If you hold elite status with an airline other than Delta, today is the day to begin a Delta Medallion status match challenge.
Once you match status and meet certain challenge thresholds for MQM (Medallion Qualification Miles) or MQS (Medallion Qualification Segments) and MQD (Medallion Qualification Dollar) spending, you’ll hold Delta status the rest of this year and all of next Medallion year — which ends on January 31, 2021!
But today is critical in the status match challenge calendar. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
What Are the Status Match Requirements?
There are three requirements to qualify for a status match challenge — and you must meet all of them.
- You have not received a Status Match or complimentary Medallion Status in the past three years, unless the complimentary Medallion Status was through your Million Miler Status.
- You currently have elite status with a qualifying airline that was earned through that airline’s published requirements (complimentary status or status earned through a promotion does not qualify)
- You are able to present both a valid, current elite credential and a statement showing your earned elite status
Which airlines match? Delta has a list here, although they note at the bottom “If you have status with an airline (excluding Delta airline partners) that is not listed above but meet the participation criteria, you can still submit your request to participate in the Status Match Challenge.”
Each status match level has its own challenges.
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The challenges must be met within a three month period beginning the day you’re granted temporary status.
What’s So Special About Today?
First, per Delta: “If you enroll in the challenge on or after July 1, 2019 and you complete the requirements, your Medallion Status will be extended through January 31, 2021.”
Obviously, you want to get started as soon and enjoy status as long as possible
The next reason is this:
MQMs can possibly be earned through flying or credit card spend — and massive Delta American Express card Welcome Offers expire tomorrow.
Why do I say “possibly”? Delta writes “Only MQMs, MQSs and MQDs earned through travel on Delta, Delta Connection, and SkyMiles Partner Airlines will count towards the challenge. MQMs/MQSs/MQDs earned through other sources, including but not limited to SkyMiles Credit Cards, do not count towards the challenge.”
BUT in years past, that hasn’t been the case. Delta has treated all MQM equally.
So if you apply today for, say, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express — either the Personal (learn more) or Business flavor (learn more) — and meet the card’s minimum spend requirement within the first three months, you’ll earn 5,000 MQM.
That’s almost the entire challenge for Silver (6,250 MQM), not quite half for Gold (12,500), and nearly a third for Platinum (18,750).
As for the rest of the MQM requirement, Delta Amex cardholders can Pay with (Sky)Miles and still earn MQM. So put some of those huge welcome bonus SkyMiles to work for you, and take a trip or two while earning status!
Remember you can hold both business and personal versions of the same credit card. You can also, for example, have a Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn more) and Delta Reserve American Express Card (learn more), meet the minimum spend on both, and combine them to meet the MQM requirement.
Again: we know what the wording says. But given that Delta has unofficially allowed it before, it might be worth a gamble.
How to Meet a Delta Status Match Challenge’s MQD Requirements
I can think of four ways to meet MQD requirements:
1. Pay cash for your Delta flights and charge them to your new Delta Amex card. A Welcome Bonus period is the only time I recommend charging airfare to a Delta card. The Platinum Card from American Express (learn more), Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Chase Sapphire Preferred are good options, too.
2. Have an American Express card earning Membership Rewards (MR)? Use MR points to pay some of or the entire fare when booking directly through Amex’s travel portal. Why? Delta registers those trips as paid tickets which earn MQD (and MQM and MQS).
3. If you can spend $25,000 on a Delta American Express card (or across multiple Delta Amexes during your three-month challenge, you’ll meet Delta’s MQD spend waiver for all Medallion levels except Diamond. Plus, Delta American Express Platinum Card (learn more) holders earn a bonus 10,000 MQM. Delta Reserve American Express Card holders (learn more) are still MQD exempt at $25,000 but must hit $30,000 for their bonus which is 15,000 MQM.
4. Fly Delta’s SkyTeam partners. You earn MQD when flying Delta’s SkyTeam partners and crediting the flights to your SkyMiles account. Flights sold by partner airlines earn MQD based on a percentage of distance flown as determined by the fare class a customer pays. For example, this now-expired first class mileage run on Aero Mexico cost $671 — but earned almost $2000 in MQD credit.
Anxious to book a SkyTeam elite mileage and MQD run now ? 😉 We post deals when we find them. You can also get in touch with our friend Adam, who is a mileage run master.
A Word About Partner Airlines
Qualifying status match flights must be marketed and booked as Delta trips.
In other words, if you want to fly Delta’s SkyTeam partner Virgin Atlantic from LAX to Heathrow and have that flight count towards your status match, do not buy it through Virgin Atlantic. Book it through Delta, where it will be ticketed as a Delta flight (ie Delta #9555) even though you’re physically flying something like Virgin #8.
Ready to Match Status?
As a few examples…
Hold status with American? Sick of delAAys and no seatback entertainment? AA Golds can match to Delta Silver, while AA Platinums can jump to Delta Gold.
Can’t deal with any more of United being United? UA Premier Silvers match to DL Silver, UA Premier Golds to DL Gold, and Premier Platinum, Platinum 1K, and Global Services can enjoy DL Platinum.
Even Southwest A-listers can get in on the fun! Imagine knowing ahead of time where you’ll sit — and being able to book a seat you actually like! You may even receive the occasional first class upgrade. Southwest A-List matches to Silver. A-List Preferred matched to Gold.
Will You Status Match Challenge — Or Have You Matched Before?
Elite status holders with other airlines: are you ready to join us Delta Medallions on the dark side? 😉 Why or why not?
Or if you’ve participated in a status match challenge, what was your experience? Any tips or advice you can share?
Tell us in the Comment section below! — Chris