Status match challenges make earning elite status a lot easier, offering a shortcut to status when you want to try out a new loyalty program. Just keep in mind, credit cards often offer the same perks without any work.
If you’re a frequent flyer who spends a lot of money on travel, you have the potential to pool your loyalty with a few programs in order to score special perks. Elite status with hotel and airline programs can afford you this opportunity, provided you’re able to reach the requirements for the various levels of status they offer.
With hotel elite status, for example, you typically have to spend a specific amount of money with the program or stay a specific number of nights within a calendar year. Airline status works similarly, although you’ll usually need to meet two requirements – a spending requirement and a mileage requirement.
But, there might be an easier way to earn status with multiple hotel and airline programs. Read on to learn more about status match challenges and current promotions.
Guide to status match challenges and current offers
What is a status match challenge?Since hotel and airline loyalty programs want more customers who travel all the time, they frequently introduce programs that can help you switch your loyalty over. Status match challenges, as they are called, typically ask you to reach specific spending or travel requirements in order to “match” status you already have with another program.
These challenges offer a shortcut to status you might not be able to achieve otherwise – especially if you’re still pooling all your loyalty with another program. For example, a Marriott Bonvoy status match challenge can help a Hilton loyalist move their status over by providing the incentive of matching their Hilton status, versus making them begin climbing the status ladder from the first rung.
Hotel status match challenges for 2020
If you have status with a hotel program, but are considering switching to a new program, here are all the status match challenges you should consider for 2020.
The Best Western status match challenge isn’t so much a challenge as it is a gift. This program will match your status from any other program with no catch and without any spending or stay requirements.
All you have to do is fill out a status match form and provide your elite status information. This one is easy and a no-brainer if you have the opportunity to stay in Best Western properties any time during the year.
Plus, due to travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus crisis, Best Western is currently offering to extend the status earned from this match challenge through Jan. 31, 2022, with no additional upgrade requirements.
Choice Privileges is another hotel program that will match your status just because you ask. All you have to do is send a note to a specific email with your full name, proof of your status with another program and your Choice Privileges member number.
From there, you’ll receive a response in seven to nine days that your status has been matched.
The Hilton Honors program lets you match your status from another program to Hilton Gold status or Hilton Diamond status, although there are several different travel credit cards that afford these levels of status as well. Either way, you’ll need to stay 10 days within a 90-day trial period to maintain the Hilton Gold status beyond the initial trial period through March 31, 2022. To match your status to Hilton Diamond status, you’ll need to stay 18 nights within a 90-day trial period to maintain this status through March 31, 2022.
Note that both of these challenges grant you the status for 90 days regardless of whether you meet their requirements to maintain it through the end of March 2022. Requesting this status match is also very easy. All you have to do is supply your personal information, your Hilton Honors number and proof of your status with another program.
According to recent reports, Radisson Rewards will grant elite members from other programs a status match if they email their personal details like name and address, current hotel loyalty information and Radisson Rewards number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Status Matcher, match requests with this program are very likely to succeed, with 97 out of 104 reports showing approved status match requests so far.
Airline status match challenges for 2020
Like hotel loyalty programs, several of the top frequent flyer programs make it possible for travelers to achieve a status match if they meet specific requirements. If you’re with a specific airline this year but want to switch up your loyalty game, consider how these airline status match programs might help.
Alaska Airlines has a page on its website dedicated to its status match program. With this challenge, you can prove your status with another frequent flyer program and receive an upgrade to the equivalent status with Alaska for the next three months. If you meet the challenge requirements within that three-month period, your status will be extended.
Mileage requirements during the three-month period include:
- 5,000 miles to keep MVP status
- 10,000 miles to keep MVP Gold status
- 20,000 miles to keep MVP Gold 75K status
To apply, you’ll need to send a screenshot of your current frequent flyer account with your status shown as well as your name and how many miles you’ve earned to date. You’ll also need a frequent flyer account with Alaska Airlines.
