How I Turned 1 Roundtrip Ticket Into Almost 4 Years of Airline Elite Status

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alitalia status match
Photo by Larry Johnson

Another Successful Status Match

Back in 2013 I was able to sign up for a promotion with American Airlines that gave me Platinum status after earning 12,000 EQMs. This promotion was supposed to be targeted, however it was opened up to everyone for a short time and I managed to register for it. American decided to honor the promotion for all members who signed up.

To actually earn the Platinum status I found a ~$400 fare from Las Vegas to Asuncion, Paraguay via Miami. It was a lot of flying, but I made the most of it and stopped for a day in Miami to see a friend. The people in Asuncion were a little perplexed at me landing and turning around immediately, however there were other “mileage runners” on the flight so it worked out.

Earned My Fare Back in Miles

alitalia status match
What a great promotion this was!

That flight actually earned me about 25,000 redeemable miles since I earned elite bonuses for part of it and American gave everyone on my return flight 5,000 miles proactively since we had to make an unscheduled stop in Aruba to have the bathrooms serviced. (Someone forgot to do it in Asuncion.)

So with a quick registration, a good deal on a flight to South America and about 20 hours of flying I was a mid-tier elite. Unfortunately I don’t fly enough on paid travel to re-qualify through normal means. Last year when I realized I wasn’t going to retain my American status, I matched it to Alaska. They matched me from AAdvantage Platinum to MVP Gold! Good stuff.

Status Expiring Once Again

alitalia status match

Of course my Alaska Airlines MVP Gold status will expire, so my focus recently shifted to how I could keep this going longer. To do that I decided to contact Alitalia. They have been know to be very generous with status matches, so I sent them over a copy of my Alaska MVP Gold card and waited.

It has been about three weeks since I sent my card and they haven’t even acknowledged receipt of it. Thankfully that doesn’t matter because I fired up Award Wallet this morning to check and saw something that warmed my heart. I am now a mid-tier elite with Alitalia (FRECCIA ALATA) and a SkyTeam Elite+. Better yet, my status is matched through the end of March, 2017!

Benefits of This Status

SkyTeam Elite+ status isn’t the best in the world, however it will give me lounge access when flying on SkyTeam airlines, free baggage and access to preferred seating. More importantly it is status with one of the major airline alliances, which means I can possibly use it to gain status with another alliance/airline.

How to Match to Alitalia

alitalia status match

Alitalia is one of the easiest airlines to match status to. In fact, they have a webpage dedicated to the process. Currently their site says the status match program will run through December 31, 2015. The site says status is good through March of 2016, however I received it for an entire extra year.

To get the status match send an email to StatusMatchMilleMiglia@alitalia.com with your first and last name, your Alitalia MileMiglia number (sign-up if you don’t already have an account) and a legible copy of your current frequent flyer card. It takes a few weeks, but  they should match your status without any issues.

Conclusion

At this point I have turned one $400 flight into almost four years worth of elite status. While getting SkyTeam Elite+ isn’t the pinnacle of my overall strategy (I’m working on trying to get Star Alliance Gold as well), it is valuable for me to have. I actually flew Alitalia last year in economy and thought it wasn’t bad. Perhaps I’ll give them another try now that I am up in their elite ranks.


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17 COMMENTS

  1. i am in similar shoes as you. my AA plat status will expire feb 2015 however, i will still have gold with AA until feb 2016. i am not sure if gold counts as mid-tier in your prior post (to get matched to MVP gold). if yes, would you recommend i hold off on the status match until Jan/Feb 2016 when my AA gold status is about to expire?

    • I haven’t seen any data points on this, however I believe they would match to just MVP level since Gold status with American is base level elite status which most closely corresponds to regular MVP status.

      Alaska used to make you wait until November 1 to match and have the status good through the entire next year. Last year they were matching for 2015 in October. I would probably wait until November 1 unless you hear otherwise. If you do that then you should get status through the end of 2016 as long as they approve your match.

  2. Shawn, thanks for the reminder as I’ve been meaning to match my 75k to Alitalia. The only thing holding me back was uncertainty over how long it would last. You’ve clarified for us, so elite status here I come!

    • Their website does say only until 2016, so I can’t guarantee they will match you through 2017! Hopefully they are just matching everyone through then since it is so late in the year.

  3. Explain to me what the point is in burning once in a lifetime matches for status that apparently you don’t actually use enough to retain? Is it because you like collecting shiny plastic cards?

    I can see “OK, I’m going to try this because I travel enough for this to make sense if it works out”. I tried it with UA myself, took some flights, kept getting delayed through SFO, saw the merger horror show, and went “nope”. But what’s the point of a status match if you really don’t plan on using it?

    • I actually have used the status, but have not flown enough on paid tickets to qualify for another year. The status this year opened up preferred seating on American for me and my family and I all were able to get free upgrades to F on an upcoming paid flight to Hawaii.

      • Ah, so it’s a “burn the lifetime match once for free stuff and exploit the system, even while knowing the whole time that you really don’t want to retain status, you just wanted some free stuff” kind of deal.

        Since you explain it like that… your call, I guess.

        • Actually I flew quite a lot on American last year and finished just shy of Gold. For the record, Alaska actually makes you send over your entire statement to them, so they reviewed my flights on American and decided to give the match.

          One last thing. In case you didn’t know, I sort of do this for a living. Part of the reason this site exists is to show people how to work within the system to travel better. I am just sharing my own experiences. Oh and the whole “once per lifetime match” thing. 🙂

  4. I recently did two status matches in order to get lounge access on AA. I first matched my AA Executive Platinum to Turkish Air. Then I matched Turkish Air to Airberlin Top Bonus Gold. It was pretty easy and only took about a month to complete both matches. Now I get AA lounge access for a year when I fly domestically. Thanks for the tip about Alitalia. I will consider than in the future as AA moves to a revenue model.

  5. Hi, Shawn. Thanks for your post. I currently hold AS MVP 75k Gold and Air Berlin Top Bonus Gold. I would like to status match for Star Alliance elite level. Can you suggest method/s on how to go about it? Thanks again.

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