Here's How to Earn Delta Status Match

Get a taste of the elite benefits one of the country’s legacy airlines has to offer.
Updated Aug. 8, 2023
Woman walking through airport with her Delta status match

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Airlines offer status match challenges as a way to give frequent flyers on other airlines a taste of what they can have if they make a permanent switch.

Using the Delta status match challenge may or may not convince you that what it offers is better than what you’re currently getting. But it can give you the opportunity to try something new and get some elite benefits on another airline for at least a short period.

Here’s how Delta status match works and what you need to do to earn long-term status with Delta.

What is Delta status match?

Delta Air Lines offers what it calls the Medallion Status Match Challenge. With it, you can receive complimentary elite status with the airline for three months, with the option to extend it past that initial period if you complete some requirements.

To qualify, you must have elite status with another airline. The level of status you receive with Delta depends on the status level you have with a qualifying airline.

The list of qualifying airlines includes:

Source: Delta Air Lines
Delta Silver Delta Gold Delta Platinum
Air Canada Prestige 25K, Elite 35K Elite 50K Elite 75K, Super Elite 100K
Alaska Airlines MVP MVP Gold MVP Gold 75K
All Nippon Airways Bronze Platinum Diamond
American Airlines Gold Platinum Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, Concierge Key
Asiana Airlines Gold Diamond Diamond Plus, Platinum
British Airways Bronze Silver Gold
Copa Airlines Silver Gold Platinum, Presidential Platinum
Japan Airlines Crystal Sapphire Premier, Diamond
JetBlue N/A Mosaic N/A
Lufthansa Frequent Traveler N/A Senator, HON Circle Members
Southwest Airlines A-List A-List Preferred N/A
United Airlines Premier Silver Premier Gold Premier Platinum, Platinum 1K, Global Services

If you have elite status with an airline that’s not listed but you still meet all the other requirements, you may still be able to get approved, so submit the request anyway.

How to get your status matched

If you have elite status with another airline and you have a Delta flight coming up, requesting a Delta status match is likely worthwhile, even if you’re not sure you’ll extend it beyond the promotional three-month period. Here are the steps to take.

1. Make sure you’re eligible

You have to meet three basic requirements to be eligible for a Delta status match challenge:

  • You haven’t received a status match or complimentary Medallion status in the past three years, unless you received the complimentary Medallion status through your Million Miler status.
  • You have elite status with a qualifying airline, and you earned it through that airline’s standard requirements — complimentary status and status earned through a promotion don’t count.
  • You can provide an elite status credential from another airline, such as a membership card, and a rewards statement showing your elite status level.

2. Submit your request

If you meet all three of Delta’s requirements, you can submit a request for a Delta status match challenge through the airline’s website. You’ll need to provide your name, email address, SkyMiles number (you can enroll if you’re not already a member), and company name, if applicable. You’ll also share the name of the other airline and your current status.

Next, you’ll upload both of the required supporting documents directly in the application, then submit it for approval. Delta will typically review your request within five business days, but the process can take up to two weeks.

3. Work to make your status last

Once your request is approved, you’ll receive elite status with Delta for three months beginning on your approval date.

To keep your Delta elite status after the promotional period, you’ll need to do two things:

  1. Earn a set number of Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs)
  2. Earn a set amount of Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) or qualify for the MQD waiver

Here’s how those requirements break down based on your status level during the Delta status match challenge:

  • To maintain Delta Silver status: Earn 6,250 MQMs or 8 MQSs, plus $750 MQDs or the MQD waiver
  • To maintain Delta Gold status: Earn 12,500 MQMs or 15 MQSs, plus $1,500 MQDs or the MQD waiver
  • To maintain Delta Platinum status: Earn 18,750 MQMs or 25 MQSs, plus $2,250 MQDs or the MQD waiver

You have to meet these requirements during the three-month promotional period. You can earn MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs on flights operated by Delta and Delta Connection, as well as with select airline partners.

If you enroll in the status match challenge after July 1, 2019 and complete the above requirements, you can keep your elite Delta Medallion status through January 2021.

How Delta credit cards can help

While some Delta credit cards offer MQMs when you meet certain spending requirements, those won’t count toward the requirement for the status match challenge.

That said, you can qualify for an MQD waiver if you spend at least $25,000 on an eligible Delta credit card during the same calendar year and by the end of your three-month period. So if your Delta status match challenge goes from August through November, you’ll need to have spent a total of $25,000 or more by the end of the challenge in November for that year.

If your status challenge period goes through the end of one year and the beginning of another, you can qualify for the waiver if you spend the minimum amount during the first calendar year or during the short period between the beginning of the second calendar year and the end of the promotion.

There are two Delta credit cards that are not eligible for the MQD waiver — the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card. However, if you have that card in addition to another Delta credit card that’s eligible, purchases made with either card will count toward the waiver requirement.

Also, remember that Delta credit cards come with a host of other benefits that make them some of the best airline credit card options for Delta flyers. These include waived baggage fees, priority boarding, inflight discounts, and the ability to rack up Delta SkyMiles with your everyday spending.

The bottom line

The Delta status match challenge can be a great way to get to know a new airline and the benefits it offers.

You don’t need to commit to extending the status beyond the challenge period, but try to take a Delta flight early on during those three months to get an idea of whether it’s worth pursuing based on your travel habits. If you are a Delta fan, it also makes sense to explore the best travel credit cards to earn perks from the carrier. 

And if you do decide to extend your status, make sure to keep track of your progress with each of the requirements so you don’t miss your chance.

Great Welcome Offer and Continuing Rewards

Current Offer

Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months

Annual Fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, $99 per year thereafter

Rewards Rate

2X miles on qualifying Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S supermarkets; and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
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Author Details

Ben Luthi Ben is a personal finance and travel writer who loves helping people achieve their money goals. Along with FinanceBuzz, his writing has also been featured on U.S. News, NerdWallet, Experian, Credit Karma, and more.