Looking for an airline status match? Our guide to airline status matches and challenges in 2024

Loyalty programs have become a popular marketing tool for airlines, offering various perks and benefits to loyal customers. One of the main benefits of these programs is elite status, which provides additional privileges such as priority boarding, access to airport lounges, and bonus miles. However, most loyalty programs only offer elite status for a limited period, usually one year. But there is a way to extend your elite status beyond the current year through a process called status matching.

Status matching involves transferring your expiring elite status from one loyalty program to another. This allows you to maintain your benefits by selecting a different airline that offers a status match program. Many airlines provide the opportunity to match elite benefits from other programs, allowing you to gain complimentary elite status with another airline.

For example, let’s say your Delta Air Lines Medallion elite status is set to expire on Jan. 31. You can potentially match it to a competitor’s program, granting you temporary elite status with the competing airline. This temporary status can be extended by meeting specific flight or revenue requirements set by the airline. By qualifying for the match, you can enjoy the benefits and privileges of elite status with a different airline.

So why do airlines offer status match programs? Airlines are always looking to attract new customers and retain loyal ones. If a traveler has shown significant loyalty to one airline, it can be attractive to a rival airline. The traveler may consider switching loyalty due to dissatisfaction with their current program or a change in circumstances, such as moving to a new city where a different airline has a hub. Offering a status match is a way for airlines to entice these loyal customers to switch loyalty and choose their airline instead.

When initiating a status match or challenge, there are a few important strategies and principles to remember. For a status match, you typically need to provide a photo of your membership card and a mileage statement to prove your status. It is crucial to avoid altering or falsifying your credentials, as this can result in severe consequences, including account suspension.

On the other hand, a status challenge may or may not require existing status. The airline will specify the number of elite qualifying miles or dollars you must earn within a specific time frame to achieve a particular elite tier. It is essential to thoroughly understand the requirements and which activities count toward the challenge. Some cobranded credit cards or partner airline tickets may be excluded from earning elite status.

It is usually advised to complete a match or challenge after June to enjoy status for the rest of the year and potentially retain it for the following year. However, some airlines, like Delta, have started offering status match challenges that allow you to maintain status through January of the following year.

It’s worth noting that not all airlines publicize their status match and challenge opportunities. You may need to reach out to the airline’s customer service or check websites like StatusMatcher to find information about available opportunities. Additionally, the outcome of your request may vary depending on the agent processing it.

Now let’s take a look at some specific airline status match programs that you can take advantage of in 2024.

Alaska Airlines:
Alaska Airlines offers a status match program that includes a challenge component. They will match elite status from various programs, including Aeromexico Rewards, Air Canada Aeroplan, American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta Air Lines SkyMiles, Frontier Airlines Miles, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, and United Airlines MileagePlus. Once matched, you will be granted corresponding status in Alaska’s Mileage Plan program for 90 days. To retain this status beyond the initial period, you must fly a specific number of miles on flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, or SkyWest Airlines, depending on the tier you match.

American Airlines:
American Airlines offers a status challenge program called Instant Status Pass to Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Diamond Medallion members and United MileagePlus Premier Platinum and Premier 1K elite members. To participate, you can apply online and be matched to either AAdvantage Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum. The program consists of three phases, each lasting four months. To maintain the temporary status for another four months, you need to earn a prorated number of Loyalty Points through qualifying activities with American, its partners, and cobranded credit card spending.

Delta Air Lines:
Delta SkyMiles currently offers a status match program, up to Platinum Medallion, to elite members of various airlines, including international programs like British Airways Executive Club, Lufthansa Miles & More, and Virgin Australia Velocity, as well as major U.S. programs. With a successful match, you’ll be granted complimentary Medallion status for three months. To extend the status beyond the initial period, you would need to earn a specific number of Medallion Qualification Dollars within the qualification year.

Frontier Airlines:
Frontier Airlines offers a status match program, although specific details for 2024 have not yet been released. You can join the waitlist for their status match and receive updates when more information becomes available. In the past, Frontier has charged members for the “administrative costs” of approving a status match.

Hawaiian Airlines:
Hawaiian Airlines has previously offered status matches on a case-by-case basis. While not publicly advertised, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they are currently offering a status match. Typically, they require proof of current elite status and documentation of flights completed that earned the elite status.

In conclusion, while most loyalty programs do not offer a way to extend elite status beyond the current year, you can take advantage of status match programs offered by competing airlines. By matching your expiring elite status to a different loyalty program, you can potentially maintain your benefits and privileges. It is important to understand the requirements and limitations of each program before initiating a status match or challenge. With careful planning and fulfillment of the requirements, you can enjoy elite status with a different airline and continue to enjoy the perks and benefits associated with it.

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