Secrets of the Status Match – How to Leverage Your Status One Place, to Everyplace
For frequent travelers, there is a certain cachet that comes with achieving elite status: upgraded seats, access to private lounges, waived baggage fees and a general air of prestige (that last one is not on offer from the airlines). Which is exactly the point.
But did you know that you can often transfer the elite status you’ve earned through one travel provider to another? It’s called status matching, and it could change the way you travel.
Airlines, hotels, even car rental services are all after one thing: you, the merry wanderer.
It makes sense to think that your elite status with any travel loyalty program would be attractive to all the others. Frequent travelers are their bread and butter.
Extending Your Status to Other Loyalty Programs
While some providers will allow a straight-ahead status match, others issue a “status challenge” that temporarily grants you status that can be extended by flying a specific amount during the challenge. And for most providers, the status match is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. Remember, their aim is to get you into their program, not to help you achieve your bucket list goal of “having a martini in all the finest airport lounges.”
But even if you aren’t ready to trade your allegiance to other providers (we understand that your go-to airline, hotel or car rental service has that certain feel of “home”), you can still reap the benefits of those other providers competing for your business. After all, you can’t always find an available airline seat or hotel room with your usual providers. And it might even make sense to opt into a status challenge to cash in on the benefits for one specific trip.
So, how do you tap into this magical world behind the elite status curtain?
Getting Started With Your Status Match
To get started, most programs just ask for proof of your status, such as a photo of the front and back of your membership card and a mileage statement showing your recent activity. (And lest your fiendish mind is already busy crafting fraudulent credentials, Photoshopping, or otherwise counterfeiting, could lead to major trouble with loyalty programs and the potential loss of your account and any previously accrued points.)
Of course, there are different policies for different providers, but there are a wealth of resources out there to help you navigate the various policies of each travel provider.
StatusMatcher is a great resource for airline, hotel and car rental loyalty programs. It provides up-to-date crowdsourced information from its user base detailing which loyalty programs are currently offering matching and status challenge opportunities.
There’s also an internet-ancient thread on FlyerTalk (like seriously, the initial thread began in 2004) detailing current status match news throughout the years—and, of course, up to the current day.
The rule of thumb for all of this information is: There are no guarantees. The rules are changing all the time, especially in the tumultuous world of air travel. So, even with a promising history on StatusMatcher, it’s best to get on the phone with a representative for an individual travel loyalty program to confirm the current, er, status of its status match or challenge offerings.
So, what are you waiting for? Those martinis aren’t gonna drink themselves!