:
    Let’s say I bought a flight and the MQD total is $500 for the entire trip. The flight departs on December 26th and returns on January 2nd. Is the MQD total split between the years? 50/50 in other words? So I would get $250 for this year and $250 for next year?

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