Elite frequent flyer and hotel guest status has its perks. Unfortunately, our travels don’t always keep us on the same airline or hotel chain, and when forced onto other travel providers, the time and money saving benefits are missed. One of the greatest moves a frequent traveler can make is to have their current elite status matched by competing brands. Even if there’s no publicly available “match” it never hurts to ask…
The first and most important detail with status matches is that you do NOT lose the frequent traveler status you currently hold. You keep your current perks and simply pick up similar perks with a competing brand. WHY? Because the competition understand that perks matter, and if they’re willing to match your current setup, you’ll be more likely to switch your travels over to them.
StatusMatcher.com is an incredible resource for sussing out potential matches for your airline, hotel or car rental elite status. The site is an open forum for people to post their attempts at matching status, any successes they have and how they did it. If you’re thinking about a switch in loyalty, or would like to gain perks with brands you’ll be using in the near future, this is an excellent “in”.
If you’re a legitimately good customer, travel brands are often willing to bend on their policies to pick up a free agent. The best way to go about this is to print out pages of your activity, and perhaps receipts for expensive purchases with a brand, and email them to a general customer service email, or perhaps call the loyalty program phone number. For example, someone traveling on paid business class tickets, or staying 50+ nights a year is almost always going to be worth offering a match to, even if it’s not official policy.
For years we’ve written about “secret” match opportunities with brands like Marriott, Virgin Atlantic, LATAM and more (links to match details). While brands such as Delta, United, American, Starwood and Hilton offer publicly available status challenges or matches, it’s important to remember that other opportunities exist. Of course, you should only take advantage of matches when you know you’ll be able to make use of benefits. For example, if you’re usually a OneWorld flyer and you’ll be flying economy on Star Alliance, it’s great to get a status match before your trip, entitling you to use the airport lounges and business class check in areas.