How to Extend Airline Elite Status with A Match

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Alaska Airlines Status match.
Alaska Airlines Status Match approved!

The Alaska Airlines Status Match

One of the keys to success in this space is learning how to utilize different promotions to get ahead. Once you have been around awhile things tend to fit together like a puzzle.

Last year I wrote about my $420 flight to Asuncion, Paraguay and how it earned me American Airlines Platinum status since I was able to register for a special promotion.

For that flight I ended up earning almost 25,000 redeemable miles & the Platinum status. This year I have used American Airlines Platinum status often to get free Main Cabin Extra seats and to waive the close-in booking fee on award tickets. It has paid off.

Elite Status Running Out

Unfortunately I am not too much into paying for flights, so I faced a dilemma. My Platinum status runs out in February and while I will qualify for Gold due to a few other tricks, most of my benefits will run out.

Fortunately I have found a way to parlay my American Airlines Platinum status into something that works for me. Alaska Airlines has a status match program where they will match status for a year up to their mid-tier MVP Gold.

The Status Match

Alaska Airlines status match upgrade policy.
Alaska Airlines elite upgrade policy.

Alaska Airlines matches elite status of the following airlines: AeroMexico, Air Canada, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, Jet Blue, Southwest, United, US Airways, and Virgin America.

In general if you have mid or top-tier status with one of those airlines then they will match you up to their MVP Gold. If you have lower level elite status they will give you their entry level MVP status.

The Alaska Airlines status match is a fairly straightforward process. To be considered for a match you must send an email to elite.flyer@alaskaair.com. The email must contain scans of the front and back of your elite card, a current elite statement showing your status and a copy of your id. Here is the actual language from their email.

To submit your request for a Tier Match, send a copy of both sides of your current elite card,
an e-Statement showing current status and your drivers license. If your
original email did not include all of these documents, please resubmit with all
three attached. Allow 2-4 weeks for processing once we have received your
documents.

Other Details of the Alaska Airlines Status Match

Alaska Airlines status match upgrade policy.
Photo by Frank Kovalcheck.

 

In the past you would need to wait until November 1st to apply for the status match in order for it to count for the next calendar year. This year that has changed. As of now, they are extending status until the end of 2015 if your match is accepted.

The email states that it can take 2-4 weeks for a status match to be processed. In my case, it took 7 days. I sent the request on October 3 and received the acceptance email on October 10.

What Is MVP Gold

MVP Gold is actually quite lucrative for a mid-tier status. It comes with complimentary upgrades 72 hours out on Alaska flights and free ticket change/cancellation on both award & revenue tickets. That is huge!

In addition, Alaska is a partner with Delta & American. MVP Gold earns you Priority Access on American along with free Main Cabin Extra seating. On Delta you get a number of benefits including complimentary upgrades, although you are at the bottom of the priority list. You can see the full list of benefits here.

Conclusion

If you currently have elite status that is running out, the Alaska status match may be a good avenue. In my case it is a way to keep most of the benefits of my American Airlines Platinum status going.

Whether the Alaska Airlines status match works for you or not, being aware of the different status match programs which are available is one way to get ahead in this game. You never know when a promotion like the one I registered for last year can be turned into years of elite status!

 


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10 COMMENTS

  1. Is it true that most (all?) airline status-match programs are “one time only” (per life?) deals? In your (or other people reading this) experience, is that really true – or do the airlines purge their records of such things after a few years (or not really care – and just happy to have a new customer “on the hook”). If the airlines (or a particular airline) is strict with the one-time-only rule, then one probably wants to be strategic about when they use the offer.

    It seems like the name of the game is to get at least mid-tier status somewhere and then status match it (if you can’t keep it) onto another program at year-end, before it expires. But, alas, you have to have status to begin with, and I just haven’t been traveling enough the the past couple of years. I’d be interested in the lowest-cost strategies for achieving status to begin with (realizing that there’s probably lots of mileage run forums and websites out there).

  2. This and most status matches are one-time per account. Some people have been able to get around that by creating new accounts, however I have never done so.

    Being tuned into the latest deals is important when trying to get status. In my case, I turned a mistake promotion into Platinum status by finding a really cheap flight on the Flyertalk Mileage Run forums.

    I paid for the flight to Paraguay with my Arrival Plus sign up bonus so it didn’t cost me anything out of pocket. In the end the flight cost $425, but I received 25,000 miles which is at least equivalent. (Again paid for by the Arrival Plus sign up bonus.)

    I am now using that status to match over to Alaska, so the fun keeps coming. There is no simple solution, only being tuned into the latest deals and having a little luck. I know you are a loyal reader of this fine website, so if any such promotion comes around again I am sure you will know very quickly.

    • The match is once per account, so I would say it only makes sense if you will be flying on Alaska a lot and need/want the benefits. This offer has been around for awhile, but it is always subject to change as well. It really is a personal decision whether or not to do the match.

  3. I currently have Gold on United, and formerly platinum on AA. I fly AA mostly as I live in Argentina and their service in Latin America can’t be beat. I am wondering how I can use my United Gold to keep the cycle going. If I match over to Alaska (I have never flown with them) what are my chances of actually getting to use it? I can’t really use it if I use my AA miles for a reward flight, so it would only be if I flew AA but booked on Alaska? I don’t see how that would really work. Am I missing something?

    • It might not make sense for everyone. If you don’t fly Alaska then it might not be the right opportunity. It is a great program if you are on the West Coast, plus if you fly paid tickets on AA and Delta then it is nice since you can credit flights from both to Alaska. If that isn’t your situation, then this match may not be right for you.

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