One Example of How Lifetime Elite Status Can Be a Disadvantage

When I saw Delta status match as the title of this discussion on FlyerTalk, I figured it was yet another request on how to get Delta Air Lines to match the elite level status of another frequent flier loyalty program…

One Example of How Lifetime Elite Status is a Disadvantage

…but FlyerTalk member Dk511 appears to be in a rather unique situation: having already earned lifetime — er…I mean annual complimentary — Gold Medallion elite status in the SkyMiles program 26 years ago, Dk511 moved away from Atlanta and frequently flew as a passenger on other airlines. Being in the position of once again flying as many as 125,000 miles per year as a passenger on flights operated by Delta Air Lines, Dk511 tried to have Delta Air Lines match the Executive Platinum elite status with the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program which Dk511 has earned and currently enjoys.

“…they told me they couldn’t provide status match since I was already delta gold”, Dk511 posted. “After the rejection I even emailed Delta CEO. But my email was sent back to woman in customer service who had rejected the status match and she rejected it again.”


Two camps with differing opinions pertaining to elite status matches will apparently always exist: those who believe that elite status matches are a great way to entice customers from other frequent flier loyalty programs in the hopes that they will travel as much — or more — on the airline which is offering the elite status match; and those who believe that everyone should earn elite level status the hard way: earn it by following the rules and policies established for all members of the frequent flier loyalty program, saying that if they fly frequently enough, then they will achieve their desired elite status level soon enough as well.

Even if Dk511 was sincere about flying 125,000 miles annually with Delta Air Lines — which one would think would benefit the airline — from here on in, there are also people who know how to “play” the status match “game” and attempt to spend as little as possible for attaining elite level status as easily as possible…

…so I defer to you: should Delta Air Lines grant Dk511 Platinum Medallion status by matching Executive Platinum status despite already having earned Gold Medallion status automatically every year?

Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

9 thoughts on “One Example of How Lifetime Elite Status Can Be a Disadvantage”

  1. Cristi says:

    That’s an interesting dilemma. In terms of good customer service, in my opinion it would be easier for Delta to just do the status match. I think leaving the customer happy would go a lot further than trying to saving a negligible amount of money by denying the status match. Knowing how airlines are, I’m surprised they denied it though.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I would tend to agree with you, Cristi.

      I do not believe that this is a cost issue — rather, probably a way of “not opening the floodgates” to others with similar requests…

  2. Andrew says:

    Even the New York Times doesn’t spell out “Delta Air Lines” or “the American AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program” each time they write those terms. Doing so isn’t “formal”, it just makes your posts really hard to read.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I appreciate the constructive criticism, Andrew — and you are correct. Thank you.

      I started writing that way years ago in an attempt to differentiate The Gate from other blogs. See — I did not use the word weblogs.

      Still, old habits are difficult to break…

  3. Jason says:

    No. The point of status match is to win over new customers. Clearly he’s shown he’s not new to Delta by earning MM status.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Many people do argue that point, Jason — and you would be correct…

      …but there are also those people who would argue that here is an easy way to bring back a loyal customer and retain him or her — “low-hanging fruit”, if you want to use that terminology.

      Would those people be wrong? Does the possibility exist that Delta Air Lines may lose what could be an easy customer to return and retain?

  4. DavidB says:

    Dk115 doesn’t deserve to the status match, having used the fact s/he had achieved lifetime Gold with DL, then moved business to AA (likely using DL status for a match after that airline introduced its spend requirement) and flew enough to earn ExecPlat with AA for the past few years on the cheap. DL is aware that AA will require a spend for Dk115 to requalify for ExecPlat next year and likely noted from checking his/her account that Dk115 didn’t spend enough with DL to even keep Gold, so would not spend enough with DL to justify their top tier status. Thus the ploy was to scam DL Diamond benefits for at least a year-and-a-half. Agree fully with DL’s decision.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is an interesting analysis with some good points, DavidB.

      Thank you.

  5. Love Lifetime Status says:

    I matched to DL PLatinum two years ago and I was 1MM so lifetime Silver. Not sure what the difference is.

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