Well, it finally happened. I’ve finally sorta kinda taken the first step to switching to the dark side. Last week I wrote about how I was considering a status challenge with Delta, after years of being loyal to American AAdvantage.
American has made cut after cut after cut after cut after cut after cut after cut to their loyalty program, to the point that the program no longer has a competitive advantage. When you take out the competitive advantage of the loyalty program you have to consider the airline on its own merits, and unfortunately for American, Delta is a significantly better airline operationally.
I’m not making a full switch to Delta (yet), though I’m testing the waters more than before. While Delta doesn’t offer a status match to their top tier Diamond status, they do offer a status challenge program, which I wrote about in July.
As an Executive Platinum member I would be eligible for that challenge. I’d get the status upfront (with some restrictions), and then I’d have to earn 18,750 MQMs or 25 MQSs within three months to maintain my status through January 2019.
Partner airline travel qualifies towards the challenge nowadays. I have an upcoming trip in Xiamen Air business class to Chengdu, so I’ll be flying from Los Angeles to Xiamen to Chengdu and back, which will earn me nearly 11,600 MQMs. That means I just need to earn an additional ~7,000 MQMs within 90 days to earn Platinum status through January 2019.
Xiamen Air’s 787 business class
So a week ago today I submitted my status challenge request, and this morning I logged into my SkyMiles account to see that I’m now a Platinum Medallion member.
There’s something really exciting to me about this. I’ve been in the same hamster wheel for so long, and while I’m probably just getting myself into a new hamster wheel, at least it’s a new program for me to learn.
I still haven’t fully decided about my long term plan here. What I know is that I’ll complete the challenge, and then next year I can decide how loyal I want to be do Delta. The good news is that credit card spend can get you a long way towards Delta status, so I won’t have to fly anywhere close to 75,000 miles to requalify for Platinum status. Or if I go for Diamond status, I won’t actually have to fly 125,000 miles. I’m still trying to decide where status with Delta fits into my overall miles & points strategy, especially given that I’m going to requalify for Executive Platinum status with American.
Ine thing I’m excited about with going for Delta status is that I can book discounted business class tickets on Garuda Indonesia, Vietnam Airlines, etc., in order to requalify for status, which will make for some new reviews.
For now I can take it slow.
Anyone else starting a Delta status challenge and testing the waters?