Now Is The Perfect Time To Request A Delta Status Challenge

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Update: These offers for the Delta SkyMiles® Credit Cards are expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

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:

Delta-Status-Match

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):

Delta-Status-Match 2

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.

Delta-One-London - 3

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. The following cards offer miles towards elite qualification:

  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express ($195 annual fee)
    • sign-up bonus MQMs: earn 10,000 MQMs after spending $2,000 within three months
    • annual bonus MQMs: earn 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $25,000, further 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $50,000
    • annual bonus redeemable miles: earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25,000, further 10,000 bonus miles after spending $50,000
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express ($450 annual fee)
    • sign-up bonus MQMs: earn 10,000 MQMs after first purchase
    • annual bonus MQMs: earn 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $30,000, further 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $60,000
    • annual bonus redeemable miles: earn 15,000 bonus miles after spending $30,000, further 15,000 bonus miles after spending $60,000
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card From American Express ($195 annual fee)
    • sign-up bonus MQMs: earn 10,000 MQMs after spending $2,000 within three months
    • annual bonus MQMs: earn 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $25,000, further 10,000 bonus MQMs after spending $50,000
    • annual bonus redeemable miles: earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25,000, further 10,000 bonus miles after spending $50,000
  • Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card ($450 annual fee)
    • sign-up bonus MQMs: earn 10,000 MQMs after first purchase
    • annual bonus MQMs: earn 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $30,000, further 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $60,000
    • annual bonus redeemable miles: earn 15,000 bonus miles after spending $30,000, further 15,000 bonus miles after spending $60,000

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.

Delta-First-Class

Bottom line

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)

Regarding Comments: 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.

Comments

  1. Just started a challenge with Air Canada. I have Platinum (75K) on BOTH Delta and United, but AC refuses to allow me to get to the same level – they will only allow me to reach 50K status by flying 18,500 miles (the same as the other airlines require for 75K) within 3 months.

    AC sure now how to NOT win business.

  2. In practice, AmEx MQMs *may* count. I challenged to PM at the start of the year and got the “congrats” e-mail, Choice benefits, and physical credentials a week before the flights that would have put me over the top, due to AmEx Reserve signup MQMs posting. As always, YMMV.

  3. Come on Lucky, take the plunge and make the switch. You won’t regret it 😉

    DL is superior to AA in almost every measure. With the destruction of AAdvantage, the last compelling reason to stay is now gone.

  4. If there were some really good deals out there to earn this many MQMs on Delta metal, I would seriously consider it, especially since it looks like I won’t qualify for EXP next year on AA.

  5. I was considering making the switch, but as a mid-tier status (Gold) holder with United, I just don’t think switching to Delta is worth it. Recently, and for the first time ever, I seriously looked into making the switch from United to Delta. But when I compared United Gold to Delta Gold, it looked like it would be a serious demotion. I’m a tall person, and what I value most about United Gold is booking economy plus seats when making my reservation. But I was surprised to see with Delta Gold, you have to REQUEST an “upgrade” to their economy comfort+ seats, and that these don’t even clear until a few days prior to the flight. Their whole rebranding of economy comfort+ as a premium economy–even though it pales in comparison to most international premium economy cabins–makes me nervous, and is enough that I won’t ultimately switch.

    In fact, Lucky, it might be really useful and cool to do a post along the lines of “Best Frequent Flyer Program For Mid-Tier Flyers.” For those of us who fly around 50k to75k miles per year (which I imagine is lots of your readership!), what do you think is the most beneficial program?

  6. Of course then you have to fly Delta

    Let us not forget that Delta has led the charge on destroying frequent flier programs.

  7. I was planning to start my challenge in mid-September because so that I can qualify on the trips that I would have previously flown AA. I am looking forward to the change very much, after 15 years of AA loyalty I have only one trip left on AA, everything going forward is a combination of JetBlue and Delta. With the trips I have planned through the rest of the year I can reach Delta Platinum, BA Silver and JetBlue Mosaic for 2017 – rather than AA EXP. The last straw for me was my trip to Europe 2 weeks ago on AA in business: cradle seats 2×2, no outlets, tablets with limited movies for IFE, re-routed through ORD and PHL due to mechanical problems, and the gross catering. With Delta and JetBlue I can pay for exactly the service I want – First/Mint or Comfort+/MoreSpace, I’ll never need to worry about upgrades again.

    I am sure AA doesn’t care though, their new revenue based earning program and the gelatinous white ravioli they are serving in First are sure to juice the revenue numbers for 2017. Dougie’s got it all figured out, the high rollers can’t wait to get on those legacy USAirways planes and connect through CLT and PHL.

  8. @QR I agree with you completely. I am also a United Gold member looking to make the switch, and as a Seattle resident, have been intrigued by a growing Delta presence. Also, as a govt contractor, I am subject to the Fly America Act so smaller carriers without US codeshare fares available have little appeal to me. I’d also love to see more information provided on mid-tier status as I don’t fly enough to reach the top tiers on any of the majors.

  9. @NoviceFlyer @Mark–I received an e-mail inviting me to a 90-day United Status match late last year (my Aadvantage Platinum matched to United Gold). I didn’t requalify, but having United Gold for 90 days was nice. Don’t know if United will do a status match upon request, but based on personal experience, they definitely do status matches.

  10. I booked a business class in June for a trip to Europe in August. Delta flight numbers, Delta metal outbound, Air France inbound. If I apply for the match now:

    1) Can I get credit despite booking prior to applying for the match?

    2) Will I get MQM credit for the inbound flight on Air France metal (but a Delta ticket)?

  11. Lucky, do you know if MQMs earned via Partner-coded-Delta-operated flights count toward the challenge? Looking from the rule it should be (it says “operated by”), but from past experience those code-shared flights do post into Skymiles as their marketed flight time. So in practice any data point for that?
    Thanks a lot!

  12. Rene’s post says that he has had reports from readers that have said the MQMs from the credit card, but YMMV.

  13. Love this part…

    “and you don’t earn bonus redeemable Medallion miles until you complete the challenge:”…

    Yeah, you don’t get S&H Green Stamps, either, but they are equally as worthless as SkyDrachma on DL.

  14. Luv the drama of the once FAAnboy flying that on-time machine. Can’t wait for what he has to say

  15. If I start this challenge, will I have access to lounges on international flights? This is one of the main reasons that I want to do it, but I am not sure with the fine print what exactly that means…

  16. If i request a Delta match to my United Silver status, it says I have to earn 6750 MQM. Can I apply for the Platinum Delta AMEX card and use the 5000 MQM bonus towards that status match challenge of 6750?

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