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Old Oct 2, 03, 7:50 pm   #1
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The Status Match Master Thread

As we approve the end of a benefits year, airlines are beginning to reveal changes to their frequent flyer programs for 2004. They want more revenue at a lower cost. Their static models probably predict that their changes will accomplish this. Some may, some may not.

But I believe it's important for us to remember that while they're doing their job, we don't have to be sympathetic. After all, we're customers. And we have every right to seek out the product that best fits our needs. If an airline program offers a better deal for our flying and buying patterns, by all means we should take advantage of that offer!

And many airlines make it easier for us to do so -- by matching our current status with elite privileges in their program.

One of the most frequently asked questions on Flyertalk, throughout the various forums, is "Will airline X match my titanium status in the Infinite Airways program?" or something to that effect. And since fellow flyers are beginning to think about their plans for 2004, I thought I'd take a stab at summarizing the "who will match what? and how do I do it?" conventional wisdom.

Of course, this is general advice. It doesn't work in every case. And my knowledge may be superceded by better and more recent information. But this is what I've collected over time. If you would like to correct me, please do so. It will only make for a better information summary. And thread links are welcome!

So here goes ---

Continental

Will match status, generally to equivalent level up to Platinum (top tier)

They seem concerned about fraud, so require a bunch of information:
  • A copy of your current elite status card.
  • A copy of your latest elite statement.
  • A copy of your current One Pass Membership Card.
  • A copy of your current One Pass statement.

Along with a note explaining you'd like to shift your busy to them if they'll match your current status.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Mail To:
Continental Airlines
One Pass Service Center
Attn: One Pass Match Program
P O Box 4365
Houston, TX 77210-4365

Or overnight it to:
Continental Airlines
One Pass Service Center
9999 Richmond Avenue, Suite 112
Houston, TX 77042

Or FAX the required information to them! (Anyone have the fax # handy?)</font>
Update 1/21/06: Per post # 429 in this thread:

OA Match Request
P.O. Box 4757
Houston, TX 77210-4757

Fax: 832-235-2713.


United

Will match status, generally to equivalent level up to Premier Executive (mid-tier)

Send a copy of your current elite statement or elite card along with a note explaining you'd like to shift your busy to them if they'll match your current status to:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">
Mileage Plus Service Center
Attention: Premier Status Match
P.O. Box 28870
Tucson, AZ 85726

Or via Fax: 605-343-0215
10/20/06: post #770 suggests the fax # is now 605-341-6140
03/01/08: fax number 605-341-6140 still works

You can also email your request to premiermatch@united.com and attach your documentation.
</font>
(Updated fax # 5/19/06)
(Updated fax # 10/20/06)

America West (defunct, contact info deleted)


Delta

Will match status, generally to equivalent level up to Gold (mid-tier)

Send a copy of your current elite statement or elite card along with a note explaining you'd like to shift your busy to them if they'll match your current status to:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Delta Skymiles Service Center
Attn: Elite Status Match
Via fax: 404-715-9220 </font>
[Edit] There are recent reports of Delta offering "challenges" in response to status match requests -- that is, fly x segments in y days for status.

American

American will consistently match United status to equivalent level up to mid-tier (Platinum). They are quirkier about matching status from other carriers. Sometimes they'll offer Gold status. Sometimes they'll just ask you to complete a challenge (miles flown in 90 days). Sometimes they'll offer Gold status and a challenge for Platinum.

For the best consolidated discussion of challenges, see this summary by FewMiles.

Alaska

Will match status, generally to equivalent level -- with midtier on most carriers being equivalent to Alaska's MVP Gold (top tier)

Fax a copy of your current elite statement or membership card to:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">
Mileage Plan Customer Service
206-433-3477
</font>
Northwest

Northwest will match status, but they're quirky.

Sometimes they'll match to equivalent level up to Gold (midtier). Other times they reject status match requests outright. I'm not an expert as to why.

Send:
Your WorldPerks account number
Copies of your most recent (2) elite mileage statements

They will not accept:
Travel agency reports
Letters of elite status
Membership cards indicating elite status with another airline
Travel itineraries.

