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For Sale: Delta Elite-Qualifying Miles

For Sale: Delta Elite-Qualifying Miles

If you’re an elite member of Delta’s SkyMiles program, or would like to be, this offer merits consideration.

Offer Details

Through December 31, SkyMiles members may buy up to 10,000 elite-qualifying miles(EQMs). The purchased EQMs will post to members’ 2012 balances and apply toward 2013 Medallion status. The prices:

  • 2,500 EQMs for $395
  • 5,000 EQMs for $595
  • 7,500 EQMs for $795
  • 10,000 EQMs for $995

The EQMs count toward elite status only; they cannot be redeemed for free travel. Purchases are non-refundable.

Deal or No Deal

For those who travel often, the perks that come with elite status have considerable value. But is a bigger seat (maybe) and a less stressful trip worth paying at least 10 cents a miles for?

The alternative to buying them, for those who wouldn’t earn the required EQMs in the course of their normal travels, is a mileage run: a cheap, long flight taken solely for the purpose of earning status or upgrading from a lower to a higher elite tier.

So how does paying for EQMs stack up against a mileage run? Not too badly, actually.

To earn 5,000 EQMs, for example, would require a round-trip transcon flight. That probably can’t be done for much less than the $317.60 fare for a Los Angeles-New York Delta round-trip in early December.

Or you could buy the 5,000 EQMs for $595. A point in favor of the paid flight: You’d earn redeemable miles in addition to the EQMs.

But buying the EQMs saves you the time and hassle of actually making the flights. If elite status is a priority and you’d otherwise have to complete a mileage run to achieve it, buying the EQMs may well be a sensible alternative.

You’ll pay more, but it’s a premium worth paying.

Reader Reality Check

Did you earn your Delta elite status the old-fashioned way, by flying? How do you feel about making elite perks available to those who bought their status instead of earning it?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bat.guano.18 Bat Guano

    Not worth it. Unless you have Diamond status, upgrades are extremely rare. If you are making a purchase to get to Silver or Gold status, forget about upgrades.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bat.guano.18 Bat Guano

    Not worth it. Unless you have Diamond status, upgrades are extremely rare. If you are making a purchase to get to Silver or Gold status, forget about upgrades.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=532004803 Rob Dee

    Delta could start by recognising those of us at Flying Blue Platinum who have to fly more miles than a Diamond Card holder to get to this level … Delta only “see” us a Platinum to condemn us to the back of the line.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=532004803 Rob Dee

    Delta could start by recognising those of us at Flying Blue Platinum who have to fly more miles than a Diamond Card holder to get to this level … Delta only “see” us a Platinum to condemn us to the back of the line.  

  • Billy Farquar

    Don’t do it for the upgrades!  I am Platinum Elite and have been either Platinum Elite of Diamond for the last several years.  This year I have flown about 17 domestic sectors and have been upgraded just once.  I recall coming out of Atlanta one morning after a long international flight.  When I got to the gate I did not see my name on the upgrade list.  I asked the gate agent where I stood or if there had been an oversight and I was left off of the upgrade list.  I was number 43 on the list!  Between the million milers and the Diamonds I was 43 on the list to be upgraded! 

    Do not buy miles hoping to get upgrades!!

  • Billy Farquar

    Don’t do it for the upgrades!  I am Platinum Elite and have been either Platinum Elite of Diamond for the last several years.  This year I have flown about 17 domestic sectors and have been upgraded just once.  I recall coming out of Atlanta one morning after a long international flight.  When I got to the gate I did not see my name on the upgrade list.  I asked the gate agent where I stood or if there had been an oversight and I was left off of the upgrade list.  I was number 43 on the list!  Between the million milers and the Diamonds I was 43 on the list to be upgraded! 

    Do not buy miles hoping to get upgrades!!

  • http://twitter.com/SashaCrow Sasha Crow

    I dumped my Delta Skymiles account this year after 10 years because they kept upping the number of qualifying miles for travel. I gave my miles away and glad I did as I no longer get angry when I think about how I stuck to Delta, enduring many uncomfortable trips,  for my many international flights over those years only because I belonged to Skymiles. IMHO, unless you’re a frequent business-class traveler. No more Delta for me. I would rather take advantage of sale prices of other airlines or pay a bit more and enjoy more comfort. Free at last.

  • http://twitter.com/SashaCrow Sasha Crow

    I dumped my Delta Skymiles account this year after 10 years because they kept upping the number of qualifying miles for travel. I gave my miles away and glad I did as I no longer get angry when I think about how I stuck to Delta, enduring many uncomfortable trips,  for my many international flights over those years only because I belonged to Skymiles. IMHO, unless you’re a frequent business-class traveler. No more Delta for me. I would rather take advantage of sale prices of other airlines or pay a bit more and enjoy more comfort. Free at last.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593171342 Kathleen Clair

    Where is the link to this on delta?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593171342 Kathleen Clair

    Where is the link to this on delta?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.winship Tim Winship

     Kathleen – The link is in the story. It’s https://dn.delta.com/skymiles/purchasemqms/buy/landing

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.winship Tim Winship

     Kathleen – The link is in the story. It’s https://dn.delta.com/skymiles/purchasemqms/buy/landing

  • cjstoffel

    Don’t feel too bad people, I lapped Diamond MQM’s a few weeks ago (260,000) and I still only get upgraded about an 8th of the time. Even Diamond is worthless as far as I’m concerned. Look at it from the other side, you can’t call it elite status if you just give it out to everyone!

  • cjstoffel

    Don’t feel too bad people, I lapped Diamond MQM’s a few weeks ago (260,000) and I still only get upgraded about an 8th of the time. Even Diamond is worthless as far as I’m concerned. Look at it from the other side, you can’t call it elite status if you just give it out to everyone!