Pursuing Platinum

Good at constructing mileage runs? Please help!

I’ve obtained Delta Gold Elite status each of the past several years and I’ve enjoyed the perks: shorter security lines, priority boarding, elite seat selection, a voucher for a free snack or drink on most flights, and the occasional upgrade to first class. This year, though, I want more.

Through flying on Delta, using Delta credit cards, and taking advantage of numerous Delta promotions, I’ve amassed a huge “fortune” of Delta SkyMiles and I’d like to start making good use of them (I know, “good luck with that!”). One of the perks of Platinum status, which is the next level higher than Gold, is that award ticket reservations can be changed for free at any time up to 72 hours prior to departure. As Gold elite, I would have to pay $150 for each change. So, with Platinum, I would be able to book awards for pretty far out into the future even when I’m not sure whether the dates or destinations would work for me. This would help tremendously toward making good use of those miles!

I currently have 55,742 MQMs for the year. MQMs are “Medalion Qualifying Miles” and I need 75,000 of them to reach Platinum. To help get there, I booked a family mileage run that will give me 3,840 MQMs. Another planned flight will give me 1,130 MQMs. I also signed up for the American Express Delta Reserve card which will give me a signup bonus of 10,000 MQMs. All of those efforts add up to a grand total of 70,712 MQMs. I’m still short 4,288 MQMs. That’s where I need some help.

The Mileage Run

If you know how to construct mileage runs, please help me find one that will earn at least 4,288 Delta MQMs. The ideal run will leave from and return to Detroit, MI (DTW) in one day. An overnight trip would be OK, though, especially if there’s an available Radisson hotel near the airport (so that I can qualify for the current Club Carlson promotion). To help me out, use the comments feature at the bottom of this post to enter the details of any mileage run you recommend. Ideally, give precise dates, airport codes, and any other info needed to book the route. When listing airport codes, please also list the city name to make it easier for those like me who haven’t memorized them all!

As to dates of travel: I’m pretty flexible, except that I can’t travel Thanksgiving weekend, December 2-4, or any time after December 23.

I don’t have a set timeframe for this other than I need the MQMs before the end of the year. So, the first mileage run I see that I really like, I’ll book. Since Delta allows free cancelations until midnight the day after a reservation, I will continue to monitor suggestions and will switch if a better one comes along while the change can still be made. Once I’m locked into a particular reservation, I’ll post an update here, and you’ll earn my undying gratitude! Note that the winner of my undying gratitude can swap that gratitude for a Boarding Area t-shirt, or a couple of Delta snack/drink vouchers if they prefer.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. How about DTW-SEA-LAX. Spend the evening and the return is LAX-DTW. MQM = 4860. It’s not cheap $480.00 but Platinum is worth it.

    • Chris: Nope, but thanks for the suggestion.
      Michael: Thanks! I was just sent an email suggestion that appears to be a bit better though: DTW-Atlanta-Sacramento-Atlanta-DTW. MQM = 5372. Cost: $300.80. Overnight stay in Sacramento.

      • See my suggestion below….it is about $17 more dollars BUT you don’t have to spend $$ on a hotel or waste time overnight in SMF!

  2. I’m close to platinum as well and I’m hoping for MQM’s for charitable donations! I’ve been platinum for 2 yrs.. It would be tough to go back to gold!

  3. I don’t see how the Sacramento booking would work on any dates for the price you were told. However, you could do DTW-ATL-ONT R/T on 11/30 for only $356 AND be back in the same day.

    • Kara: I’d love to see Delta repeat the MQMs for charitable donations offer, but I don’t know how likely that is. Let’s hope so! If they do, I’ll take advantage of it anyway since the MQMs would roll over to next year.

      Scott: Great suggestion! You’re now in the lead for winning undying gratitude!

      Mordy: I already have the Delta Platinum Business card and now the personal Delta Reserve. I tried to get the personal Platinum for the 5K MQM sign-on bonus but was told by Amex that I could only have one personal Platinum or Reserve and one business Platinum or Reserve. In other words, he said that I couldn’t get the personal Platinum because I already applied for the personal Reserve. I know people who have said that you can have more than one so I don’t know if Amex has changed their rules or if the person I spoke with was just wrong.

  4. You are kinda screwed because you live in a Delta hub…it would be hard to find a TRUE mileage run which generally should price out to be 3-4 cpm. However given that you have a set goal in mine it is o.k. to pay a higher cpm to be able to do it in one shot…

    Assuming you work during the week I would recommend:

    for $317 found on Kayak with a link to Delta.com:
    http://www.kayak.com/flights/DTW-SMF/2011-12-10/2011-12-10/f8d5fbe6deb2bcb4272aaec22d27ee7a4

    Basically leave on 12/10 at 12:05 pm from DTW to LAX
    4:25 pm from LAX to SMF

    6:15 pm from SMF back to LAX

    11:00 pm LAX to DTW red-eye

    There is a VERY short connection in SMF…BUT if you look in details you will see both flights are operated by SkyWest so I’d bet 98% sure that it is the same flight/plane there and back so you can’t “miss” the connection in SMF so to speak…

    Again this is a crappy mileage run but nets you:

    4946 MQMs for $317 which is all you need so you make Plat with just one more trip AND you don’t miss work during a work day…AND you don’t pay for hotel..AND you get to sleep in Saturday and be back by Sunday morning…

    If I were you that what I would do….

    • Note there are versions of this were you leave DTW earlier in the day and fly DTW-SLC and then SLC-SMF and then SMF-LAX and LAX-DTW

      This gets 4479 MQMs which is enough and you avoid one flight on a CRJ…BUT you then have a LONG layover in SMF.

      If you do a DTW-SLC-SMF-SLC-DTW routing you will NOT get enough MQMs… Again I would go with the DTW-LAX-SMF-LAX-DTW routing I give a link to above…

  5. A red-eye would not be my preferred route, which is why I included my original routing above to ONT. This way he can end up sleeping in his own bed at the end of the day.

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