Delta Will Status Match a Lot More Airlines

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Kind of surprising that they won’t match HVC to Diamonds. Concierge Key to Platinum… from my guess same thing for GS from UA.

    Some CK members spend north of $200K a year on airfare or determines corporate spending for companies where the aggregate travel budget is in the millions.

    Maybe it is just not listed publicly and they do grant diamond matches to those customers behind the scenes, but if I spend six figures annually on airfare I would ask for Diamond and refuse to budge if they tell me they are only willing to do Platinum.

    Other than that – it is smart business to have a comprehensive status matching/challenge program, great way to win new or returning business.

  2. Gary come on matches and challenges are two different things as you are fully aware. Your title should have said challenge instead of match….

  3. Hi Gary,
    2 questions: do you think they would match a skyteam statut? And how long is the process to get matched/start challenge?

  4. Does anyone have an idea as to how often Delta will let you complete a challenge? I’m an AA captive out of DC but did a Delta challenge back in 2013 when traveling to a client whose airport AA didn’t serve.

  5. You can do this using Adobe photoshop or Acrobat. Just alter the credentials. Not a big deal. I do it every 90 days

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