American Airlines tends to change its status match requirements frequently, and it also offers targeted members a free gift of the next level of status from time to time.
According to reports, you can request a status match program with the American AAdvantage program by calling 888-697-5636. The airline doesn’t offer any specific information on its website about status matches at the moment, but it’s known that you can typically pay several hundred dollars in order to match to Gold or Platinum status by meeting a specific mileage requirement. We suggest calling the airline to find out current prices and mileage or spending requirements to qualify for your match.
Delta Air Lines
The Delta SkyMiles program offers a page on its website dedicated to its status match program, which makes things easy. To qualify for a status match, you must meet three requirements:
- You can’t have a status match with Delta on your account from the last three years.
- You must have elite status with another airline that you earned through normal means, including mileage and spending requirements.
- You can prove your current elite status with a membership card and screenshot that shows how you earned your status, with your name on it.
If you meet those requirements, you can submit your request online. From there, you’ll receive comparable complimentary status with Delta for three months. To extend your status beyond the three-month trial period, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
According to reports from Status Matcher, it’s likely you can get your status matched with Hawaiian Airlines. You can submit your formal request on this page, making sure to include your name, address, current Hawaiian frequent flyer number and proof of your status with another airline. In most cases, a screenshot of your frequent flyer account or digital membership card that shows your elite status will do the trick.
According to its website, Southwest Airlines offers a status match program you can qualify for “if your company has an existing corporate travel agreement that includes a current promotional corporate status match component.”
You’ll start off with 90 days of A-List status through the promotion, but you can extend your status for another 12 months if you “fly three round trip qualifying flights, or six one-way qualifying flights, or earn 8,000 tier qualifying points from your qualifying flights booked and flown between your enrollment date for this promotion and the end of your 90 day promotional period,” as stated in the program terms.
You can also complete this status match challenge if you have elite status with another airline already. All you have to do is send your name, your Rapid Rewards number, your company name and corporate email address and a screenshot of your current elite status to email@example.com. The same mileage and flight requirements will apply.
Tips for maximizing a status match challenge
While some of the status match challenges listed above make it easy to switch loyalty programs just by asking, others require you to spend a specific amount of money, meet a travel requirement or both. Either way, these tips can help you climb the ladder of elite status with your favorite programs.
- Read all the fine print. Before you embark on a status match challenge, you’ll want to read and understand all the fine print. This is especially true for challenges that require a spending and or travel requirement since you’ll need to meet all requirements within the specified dates. If you’re off by a dollar or a mile or a paid hotel night, you will likely be ineligible for the offer.
- Earn elite status with a credit card first. Also consider picking up a hotel credit card or travel credit card that offers elite status first. That way, you can “match” to a higher level of status with another program with a lot less work and spending on your part. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with Gold status from the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy programs, so this single card could help you earn these two levels and match status with several other programs in one fell swoop.
- Call your favorite program to ask about unpublished offers. While some match programs are spelled out online, others aren’t advertised. Either way, you can call your favorite airline or hotel program and ask about a match program. All they can do is say “no,” so you have nothing to lose.
- Plan a status match right before a heavy travel period. Finally, make sure you plan a status match challenge during a time in your life when it will be easier to meet spending or travel requirements.
Status match challenges during coronavirus pandemic
Most hotel and airline loyalty programs are continuing to offer elite status match challenges despite a recent reduction in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you are interested in pursuing one of these challenges, be sure to check the fine print for any special promotions or relief airlines or hotel chains might be offering. For the next few months, some might be making status matches easier to maintain, while others limit match availability to focus on other relief measures.
If you travel frequently and want to enjoy elite travel perks, pursuing status with a hotel or airline program can make a ton of sense. Since you can often match your status from one program to another, you also get the opportunity to try out different loyalty programs to see which one fits with your lifestyle and travel plans the best.
Also don’t forget that several travel credit cards offer elite status as a cardholder perk, meaning all you have to do is sign up and keep the card to become an elite member. Status match challenges make earning elite status a lot easier, but credit cards often offer the same perks without any work.