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?