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Editor's note: Big changes are coming to Delta's SkyMiles program in 2024, including how members can earn elite status. The carrier will also be cutting back Sky Club lounge access. Read more on these upcoming changes here.
If you have airline elite status, you may be eligible for a status match on another airline. Specifically, Delta Air Lines is allowing loyalists of competing carriers to test Delta’s waters — or skies, shall we say — by offering Medallion status to those who carry non-SkyTeam elite status.
With a Delta status match, you’ll get complimentary equivalent Medallion status for three months and you can extend the status after meeting certain requirements during the three-month grace period.
Here are seven things you need to know before applying for a Delta status match.
How to status match with Delta
1. You need elite status with another airline to participate
The principal eligibility requirement for a Delta status match is to have elite status in a loyalty program with one of 15 non-SkyTeam carriers.
For U.S. domestic airlines, these are:
For international carriers, these are:
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club.
South African Airways Voyager.
Virgin Australia Velocity.
Elite status with these programs must be earned through the airline’s published requirements. Note: status earned through promotions or other status matches don’t count.
Delta will match valid status with these 15 airlines to its equivalent Silver, Gold or Platinum Medallion status.
» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews
2. You're only eligible once every 3 years
The Delta status match is valid for those who’ve never participated in the match prior, or if more than three years have passed since a prior status match, promotional Medallion status or complimentary Medallion status.
3. Applying for a status match is easy, but be ready to participate
Applying for a status match with Delta is quick and simple. On the enrollment page, simply enter:
Delta SkyMiles number.
The airline in which you currently hold elite status and what that status is.
Two current elite credentials. These credentials include a screenshot or image of your elite card — physical or digital — and a monthly statement from the airline proving elite-qualifying activity.
After enrolling, be ready to travel with Delta. You have a period of three months to fulfill a match challenge (more on this in #5). This begins immediately upon being approved through email.
4. Status matches last a minimum of 3 months
Once approved for the status match, you’ll have equivalent Silver, Gold or Platinum Medallion status to your current status level in the other program.
Depending on the status, you’ll be privy to perks like:
Bonus SkyMiles earned per dollar spent on Delta flights.
Preferred seats and upgrades.
No fees for same-day flight changes.
Waived baggage fees.
You’ll also get status with SkyTeam and SkyTeam partner airlines. Notably, those with Gold and Platinum Medallion status will be considered SkyTeam Elite Plus and have access to SkyTeam lounges for international flights.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
5. Status can then be extended after meeting certain requirements
While it’s entirely possible to apply for a Delta status match to reap the benefits for one or two upcoming Delta or SkyTeam partner flights, the intent of the Medallion Status Match Challenge is to convert frequent flyers of other airlines into Delta loyalists. So, while enjoying the three-month complimentary trial of Medallion status, travelers have a fast track to keeping their new Delta status longer.
Unfortunately, this requires a general understanding of Delta's world of acronyms.
Medallion Qualifying Miles = MQMs.
Medallion Qualifying Segments = MQSs.
Medallion Qualifying Dollars = MQDs.
It also requires an understanding that maintaining Medallion status is a two-part process: You must fly a certain number of miles or segments, as well as spend a minimum amount with Delta.
Here’s what you’ll need to extend status beyond the three months.
Silver: 6,250 MQMs or 8 MQSs, plus $750 MQDs.
Gold: 12,500 MQMs or 15 MQSs, plus $1,500 MQDs.
Platinum: 18,750 MQMs or 25 MQSs, plus $2,250 MQDs.
It’s possible to bypass the MQD requirements with an MQD waiver, which is attained by spending $25,000 or more in eligible purchases during the calendar year with eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express cards.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program
6. It’s not possible to elevate your Medallion level during the challenge
It’s important to note that if you happen to go above and beyond the requirements of your status challenge, you can only extend the same Medallion tier as your original match. Let’s say you have United Premier Gold, which grants you Delta Medallion Gold, and you reach over 18,750 MQMs and spend more than $2,250 MQDs during the challenge.
Your extension will remain at the Gold tier and not elevate to Platinum. However, if you originally matched United Premier Platinum to Delta Medallion Platinum but only hit the numbers for Delta Gold during the status match, you will maintain Delta Gold status after your initial three months of Platinum.
7. Delta status match resets every July
Mirroring time frames of previous years, the latest Delta status match runs between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. Those who apply during this time and complete the requirements will have Medallion status through Jan. 31, 2024.
Of course, the best course of action is to participate in the status challenge when you feel ready. However, planning your participation near the challenge reset date so as to maximize the number of months with elite status is also not a bad idea.
Is a Delta status match worth it?
Delta’s Medallion Status Match Challenge is a smart way to determine if you want to switch from the perks of your current loyalty program to Delta’s. You can experience the savings and comfort associated with elite Medallion status and fast-track to keep this status through the end of January 2024.
Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines.
How to maximize your rewards
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Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
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