Mail information to:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Manager WorldPerks Operations
601 Oak St,
Chisholm MN 55719-1995

Or by fax to 218-254-7567</font>
USAirways

[b]Update:[/b} As of late 2007 USAirways will no longer match status. They will sell you temporary status and a fast track instead.

Outdated information:
Will match status, generally to equivalent level up to Chairman's Preferred (top tier)

Send a copy of your current elite statement or elite card along with a note explaining you'd like to shift your busy to them if they'll match your current status to:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Carol Blazer, Manager
US Airways Dividend Miles Service Center
Post Office Box 5
Winston-Salem, NC 27105-0005

Or fax to 336-661-8216</font>

Mexicana

Will match status, generally to equivalent level up to Gold (top tier)

You can make your request by emailing &lt;customerservice@mexicana.com.mx&gt; and saying that you'd like to move your business to Mexicana if they'll match your status.

You will be requested to provide proof of your current elite status by forwarding a copy of your current airline elite card or elite statement. A scan attached to an email reply will suffice.

If you don't hear back in a few days, email again. Mexicana is just like that. But Enrique is a nice guy. [Edited to say that per kempis, Enrique is no longer at MX. )


Airtran -- Updated 11/27/03

From December 1 to December 31, 2003 Airtran is offering a formal elite status match program.

Just print their elite status match form, provide your Airtran account information and your competitor elite status information, include a frequent flyer statement (July 1 2003 or more recent) and fax it all to 1-912-966-6378, attention: Elite Matching Program. You should receive an elite card in 3-4 weeks.


Frontier -- Updated 11/27/03

Send your name, EarlyReturns number, and most recent airline elite statement to quickascent@flyfrontier.com or fax to (720) 374-4375 (attn: Quick Ascent).

Accounts with matched status also earn 5000 bonus miles for each flight (up to 15,000 bonus miles) for flights taken by January 31, 2004.

Update 1/21/06: Reply #13 in this thread reports that the 'QuickAscent' program was discontinued 12/31/05.


British Midland

IBritish Midland may be the only non-North American program with a regular status match program. Full details can be found in this thread.


Airlines that will not generally match status:
  • Air Canada
  • Lufthansa
  • British Airways - with some exceptions for very significant revenue or through a corporate contract
  • Air France (per dctorres)
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Singapore

There are exceptions to every rule, as I'm reminded by this thread which reports that Lufthansa is easy to get a comp from if you're in Turkey or China.

Bear in mind that status matches are generally one-time only affairs -- so only request the match if you plan to use the status and requalify. Otherwise it's a future opportunity wasted.

[Edit] Per suggestions below, let me also note that getting comped from one airline in an alliance to another airline in an alliance is usually much harder. Airlines often have "no poaching" rules, so that United is usually unwilling to match Lufthansa status, and Continental and Northwest are generally unwilling to match each others' status. There are documented exceptions, of course, and the closeness of the alliance is often a factor here. But showing elite status outside of an alliance often produces better results.

It would be great if folks would help keep this up to date. Then, when posters ask about comping procedures, we could just link a single thread...

Best regards,
Gary

------------------
View from the Wing: A blog about Free Miles and Free Markets

[This message has been edited by gleff (edited Nov 27, 2003).]

Last edited by gleff; Mar 1, 08 at 6:16 pm..
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Old Oct 2, 03, 9:11 pm   #2
 
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Members of the CO/DL/NW alliance will generally not comp each other's members as part of an anti-poaching policy.
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Old Oct 2, 03, 11:47 pm   #3
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Good info here. Printed out my UA request tonight; will mail it in tomorrow. 98% chance it's bye-bye OnePass.
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Old Oct 3, 03, 4:45 am   #4
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The most helpful and useful thread I have seen all week gleff.

Have bookmarked it, as you are correct - this gets asked a LOT on FT.

And I'd like to reinforce your accurate observation:

Bear in mind that status matches are generally one-time only affairs -- so only request the match if you plan to use the status and re-qualify. Otherwise it's a future opportunity wasted.

I have seen instances where newbies have found FT, get all excited, run around to 4 airlines and get a shiny Gold card for no good reason other than they "can" and of course all 4 expired a year or so later. When they REALLY need the comp due to relocation etc, they are SOL.

