This article will give you an insight about what a status match exactly is, how to request it and how you can benefit from it. You’ll read a couple of examples on how easy it is get one in some cases, but also read about the do’s and don’ts concerning a status match.
Almost every hotel or airline has its own loyalty programme in which you can enroll as a newly registered member. Once registered you can start earning points or miles which will qualify you for a certain elite status level. Each elite status level comes with certain benefits and perks, the higher your elite status is, the more perks you’ll receive. Most of you will be familiar with the setup of the loyalty programmes, but did you know that it’s possible to request a status match?
A status match will allow you to “match” your status from one loyalty programme to the other, either between 2 hotel chains or between 2 airlines, you can’t match a hotel elite status to an airline elite status. If the status match is granted, you’ll then have all the benefits without having to qualify for it by either staying nights in a hotel or having to fly a lot of miles.
How does it work?
You can either request a status match by sending an e-mail (which is the most commonly used) or by calling the customer service department of a specific loyalty programme. In most cases the required e-mail address can be found on their website or on the abundant travel blogs, of course make sure to read this one first.
All you need to do is include a screen shot of your current elite status in a loyalty programme and mention that you would like to request a status match. Of course make sure that you are already a member of the programme that you are trying to match to (duh).
When I first started this hobby it was possible to request Platinum elite status with the Accor hotel group, which I took advantage of and this became my first ever hotel elite status without even having spend a single night in one of their hotels!
Once I had the Accor Platinum status, the game of status matching could begin… After doing some research on the internet I noticed that there were plenty of hotel chains offering a status match. Now these days it’s getting harder to get a status match, but there are still ways to get it, there are even websites that will inform you about, a good example of this is Frequent Flyer Bonuses. You can either subscribe to their newsletter or configure a RSS feed, more about RSS feeds and how to use these to your advantage in a follow up article.
Back to my story from back in the day, I noticed that Best Western was offering a status match as well so I send them an email and a couple of weeks after I received confirmation that my lowest tier elite status in their loyalty programme had been updated to Diamond status! This is their highest tier, which I got for free just by sending an email and spending no money!
I have been a member of the IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) since 2006 and always had their lowest tier (Club) as I only slept maybe once or twice a year in of their hotels during business trips and barely got any points. I wondered if IHG would match either Accor or Best Western through a status match and as I didn’t have anything to lose I just send an email to the IHG customer service.
After a couple of days I received the following email from IHG:
“This is way too easy!” I thought to myself and just kept requesting status matches, my next target was Club Carlson where I had hoped to get their highest level (Concierge), but got the Gold elite status instead. Some loyalty programmes won’t give away their highest tiers for free, but you really need to qualify in order to get them.
Although this isn’t always the case! This year there was one big merger in the hotel sector as Marriott bought the Starwood (SPG) group and in a response to that (at least that’s what I think) Hilton started offering status matches. Now I send in my request for a match to my IHG Platinum card and was award the Hilton Diamond status until February 2017! You can read more about this status match here.
You can do a similar thing with airlines, all that is required is for you to have elite status with at least one airline and you can go from there. Most airlines will publish information on status matching on their website and you just need to send in an email, attach copies of the front and back side of your current elite status and an activity statement and you’re good to go.
Not all airlines offer a status match, some will propose a status challenge similar to what I did earlier this year in June with American Airlines. I had to request a Platinum challenge which meant gathering a certain number of points in a specific time frame in order to qualify for the elite status, more information on that can be found here.
A great resource if you are looking to request a status match is the website StatusMatcher, where you’ll be able to find information on both hotel and airline status matches, what needs to be done in order to get one and how other people experienced the process.
Do’s and don’ts
Keep in mind that a status match will only be granted once, meaning you can’t request it over and over after you fail to re-qualify for elite status. So play your cards the right way and plan your status matches by your looking at your own travel pattern. Don’t be like me and request matches blindly without even knowing if you’ll be using any of the granted elite status perks. It would be a shame to have a year of elite status with a certain programme without taking advantage of it.
You need to have some patience when requesting a status match as it can sometimes take several days or even weeks before your email is processed. Especially if a status match is made public on a (travel) blog and goes viral, the customer service will receive thousands of requests and can sometimes even pull the plug…
When you are granted a status match, take full advantage of it! Read all the terms & conditions of the loyalty programme to check what the perks and benefits are of your new elite status level. Make sure to maximize your gain, anything you can get for free is a bonus, think about extra points, free drinks, early check in or late check out, lounge access or a room upgrade!
If you have any questions and/or remarks, please feel free to contact me, till then, safe travels!