Airlines are interested in poaching the best customers of their competitors.
Frequent flyers sometimes want to switch airlines, but it’s tough — you’ve flown enough to earn perks, you don’t want to give up those perks and start from scratch with another carrier.
So many airlines will offer a status match: show that you have elite status on a competitor airline, and they’re willing to give you similar status to make it easier to move your business over.
To avoid getting ‘gamed’ the airlines may:
- Make you prove your status with another carrier first
- Possibly give you status for only a limited time, while you have to fly a certain amount to keep that status
- Honor the offer only once per person.
In general airlines have gotten more restrictive in making these offers over time. And the very existence of status matches and status challenges is predominantly a U.S. thing. Very few foreign airlines offer status matches.
(Some do. Historically Air New Zealand has, if you’ve got travel on the airline booked, and Turkish Airlines will although it can take awhile for them to get around to processing you. Etihad regularly makes status match offers as well.)
Here’s what’s useful in getting status matched to a non-US airline: if they are a Star Alliance member, you get access to United’s clubs even when flying domestically — and if they are a oneworld member, you get access to American’s clubs even when flying domestically.
American’s oneworld partner airberlin will status match
- If you have status with another airline outside of the oneworld alliance (but not including Etihad, as those are considered conflicts) you can get status with airberlin.
- They used to offer a challenge, with status lasting only a short time. They’ve begun offering status for a full year.
So send in your United or Delta status to airberlin, and you should be able to get a status that gives you access to oneworld lounges when flying oneworld airlines. That means getting access to American’s clubs when flying American.
- Join airberlin’s topbonus program.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a scanned copy of your program activity and elite frequent flyer card.
- Tell them you’d like a status match so you can make the switch.
You should be able to get them to match Turkish, even if you got Turkish Miles&Smiles status via a match because reports are generally that a scanned frequent flyer card is enough even without a scan of your account activity.
United’s Star Alliance partner Turkish will status match
Join Turkish Miles&Smiles and use the web contact form on their site to submit a scan of your frequent flyer elite card and statement.
Turkish can take a few days or even three months to get back to you but they’re a soft touch with the match for a status that lasts two years.
They’ve matched status for quite some time. And sometimes they will even match status from another Star Alliance airline. They’ll generally even match airberlin status..
Delta’s Skyteam partner Alitalia will status match
Via Frequent Flyer Italia, Skyteam member Alitalia – a partner of both Delta and Etihad – is offering status matches.
Alitalia it appears that currently offer status match from other airlines (not Skyteam). Those interested can send an email to StatusMatchMilleMiglia@alitalia.com with name and surname, Millemiglia number and copy of elite card of another airline.
The unfortunate thing here is that Skyteam isn’t as generous with lounge access as Star Alliance or oneworld. Skyteam status can get you airport priority services and free checked bags, but Skyteam lounge access benefits apply to international itineraries only. If you are flying a purely domestic itinerary in the United States, your Skyteam status will not entitle you to Delta lounge access although there are always reports of exceptions being made (usually on a ‘one time basis’ although offered over and over).
Want to see others’ status match experiences? StatusMatcher.com has crowd-sourced reports on who is matching whom. Many airlines will offer both status challenges and matches and you can see what responses others are getting.