Delta Airlines Status Match Challenge Guide [2020]

Gaining airline elite status these days is still easier if you have elite status with a competitor to that airline. Airlines want to take other competitors’ elite passengers as they are returning passengers. Delta Airlines is no exception and offers a status match challenge to elites from other airlines.

In this article, I will go over Delta Airlines status match challenge requirements, how to match for the challenge, and how to keep your status for up to a year and half.

Does Delta Airlines offer a status match or challenge?

Technically, Delta offers both a status match and a challenge. Delta calls it a status match challenge. If you’re eligible to match, you can keep the status you matched to with Delta for 3 months, but if you want to extend it, you can do so by meeting certain requirements with gaining MQMs/MQSs and MQDs, which I explain more below.

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How the Delta Medallion status match challenge work? 

Delta Airlines Medallion status match challenge is as easy as filling out a form and submitting qualified proof of your status with a competitor airline. (Example airlines status.)

Once submitted, your request for the status match challenge will usually be processed in five business days, but can take up to two weeks during certain times of the year.

How long can you get to keep Medallion status?

When Delta approves your status match challenge, you get to keep the status for three months (90 days).

During the 3 months (90 days) of your status match challenge period, you have the option to earn MQMs/MQSs and MQDs that allow you to extend your status. When you enrolled into the status match challenge will determine your length of your status match that you got from completing the challenge requirements.

  • If you enrolled in the challenge between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 and you complete the requirements, your Medallion Status will be extended through January 31, 2020.
  • 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.

Requirements to extend the status match longer than 3 months (90 days) 

These requirements below are only available if you are approved for the status match challenge. Once approved, you have 90 days to complete the requirements for the status that you are matched to or tiers below.

Delta Medallion status match challenge requirements 
Silver MedallionGold MedallionPlatinum Medallion
6,250 MQMs or 8 MQSs12,500 MQMs or 15 MQSs18,750 MQMs or 25 MQSs
$750 MQDs or MQD Waiver* $1,500 MQDs or MQD Waiver* $2,250 MQDs or MQD Waiver*

So, if I was matched to Gold Medallion status, I can only receive Gold status even if I got the MQMs and MQDs for Platinum. If I matched to Gold status, but only got enough MQMs and MQDs for Silver status, I would get Silver status.

If you were not part of the status match challenge, the requirements are less than the normal Medallion requirements.

Delta Medallion status regular requirements 
Silver MedallionGold MedallionPlatinum Medallion
25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs50,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs
$3,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver*$6,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver*$9,000 MQDs or MQD Waiver*

As you can see, both sets of requirements are very different, but you need to keep in mind that the qualification period requirements for the status match challenge are only over 90 days while the normal status qualification period requirements is over the whole year. So, timing your status match challenge is key when you have many Delta or partner flights booked.

* MQD Waiver is given if you spend $25,000 on any of Delta co-branded American Express cards.

What level of Medallion status can you get?

Delta provides a status comparison chart with major airlines across the world.

In the Delta Medallion status match challenge, you can only get Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion status. Diamond Medallion status is not given via the status match challenge as it’s held for the most loyal Delta customers.

The Medallion status match challenge is not limited to these airlines below. Any airline (excluding Delta Airlines partners) is eligible for the Medallion status match challenge.

Delta Medallion StatusSilverGoldPlatinum
Air Canada Altitude StatusPrestige 25K,
Elite 35K
Elite 50KElite 75K,
Super Elite 100K
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan StatusMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
All Nippon Airways Mileage Club StatusBronzePlatinumDiamond
American Airlines AAdvantage StatusGoldPlatinumExecutive Platinum,
Platinum Pro, Concierge Key
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club StatusGoldDiamondDiamond Plus,
British Airways Executive Club StatusBronzeSilverGold
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles StatusSilverGoldPlatinum,
Presidential Platinum
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Fly On StatusCrystalSapphirePremier, Diamond
jetBlue True Blue StatusN/AMosaicN/A
Lufthansa Miles & More StatusFrequent TravelerN/ASenator,
HON Circle Members
Southwest Airlines Rapid RewardsA-ListA-List PreferredN/A
United Airlines Mileage Plus StatusPremier SilverPremier GoldPremier Platinum,
Platinum 1K,
Global Services

Elevated status match

It’s possible that sometimes Delta may offer an elevated status match that gives you an even more advantageous status match.

It’s an especially attractive offer because it may give you a chance to earn the top status known as Diamond.

