Delta Status Challenge: Why This Is The Perfect Time To Request One

Filed Under: Delta, Reward Programs
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Many airlines offer a status match or challenge, which is essentially a way for someone who is loyal to one 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.

Well, if you’re someone who is interested in earning status with Delta SkyMiles, now is the ideal time to request a status challenge.

Delta status challenges

While Delta SkyMiles doesn’t offer an outright status match, they do offer a status challenge. With these challenges, you’ll receive a certain status for a period of 90 days, and then you can requalify for status based on your activity over that period.

Who is eligible for a Delta status challenge?

Delta offers status challenges to Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion status. As a general rule of thumb they don’t offer status challenges to Diamond Medallion status.

Here are the challenges you’re eligible for depending on your status with another program:

Note that you’re not eligible for a status challenge if you’ve otherwise requested one in the past three years.

How much do you have to fly to requalify?

While Delta will give you the status for a period of 90 days, if you want to keep the status you have to earn the following over the course of 90 days:

  • Silver: 6,250 MQMs or 8 MQSs AND 750 MQDs or MQD waiver
  • Gold: 12,500 MQMs or 15 MQSs AND 1,500 MQDs or MQD waiver
  • Platinum: 18,7500 MQMs or 25 MQSs AND 2,250 MQDs or MQD waiver

Why now is the time to start a status challenge

If you start a status challenge on July 1 or later and complete it, then the status is valid for the remainder of the year, the entire following year, and through January of the year after that.

In other words, if you successfully completed the challenge, status would be valid through January 2021.

Meanwhile if you did a status challenge in June, the status would have only been valid through January 2020.

So if you started a challenge now, you’d get the status for 19 months.

Delta’s A220 first class

Status challenge terms to be aware of

There are some terms associated with Delta’s status challenge that you should be aware of, including the following:

  • Miles earned for travel on Delta and their partners qualify towards this requirement, so you don’t have to fly Delta; however, MQMs earned through credit cards don’t qualify towards this requirement
  • 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 tier as your matched status; in other words, if you sign-up for a Platinum challenge and complete the Silver requirements, you’d maintain Silver status
  • You won’t be issued a physical elite card until after you complete the challenge

Earning Delta status with Delta credit cards

While a status challenge is an ideal way to earn Delta status, requalifying for status might be easier than you think.

You can also largely earn Delta status through credit card spending, so this way you can get some status now, and then work on figuring out your requalification strategy for next year.

Delta Platinum Amex MQMs for spending

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card offer the following for ongoing spending:

  • Earn 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $25,000
  • Earn an additional 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $50,000
  • In 2021, you’ll earn an additional bonus 25% (2,500 MQMs) at each threshold for a total of 5,000 additional bonus MQMs

So in the end, if you spent $50,000 on either of these cards you’d earn 20,000 bonus MQMs (25,000 in 2021).

Delta Reserve Amex MQMs for spending

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card offer the following for ongoing spending:

  • Earn 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $30,000
  • Earn an additional 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $60,000
  • Earn an additional 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $90,000
  • Earn an additional 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $120,000
  • In 2021, you’ll earn an additional bonus 25% (3,750 MQMs) at each threshold, for a total of 15,000 additional bonus MQMs.

So in the end, if you spent $120,000 on either of these cards you’d earn 60,000 bonus MQMs (75,000 bonus MQMs in 2021).

Delta’s A350 business class

Delta Status Challenge Summary

If you are considering a switch to Delta, this is the ideal time to start a status challenge, since you’d get 19 months out of the status if you complete the challenge. In the future, requalifying for status with Delta shouldn’t be too difficult, especially in conjunction with credit card spending.

Anyone considering a Delta status challenge now that you can get status for a full 19 months?