Just one GENERAL observation - the Star Alliance airlines will NOT typically get excited about comping a top Elite from another Star Partner unless for a good reason - like proven relocation etc. In short a kind of unwritten "Anti-Poaching" agreement.

i.e. if I wrote Singapore Airlines with my 1K card details it is not likely they'd embrace me NEAR as much as say a Cathy Pacific top elite.

Have no idea what the One World members policy is on this.

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Old Oct 3, 03, 5:44 am   #5
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Great thread, great post.

Like to add that UA turned me down (SkyTeam Elite Plus) because they said "we don't do match programs with AF".

Edited to add: I have been hearing a lot of reports of DL only doing challenges now. Are they still doing comps?

[This message has been edited by dctorres (edited 10-03-2003).]
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Old Oct 3, 03, 5:47 am   #6
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dupe

[This message has been edited by dctorres (edited 10-03-2003).]
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Old Oct 3, 03, 6:53 am   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by SPN Lifer:
Members of the CO/DL/NW alliance will generally not comp each other's members as part of an anti-poaching policy.</font>
This is not true. It may be true for NW/CO, but NW comped me Gold Elite based on my DL Gold Medallion status in August.
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Old Oct 3, 03, 6:56 am   #8
 
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Very nice work Gleff! Our friend Enrique at MX is not working there anymore
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Old Oct 3, 03, 7:19 am   #9
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Edited for recent reports about Delta offering challenges rather status matches, to note mixed results (at best) for matches within an alliance, and to note that Enrique no longer is at MX.
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Old Oct 3, 03, 7:27 am   #10
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Another that won't do a status match is BA.

They are known to give a comp. membership based on corporate spending (think in the 10's of thousands, nothing like the "big spenders" on UA that rack up $5000 a year for 1K).
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Old Oct 3, 03, 7:33 am   #11
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Updated, Scott.

Perhaps someone else would like to start a similar thread for hotels? (While I suppose I could do searches in all the hotel forums and read lots of threads) I just don't feel like I'm currently a sufficient expert on the subject...
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Old Oct 3, 03, 8:15 am   #12
 
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Another useful piece of information to add to this thread would be information about status EXPIRATION policies/tier drops on the various airlines:

For example, even if I make NW platinum this year (flying 75,000 EQM), if I fly almost no miles on NW the following year my status will drop to nothing. But I've heard that on some other airlines (I think AA) you only drop one elite level per year, so it gives you at least a couple more years of SOME status on that airline, which could be important to some of us.

Does anyone have a quick summary or link to various airline tier-dropping policies?
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Old Oct 3, 03, 8:59 am   #13
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by ScottC:
Another that won't do a status match is BA.

They are known to give a comp. membership based on corporate spending (think in the 10's of thousands, nothing like the "big spenders" on UA that rack up $5000 a year for 1K).
</font>
Thought I mentioned this earlier, but didn't -- AF does generally not comp (in fact, I've only heard of one instance of it happening).
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Old Oct 3, 03, 9:26 am   #14
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by ermdjdsj:

Another useful piece of information to add to this thread would be information about status EXPIRATION policies/tier drops on the various airlines:

For example, even if I make NW platinum this year (flying 75,000 EQM), if I fly almost no miles on NW the following year my status will drop to nothing. But I've heard that on some other airlines (I think AA) you only drop one elite level per year, so it gives you at least a couple more years of SOME status on that airline, which could be important to some of us.

Does anyone have a quick summary or link to various airline tier-dropping policies?</font>

Right NOW United drop you totally if you do not fly AFAIK.

i.e. if a 1K during 2003 did not fly they'd likely be a ZERO status for 2004.

As a further addition to gleff's initial post, maybe a footnote under each plan to folks as to the OPTIMUM time to apply for a comp would greatly assist new comp seekers.

Some plans comp you only to end Feb 2004 if you are approved by Date x, but to end Feb 2005 if approved a week later.

Such dates are WELL worth posting!


------------------
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Old Oct 3, 03, 9:27 am   #15
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by gleff:
USAirways

Will match status, generally to equivalent level up to Chairman's Preferred (top tier)
</font>
Based on anecdotal evidence, US generally does not comp to Chairman's Preferred, though it is known to happen.
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