Delta Adds Minimum Spend Requirement to Elite Status Challenges, United Doesn’t

American Airlines status challenges cost money to sign up for and include a minimum spend requirement although the airline also occasionally will directly status match a United or Delta top tier elite member.

In a rare instance of Delta following American (although to be fair Delta was first with minimum spend for elite status) their elite status challenge program requires minimum spend not just minimum travel. And there’s on other change as well.

American allows anyone to challenge status without showing current elite status with another airline, albeit for a fee. There’s no fee for Delta’s challenge but it requires you to show existing competitor elite status with the comparable level you are challenging to.

Delta’s new minimum spend requirement for elite status challenges is one quarter of the normal spend requirement for the year during the challenge’s 90 day period, it’s a 12 cent per mile requirement just like annual status (below Delta’s passenger revenue per seat mile). Spending $25,000 on a co-brand credit card waives the minimum spend requirement for the challenge, just like it does for regular elite status (up to Platinum).

In addition Delta now allows existing Million Milers to challenge a higher status level.

United’s status challenges still do not have a minimum spend component. However one imagines now that Delta has done it…

(HT: Julian Kheel)

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. Some of United’s status challenges do have a minimum spend though – I did a corporate 1K match last year and had a minimum spend. So, feel like some of your data might be limited here.

  2. I just status matched my AA Platinum status to UA Gold yesterday since I didn’t requalify for AA Plat for 2018, only made gold.

    12,500 PQMs should be pretty easy to hit within the 90 days with no dollar spend requirements.

  3. @AsianMiler – your comment is laughable. UA doesn’t require the fees because fewer people want elite status on UA. This isn’t about bringing in more revenue but rather attempting to reign in status matches.

  4. A bit off the topic. On AA, I have well over 50K miles but only $3.4K in spending so I qualify for AA Gold. AA wants $1,300 for me to get Platinum. NO WAY. (Seriously, if it was $600, I might consider, against my better judgement).

    Also no way would I do a status challenge with Delta that required $750 for silver, $1,500 for for Silver, or $2,250 for Platinum.

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