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Ultimate Airline Status Hack: How to Match Status Across Multiple Airlines

A smiling airplane passenger listening to music and looking out the window.

Image source: Getty Images

Flying high isn’t just about getting from point A to point B anymore. It’s about the perks that can add a little boost to your personal finances. We’re talking free upgrades, lounge access, priority boarding, and that coveted extra legroom. For frequent flyers, airline status is the golden ticket.

But what if I told you there’s a way to multiply those benefits across multiple airlines? Yes, you heard right. With a little know-how, you can match your status from one airline to several others. Ready to unlock the ultimate travel hack?

The basics of status matching

First things first, what exactly is status matching? In the simplest terms, it’s when one airline grants you a comparable status based on the elite status you hold with another airline. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all process, as different airlines have their own rules and requirements. But the potential payoff is massive. Imagine having elite status benefits not just with your primary airline, but also with others in its alliance or even competitors.

Step-by-step guide to status matching

Here are the steps to take if you want to try this hack.

1. Research your options

The journey starts with a bit of homework. Not all airlines offer status matching, and those that do often have specific periods or promotions for it. A quick Google search can reveal which airlines are currently offering status matches and what they require. Websites like StatusMatcher.com and Flyertalk forums are also great resources for up-to-date information.

2. Prepare your documentation

Once you’ve identified potential airlines, it’s time to gather your evidence. Airlines typically require proof of your current status, which might include a screenshot of your account, a copy of your membership card, or recent travel history. Be thorough — missing information can delay or derail your match request.

3. Submit your request

Most airlines allow you to submit a status match request online. Some may require you to email customer service directly. Fill out the forms meticulously, attach your documentation, and don’t forget to include a polite, concise message explaining why you’re requesting the match. Remember, you’re essentially asking for a favor, so using a bit of courtesy can go a long way.

4. Wait for approval

Patience is key here. Approval times can vary from a few days to several weeks. Keep an eye on your email for any follow-up questions or, hopefully, your approval notice. In the meantime, continue to enjoy your existing benefits while you wait for your new status to kick in.

Maximizing your matched status

Here’s how to make the most of matched airline status.

1. Leverage alliances

Airline alliances like Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance can be your best friends in this process. Matching status with one airline in an alliance can often grant you reciprocal benefits across all member airlines. This means even more lounge access, priority services, and potential upgrades across a wider network of airlines.

2. Take advantage of promotions

Airlines occasionally run promotions that can help you elevate your matched status even further. Keep an eye out for double status miles offers, fast-track promotions, or bonus point events. These can help you climb the status ladder more quickly and expand your benefits.

3. Plan your travel strategically

To take full advantage of your new status, plan your trips around airlines where you’ve matched status. This ensures you’re maximizing the benefits you worked hard to get. Whether it’s choosing a different airline within the same alliance or switching carriers for specific routes, strategic planning can make a significant difference.

The pitfalls to avoid

Watch out for these mistakes!

1. Ignoring fine print

Always read the fine print. Some airlines offer temporary status matches that require you to meet certain criteria within a specific timeframe to maintain the benefits. Be sure you understand the terms and are prepared to meet any requirements.

2. Overestimating benefits

While status matching can provide great perks, not all benefits will transfer equally. For example, free checked bags or upgrades might not always be available on partner airlines. Manage your expectations and know exactly what you’re getting with each match.

3. Neglecting your primary airline

Don’t forget about your primary airline in the excitement of matching status. Keep flying with your main carrier to maintain and elevate your status there. Balance is key to ensuring you don’t lose out on your original benefits while chasing new ones. You might consider opening an airline credit card with your preferred carrier.

Status matching is a powerful tool in a frequent flyer’s arsenal. With the right strategy and a bit of patience, you can unlock a world of perks across multiple airlines, making every trip more comfortable and enjoyable. So, next time you’re jet-setting around the globe, remember this ultimate hack to elevate your travel experience.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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