SkyMiles, the frequent flyer program of Delta Air Lines, is currently offering the opportunity to participate in a status challenge. You would get a status, depending on your current status at a different program, for 90 days. During these 90 days, you’ll have to earn a certain number of Qualifying Miles (MQM) or Segments (MQS) to extend your status.
Delta’s website is infamous for messing up languages when using links. If the status match challenge is not displayed, try to change the language in the footer to United States – English and try the link again.
Delta offers this challenge for Medallion Silver, Gold, and Platinum status. The Gold status is particularly interesting, as it is a SkyTeam Elite Plus status that allows you to enter all SkyTeam lounges on international flights – except in the USA. If you wish to enter Delta SkyClub lounges before in the USA, you’ll either need to select that as a benefit if your status is Platin or pay a yearly membership fee ($495/year).
Priority Check-in and Boarding, as well as an additional piece of luggage are benefits that you’d already get with the Silver Status (SkyTeam Elite).
There is a full list of matched statuses on Delta’s website, here are some examples:
- BA Executive Club Silver → Delta Medallion Gold
- BA Executive Club Gold → Delta Medallion Platinum
- Miles&More FTL → Delta Medallion Silver
- Miles&More Senator → Delta Medallion Platinum
- United MileagePlus Gold → Delta Medallion Platinum
- United MileagePlus Premier Platinum / 1K → Delta Medallion Platinum
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Elite → Delta Medallion Gold (confirmed, but not part of the list)
How to Keep Your Status
As already mentioned, the matched status remains valid for the first 90 days without any additional requirements. You can prolong it (comparatively easily) until January 2024 if you match the status before June 30, or even until January 31, 2025, if you enrol after July 1.
You need to pass the following thresholds to keep your status:
- Silver: 6.250 MQM or 8 MQS
- Gold: 12.500 MQM or 15 MQS
- Platin: 18.750 MQM or 25 MQS
MQM = Medallion Qualification Miles | MQS = Medallion Qualification Segments
This status match gets especially attractive because Delta does not require you to gather the necessary miles (MQM) or segments (MQS) on Delta metal. MQM and MQS earned on partner airlines also count towards the challenge.
Gathering 12,500 miles seems like a daunting task at first glance. Thankfully, it is comparatively easy to earn them on Delta flights. Even cheap economy tickets (except Delta Basic Eco) are rewarded with 100% of the flight distance on many airlines, such as KLM, Air France, Korean Air, LATAM, and a few more. So a single KLM economy ticket to San Francisco (often available for under €400) does the trick.
Since January 2022 Delta Basic Economy flights don’t gather any MQM or MQS. Concerning flights from Europe, it is often possible to book the same tickets at the same price on KLM‘s or Air France’ website.
That makes them Economy Light instead of Basic Economy tickets, even if they are operated by Delta Air Lines. Because of that, you’d still 100% of the distance flown. Your flight number just has to start with AF or KL.
If you’ve mastered the status match challenge, you will have to meet the standard re-qualification requirements to extend your status. If you did the challenge before July, then you’d have to meet these requirements in the same year, otherwise, you would have the entire next year to accumulate:
- Silver: 25.000 MQM or 30 MQS
- Gold: 50.000 MQM or 60 MQS
- Platin: 75.000 MQM or 100 MQS
- Diamond: 125.000 MQM or 140 MQS
Usually, SkyMiles also requires you to spend a certain amount of money for the tickets, but this only applies to US residents. If you live outside the USA, you can ignore this.
How to Apply
To participate in this challenge you need a valid frequent flyer status at a different airline that is not part of the SkyTeam alliance. You also need a Delta SkyMiles account (if you don’t have one, you can just register on the same day you apply for the challenge). Delta has listed some airlines, showing what status they would match, but this list is incomplete. If your status is not listed, you shouldn’t worry. You can still apply, and you’ll find out afterward how Delta classifies that status.
You need to fill in your data in this form and upload a screenshot of your mileage account, where they can see what status you have and that you got that status by flying (gifted or complimentary status are not eligible).
It will take roughly 1-3 weeks for Delta to reply. You’ll then get an email stating what your new status is.
SkyMiles has been offering this challenge for quite a long time, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Nevertheless, you can only apply for this challenge every 3 years, so think carefully if you’ll be able to fly enough miles during those 90 days. You could apply after having booked the flights, but in that case, keep in mind that your application could be denied for no apparent reason.
A nice bonus: Even if you match to a higher status (like gold) and only match the requirements for silver within 90 days, you can still keep the silver status. Other airlines are not that generous.
If your status match was successful, you’ll be able to enjoy the following benefits in the entire SkyTeam alliance:
- SkyTeam Elite benefits: 23 kg of luggage on all flights, even in the basic fare; Priority Check-In; Priority Boarding; higher waiting list priority; free or discounted seat choice.1
- Unlimited free upgrades for you and your travel-partner to Comfort+ on all Delta Flights (even First Class on domestic flights). Confirmation 24 hours prior to departure.1
- Rollover MQMs
- 7 miles per US-Dollar1
All Medallion Silver benefits +
- SkyTeam Elite Plus: Lounge access on international flights (except in USA), security priority, luggage priority, guaranteed seat availability, higher waiting list priority1
- Unlimited upgrades as above, but with confirmation 72 hours prior to departure.1
- 8 miles per US-Dollar1
- No fees for same-day reservations
All Medallion Silver and Gold benefits +
- Unlimited free upgrades to First Class on Delta’s domestic flights (not when traveling on basic fare). Confirmation 5 days prior to departure.1
- Unlimited free upgrades to Delta Comfort+ (not when traveling on basic fare). Confirmation shortly after ticket purchase.1
- 9 miles per US-Dollar1
- No fees for cancelation of award tickets.
- 4 regional upgrade-vouchers
- You can gift a Silver status to a person of your choice.
1Not applicable to bookings in Delta Basic Economy.
While this status match doesn’t have the easiest requirements, the benefits are very interesting. Especially if you fly to the USA frequently. Delta SkyMiles is generally a very good program to reach a status with mostly economy class flights, as they almost always credit you 100% of the flown distance.
Cover Picture: (© Delta Airlines)