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As I’ve written about before, status matching and challenges can be the quickest, easiest way to achieve elite status on a new airline, especially if you know you have a lot of flights coming up and can choose the airline on which you complete your travel. For anyone unfamiliar, a status match is when an airline will comp you elite status if you have elite status on a competing airline and a challenge is when they make you complete a set of short-cut requirements before giving you comped status.

United just officially merged the OnePass plus program into their Mileage Plus program and they just updated the terms of their offer to elite customers of other airlines to match their status for 90 days while they complete a challenge starting anytime now through December 31, 2012. Note: United just gutted the benefits of their Premier Silver members (such as not allowing them to choose Economy Plus seats until 24 hour check-in mark), so understand which program serves you best before doing a status match/challenge.

The challenge flight requirements for all three levels of status matching.

Number Crunch
Delta Silver Medallions and American AAdvantage Gold members can go for Premier Silver and must complete 10,000 qualifying flight miles or 15 flight segments to retain their status after the 90 days are up.
Delta Gold Medallions and American AAdvantage Platinum members can go for Premier Gold, and have to complete 17,500 qualifying flight miles or 22 flight segments during the challenge period to retain it.

Platinum Medallion and AAdvantage Executive Platinum members can receive Premier Platinum Status and retain it by flying 25,000 qualifying flight miles or 30 flight segments.

Looks like there’s no way to earn Premier 1K or Global Services status.

Terms and Conditions
-The flights must be operated by United, United Express or Copa.

-If you already have Star Alliance Silver or Gold status, you are excluded from this offer. So, for instance, you can’t be a Premier Silver with United and a Platinum Medallion on Delta and hope to jump to Premier Platinum with this challenge. They’re looking for all-new members here. Since it is also part of the Star Alliance, US Airways elites get left out in the cold.

-You cannot participate if you have status matched on United or Continental in the past 5 years.

-You won’t be issued an elite status card for the 90-day trial, so you won’t enjoy benefits like lounge access, and your elite status is only good on United, United Express and Copa.

-If you are matched to Premier Silver or Premier Gold status based on your current status with another airline, you can’t earn a higher level of status through this match, even if you fly the qualifying miles to do so. Likewise, if you are matched to Platinum or Gold status, but only fly enough miles to qualify for Silver in the challenge, you cannot earn the lower status level through this challenge. In other words, you must complete the status challenge for your level and your level only.

For Your Consideration
To be considered for the status challenge, you must either:
Email premiermatch@united.com
Fax: (605) 341-6140
Mail: Mileage Plus Service Center
Attn. Premier Status Match
PO Box 6121
Rapid City, SD 57709-6121

Include the following:

-Your MileagePlus account number. If you don’t have an account, join here.
-Your name, complete current mailing address and email address.
-A copy of your most recent mileage summary, or your 2012 membership card identifying your current elite level in Delta’s program.

Confirmation will be sent by email in 7-14 business days (so get your request in early if your travel is coming up soon!).

You can find out more about the new MileagePlus program post-Continental/United merger here.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
  • There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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