All 3 Airline Alliances Have Elite Status Match Opportunities. Here’s How to Get Yours.

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 service@topbonus.de 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.

Or, as reported in English on Milepoint,

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.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. I am too lazy to google the answer so I will ask here: what stops someone from faking another program’s statement / card and sending it on for a match? I mean a little photoshop or editing the online statement can’t be rocket science, right? Fax it over and it’s black and white. It’s a temporary match you’re using for benefits, not so you can really shift all your business to turkish, right?

  2. For Air Berlin status match, will the status valid for exactly 1 year OR, similar to United, that if you are matched after July 1st, you would have the status up until the Feb of the year after the next year? Thanks.

  3. For Air Berlin status match it is valid exactly for 1 year from the match date.

    For Turkish Airline status match with a Oneworld airline, the status must have Emerald Oneworld status or they won’t match it.

  4. Are these status matches only once-a-lifetime or can you, in theory, cycle them every 3 years (i.e., status match to airberlin, then status match to turkish a year later, then to Alitalia the next year, then back to airberlin, etc.)

  5. Just try getting status match on Turkish. Unless you’re already a member of their program, it’s next to impossible to sign up. Their web site is awful; for one thing, you cannot enter your physical address (unless you happen to live in one of the 50 or so cities that are in their dropdown (the same cities appear no matter what state you enter). Next, if you want to contact them, they won’t let you send them an email. Big waste of time!

  6. I know they aren’t part of an alliance, but is Alaska Airlines still doing its status match? Thanks!

  7. Griz is correct. I am AA Platinum and in December 2014 Turkish was not willing to status match.

  8. I’ve just requested UA match my BA Gold. Within one hour (!) they gave me Premier Platinum for 90 days (that’s poor) and cited that I fly 19,000 within those 90 days to have that status continued into next year !! Wow. Fast but tough conditions to fulfil!!!

  9. A couple of years ago, Air Berlin refused to offer more than Silver status (which doesn’t get you much) as a match for my Aegean Gold status. I declined the offer in order to preserve my status match options later and have not tried again with my Turkish Gold status.

  10. For Turkish Air Lines Miles & Smiles status match is valid for 2 year at now. I get matched to Turkish Air Lines “Elite Card” (= Star Alliance Gold) from Delta Gold Medallion last Month.
    Thank you

  11. AirBerlin told me they switched to only matching German, Austrian and Swiss members now. Any other OneWorld options you know of for US Members?

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