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  1. Haha, I had this marked in my phone calendar for the last month. I’m AAdvantage Platinum and wanted to try something new so booked flights on the KLM 789 and Delta A350, excited to try the new Delta One Suite! This one itinerary should be enough to get me Gold status with Delta it seems!! Although, I haven’t applied yet, but is this open to residents of other countries? (I’m in Ireland) Alaska Mileage Plan turned me down last year because I’m not a US resident for their status match challenge.

  2. Delta issues a physical elite card for Platinum and Diamond only. No physical card is issued for Silver or Gold Medallion.

  3. And also, if you don’t have any status at all, here’s what you need to do:
    on eBay, various sellers are selling DL status match, for around 130USD.
    You complete it.
    Then you can match it to Alaska MVP Gold, with instant match.
    And then match it to Turkish, (you have to fly 1 international segment) for one year of Elite status.
    So you will have SkyTeam Elite Plus, Star Alliance Gold, and Alaska MVP Gold status.
    You won’t have One World status, but instead you have Alaska (American, British, Qantas are partners), but with Alaska, you have partner benefits on Emirates..

    If you register your Delta account with a fake European address, then you get MQD vaiwer. (you can even add a hotel’s address, where you frequently travel, so you could pick up your bragtags and platinum card there).

    For as low as spending 600 USD, you can have all three of these statuses, from scratch. (two US/EU returns are covering the 17.500MQMs, for DL platinum and also you will need one TK international segment, which can be an Athens-Istanbul, or any cheap stuffs within Europe), and Alaska will just give you status for free.

  4. If I earn MQM and/or the credit card waiver during the 90 days, does it count towards the challenge’s requirements?

  5. I am Norwegian and travel mostly to the US. Have top tier (diamond) status with SAS (90k miles/90 legs) which I overqualify for by a lot without there being any rollover. I would certainly be interested in doing some flights on DL and KLM if I could get a proper status with Delta.

    If Delta would match SAS Diamond to Platinum tier (unsure of that) I am curious how much effort it would take to complete the challenge. Is there any way to get a MQD waiver living in Europe? If no, is it possible to find a route for around $2500 which would earn enough MQMs in one go? I am quite booked up through the end of november, but should be able to squeeze in a 2-3 day leisure trip to somewhere.

  6. I already have my flights booked to qualify, my last flight to qualify isn’t until October 4th so in a few days I am submitting mine and going to try to leave American for a while, or at least have another good option. Hoping for minimal ATL weather delays this summer with all these connections to look forward too…

  7. I am BA gold and thinking about doing this. Based in the UK. I don’t think there are any credit cards I can get to earn MQM’s? What would be an example amount of flying I would need to do to complete the Delta Platinum challenge?

  8. @Ole

    no, you can’t match SAS to Delta. its not a qualifying airline for them.
    But like i wrote before: if you have an address in Europe, you automatically get an MQD waiver. You will only have to earn MQMs/MQSs.
    Even though you can’t match your SAS status, you can search on eBay for Delta platinum status match, and that way you can enroll in the program, by paying around 130USD. AF/KL is always very cheap from Scandinavia, so you will easily meet the requirements.

  9. @Braiden A JFK-LHR round-trip in Economy would get you 7k MQM’s. So either 2 such round-trips and a couple of DL domestic or AF/KL round-trips would do the job.

  10. Can you clarify if you have to be a new skymiles member to qualify for a status match? I look at doing this before but I found information saying that I wasn’t eligible since I have been a skymiles member for years

  11. Do you know what Westjet Gold would match to? It doesn’t even show WS as an option on your chart. Since they are partners WS status must still qualify for matching to DL?

  12. Do flights on partner airlines need to be booked through Delta or can we purchase direct with that airline or through a consolidator? Thanks

  13. I just signed up for the Silver challenge due to my status match, but it looks like I’ll actually qualify for Platinum over the next 90 days.

    I know that if you start a Platinum challenge, but only earn Silver, that you downgrade to Silver. But, is the opposite true? If I start a Silver Challenge, but meet the quals for Platinum, will I get it?

    Thanks, all! 🙂

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