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, Southwest, and United. In this post I wanted to take a look at the program offered by Delta.

Delta SkyMiles status match as of November 2022

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 the status for a period of three months, if you want to keep the status beyond that you have to earn the following over the course of the trial period:

  • Silver: 6,250 MQM or 8 MQS AND 750 MQD or MQD waiver
  • Gold: 12,500 MQM or 15 MQS AND 1,500 MQD or MQD waiver
  • Platinum: 18,750 MQM or 25 MQS AND 2,250 MQD or MQD waiver

For context:

  • MQM stands for “Medallion Qualifying Miles,” and the amount you earn depends on the distance and fare class you fly
  • MQS stands for “Medallion Qualifying Segments,” referring to the number of segments flown
  • MQD stands for “Medallion Qualifying Dollars,” referring to the amount of eligible spending on flights
  • Only MQMs earned for travel on Delta and partner airlines qualifies towards this requirement, so MQMs earned through credit card spending don’t qualify
  • The MQD waiver applies if you make $25,000 or more in eligible purchases during the calendar year by the end of your three month trial with eligible co-branded Delta Amex cards

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), the amount of time you get to enjoy your status depends on when the challenge is started:

  • If you start a status challenge on June 30 or earlier, then status would be valid for the remainder of the year, and through January of the following year
  • If you start a status challenge on July 1 or later, then status would be valid for the remainder of the year, the entire following year, and through January of the year after that

Personally I’d recommend starting a Delta status challenge on July 1 or later, since your status would be valid for a significantly longer period of time. If you started a status challenge in July, it would be valid for roughly 19 months.

Time your Delta status challenge well to maximize value

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

Earn SkyMiles 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. American Express and Delta have a co-brand credit card portfolio, and these credit cards can help you greatly towards earning status. You could always use a status challenge to earn status now, and then in the future use credit cards to help you maintain status.

Let’s go over some of the ways to earn Delta status through credit card spending.

Delta Platinum Amex MQMs for spending

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (review) 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

If you spent $50,000 on either of these cards you’d earn 20,000 bonus MQMs.

Delta Reserve Amex MQMs for spending

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (review) 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

If you spent $120,000 on either of these cards you’d earn 60,000 bonus MQMs.

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 July 2022, the status would be valid through January 2024 (in conjunction with qualifying activity). Then in the second half of 2025 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.

If you are going to request a status match challenge, I’d generally recommend doing so in July or later, to maximize the amount of time you receive status. Furthermore, it’s pretty awesome that you an request a status challenge every three years.

Then again, in the long run many people won’t have trouble maintaining Delta status, given that it’s quite easy to earn with (significant) credit card spending.

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

Conversations (11)
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  1. timothyk Guest

    I was approved on May 17 for my challenge. Do I have 30 days even to complete the challenge or I do have time till August 30th

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ timothyk -- You have a period of three months from enrollment to complete the offer.

  2. Neil Eisner Guest

    Question - can you meet the entire MQD/MQM requirement during the trial period by earning all of those MQM/MQD's on partner airlines?

  3. Anthony Guest

    I just submitted a Status Match Request because they did not like my iPhone screenshots of my account and Apple Wallet AAdvantage card. The instructions explicitly state that a screenshot of your account activity and membership card would be sufficient. I resubmitted with a PDF of my AA Elite welcome email and a screenshot of my account page from a laptop browser.

  4. Sam Guest

    I just asked to match from AA PP to DL Plat. They declined because my proof of status wasn't good enough. I submitted a screenshot of my membership card & screenshot of my account activity. They said I can resubmit but I'm confused on exactly what they want. Any advice?

    1. AA2Delta Guest

      Me too, I resubmitted with another couple of screenshots of activity and asked for clarification, but I haven't heard back. If I hear back, I'll let you know.

    2. AA2Delta Guest

      I just had the same thing happen. I tried to resubmit with a few more screenshots of activity but I haven't heard back yet. If I hear back, I'll reply here. I asked them for clarification as well.

  5. George Romey Guest

    Thanks Ben this information is very helpful as this is something I'm considering and the July 1 date would conicide very nicely with my Admirals Club membership expiring 7/31.

    Wonder if others can opine. Since I'm AA EXP I would be requesting a status match to DL PLT. The 3 month requirements are very doable for me. Thoughts on (what's important to me). I'm MIA based so would be lots of connections into ATL.
    ...

    Thanks Ben this information is very helpful as this is something I'm considering and the July 1 date would conicide very nicely with my Admirals Club membership expiring 7/31.

    Wonder if others can opine. Since I'm AA EXP I would be requesting a status match to DL PLT. The 3 month requirements are very doable for me. Thoughts on (what's important to me). I'm MIA based so would be lots of connections into ATL.
    1. The SCs veruses the AA ACs. AC have become extraordinary crowded, there's no showers yet in the ACs (FL yes), the wifi is awful (because of the crowds), the bathrooms are digusting (becauase of the crowds) and it's difficult to take business calls (with partiers from Cancun drunk and shouting).
    2. The ability to upgrade on domestic flights. (Currently a low spend EXP).
    3. Delta Comfort-is anything else provided other than more legroom:free drinks, snacks, etc.
    4. Operational Efficiency: when things go wrong how good is DL at recovering?

    Honestly, I give high kudos to AA on how they continued to provide a certain of service in F during COVID (yes some FAs would tell you to go pound sand if you wanted even a cup of ice water) and didn't stoop to the "no middle seat" marketing ploy. But it seems as though AA is still using COVID for lower in flight service standards and the ACs have gotten to be not better than waiting at a crowded gate.

    1. Doug Guest

      Hi George. I’m curious, if you tried the status match and weren’t impressed, would you do enough flying to maintain your EX Platinum anyway? If so, go for it.
      I fly DL and I prefer them to AA (consistent IFE on domestic flights, somewhat better service, somewhat better IROPS handling, better app). Also, if you have a connection, ATL is a lot better than DFW or ORD.
      That said, I can’t swear that...

      Hi George. I’m curious, if you tried the status match and weren’t impressed, would you do enough flying to maintain your EX Platinum anyway? If so, go for it.
      I fly DL and I prefer them to AA (consistent IFE on domestic flights, somewhat better service, somewhat better IROPS handling, better app). Also, if you have a connection, ATL is a lot better than DFW or ORD.
      That said, I can’t swear that it’s so much better that it’s worth giving up a bunch of nonstop flights.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      1. SkyClub > AAdmirals Club. Showers are still closed due to Covid.
      2. DL PLT < EXP. Just guessing, since it's top tier vs 2nd top.
      3. Depending on route, C+ should be like MCE but gets F snacks + drinks.
      4. DL less often goes wrong, but unless you're Diamond, I'd say EXP is taken care better than DL Plats.

      But if nonstop is a thing for you, don't switch.
      ...

      1. SkyClub > AAdmirals Club. Showers are still closed due to Covid.
      2. DL PLT < EXP. Just guessing, since it's top tier vs 2nd top.
      3. Depending on route, C+ should be like MCE but gets F snacks + drinks.
      4. DL less often goes wrong, but unless you're Diamond, I'd say EXP is taken care better than DL Plats.

      But if nonstop is a thing for you, don't switch.
      You'll enjoy DL better but will soon realize the miles you earn are worth less or worthless.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ timothyk -- You have a period of three months from enrollment to complete the offer.

0
timothyk Guest

I was approved on May 17 for my challenge. Do I have 30 days even to complete the challenge or I do have time till August 30th

0
Neil Eisner Guest

Question - can you meet the entire MQD/MQM requirement during the trial period by earning all of those MQM/MQD's on partner airlines?

0
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