Here’s an example of the matched levels during the limited time offer that went out in the fall of 2020:

Delta GoldDelta PlatinumDelta Diamond
Alaska AirlinesMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
American AirlinesGoldPlatinumExecutive Platinum
Southwest AirlinesA listA-list preferredN/A
United AirlinesPremier SilverPremier GoldPremier Platinum, 1K, Global Services

The enrollment period was only about 12 days so sometimes you have to be on the lookout for these matches that come and go pretty quickly.

Related: How much are Delta SkyMiles worth?

How to submit a status match for Delta Airlines

With two easy steps, Delta Airlines makes it one of the easiest airlines that allows status matching and a challenge. Before proceeding, I suggest reading the section above “How the Delta Medallion status match challenge work?” as it explains requirements for the Delta Medallion status match challenge.

You first need to make sure you’re eligible and after that you fill out the Medallion status match challenge form.

Determine your eligibility

  • Reached elite status with eligible airline through normal means and not through promotions or complimentary.
  • The airline you status match from cannot be be a Delta partner airline, but any other airline status could work for the Delta Medallion status match challenge.
  • Must currently have elite status with the other airline you status match from.
  • Must have qualifying activity from the airline you status match from.
  • 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.

With Delta, you have to provide two pieces of information. The first is your current active membership card. This could be a screenshot of your online membership card or status summary page showing your name and credentials. The second is your statement/activity showing how you earned the status without any promotions.

Once you have have figured out if you’re eligible, you can proceed to the next step.

Fill out the form and wait

You can access the Delta Medallion status match challenge form here

As you can see below or from the link I provided above, the form is very simple. Delta allows lots of flexibility and any non-partner of Delta can be used for the status match. Once you fill out the form, you must also attach two supporting documents before submitting your request.

The two supporting documents that Delta needs with your request is:

  1. A valid, current elite physical or digital membership card or credential with your name on it.
  2. A statement showing your earned elite status with an airline and the corresponding activity with that airline that made you achieve that status, with your name on it.

For both of these materials, you may upload a photograph, screenshot of your app or computer screen, or other file format as long as it clearly shows the required information, your elite status level, and your name.

Once you submit your request for the Delta Medallion status match challenge, Delta claims it usually takes 5 business days, but can take as long as 2 weeks.

The email address you provided will get the approval or rejection email from Delta for the Medallion status match challenge once they made a verdict.

No Membership card for Platinum Medallions

You will not receive a Platinum Medallion membership card for your status match challenge during the first 90 days. However, you will still retain many of the the benefits.

If you complete the challenge and extend your status, you will receive your membership card.

Silver and Gold Medallions don’t ever get membership cards.

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Missing benefits for Platinum Medallions

During the 90-day Medallion status match challenge, you don’t receive any of the Choice Benefits with Platinum Medallion. 

If you complete the challenge and extend your status, you will have an option to pick Choice Benefits.

Any partner counts, as long as the fare is eligible

  • MQMs, MQSs and MQDs earned on Delta- and Delta Connection-operated flights will count towards this challenge. MQMs, MQSs and MQDs may also be earned on partner airline flights that are eligible to earn MQMs, MQSs and MQDs.

As Delta’s terms indicate, you can fly Delta or a partner of Delta Airlines. Of course, not every partner fare earns MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs, so it’s up to you to find out if the partner you fly is eligible for earning them. You can check partners here.

Your best chance for earning MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs is by flying one of the airlines that are in a joint venture (JV) with Delta. Promising partners would be Korean Air, Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, China Eastern, and Aeromexico.

Matched limitations

So let’s say that you were matched to Silver Medallion status but then you went ahead and overachieved and met the (status challenge) MQMs/MQSs and MQDs requirements for Gold Medallion.

If that were to happen you would still be matched to Silver Medallion status.

Since you were matched in a lower tier, you cannot be eligible for the status match challenge shortcut to Medallion status in higher tiers. However, if you matched into Gold Medallion and fall short for the Gold Medallion status match challenge requirements, you will be given Silver Medallion status as it’s a lower tier than the one you received during the status match challenge 90 days.

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Final word

For anyone with existing status and want to extend their status to Delta Airlines with flights coming up in the next 90 days, the Delta Medallion status match challenge could be perfect. However, you must time your status match challenge accordingly with qualifying flights.

Do you think it’s worth to switch from a competing airline that you have status with and become a Delta loyalist?

This article was originally published by Steve Smith.

One comment

  1. I’ve been looking for clarity on the challenge duration, because I will be cutting it close.
    Is the duration 90 days or 3 months; there is a difference.
    Feb 01 plus 3 months = May 01
    Feb 01 plus 90 days = April 30

    The challenge welcome email reads “To keep your Medallion Status through January 31, 2021, you will need to complete both of the following requirements during the 3 month complimentary period”

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