Travel Tuesday: Alaska Airlines is Offering a Status Match Challenge to Delta Elites
A few weeks back, Delta announced numerous changes impacting their most loyal customers. While I personally focused on the SkyClub entry rules and restrictions that are on the way, the adjustments made to the SkyMiles program were arguably even more disruptive. Not only did the airline move to a model that’s based purely on Medallion Qualifying Dollars (as opposed to a mix of MQD and Medallion Qualifying Miles or Segments), it also severely hiked the number of MQDs required for each tier of status.
Needless to say, these changes have not been well received. And while talk is cheap, is does seem as though there are a number of current Delta SkyMiles status holders looking to jump ship (or plane, as it were). In turn, Alaska Airlines is now looking to nab some of those defecting elites with a special offer.
Alaska’s Status Offer to Delta SkyMiles Elites
I’ll warn you ahead of time that there are a few different twists to this offer, so please pay attention.
First the easy part: Delta elites can participate in a status match challenge. By signing up for this offer, flyers can enjoy 90 days of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan MVP status. Then, if they manage to fly a certain number of miles during that 90 day window, they’ll be able to retain their status.
Here’s how Delta SkyMiles status matches to Alaska Mileage plan and how many miles are required during the challenge in order to keep the status:
- Delta Silver: MVP status—fly 5,000 miles
- Delta Gold: MVP Gold status—fly 10,000 miles on Alaska
- Delta Platinum and Delta Diamond: MVP Gold 75K status—fly 20,000 miles on Alaska
By the way, this status match challenge is actually open to elite customers of other airlines as well, including Aeromexico, Air Canada, American, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.
Now for the fun part (which really is exclusive to Delta elites as of now). Those who have or elect to get the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card and match their Delta status to the Mileage Plan will automatically get to keep their status — no challenge required. FYI, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card carries a $95 annual fee.
In this case, the expiration will depend on whether you’ve already qualified for Delta SkyMiles status in 2024. If your SkyMiles status is set to expire on December 31, 2023, then your MVP status will also expire on that date. However, if you’ve already qualified for SkyMiles elite status through 2024, you’ll see a double boost.
Those who have SkyMiles status through 2024, who match the Mileage Plan, and who have the Alaska Airlines Visa will not only be granted Alaska Airlines status through December 31st, 2024 but will also be matched one tier higher. Here’s how that shakes out:
- Delta Silver (through 2024, with Alaska Visa card): MVP Gold
- Delta Gold (through 2024, with Alaska Visa card): MVP Gold 75K
- Delta Platinum and Delta Diamond (through 2024, with Alaska Visa card): MVP Gold 100K
With Mileage Plan status, flyers will enjoy perks including free checked bags, preferred seats, priority boarding, complimentary upgrades (including companion upgrades for higher tiers), and more. In other words, if you can take advantage of these offers, it could be well worth it.
JetBlue Joins the Status Match Party
It looks as though Alaska Airlines isn’t alone in trying to poach disaffected Delta fans. As I was writing this post, JetBlue also announced a status match challenge for SkyMiles elites. Sadly, though, their offer isn’t quite as interesting as Alaska’s. Nevertheless, here’s how it breaks down:
- Delta Silver: Mosaic 1—earn 6 tiles by December 30th, 2023
- Delta Gold: Mosaic 2—earn 12 tiles by December 30th, 2023
- Delta Platinum: Mosaic 3—earn 24 tiles by December 30th, 2023
- Delta Diamond: Mosaic 4—earn 30 tiles by December 30th, 2023
In case you’re wondering what a “tile” is, 1 tile is earned for every $100 spent on JetBlue flights, JetBlue Vacations packages, and Paisly by JetBlue. Additionally, customers can earn 1 tile per $1,000 spent on any JetBlue credit card.
Having only flown Alaska Airlines once in high school and having never flown JetBlue, neither of these opportunities really appeals to me as a Delta SkyMiles Silver Medallion. However, I am interested to see if other, larger airlines make similar plays. Of course, this seems less likely since the mainline carriers probably don’t want to risk upsetting their own elites by allowing a flood of Delta expats into the club. Still, it will be interesting to see how everything shakes out when Delta’s changes take effect.