How to Get Turkish Airlines to Match Your Elite Status (or “Free United and US Airways Lounge Access”)

Back in June I was given mid-tier elite status by Turkish Airlines, Gold in their Miles & Smiles program, as a result of my british midland Gold status.

The bmi program was winding down as a result of the airline being acquired by British Airways, and Turkish was making a play to acquire their customers.

What that meant to me is that I would continue to have lounge access with United and US Airways whenever flying either airline, even domestically. Because “Star Alliance Gold”-level frequent flyers with non-U.S. frequent flyer programs are entitled to that access. (Of course I already get US Airways lounge access from my American Express Platinum card. So for me this was about free United access.)

Here’s what’s interesting, though. It wasn’t just a limited-time offer to pick up British Midland’s customers. Turkish Airlines will offer status matches on an ongoing basis.

The status lasts two years and they give you two years to re-qualify (if you choose to).

Since I do not live in Turkey, the rules are 25,000 Status Miles in year one or 37,500 Status Miles in two years, and they will let you purchase 10,000 towards the 37,500 (either at 25 euros per thousand or 30 euros, the website separately lists both prices and I haven’t checked which one applies in practice). I did a bit more analysis in my original post on the status match.

What’s most interesting is who they will offer this to.

Reader Ron A., an American AAdvantage Platinum member, emailed a request which was denied. But the response he received outlined which members Turkish will offer the matches to:

Please be informed that only Star Alliance Gold , Skyteam Elite Plus and Oneworld Emerald members have an opportunity for Status Match.

They will match other Star Alliance Gold members. So a United or US Airways Gold (50,000 status miles) can get Turkish Gold, and thus free lounge access.

They will also match American Executive Platinums and also Delta Golds.

The idea here is they will offer their status which is equivalent to the top tier in the Star Alliance to anyone that has top tier in an alliance. Oneworld has three tiers, so only the very top will get matched by Turkish. Star Alliance and Skyteam have only two tiers, with top tier offered to 50,000 mile flyers at United and at Delta.

So, as Ron points out, “50,000 miles a year on Delta will get you
a match from Turkish but 50,000 on American won’t.”

To me it’s interesting that they will match United! Traditionally airlines haven’t been willing to ‘poach’ customers from within the same alliance.

If you want a status match from Turkish, registered for their Miles&Smiles program. Then send a request to including a copy of your membership card and online statement showing your 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, 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. I just submitted last to Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles desk a request to match my Premier Gold status with UA. How long does the process take to match and is Turkish Airlines still matching UA status? Also how will I get notified that my status was matched?

  2. How is THY Famlly program? Has anyone registered for it? How does it compare to other Airline family frequent flyer programs such as British Airways, Emirates..etc.

  3. I submitted my elite status request for Turkish Airlines to match my UA Premier Gold Status on Thursday, Dec 6. When should I get a response from them. Will they email me or should just check my account online to see they upgraded my status.

  4. Re 43/44

    I am in the Orlando club as we speak, using TK *G to get in, along with boarding pass. No problem, the agent swiped the card and scanned the bar code, the system beeped; she said welcome.

  5. Hi Steve..which elite program did Turkish Air match of yours? When did you apply for the status match and how long after you sent the status match email did you get a reply. I just sent my status match for my Premier Gold of UA last Thursday (Dec 6)and am awaiting their reply.

    Will await you reply..Raj Panjabi

  6. Hi Damon,

    I see you submitted your request for TK to match your elite status on Dec 7. I did my on Dec 6. I awaiting the reply from TK Air. Have you gotten your reply yet? Please let me know when you get your reply so I can also know when I will expect mine. Thanks..Raj Panjabi

  7. Submitted a request for my wife using Delta Gold card on 12/6. She received the email confirming status match on 12/13. No card yet though.

  8. Mango Man..The card will take 4 weeks to come. It is mailed from Turkey. I also just got upgraded on 12/12 after submitting request on 12/6.

  9. After about 2 months and couple of polite e-mail reminders from me, I finally have an email from the airline confirming my status match to Elite (aka Gold). I checked the airline website and that also shows elite status. Status expires December 2014! Now will need to wait for my Card.

  10. I just called Turkish Airlines to find out when I will be getting my welcome package and card since I just become a Elite Card member. They said only after you take a flight either on TK or Star Alliance. But I was also told that in 4 weeks I should get card regardless of taking my first flight. I would like to find out which of the above true.

    will await a response.

  11. update from my 12/7 post of submitting the match request; I received an email confirmation of the match on 12/13. Will update when I receive the auto-generated (if this is true) card and package.

  12. Outside of the status match which I received, I looked at the mileage awards levels and I have to say that the mileage award levels by Turkish is no way as good as United or US Airways. So besides the elite status benefits, I do not see the award travel benefit. What is the comment from you all on this.

