Delta Air Lines Pulls Its Status Match Program In Advance Of SkyMiles Revamp

For several years Delta Air Lines has offered elite members of other programs a status match offer – temporary elite status, combined with an expedited path towards earning status. However the ‘status match challenge’ page says that the offer is currently unavailable.

Notice: The SkyMiles Medallion Status Match Challenge is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience and are working to bring it back soon.

This program was still live over the weekend.

Big changes to the SkyMiles program are expected to be announced on Thursday, September 14th. So perhaps there will be changes to the status match offer that follow logically from other ways in which the SkyMiles program will be changing.

Is this a clue about the direction it’s changing? I’m told that the effort is internally called Project Orion, that nondisclosure agreements were signed (and so we’re hearing fewer leaks than normal), and that the way status is earned will be changing – but details are not yet fully clear.

United Airlines, by the way, is expected to replace its current program as well.

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. They pulled it on Friday of last week but forgot to remove all the links so you could still submit for a march (looks like they finally got to the remaining stray links)

  2. For all US programs: Miles are worth so little, that they are enticing spend on their cobrand cards by increasing status qualifying miles or dollars earned via the cards. Folks also just aren’t traveling as much for business as well.

  3. Delta is presenting at a Morgan Stanley investor conference on Thursday 9/14 so the timing – if true – of changes to Skymiles is significant.
    Either (or both) the changes will be financially significant and/or it will change Delta’s competitive position enough to talk about it at an investor conference.
    Delta previously announced a significant goal of growing Skymiles revenue in 2023.
    Other potential strategic/financial announcements Delta could make in the next few weeks might include
    – a potential order for aircraft including the A350-1000
    – their summer 2024 international schedule
    – decision regarding their PDX-HND route and intentions to retain the frequency if they abandon it

    Delta has not given an investor update for the current (3rd) quarter unlike AS, UA and WN

  4. So the “leader” is going to following AA and eventually UA will join in too. Climbing. . .hardly

  5. I don’t see how Delta could go to an effectively 100% revenue-based loyalty program at a time when business travel is not coming back, especially international.

  6. I work in the loyalty group in GO Building in Atlanta and all I can say is there is good news and bad news in announcements. Some that will make you happy and others that will make you mad. Everyone is freaked out bc NDA and everyone work computer is scanned for keywords to prevent leaks. Some applications like snip it has been blocked and there are rumors of copies of some of the files having keywords to throw off leakers.

  7. Cancel the cards, go out and experience different airlines, different lounges and different connecting airports! The market is pretty competitive and many offer reasonable upgrade options and excellent premium products (way ahead of D1). All these changes are merely adventures by some MBA execs, I give all these changes 3 years before loyalty programs change back to travel / miles based.
    I still fly Delta occasionally but earlier this year I decided to let my 2MM/Diamond status aside and to make effort to fly other lines and it has been great!

  8. Remember when delta mortgaged out sky miles during the pandemic to raise capital? Maybe those mortgaged miles went into default and delta lost them…sorry folks your miles are no longer valid for use on delta. A good way to clean up the banks of miles people have.

  9. For me (a platinum elite) mainly using the lounge during my international travels, if it is affected, I will be considering other carriers. It is that simple.

  10. Delta also recently (i noted the change last week) reduced the MQM allowances for booked flights, making it harder to meet the MQM threshold for status upgrades.

  11. It all comes down to financial strength.
    Spirit just reduced its investor guidance for the 3rd quarter based on higher fuel and a weakening revenue environment.
    American already guided to a weaker 3rd quarter based on the ending of the Northeast Alliance while Southwest, Alaska and United did the same based on fuel and general revenue trends.

    It all comes down to who has the financial strength to withstand a weakening of industry financials.

    All eyes will be on Delta’s presentation at the Morgan Stanley conference to see what Delta has to say but it is possible that they could further distinguish themselves from the rest of the industry from a financial performance perspective. Pratt and Whitney will be paying Delta Tech Ops hundreds of millions of dollars just to inspect other airlines’ GTF engines while the refinery will benefit DAL’s fuel costs once again. add in whatever Delta does from Skymiles and Amex and other airlines could quickly find themselves as financial underdogs.

  12. What if you are enrolled in the status match program already? Does that change anything? Are you de- enrolled?

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