A few airlines offer some sort of elite status match – meaning they will match your status on their airline as long as you have status on another airline OR they will let you complete some sort of challenge to earn elite status on their airline for a few months to a year. If you are going to be flying more often then you should definitely look into a specific rewards program from an airline and sign up. I would also recommend getting their credit card for extra added mileage/points rewards. For obvious reasons, it is better to constantly fly the same airline and accumulate miles and elite status on one than to have them spread across different programs and leading to no immediate perks.
Elite status comes with a few perks such as:
- Priority boarding (board immediately after first/business class)
- Priority baggage (get your checked bag before non-elites)
- Extra checked bag allowance (usually 2 or more for free)
- 25-100% base bonus miles (example: fly 1000 miles, you get an extra 250 [25%] or 1000 [100%] back for mileage redemption. The percentage is based on your elite status tier.)
- Priority check-in (use the priority/first class counters to check-in)
- Priority security screening (pass through TSA a lot quicker)
- Perks on airline alliance partners (oneworld, SkyTeam, Star Alliance)
- Upgrade availability (Chance to upgrade to first class or business for either free or a minimal fee)
- Ability to pick seats with extra legroom for free or for a minimal fee (depends on your status tier)
To get a status match on Alaska you have to have elite status on another major airline and provide them with a copy of your drivers license or passport AND elite status card or mileage statement which states your full name and status level on another airline. To do so you must email firstname.lastname@example.org with these documents. The status match is free and usually takes about 2 weeks to process. You cannot match to Alaska MVP 75K, which is their top tier elite status. Requests submitted before November 1st are good until February and those after November 1st are good for the entire next year.
American Airlines gives you an elite status challenge in order to earn their Gold or Platinum tier. Unfortunately, American charges you $120-150 for the Gold status challenge and $180-250 for the Platinum challenge, you cannot challenge for the Executive Platinum tier. You must complete the required amount of elite qualifying points (EQP) within 3 months to earn the status you challenged. It is important to keep in mind that American usually offers .5 points for every 1 mile flown, unless you book first, business or full-fare economy. Therefore a flight earning you 500 miles will usually only get you 250 EQPs. In short, the status is based on POINTS, not MILES. American has three different ways of earning miles the normal way is based on either: points, miles or segments. If you do not earn the required elite qualifying points within 3 months you will not get a refund and cannot challenge again for another year. To request the challenge call: 1-800-882-8880. The required elite qualifying points within 3 months are as follows:
- Gold: 5,000 elite qualifying points
- Platinum: 10,000 elite qualifying points
Delta Airlines offers immediate status on their airline by matching your status on another airline. You can request the status match on their website by clicking HERE. You will need to provide proof of your elite status on another airline by providing a copy of your elite card or mileage statement. Both the statement and the card must include your full name and the your status with the airline. As of right now, their status match program is free of charge. Those who are elite members or who have been matched in the past do not qualify. You will be able to keep the status on Delta until the following February even if you do not qualify to retain the status by meeting their flying or minimum spending requirement. You can only match to their Silver, Gold or Platinum elite status.
United offers a trial match program as long as you have elite status on another major airline. You will have 90 days to achieve the corresponding requirements for the elite status you have requested. If you do not, you lose your matched status. You can keep the matched status by meeting the required miles and segments, which can be completed by flying either United or Copa Airlines. You can only match their Premier Silver, Premier Gold and Premier Platinum tiers and you must have not challenged within the last five years. Visit United’s website for more information and then email email@example.com to sign up for the challenge. There is no fee associated with United’s status match program.
U.S. Airways: (I recommend just doing American’s challenge)
US Airways offers a similar program to American. To get status on US Airways you must pay a fee and then complete a condensed requirement for the tier you have requested within 90 days. The cost is: $200 for Silver, $400 for Gold and $600 for Platinum, no status on another airline is required to participate. To enroll in the trial click HERE. The requirements that must be completed within 90 days of signing up are as follows:
- Silver: 7,500 miles or 10 segments
- Gold: 15,000 miles or 20 segments
- Platinum: 22,500 miles or 30 segments
The merger between American Airlines and US Airways allows for their elite members to benefit from flying either airline. Therefore, I would challenge on American Airlines since the challenge is cheaper than U.S. Airways and would just fly US Airways if it is cheaper or more convenient for you.
I hope this post helped! If you have any questions or concerns feel free to ask in the comments section below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – Cheers!