Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Status Match Challenge (90-Day Status + Possible 2-Year Extension)

Delta Sky Club

Delta has massively overhauled its own SkyMiles frequent flyer program in 2024. While some changes have been repealed after all the criticism, the conclusion remains: From this year onwards it will hardly be possible to earn status with economy tickets – and it will also be significantly more difficult for everyone else.

At the same time, Delta has also revised its status match program. Initially, there is a probationary status for 90 days. Anyone who flies Delta tickets for $1,250, $2,500 or $3,750 during this period will benefit from status validity of up to two years. As soon as you have earned the required MQD, the status is valid until January 31, 2026.

The prerequisite is that you hold a frequent flyer status with a competing airline. This can be e.g. Miles&More, the BA Executive Club or United MileagePlus. You must also have credited a flight, purchased on Delta’s website, to your SkyMiles account at least once within the last 3 years (except Basic Economy).

Info

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.

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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 in the USA, you’ll need to pay a yearly membership fee ($495/year) or possess an American Express Platinum credit card.

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 until January 2026 by earning enough MQD:

  • Silver: 1,250 MQD
  • Gold: 2,500 MQD
  • Platinum: 3,750 MQD

MQD = Medallion Qualification Dollars

Since 2024, Delta has only had one “currency” for obtaining frequent flyer status: Medallion Qualifying Dollar, or MQD for short. For flights with Delta, these correspond to the flight price (minus taxes) in US dollars; for partner airlines, they depend on the distance and booking class.

Unfortunately, the status match can only be done with flights with a Delta flight number. This means that e.g. for Gold status, you actually need a flight ticket priced at US$2,500 (~€2,347) excluding taxes.

Warnung

Only flights issued by Delta count towards this status match. You cannot book the flights via KLM or Air France to earn MQD according to the booking class. The spending-based credit system cannot be avoided.

Standard Re-qualification

If you’ve mastered the status match challenge, you will have to meet the standard re-qualification requirements to extend your status. So, next year you’d need to earn:

  • Silver: 5,000 MQD
  • Gold: 10,000 MQD
  • Platin: 15,000 MQD
  • Diamond: 28,000 MQD

Feel free to use our status calculator to see how realistic this is:

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.

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. As mentioned before, you’ll also have to have credited a flight, purchased on Delta’s website, to your SkyMiles account at least once within the last 3 years (except Basic Economy).

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.

Status matched successfully (old image).

Main Benefits

If your status match was successful, you’ll be able to enjoy the following benefits in the entire SkyTeam alliance:

Medallion Silver

  • 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
  • Free special seat selection at Air France-KLM 24 hours before departure (excl. Economy Comfort)
  • Free standard seat selection at booking at Air France & KLM
  • 40% more award miles at Aeromexico, Air France, China Eastern, KLM, Korean Air, LATAM & Virgin Atlantic
  • 7 miles per US-Dollar1

Medallion Gold

All Medallion Silver benefits +

  • SkyTeam Elite Plus: Lounge access on international flights (except in the US), 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
  • 60% more award miles at Aeromexico, Air France, China Eastern, KLM, Korean Air, LATAM & Virgin Atlantic
  • No fees for same-day reservations
  • Free special seat selection at Air France-KLM 72 hours before departure (incl. Economy Comfort)

Medallion Platinum

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
  • 80% more award miles at Aeromexico, Air France, China Eastern, KLM, Korean Air, LATAM & Virgin Atlantic
  • No fees for cancellation of award tickets.
  • Free special seat selection at Air France-KLM at booking (incl. Economy Comfort)

1Not applicable to bookings in Delta Basic Economy.

Conclusion

The same applies to this status match as to SkyMiles in general: everything used to be better. At that time, one or two economy class tickets to the USA or SkyTeam flights within Europe were enough to extend the status you received for at least a year. Now it is theoretically possible to obtain the status for almost 2 years, but this requires correspondingly expensive (business class) tickets.

At least you can get Elite (Plus) status valid for 90 days every 3 years with little effort. By limiting accounts to at least one Delta flight during this period, Delta probably wants to put a stop to this.

Cover Picture: (© Delta Airlines)

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Comment (1)

  1. Nicolas says:

    Thank you very much for the clarifications provided.

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