5 Years of Elite Status – Status Matching Over and Over Again

As the year comes to a close, here’s a post for all those with status who won’t qualify again next year as well as newbies who don’t realize how their current elite status can be stretched. Note that this post will be removed from PMttP this evening so please save any useful information.

Status matching is where a carrier or hotel chain recognizes your status with a current competitor, and in hoping to attract your business, provides you equivalent status in their program.  Some competitors seem happy to match your status regardless of activity, while others require more flight or hotel stay activity in order to match. By status matching with airlines that don’t have stringent activity requirements, you’re able to status match over and over again.

This is a post by Avery. Avery is a special guest contributor from www.dcta.ca, (Don’t Call the Airline!) He specializes in Canadian travel hacking, and has flown all over the world in First Class and on questionably safe airlines to questionable destinations.

Step One

Earn mid-tier status (ex. Star Alliance Gold) with an airline that participates in one of the three major airline alliances: Star Alliance, oneworld, and SkyTeam.

Once you’ve earned status, we can string it along to last for years…

Step Two

Status match with Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles. If you’re the equivalent of Star Alliance Gold on the competitor airline, matching from one of the major alliances (including other Star Alliance carriers), Turkish Airlines will grant you Miles&Smiles Gold Elite (Star Alliance Gold), valid for two years.

To status match with Turkish Airlines, make a Miles&Smiles account. Go to their online “Contact Us” form and attach a PDF copy of your competing airline statement and a PDF image of your frequent flyer card.

Recently, Turkish has been status matching very quickly, sometimes within 24 hours. You might not get an email about your match, so keep checking online to see if you’ve been upgraded.

Step Three/Four

Near the end of your Miles&Smiles Elite status, you can match either to Air Berlin (oneworld) or China Airlines (SkyTeam) with your Turkish Gold status. Both currently offer a one-year status match. Once the matched year is over with either Air Berlin or China Airlines, match to the other for another year.

To status match with Air Berlin, you have to open an Air Berlin TopBonus account, and email service@topbonus.de with an image of your Turkish Elite/China Airlines card. Air Berlin used to only offer a couple months of status, but recently they’ve been offering a full year.

To status match with China Airlines, send an image of your Turkish/China Airlines card to ndfp@china-airlines.com and tpeccdfp@china-airlines.com. Make a clear and concise request for a status match to SkyTeam Elite Plus (Dynasty Flyer). It may take some time, and you may need to resend your multiple emails. I would do this status LAST, in order to preserve your “chain” of status matching and not risk losing it while you wait for a response.

Results

Doing this, you can make a status last for a total of five years (original status for 1 year + 2 Years for Turkish Airlines + 1 Year for Air Berlin + 1 Year for China Airlines).

Ethics of Status Matching

Some airlines require evidence of significant activity from the competitor, or that you have reservations on the new carrier. The above status matches do not require evidence of activity. Although this may go against the spirit of the program, it would be very easy for these airlines to require evidence of activity prior to status matching. As they don’t, we can only assume that activity is not part of their match consideration.

Comments

  1. Re: Turkish status matching. I wouldn’t say “matching status very quickly”. My first try took so long they asked for an updated “3 month” statement in November. Sent it back.. I still haven’t heard back. So it’s been over 5 months.

    Per the FlyerTalk/TK discussion: “Update November 2014: Recent reports indicate the unofficial status match programme is not running very smoothly. Requests are seldom replied to…”

    Seems to be hit or miss, so I wouldn’t necessarily agree with your analysis above.

  2. the downside is that you end up with miles in a lot of different programs. And if you plan to fly enough, then you should try to get status in your “home” program so you can take advantage of more benefits – i.e. easier to upgrade as airline elite vs alliance elite

  3. Tried to do the status mah with Turkish but unfortunately got an email that they won’t match you unless you’re executive platinum (I’m platinum on AA). Has anyone has similar experience?

  4. Noah has a good point. You use the status to get in priority queues or lounges, but what if you want to collect miles on United? Can you do that while using your Turkish Miles & Smiles gold card?

    • @Joey / Noah – You can continue earning in your preferred program. Check-in online or prior to security with your elite credentials, obtain your boarding pass with the status, then change the FF account at the gate before boarding. Hence, you’ll receive the elite benefits but still earn miles with your pref. carrier. …of course you won’t earn any of the elite bonus miles this way.

  5. wow such a badly written post. Just because AB and CI are matching now does not mean they will be matching in 2 years from now when your TK status expires..

    • I think the average person understands that things change. People can only write things that are true now. Who knows what’s going to change in the future?

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