Free American Airlines Lounge Access if You Have United or Delta Status

Last year I wrote How to Get – and Use – Airline Status Matches.

Travel providers are interested in acquiring their competitors’ best customers, but elite status has a lock-in effect.

Sure, you might want to defect from United to American or from Delta to Alaska, but it’s pretty tough to do that and start from scratch with a new airline. You’re well treated as an elite, and it’s rough out there flying without any status (although now the bottom tier of status can be approximated in many cases with the airline’s co-branded credit card).

So airlines came up first with status matches (you have elite status with a competitor, we will give you that status on our airline to make it easier to move your business over) and then status challenges (we’ll let you earn the status in an expedited way but do want you to prove you’re moving some business over, and get in the habit of flying our airline).

I love status from non-US airlines. If you get Gold-level status in a foreign Star Alliance airline frequent flyer program you can use United’s club when flying United domestically. If you get that status in a foreign oneworld frequent flyer program you can use American’s club when flying American domestically. (And of course you can use each alliance’s lounges when flying a an airline in that alliance same day all over the world.) Note that Skyteam is more restrictive, with lounge access limited to international travel.

If you have status in a non-oneworld frequent flyer program such as United’s or Delta’s, oneworld member airberlin offers status matches. (It’s a troubled airline, but your status is still good.)

They used to offer temporary matches with expedited requalification. Then they offered full matches. Then they started restricting those matches to residents of certain European countries. But Americans are included.

They even have a published status match page.

This offer is only available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and USA.

Here’s how it works:

The terms also say that “Customers with residence in the US must prove a booking confirmation incl. booking number of an airberlin long haul flight between US and Europe (return ticket). This flight must be operated by airberlin and take place in 2016.”

However while that was reportedly enforced earlier in the year more recently it appears not to have been.

If they do enforce it, perhaps they do so only sporadically, and a refundable ticket would qualify here. The terms are silent on whether an award ticket would count as well.

Entrance to American Airlines Club, Austin

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, 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. @Gary – I matched my DL plt status to get Gold status with Air Berlin & therefore Sapphire OW status. So now when I fly AA, can I automatically gain lounge access by flashing my Air Berlin membership card? Or do I need to also include the AB ff # to my AA reservation for AA lounge access?

  2. “If you get Gold-level status in a foreign Star Alliance airline frequent flyer program you can use United’s club when flying United domestically”

    Any suggestions on how to pull that off? Delta PM, in middle of status challenge to United PP, would love to get the lounge access, can’t convince myself it’s worth $450

  3. Can you match to OW Emerald level using AB’s SM program, for those who have top-tier status with other airlines (UA 1K, DL DM, AS MVP Gold 75K, etc)?

  4. highly unfair if us residents use this trick to access lounges on domestic flights. promoting how to cheat… well…

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