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Transfer Membership Rewards Points to Reach Delta Elite Status

Transfer Membership Rewards Points to Reach Delta Elite Status

American Express issues cards linked to its own Membership Rewards program, as well as the credit cards affiliated with Delta’s SkyMiles program. Which explains both the special relationship American Express enjoys with Delta, and the especially generous terms of this promotion for converting Membership Rewards points into Delta miles.

Offer Details

Through May 31, Delta SkyMiles members will earn a 50 percent bonus when transferring American Express Membership Rewards points into their accounts, plus 25,000 Medallion elite-qualifying miles for transferring 50,000 or more points.

The offer is only available to SkyMiles members who have never before made a transfer from Membership Rewards.

Membership Rewards points transfer 1:1 for Delta miles. As always, there’s a fee for transfers: $0.0006 per point, with a maximum fee of $99. So the fee to transfer 50,000 points—enough to earn the elite-mile bonus—would be $30.

Registration is required.

Deal or No Deal

If you’re a Delta partisan with Membership Rewards points to burn, the opportunity to add to your account balance at an accelerated rate shouldn’t be missed. And if you have enough Membership Rewards points to qualify for the elite bonus as well, that would make a good deal a great one.

The question for non-partisans concerns the value of Delta miles, which turns largely on the availability of awards. I still hear complaints about the lack of award seats in the lowest of Delta’s three award tiers. While such anecdotal reports fall short of hard evidence of a systemic problem, the element of uncertainty does call into question the value of miles earned in Delta’s program.

Reader Reality Check

Got Membership Rewards points? Want Delta miles?

More generally, how successful have you been in redeeming Delta miles for awards?

  • Chris Cooke

    I took advantage of a similar promotion in 2010. If I can do it again, I will. Having redeemed Delta SkyMiles for award travel many times, I concur that 25,000 mile awards are virtually impossible to obtain. But 40,000 mile awards are easy to get. Delta now allows elite members to upgrade on award travel. As a Platinum Medallion member, I’ve been upgraded many times while using an award seat.

    Delta’s gotten some bad reviews for customer service and award travel. That has not been my experience. As someone with a history of elite status on 7 airlines (some now out of business), I focused in on Delta years ago as the carrier best suited to my generally coast-to-coast travel from San Diego. For a San Diego resident, unless you’re usually flying to an other airline’s hub (Chicago, Denver, Newark, Houston), Delta is clearly the best choice.

    Chris Cooke
    San Diego

  • Marcos

    No question that the lowest levels do not exist for redeeming miles. however, Delta has improved service overall to elite memmbers.

  • Abe Grohman

    I called delta to find out if there was a maximum number of miles that they would bonus and there isn’t. I transferred several hundred thousand miles and the bonus miles as well as the Medallion miles appeared in my Delta account immediately.

  • Paula Parker

    Does this apply only if you have never transferred AMEX Membership rewards to ANY partner, or only if you have never transferred any miles to DELTA?

  • Vince

    Seems a good deal but it begs the question, what’s in it for Delta and American Express? Why add a %50 bonus? Any ideas?

  • Harry

    I have gotten awards on the lowest mileage tier from Tel Aviv to New York several times. The name of the game is to remember that there is nothing in this world for free. If you are willing to book travel fairly last minute and not be tied to very specific dates, you will usually find something at the low mileage level almost exactly when you want to travel. The best deal on this route is Business for 120,000 miles. Those are miles that could be sold for $1200. Where can you get a transcontinental Business class seat for $1200?

  • Sherry I


    Are you saying that you transferred 200,000 amex points and got 100,000 medallion miles immediately?
    (exact numbers don’t matter – just trying to understand the math – I assumed that 25,000 medallion miles was the max or I would have transferred more …)

  • Claude d’Esterno

    I just would like to comment on those remarks where fliers say they haven’t had any problems with booking award travel seats on Delta…that is a catagorical lie. Delta is simply the worst and stingiest airline you can deal with today. Even if you luck out and get a deal for award travel at the lowest level award, you will almost certainly be hit with the need to make one or two stops in very out of the way places….Delta is bad business for any traveller who simply wants what they paid for

  • Jeneene

    I transferred 200,000 amex points into skymiles. Now, here’s my stupid question. What do the elite points mean to me? I’ve never been elite on any airline so I really don’t know.

  • Chris Cooke

    During this promotion, Delta SkyMiles members get 25,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM) if they transfer 50,000 Membership Reward points to Delta. If you are a new member, or have less than 25,000 MQM, that means that you will automatically gain Silver Medallion status, and have the opportunity for complimentary upgrades as well as the other benefits (see for details).

    Despite the rhetoric about being a liar, I’ve booked award travel on Delta many times, although seldom at the lowest award level. My comment posted on 4/13/2011 provides more detail.

    I liked the tip about trying to get an award seat at the last minute. As a Platinum Medallion, I can book award travel and cancel with no penalty. I’m holding an award reservation that cost 40,000 miles. I’m going to see if a lower mileage award is available the day before I travel.

  • John Moore

    At least two posts seem to indicate that if you transfer more than 50,000 Reward Points to Skymiles, you get more than 25,000 MQM. I just spoke to Delta Customer Service and was told that irrespective of how many Reward points you transfer you only get a max of 25,000 MQM. Can someone verify from personal experience that transfer of 100,000 Reward points, for instance, will get me 50,000 MQM? Thanks in advance.

  • Sherry I

    I transferred 50,000 and got the silver elite status in a few days.

  • MORT

    I laugh when I read about these large bonus miles – 100,000 miles or so – it reminds me of pre-world war ll when Germany started to print more and more marks. Cartoons depicted people pushing wheelbarrows full of marks to a bakery to buy a loaf of bread. Here are some personal experiences: I called CO to book 2 business-first seats JFK-Tokyo. CO told me that there were no “award seats available” at the 150,000 mile level. They offered me (an elite member) 2 seats at 300,000 miles each. Double. I learned that there was only 1 seat booked in first, more than 30 seats were available for purchase.

    I called A/A (not an elite member) and booked 2 First class (Premier) seats at 150,000 miles each.

    Most of the times, seats are only available at the double miles award level. I’m looking for the bonus offers to reach 200,000 miles but then they will probably charge 500,000 miles for a first class ticket.

    From what I read, it’s the common thing.

    I recalled in the good old days, I used 25,000 miles for a TWA first class ticket from JFK to Europe. I RECEIVED A FREE COMPANION SEAT AS WELL.