  13. Don’t you get attitude from the Lounge Dragons if you are crediting to UA but using a TK card?

  14. I am trying to see whether to stick with Turkish Airlines Elite Status (which I have) or start accuring elite miles on Aegean Airlines. The tier miles accural for Aegean seems to be less per year (4K for Blue and 16K for Gold) than the per year tier accural for Turkish (12500K for Classic Plus and 25K for Elite status). Of course Turkish also offer a 2 year accural period for their Elite Status level where as Aegean offers on a per year accural for their elite status. With Turksih, you can also purchase 10K Tier miles for about $400. Also Turksih Elite benefits are vaild for 2 years, how long is Aegean elite benefits last? As far as mileage award levels it seems that for *A domestic USA awards and USA-Europe awards, Aegean Airlines is better than Turksish. For India, Asia, Australia, they both are not the best.
    I would really like if someone could tell which of the 2 airlines is best to keep as I am taking a trip next month on Air New Zealand which is a *A carrier.

  15. @nick I’ve never had an issue, most of them have never seen a gold Card from TK and examine it for a while

  16. FWIW, My husband and I flew on Air Canada award tickets last week and had no problem getting all the *A Gold benefits (Priority check in/boarding/bags etc) as well as problem free lounge access just by showing the Turkish Elite card.

  17. Gary..I need your advice..
    I am taking a trip to London next month and will be using Air New Zealand. I am currently a ELITE status member with Turkish Airlines but also am member with Aegean and United Airlines programs. I will be flying economy on NZ (H,M,Q,V,W,T fares). I am confused which program to accure the miles to. With Turkish Airlines, I will only get 50% miles when flying on one of above fares, with Aegean I will get 70% and with UA I will get 100%. But with UA I have to achieve elite avery year and the benefits are only valid for one year whereas with Turkish it is for 2 years and with Aegean it is for 3 years.

    So I would like your expert oponion on which airline to accure the miles for my roundtrip travel from LA to LHR on NZ.

    Will await your reply.

  18. A friend had a problem getting into UA club when not crediting to UA. I have not had a problem but wasn’t sure if they were looking and seeing my UC membership. I will see what happens on Saturday now tat my UA Club has expired.

    I did message Star Alliance on facebook who confirmed you can credit to UA and show your TK card for lounge access:

    “you can collect miles for the flight on your UA card but still use the TK Gold card to justify your lounge access – that is correct. The lounge will need to see the TK card to give you entry and will need to note the TK frequent flyer number, but there is no need for this number to be the one that is in the booking.”

  19. To follow up on my earlier post, my wife received her Elite card in the mail on 1/10, exactly 4 weeks after getting the email confirming the status match. No flight was credited to Turkish.

  20. I am Delta Gold until the end of next month 2/13. I don’t understand how you send a copy of your card–since it is hard plastic. Also when I sign in to Delta it shows that I’m Delta Gold. Is this page enough? Thanks please help this senior citizen.

  21. @Richard – The quickest to send a copy of the card is to take a photo of it with our phone. Email the picture to yourself and then you can attach to the request email.

  22. Thank you for the suggestion–however while I do have a camera on my cell phone I don’t have a way to send it to my e-mail.

  23. final update: I received my Turkish Elite package on 1/15/13 after receiving email confirmation on 12/13/12; looks as if the one month turnaround is fairly accurate.

  24. Regarding CDKing’s comment: I inquired with United about this same thing and they responded that to get lounge access I would have to put my FF number in the reservation and thus boarding pass of the carrier I have the status on; i.e. can’t credit United miles for the flight AND use *A Gold status via another carrier to get access.

    I will email them back and state that they are mistaken 🙂

    Also, I’ve used my USAir Gold card to access LH and misc (Rome) lounges without any issues/questions.

  25. They ARE mistaken. But go ahead and put your TK number in the reservation, access the lounge, then change the # in the reservation if need be.

  26. I know this is an old thread, but is anyone else having a problem getting a response from them? I sent my original request back on 10/1, and sent a follow-up request a few weeks later. They finally responded to my first email, asking me to submit my *A Gold card, etc. I did on 10/28, and have not received any reply from them either way. I’ve sent two follow-up emails since then, the most recent one being today. My TK account is still active, but nothign has changed and I’ve gotten no response. My US Air Gold expires the end of Feb (only made Silver last year – blerg!) and having *A Gold, as we all know, would be really nice. Any advice anyone?

  27. My UC finally expired. I guess they had been processing my entry using my UC credentials as entry had been quick and easy. Used my TK Gold card last weekend and it seemed like they had a hard time processing the entry. It tooka a few minutes of looking at the card, clicking and reading. Was able to get into BOS Term A, EWR, SAN & ORD without having to change numbers but it was still a hassle. I was worried they were updating my FF number but app kept showing me as 1K and points posted correctly

  28. I have the same problem, did send them my AA credentials already twice and never heard back. Might send them my UA credentials now. I figured it might be easier to match with a non Star Alliance carrier but seems to be not the case.

  29. I fly about 45,000 per year on United and Turkish, so this year I am going to accrue on Turkish instead of United, since Turkish goes SA gold at that level while united does not. Does anyone know whether I still get the United silver free luggage benefits on United when I am not checking in with a MP number, but with a TK number?

  30. you’ll revert to the *A Gold benefits rather than United Silver; but still showing them your silver status/card should work as well.

  31. i want to be a member ship of turkish air lines, how can i do it pls , now i am live in spain . i am recidient card holder of spain .from what can ido it pls

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