Flagship Lounge Access (and oneworld elite status) From $389

With airberlin going out of business we saw several airlines offer to status match elite members of the topbonus frequent flyer program. Two among them oneworld members Finnair and Iberia. Iberia also proactively sought to poach Lufthansa elites through this program as well.

LAN and Royal Jordanian offer status match programs anyway but those require flight(s) with those carriers. The Finnair offer was silver with a challenge for Gold.

Iberia though offered a straight tier match. Unsurprisingly have people on eBay offering to — presumably — photoshop credentials and submit them to Iberia on your behalf (although Iberia says their match program has ended).

Customer service from these eBay sellers may wind up not very good, through no fault of their own, here’s a report for instance that Iberia is taking several weeks to process match requests.

The crazy thing is that the status is now sort of worth these sort of prices for a regular American Airlines flyer. That’s because not only is mid-tier status with a oneworld frequent flyer program now good for Admirals Club access when flying American domestically, it also now also gets you access to American’s Flagship lounges that are thus far open in New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Miami, and Los Angeles (with Dallas Fort-Worth, Philadelphia, and London Heathrow still to come).

That means nicer facilities, a quality buffet, and self serve liquor. Amortized over the course of a year and for less than the price of an Admirals Club membership that’s pretty good. I still wouldn’t recommend eBay, though, but if I lived in an American Airlines hub with a Flagship lounge I’d be sorely tempted to go for status with a oneworld airline other than American on top of my American status.

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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  1. This is why we can’t have nice things. By the way this is a violation of ebay terms on ticket, etc. selling.

  2. Applied for an Air Berlin silver status match with Iberia in early Oct and got a reply in Nov that due to the number of applications there would be a delay in processing. Still nothing to date from Iberia….

  3. How does that work having them transfer their status? I’m new to frequent flyer programs and didn’t think someone else earning it via match could have it transferred to someone else?

    Also, if one has Iberia Gold status but is flying on American, do the benefits of oneworld Sapphire apply retroactively if status is gained after booking? (i.e. could a person then contact American with their Iberia frequent flyer number and book Main Cabin Extra seats, etc.?)

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