Here’s an overview of status matches, asking a loyalty program to give you status based on the status you hold with another program.
Travel providers are interested in acquiring their competitors’ best customers, but elite status has a lock-in effect. Sure, you might want to defect from United to American or from Delta to Alaska, but it’s pretty tough to do that and start from scratch with a new airline. You’re well treated as an elite, and it’s rough out there often times flying without any status (although now the bottom tier of status can be approximated in many cases with the airline’s co-branded credit card).
So airlines came up first with status matches (you have elite status with a competitor, we will give you that status on our airline to make it easier to move your business over) and then status challenges (we’ll let you earn the status in an expedited way but do want you to prove you’re moving some business over, and get in the habit of flying our airline). Challenges came in two forms — we give you temporary status while you earn it with a reduced qualification requirement usually over about 90 days, or we give you the status after you’ve flown the reduced criteria in that 90 days.
Matches and challenges are usually once in a lifetime, so choose wisely when to request one.
Like United, Delta offers a ‘challenge’ where they’ll advance you temporary status and let you fly to keep that status on an expedited basis.
Via reader Robin F. Delta has expanded the range of airline frequent flyer programs they will honor their match and challenge against:
Interestingly they also say that they may consider status from other airlines as well.
If you have status with another airline not listed above, you may still be eligible for this challenge. Please submit your information below to confirm eligibility.
Once you’ve signed up here’s how you keep the status level you’re challenging:
Whether you want to switch to Delta — something worth doing if you care about an airline’s operational reliability and not its frequent flyer program — or you’re an elite status card collector this may be worth knowing.