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Delta Air Lines just made it much easier to get elite status (for some of us)

How to get elite status on Delta

A passenger plane flying in the sky
Jeffry Surrianto / Pexels

Remember the uproar when Delta announced its SkyMiles overhaul, replacing miles flown with dollars spent for elite status? Well, buckle up, frequent flyers, because the airline’s just launched a lucrative Medallion Status Match Challenge that might just change your tune.

Hold onto your boarding passes if you already have elite status with another airline. This challenge lets you swap it for a free taste of Delta’s Medallion perks for three whole months. Think priority boarding, free checked bags, and lounge access – all on the house. Sounds tempting, right?

But here’s the catch – to permanently extend your newfound Delta status until January 2026, you’ll need to complete a spending challenge. And that’s where things can get tricky. This offer heavily favors high-rollers who rack up serious dollars on Delta flights and their co-branded credit cards.

Who is eligible for the status match challenge?

Delta has several criteria in place:

  • In the past three years, you have not received a status match, promotional Medallion status, or complimentary Medallion status (unless it was through Million Miler status).
  • You have elite status with a qualifying airline (and that status was not complimentary or earned through a promotion).
  • You can produce proof of your status with the qualifying airline. This includes a physical or digital membership card with your name on it, as well as a statement from the qualifying airline with your name on it and proof of the activity that earned you status.
  • You’ve been enrolled in Delta SkyMiles for at least 30 days prior to submitting your status match request. Non-U.S.-based SkyMiles members must have flown a Delta-marketed flight in the past three years with a fare higher than the basic economy.

If you check all these boxes, you can submit your request for a status match and receive complimentary elite status for three months. To extend until 2026, during that time period, you’ll need to earn $1,250 MQDs for Silver, $2,500 MQDs for Gold, and $3,750 MQDs for Platinum.

So how do you do it?

The good news for travelers

  • Now, every dollar spent on Delta or its partner airlines (except basic economy fares) earns you a Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD), the sole metric for status. This can be good for travelers who prioritize value over racking up miles.
  • Certain Delta SkyMiles American Express cards offer MQD bonuses, putting you closer to status without even setting foot on a plane. 
  • Delta expanded ways to earn MQDs beyond flights. Rental cars booked through Delta, Delta Vacations experiences, and even everyday spending with linked cards can all contribute. Strategic planning can unlock status faster.
white and black airplane in mid air
Jean Cont / Pexels

The not-so-good news for travelers

  • The status match program only works if you have status with another airline and meet specific conditions.
  • The spending requirements for higher tiers of Medallion Status are still significant. While some credit card perks help, it can be a hefty commitment.
  • The challenge favors specific spending habits and credit card usage. Business travelers and high-value spenders might benefit more.

Bottom line

Do the math. Analyze your travel patterns and spending habits. Plan your status match challenge during a three-month period where you’re likely to spend a lot on Delta flights and the air carrier’s linked credit cards, which will make earning the MQDs required to extend your status match easier.

Kelly Baker
Kelly is a writer who loves good books, baking homemade bread, playing the piano, and spending time with her family.
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