Macho Pichu is a place on many people’s bucket lists , “The Lost City of the Incas” is a spectacular heritage site located close to Cusco in Peru and is visited by tens of thousands every year. If this is on your list - you may like to know that booking just one round-trip in business class, almost earns you Delta Medallion Silver status for the following year and the remainder of the current year. But how?
To gain status with Delta involves two challenges 1.) to fly a certain number of miles and 2.) to spend a certain amount of money. If you are starting from scratch this means you need to fly 25,000 miles (MQMs) and spend $3,000 (MQDs) in a calendar year to qualify for Silver status. These requirements increase as you look to Gold, Platinum and Diamond and will involve a lot of flying and money. But if you can get Silver in one go why wouldn’t you? It comes with the occasional upgrade to First, lots to Comfort+, free bags and the like. More importantly how do you get it without flying all those miles and spending 3K?
Delta has various airline partners around the world each with their own award charts and subtle differences to make it complicated for customers as is the norm. The one we are interested today is Aeromexico. The difference with Aeromexico is that the spend requirement (MQD) is calculated differently. It is based on a percentage of distance traveled rather than the price of the ticket. In other words you find a cheap ticket you will get rewarded like you used to in the olden days by sitting in a seat!!!
But back to stunning Macho Pichu to get to Cusco you generally need to stop in Lima, the capital of Peru, one of the stops on Aeromexico's route map out of Mexico City. The next thing you need to do is find a fare that works. Currently it is pricing at around $600 each way from New York or Chicago but often drops into the $300-$400 range each way in business class. So if you see an $800 round trip you are getting a pretty good deal as the trip is close to 5,000 miles each way from those cities. Ok but where does the Silver Status come from?
Here’s where it gets interesting. The distance from New York to Lima via Mexico City is 4,719 miles, so a round trip will clock up 9,432 miles. Seeing as you are in business class (hopefully on a new 787 Dreamliner lying in a flat bed) you will earn double miles traveled (MQMs) so a total of 18,864 towards your 25,000 target and 40% of the miles traveled in dollars needed (MQDs) so $3,773 towards your target of $3,000 for a fare of approx $800. Bingo the most difficult element of achieving status has been achieved without spending 3K on Delta.
You need to be careful to book this through Aeromexico and not Delta to get these earnings and make sure you aren’t on Delta metal (a route through ATL is a big giveaway there). But then enjoy the longer legs may be on the new Dreamliner with the MEX-LIM likely to be on 737-800s but being up the front you will be getting full meal service, drinks etc. and of course lounge access on the ground. But take it easy on the vodka sodas you need to take the altitude factor into account when you get to Macho Pichu.