If you currently travel for work or anticipate doing so in the future, you’re going to want to pay attention to this piece of advice as it could save you a ton of money and make your travel life exponentially better.

Let me set the scene…

You are a consultant/project manager/engineer and just got picked up on a long-term project that will force you to fly one round-trip per week for the next five months (roughly 20 round-trips).

The best flight options for your schedule are with American Airlines.

You’ve heard of all of the benefits that come status on American and really want to shoot for it, but realize you may fall short of the required minimums.

Alas! You receive a serendipitous e-mail from American offering a status challenge or “sprint” program to elite status if you fly a certain amount within a specific number of months.

You suddenly realize that with this offer you will easily reach Executive Platinum status by the end of your project.

But suppose you didn’t get the e-mail offer? Would you have thought to call the airline to request a status challenge?

You Should Always Ask the Airline for a Status Challenge

It’s important that if you want anything in life, you simply ask for it. The worst anyone could say is no.

Some airlines like Delta publish status challenges, but some like American require you to call in. I proactively reached out to all of the major US airlines to ask about their policy and these are the responses.

American Airlines

American does not publish a status challenge, but instead asks you call in to speak with customer service.

Delta Air Lines

As I mentioned above, Delta publishes a status challenge on their website.

To be eligible for Delta’s Status Match Challenge, you’ll need to satisfy all of the following:

  • You have not received a Status Match or complimentary Medallion Status in the past three years, unless the complimentary Medallion Status was through your Million Miler Status
  • You 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)
  • You are able to present both a valid, current elite credential and a statement showing your earned elite status

You’ll need elite status with another airline to qualify so here is the comparison chart:

Delta StatusSilverGoldPlatinum
Air CanadaPrestige 25K,
Elite 35K
Elite 50KElite 75K,
Super Elite 100K
Alaska AirlinesMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
All Nippon AirwaysBronzePlatinumDiamond
American AirlinesGoldPlatinumExecutive Platinum,
Platinum Pro, Concierge Key
Asiana AirlinesGoldDiamondDiamond Plus,
British AirwaysBronzeSilverGold
Copa AirlinesSilverGoldPlatinum,
Presidential Platinum
Japan AirlinesCrystalSapphirePremier,
LufthansaFrequent TravelerN/ASenator,
HON Circle Members
United AirlinesPremier SilverPremier GoldPremier Platinum,
Platinum 1K,
Global Services

As also mentioned, if you hold elite status with another airline, you’ll initially get Delta status for three months and have the opportunity to extend past that by satisfying the following requirements:

Southwest Airlines

Southwest does not offer a status challenge.

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue does not offer a status challenge.

United Airlines

United publishes a status match challenge, which you can find here. Just like Delta, you’ll need to hold elite status with another airline to first be matched to United:

Delta Medallion levelSilverGoldPlatinum
American Airlines AAdvantage statusGoldPlatinumPlatinum Pro
Level matched to in MileagePlusPremier SilverPremier GoldPremier Platinum

To keep the matched Premier status for the remainder of the 2018 program year, you will need to earn a certain number of Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or Premier qualifying segments (PQS) on flights operated by United or United Express® within a 90-day Offer Period.* The number of PQM or PQS you must earn depends on the Premier status level you are matched to in MileagePlus.

MileagePlusPQM or PQS requirements
Premier SilverFly 7,000 PQM or 8 PQS on flights operated by United or United Express
Premier GoldFly 12,500 PQM or 15 PQS on flights operated by United or United Express
Premier PlatinumFly 18,000 PQM or 22 PQS on flights operated by United or United Express

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Lee @ BaldThoughts

Even if you aren’t traveling for business, people who expect to make several trips in a short period of time should totally do this as well.


[…] Business Travelers, Make Sure You’re Doing This. – Whether you are a business traveler or someone who travels frequently, you should totally do this. It’s a quick way to earn status and start receiving airline benefits right away. […]