Many airlines offer a status match or challenge, which is essentially a way for someone who is loyal to one loyalty program to switch their business to a competitor without having to start from scratch. In many cases these offers are “once in a lifetime,” so you’ll want to choose carefully. The terms also vary greatly by program — some programs will outright match you with no strings attached, while others require you to fly a certain amount in a certain period of time to maintain your status.
Delta status challenge details
Delta SkyMiles doesn’t offer an outright status match, but rather offers a status challenge. The status you’re eligible for depends on your status with a competitor, as follows:
As you can see, they don’t offer any challenges for their top tier Diamond status, but they do offer challenges up to Platinum status, which is their 75,000 mile per year status level.
Once you submit a request, you’ll be given the status for 90 days, so you can complete a challenge during that period. In order to maintain that status, you need to earn the following number of Medallion Qualifying Miles or Medallion Qualifying Segments during the 90 day period (which corresponds to a quarter of the annual status requirement, since that’s roughly what 90 days is equal to):
Why you should request a Delta status challenge soon
So why is this a better time to match than usual? Because if you request and complete a Delta challenge starting July 1, 2016, your status will be valid through January 31, 2018. That means you get a full 19 months of status upon completing the challenge.
Meanwhile if you had requested and completed a challenge before today (in the first half of the year), your status would have only been valid through January 31, 2017.
This way you could earn the 6,250-18,750 MQMs in the next 90 days, and then would only have to think about requalifying starting next year.
There are some terms associated with the offer, though, like that all MQMs towards the challenge need to be earned through Delta flying (as opposed to travel on partner airlines), and you don’t earn bonus redeemable Medallion miles until you complete the challenge:
- Only MQMs and MQSs earned on Delta- and Delta Connection-operated flights will count towards this challenge.
- A physical Medallion membership card will not be issued for the 90-day qualification period. You can access your Membership Card through the Fly Delta app. During the 90-day period, you will not have access to all reciprocal Medallion benefits with Delta’s partner airlines, including access to SkyTeam® lounges.
- Members who are matched to Platinum Medallion status will not be eligible for Choice Benefits until the flight requirement to maintain Platinum Medallion status is met.
- Through this offer, you may maintain the same or lower Medallion status level as your matched status. For example, if you are matched to Silver Medallion status, you will not be able to earn Gold Medallion status through this offer.
- Members enrolled in the 90-day status match challenge are not eligible for Medallion mileage bonus until they meet the flight requirement.
- Medallion status match is only offered for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion levels.
Requalifying for Delta status might be easier than you think
Keep in mind that you can also largely earn Delta status through credit card spend, so this way you can get some status now, and then work on figuring out your requalification strategy for next year.
I’m still going back and forth on what to do. Obviously I’m not pleased about the changes to American AAdvantage, and with the changes I feel like AAdvantage is no longer significantly better than SkyMiles. Delta unarguably runs a better airline than American, so it’s tempting to switch, or at least explore the dark side.
This is certainly a time where a lot of people are reconsidering their airline loyalty, so it’s at least worth being aware of what Delta is offering. If you’re considering a Delta status challenge, now is the ideal time to do so, as you’ll get a full 19 months of status if you complete a challenge.
I’m tempted, especially since one of my most flown routes is between Tampa and Los Angeles, a market which Delta serves best.
Anyone considering a Delta status challenge now that you can get status for a full 19 months?
(Tip of the hat to Rene’s Points)