SkyMiles, the frequent flyer program of Delta Air Lines, is currently offering the opportunity to participate at 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 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. If you wish to enter Delta SkyClub lounges before domestic flights 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 aditional piece of luggage are benefits that you’d already get with the Silver Status (SkyTeam Elite).
To retain your status beyond the 90 days you need to earn the following amounts of miles:
- Silver: 6.250 MQM or 8 MQS
- Gold: 12.500 MQM or 15 MQS
- Platinum: 18.750 MQM or 25 MQS
You can extend your status on the same or lower level, but not on a higher one. This means that if you were matched to Gold, you could extend your Silver status if you only fly 6.250 MQM, or retain Gold by flying over 12.500 MQM, but you could not upgrade your new status to Platinum by flying over 18.750 MQM.
If you enroll in the challenge before July 1st, and then fulfill the requalification criteria within 90 days, your status would be extended until January 31st of the following year. If you enroll after July 1st, it would be extended until January 31st of the year after that. That means that if you enroll in July 2019 and fly enough, your matched status would remain valid until January 31st 2021, so roughly 18 months.
This status match challenge is also very interesting as all MQM and MQS can be acquired with any SkyTeam airline. In theory, you don’t even need a single Delta flight. Also, almost every category of Delta and its main partner airlines (Air France, KLM, Aeromexico) gives you at least 100% of the flown distance as MQM. One round-trip in Economy Class from Europe to the US west coast could be enough to fulfill the requirements for Gold status.
If you’ve mastered the status match challenge, you will have to meet the standard requalification 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 at 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 appy 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.
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.
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
- 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. (Not valid when traveling with basic fare)
- Rollover MQMs
- 7 miles per US-Dollar
All Medallion Silver benefits +
- SkyTeam Elite Plus: Lounge access on international flights, security priority, luggage priority, guaranteed seat availability, higher waiting list priority
- Unlimited upgrades as above, but with confirmation 72 hours prior to departure.
- 8 miles per US-Dollar
- 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.
- Unlimited free upgrades to Delta Comfort+ (not when traveling on basic fare). Confirmation shortly after ticket purchase.
- 9 miles per US-Dollar
- No fees for cancelation of award tickets.
- 4 regional upgrade-vouchers
- You can gift a Silver status to a person of you choice.
While this status match doesn’t have the easiest requirements, the benefits are very interesting. Especially if you fly to the USA often. Delta SkyMiles is generally a very good program to reach a status with Economy Class flights, as they almost always credit you 100% of the flown distance.
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