(EXPIRED) Delta matching to higher status from Alaska Mileage Plan

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If you are an Alaska Mileage Plan Elite member, you may be interested in leveraging that status into Delta SkyMiles Medallion status. While status matches between airlines are often possible, Delta is currently offering a better match than usual. The timing on this one isn’t exactly right (more on that below), but the choice benefit could make it worthwhile for some.

The Deal

  • Match Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status to Delta Medallion status for 3 months (and then extend with qualifying activity) as follows:
    • Alaska MVP = Delta Silver Delta Gold
    • Alaska MVP Gold / MVP Gold 75K = Delta Gold Delta Platinum
  • Direct link to Delta to enroll

Key Details

  • Not available if you have participated in a Delta status challenge in the past 3 years
  • You must currently have elite status with a qualifying airline that was earned through that airline’s published requirements (complimentary status or status earned through a promotion does not qualify)
  • Must present both a valid, current elite credential and a statement showing your earned elite status
  • See landing page for full details

Quick Thoughts

Personally, I’m a big fan of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. It’s a great program with opportunities to earn a lot of (valuable) redeemable miles, especially for paid premium-cabin flights with certain partners, and it has no revenue component to elite status (i.e. no minimum amount of qualifying dollars that must be spent on your flights in order for them to count towards status).

Unfortunately, Alaska has a more limited network within the US compared to Delta. If Delta goes where you need to be and Alaska doesn’t, this could be a great opportunity to switch.

The improvement here is that whereas MVP used to match to Delta Silver and MVP Gold used to match to Delta Gold, Delta has bumped things up and now MVP matches to Delta Gold and MVP Gold now matches to Delta Platinum. Of course, Delta isn’t doing this without strings attached: you’ll only get complimentary status for 3 months, during which you’ll need to complete the following in order to keep your newfound status:

  • Delta Gold Medallion:
    • Earn at least 12.5K MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) or 15 MQSs (Medallion Qualifying Segments)
      and
    • Earn at least $1,500 MQDs (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) or earn an MQD waiver through credit card spend
  • Platinum Medallion Status:
    • Earn at least 18.75K MQMs or 25 MQSs
      and
    • Earn at least $2,250 MQDs or earn an MQD waiver through credit card spend

Those requirements set the bar for re-qualification reasonably low, though not as low as my current Hyatt->American Airlines offer, which I decided wasn’t worth pursuing.

However, a Delta match is at least slightly enhanced by the fact that those matching to Platinum status can apparently select a Choice Benefit (like 20K miles or 4 regional upgrade certificates) after completing the requirements to extend status. I would have expected that the Choice benefit would require completing full requirements for Platinum status, but the FAQ page for the match challenge says:

Why can’t I choose my Choice Benefits as a Platinum Medallion Member in this challenge?
Members who are matched to Platinum Medallion Status will not be eligible for Choice Benefits unless the requirements to extend Platinum Medallion Status are met.

In other words, you won’t get the choice benefit during the complimentary status period, you evidently will get the choice benefit if you meet the requirements to extend Platinum status. Gold members do not receive a choice benefit.

All that saidthe timing on this challenge is poor. If you start the challenge now and meet the requirements to extend, your Delta status will only be valid until January 31, 2020 (i.e. about 7 months from now). If you start the challenge on or after July 1st (just over a month from now) and meet the requirements to extend, your Delta status would be valid until January 31, 2021. That’s about 18 months. Of course, the rub is that we don’t know whether or not Delta intends to continue the bumped-up match. If you have MVP Gold status, you’d be risking whether your future match is to Delta Platinum or Delta Gold.

Whether or not the timing makes sense for you on this challenge will also depend on your upcoming travel plans. Keep in mind that you’ll only hold complimentary status for 3 months and you will need to complete qualifying activity during that time to extend your status, so it makes sense to go after a match when you know you’ve got qualifying activity planned. If you do, this is worth considering.

H/T: Points, Miles, and Martinis

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