Get 19 Months Of Delta Status If You Start A Challenge Now

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.

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 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.


Bottom line

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)


  1. Just got my challenge request approved, have some flights in Africa upcoming where I can choose between SAA (*A) and Kenya (Skyteam).

    However, they only matched my SAS Eurobonus Gold (*A Gold) to their SILVER Medallion status, without explaining why; no response to my follow-up mail. This doesn’t really give me an incentive to fly Skyteam due to limited silver benefits, so I don’t see a value in this match and will stick to *A where possible.

  2. Mate, if I had $220,000 to spend on credit cards, I’d just pay to fly business.

  3. Since I’m not interested in renewing my downgraded Platinum status with AA definitely going for this challenge … even if it only yields Delta Gold.

  4. I’m on the fence because I can’t tell if Gold is worth it. I buy C+ or F when I fly Delta and AFAIK Golds never get upgraded anyway. Is there any compelling reason to want Gold?

  5. Nick Farina, no.

    Now us loyal (captive) Delta medallions can lose an upgrade to a “challenger” who has been loyal to Delta for 15 minutes.

    Why no info on a AA or United challenge?

  6. Ugh. This reminds me of when Delta basically gave diamond status a couple years ago to anyone who lived in Seattle or worked for a Wall Street firm in New York. It flooded the ranks of diamonds, making upgrades more difficult.

  7. Another interesting and rather recent change: you can status match once every three years, rather than once in a lifetime like previously (and other programs):

    “Criteria for participation:
    – Member has not received a status match or complimentary Medallion Status in the past three years
    – Is currently not a Medallion Member
    – Must present both a valid, current elite credential and a statement showing earned elite status from another airline”

  8. Lucky, check your comment about not earning on Partner airlines and then the T&C’s you posted right underneath it…

  9. Agree with DiscoPapa Lucky:

    “and starting 09/28/16, may also be earned on partner airline flights that are eligible to earn MQMs and MQSs”

  10. I was under the impression that the T&C for the Amex cards changed this year so that you could not get the MQM’s from 4 cards.

  11. Anyone have experience on how long it generally takes to get a response on the submission of the challenge request?

    Have a trip coming up that would be good to use to meet the requirements and have submitted the information but no response as of yet.

  12. I pay for business could care less of “status” your being foooled anyway. Fact of the matter is on flights your gonna pay the price to sit in business anyway The way they do things now a days. And upgrades are almost non existent for silver and gold! So you will pay to sit up front regardless of status. Remember to even remotely qualify for a FC upgrade you must purchase the “K” fare or higher. So you will pay! And in the unlikely event you get upgraded for “free” Brovo!

  13. Hawk, I disagree. Been Platinum with Delta this year. I fly DEN – NYC- DEN on a regular basis. I get upgraded to 1st class about 95%+ of the time. Even when I fly with my wife, we usually both get upgraded as she inherits my status, no matter what ticket class I buy (except for basic economy, which is usually only $10-$50 less than regular main cabin). In addition I get to choose Economy+ seats when I buy the ticket.
    However this year I will likely only make Gold or Silver worst case, so I signed up for the United Challenge. I will need one mileage run to Asia and back to get the required PQM and will be Premier Platinum until January 2019. I may call Delta and see if they are willing to make me an offer to keep my status with them rather that to switch to UA.

    Margin, I can only speak for the UA challenge, I was approved 48h after I submitted but they say can take up to 7 business days.

  14. Margin,
    I submitted my Delta challenge 7/1/17 and received a response 7/8/17 stating my status will be effective beginning 7/9/17.

  15. Any idea if there is correspondence from DL if they decline your challenge? I submitted my stuff about 10 days ago and haven’t heard anything. Maybe the 4th of July holiday backed things up?

  16. Can I book now, status challenge in a month, and meet the challenge as long as the flights fall within my qualification period? Or do you have to book your flights once the start of your challenge has been confirmed?

  17. I noticed that one of the terms is that you can’t have current Medallion status. For those of us that get status outside of flying (i.e. Starwood Platinum giving lowly Delta status). Are we disqualified from the status challenge?

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