2017 may not have been the best year for me, but it was good for one thing - travel. I hit 2 travel milestones, which may not seem major to most of you, but it was for me. I made gold status at Marriott and Delta! I do travel quite a bit for work and in 2017 I took more personal trips that helped bump me up. I probably should have made gold at Marriott awhile ago, but sometimes we stay at other properties, so it took me a bit longer to qualify for the 50 nights to reach gold. Delta, however, I was not expecting to reach gold because of the MQD/card spend. I flew mostly JetBlue when I started traveling for work because of the swanky free Wi-Fi and "more space in coach." But they don't fly everywhere I often have to go, and I made the decision to exclusively fly Delta when possible. I applied for the Gold Delta American Express card at the end of 2016, but it was too late for that year to qualify. I don't know how I managed to get the card spend waiver in 2017, but somehow I did and in October when I checked, I was surprised to see I was roughly 22k MQMs away from gold! In the grand scheme of things, that's actually not that many.
I researched and learned about fare classes, how to earn the maximum MQMs, mileage runs, the whole shebang. I realized how little time I actually had to get the MQMs I needed. Granted I could have taken a trip to Asia and just qualified in one trip, but I didn't have the vacation days left from work to afford that. And quite honestly who wants to go to Asia and come back in one weekend? Not I! I wanted to squeeze in as many mileage runs as possible and keep my trips in the US so I wouldn't have to use my passport. I was nervous I would flag the system if I went international so many times. More so because when I go to Canada or the Caribbean, I always get pulled for extra screening, even with Global Entry. Go figure. I planned out 2 trips to visit friends and family, fare watched for a bit and booked 4 trips to get me 23k MQMs. The first 3 weekends in December I was at the airport and might as well have moved in. It was not fun doing 2 round-trip mileage runs in one weekend, but I leveled up without breaking the bank too much.
I'll see how the gold benefits treat me and pay better attention to my status for 2018.