Status matches are a great way to gain status with another airline for free, simply by leveraging your existing status. From time to time, airlines will try to attract the frequent flyers of other airlines by offering a complimentary status match. Sometimes such status matches are promoted by the airline, while at other times it is up to individual members to contact the airline and request one.
A Platinum Virgin Australia Velocity member recently experimented with getting a status match. This member contacted six different airlines requesting a status match based on their existing Platinum status with Virgin.
I recently decided that I would go about investigating what options a Virgin Australia loyalist has with other airlines (as the details for Velocity members getting status matches/challenges seem to be a bit spotty) and can report the following results…
This member sent requests to Qantas, as well as five US-based airlines: American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta, Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. Two airlines, United and Delta, both offered status challenges. These are not instant status matches, but they do offer a genuine shortcut to status attainment. To complete a status challenge (and therefore receive the status match), you’ll generally need to earn a certain number of miles or meet various other criteria within a designated time period. So, for example, the United Gold status challenge requires members to earn either 12,500 Premium Qualifying Miles (PQM) or take 15 United flights within 90 days.
United: Status Challenge granted for Premier Gold, with a requirement of 12,500 PQMs or 15 PQSs. Process from submission to approval was less than 24 hours.
At the time of posting, this member had not received a response from Qantas, American Airlines or Virgin America. Alaska Airlines rejected the request.
Qantas has been known to offer status challenges to Virgin Australia flyers in the past. Generally, Platinum members would be required to earn 400 Qantas status credits within 3 months to complete a Platinum challenge (the usual requirement is 1,400 status credits within a year). For Gold members, the status challenge requirement is to earn 200 status credits within 90 days.
Other Velocity members report that they have received status matches with both Airberlin and LATAM Airlines. LATAM Airlines appears to offer limited status matches on a discretionary basis.
Friend of mine, VA plat, got matched to LATAM Plat recently, for a year. He had recently flown to Europe on OneWorld and had a LATAM itinerary coming up, and he submitted those, so that may have worked to his benefit.
Airberlin actively promotes its Topbonus status match program, however members do need to satisfy some relatively strict criteria. For example, the ariline will only offer status matches to residents of certain European countries or the United States. In addition, Airberlin will not offer status matches to frequent flyers of other oneworld airlines. But they will match Virgin Velocity status – despite Virgin Australia being a partner of Airberlin.
AB do match to VA as I have had it done
I got [Airberlin] top bonus gold a year ago – I did need a danish address though (or Germany and a few other options). My wife’s sister was living there, used her address, card never received. Month later changed address online to AU and requested new card via email – received in AU within 2 weeks.
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