Guide To Delta Air Lines Status Match & Challenge

Guide To Delta Air Lines Status Match & Challenge

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It’s common for airlines to offer some sort of status challenge or status match program, in order to lure frequent flyers who are loyal to competing airlines, but are considering a switch. In the United States, most major airlines offer some sort of a status match challenge opportunity, including Alaska, American, Southwest, and United.

In this post I wanted to take a look at the program offered by Delta, now that it’s 2024, and Delta has launched a new offer, as flagged by Frequent Miler. Delta SkyMiles has made some changes to the Medallion program as of this year, and the current status challenge offer reflects that. The status challenge program is also more lucrative than in the past in terms of how long status is valid.

Delta SkyMiles status match as of February 2024

Delta SkyMiles has a published status match challenge program. With this, you can have your status matched for a period of three months, and then your status can be extended based on qualifying activity within that trial period. As it stands, Delta is offering this program in order to earn Silver, Gold, or Platinum status (it’s not available for Diamond or Delta 360 status).

Delta SkyMiles offers a status match challenge program

What status will Delta match?

Delta SkyMiles has a very open-ended status match challenge program, open not just to elite members of other US airlines, but also to elite members of all kinds of international programs. Delta SkyMiles will match status from the following programs:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Alaska Mileage Plan
  • All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
  • American AAdvantage
  • Asiana Club
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Copa ConnectMiles
  • Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Lufthansa Miles & More
  • South African Airways Voyager
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus

If you have status with other airlines not on the list (excluding Delta airline partners), you can still submit your request to participate in the challenge. Elite tiers generally map over as you’d expect, with lowest tier status matching to Silver, mid-tier status matching to Gold, and higher status tiers matching to Platinum. Find the full breakdown here.

Once successfully enrolled in a Delta SkyMiles status match challenge, your status will be valid for three months, and then you can maintain that status with further qualifying activity.

Delta will match status from all kinds of airlines

How do you maintain Delta status?

While Delta will give you Medallion status for a period of three months, if you want to keep the status beyond that, you have to earn a certain number of Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) over the course of the trial period. Specifically:

  • Silver Medallion status requires earning 1,250 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion status requires earning 2,500 MQDs
  • Platinum Medallion status requires earning 3,750 MQDs
Delta SkyMiles status challenge requirements

What activity counts toward the MQD requirement? There are two primary ways to earn MQDs:

  • You can earn MQDs for flying, as you earn one MQD for every eligible dollar spent on airfare
  • You can earn MQDs for credit card spending — you earn one MQD per $10 of purchases on the Delta Reserve Card (personal or business), and you earn one MQD per $20 of purchases on the Delta Platinum Card (personal or business)

This means that $37,500 of credit card spending on the Delta Reserve would complete the requirements of the Platinum Medallion status challenge.

There’s one other interesting wrinkle here. With the Delta status match challenge, you can maintain the same or lower status tier to what you matched. In other words:

  • If you start a Delta Platinum status challenge but only complete the challenge requirement for Silver status, you’d receive Silver status for a longer period
  • The opposite isn’t true, which is to say that if you start a Delta Silver status challenge and complete the challenge requirements for Platinum status, you’d still only receive Silver status

How long is matched Delta status valid for?

If you successfully complete the Delta status challenge (beyond the initial three month trial), then status will be valid for the entire remainder of the current year, plus the entire following year, plus through the end of January of the year after that.

This means that if you completed a status challenge any time in 2024, it would be valid through January 31, 2026. If timed right, completing a status challenge could get you status for up to two years, give or take.

Matched Delta status can be valid up to two years

How do you request a Delta status challenge?

You can start the process of requesting a Delta status match challenge at this link. A few things to note:

  • Your status challenge is for a period of three months, though it doesn’t have to line up with calendar months, so you can start it at any time
  • The status challenge starts within 24 hours of receiving confirmation of being approved
  • Once you successfully complete a status challenge, your account will be upgraded with the extended status within a period of five days
  • Members who are matched to Platinum status will not be eligible for Choice Benefits until the flight requirement to maintain Platinum status is met
  • You won’t be issued a physical elite card until after you complete the challenge
  • Status challenges aren’t “once in a lifetime,” but rather you’re not eligible if you’ve otherwise requested a status challenge in the past three years
Delta status challenges aren’t “once in a lifetime”

What are the benefits of Delta elite status?

