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:
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):
Why you should request a Delta status challenge soon
Why is this a better time than usual to match? Because if you request and complete a Delta challenge starting July 1, 2017 (today), your status will be valid through January 31, 2019. 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, 2018.
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 miles on account of your status until you complete the challenge:
- MQMs and MQSs earned on Delta- and Delta Connection-operated flights will count towards this challenge, and starting 09/28/16, may also be earned on partner airline flights that are eligible to earn MQMs and MQSs. Visit Partner Airlines to learn more about what flights qualify. Eligible partner airline activity prior to 09/28/16 will be retroactively credited and apply to any active challenges.
- A physical Medallion Membership Card will not be issued for the 3 month qualification period. You can access your Membership Card through the Fly Delta app. During the 3 month 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 Tier 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.
- Medallion Status Match is only offered for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion Tiers.
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 Personal & Business Card ($195 annual fee)
- sign-up bonus MQMs: earn 10,000 MQMs after completing minimum spend
- 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 Personal & Business 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
While I don’t suggest one necessarily do this, in theory if you had all four cards you could earn 100,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles per year for $220,000 worth of spend.
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.
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)