What are Delta SkyMiles status perks like?

Some of the most popular benefits of Silver Medallion status include:

  • Complimentary upgrades in most domestic markets
  • Complimentary Comfort+ seating at time of check-in
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • One complimentary checked bag
  • A 40% mileage bonus (7x miles per dollar spent)

Some of the most popular benefits of Gold Medallion status include:

  • Complimentary upgrades in most domestic markets
  • Complimentary Comfort+ seating three days before departure
  • Priority check-in, boarding, and security
  • Two complimentary checked bags
  • A 60% mileage bonus (8x miles per dollar spent)
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus status

Some of the most popular benefits of Platinum Medallion status include:

  • Complimentary upgrades in most domestic markets
  • Complimentary Comfort+ seating at time of booking
  • Priority check-in, boarding, and security
  • Three complimentary checked bags
  • An 80% mileage bonus (9x miles per dollar spent)
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus status

Upgrades are arguably the most valuable benefit, and those are prioritized by status. The higher your status, the better the odds of those clearing. It’s important to be realistic — don’t expect that you’ll be seeing too many upgrades as a Silver Medallion member, for example.

Receive Comfort+ seating as a Delta elite member

Is a Delta status challenge worth it?

Delta’s status match challenge program is pretty average on the surface — you can earn the three entry level elite tiers, you receive status for three months, and then you can extend that status with qualifying activity.

I do think one noteworthy feature of Delta’s program is that you can request a status match challenge once every three years. In other words, if you requested a status match challenge in early 2024, the status would be valid through January 2026 (in conjunction with qualifying activity). Then in 2027 you could request another challenge.

It’s possible the rules will change over time, though Delta’s status challenge is among the more readily available in that sense. So taking part in a challenge once doesn’t really prevent you from doing so in the future. For someone who flies Delta occasionally, that aspect of the program is pretty cool.

Delta allows a status challenge every three years

Bottom line

Delta SkyMiles offers a Medallion status match challenge program. With this, you can have your status matched for a period of three months, and then your status can be renewed with qualifying activity. This is only available up to the Platinum tier, though.

Regardless of what time of year you request a challenge, a successful challenge would get you status for the entire following year, which is awesome. Furthermore, you can request a status challenge every three years. You can even satisfy the challenge requirements with credit card spending.

Have any OMAAT readers taken part in a Delta status challenge? If so, what was your experience like?

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  1. JC Guest

    Has anyone actually been accepted to this? Applied right when it opened and haven't heard back.

    AA EP I guess going for Delta Platinum. Thought it was a pretty quick turnaround so I moved all my flights this week to Delta which I'm hoping I don't regret it. Would hate to keep my seats in the peanut gallery when I could be sitting up front elsewhere.

  2. zz Guest

    will the MQD boost from Reserve count toward fulfilling the requirement?

    1. Dubz Guest

      No, per the Frequent Miler write-up, those (also the Platinum) specifically don't count.

    2. Captain Bo Guest

      MQD Boost counts. MQD Headstart does not.

    3. Dubz Guest

      Not in the Delta ecosystem, so apologies if I am misunderstanding.

      I had assumed the boost was the MQD headstart.

      But the status boost associated with the reserve went away this year, yes? So the applicable boost we are now referring to is just the everyday spend?

  3. ORD_Is_My_Second_Home Member

    It's an insult to me that I can only exchange my MileagePlus 1K status for Platinum. I'm at the highest level of published status. I want to experience the highest level of published status if I match. So I want Diamond out of this, not mere Platinum. Besides, Diamonds are the only people treated with any respect by Delta FAs, who treat everyone else with contempt.

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JC Guest

Has anyone actually been accepted to this? Applied right when it opened and haven't heard back. AA EP I guess going for Delta Platinum. Thought it was a pretty quick turnaround so I moved all my flights this week to Delta which I'm hoping I don't regret it. Would hate to keep my seats in the peanut gallery when I could be sitting up front elsewhere.

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Dubz Guest

Not in the Delta ecosystem, so apologies if I am misunderstanding. I had assumed the boost was the MQD headstart. But the status boost associated with the reserve went away this year, yes? So the applicable boost we are now referring to is just the everyday spend?

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Captain Bo Guest

MQD Boost counts. MQD Headstart does not.

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