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United’s major award chart devaluation last Friday was just the latest in a string of moves the airline has been making since the merger with Continental that almost seem intentionally aimed at alienating its elite flyers, including pulling upgrade inventory from ExpertFlyer last week, adding a revenue component to elite status qualification, and selling upgrades instead of holding onto some of them for elites.

So for you MileagePlus elites out there, I thought I’d put together a current list of status match and challenge information with United’s competitors in case you’re thinking about jumping ship. Admittedly, it’s not the best time to go for status with another airline since it will only be good through February 2015 like normal elite status (if you earn status before June 30, you actually have it for 18 months instead of the 14 or so you’d have it now), but I bet a lot of you are fed up enough to throw in the towel. There’s no reason you should do so without leveraging your current United elite status first, though!

Alaska Airlines partners
Alaska’s got great partners to use your miles on.

Alaska (Status Match)
Alaska matches up to their mid-tier level, MVP Gold, which requires 50,000 elite-qualifying miles within a year (40,000 if solely on Alaska). To get a match, you can email a statement of your recently activity along with a copy of your elite card. You can also fax them a current statement of your airline frequent flyer account showing your elite status level (and a copy of your card wouldn’t hurt either) to: Mileage Plan Customer Service, 206-433-3477.

I think of Alaska as the little airline that could – it might be primarily West Coast-based and not have very many new planes, but it’s got great partners including British Airways, Cathay, Emirates and Air France/KLM, not to mention both American and Delta, so you’re getting the best of both Oneworld and SkyTeam as well as some non-alliance carriers like Emirates.

American (Status Challenge)
American allows status challenges (not matches, though sometimes they will match- never hurts to ask), but it requires a co-pay and that challengers earn a certain number of Elite Qualifying Points (not miles) within a 3-month period – 5,000 for Gold and 10,000 for Platinum – so they expect you to spend a certain amount of money on the airline since EQP’s are based on fare class and deeply discounted economy tickets only earn a fraction of a point per mile flown.

The Transcontinental A321 First Class Cabin.
If American’s imminent A321 transcons look interesting to you, you might want to challenge there.

American does not generally do challenges for Executive Platinum, but with the recent United and SkyMiles revenue changes it can’t hurt to ask – especially if you do have a lot of money to spend on tickets – as there have been reports of them offering challenges even to this highest tier. While the requirements to fly are less than Delta and United, they do charge to sign up for the challenge – between $100-$250 depending on the tier. Once you’ve done your research, enroll in a challenge by calling AAdvantage customer service at 1 800-882-8880.

Last year, American was doing status matches for United 1K to Executive Platinum, but that offer is no longer valid (view the Flyertalk post for more information). However, as usual, it can’t hurt to ask and see what they say.

Delta (Status Challenge)
Details on Delta’s current challenge program can be found here. The top of the page doesn’t seem to be updated from over the summer, but I called to confirm that they are offering status challenges, and they are, and these terms are also stated: “If you register for the offer between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 and you complete the flight requirements, your Medallion status will be maintained until February 28, 2015,” so you can start a challenge now for 2014 elite status.

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 6.35.06 PMIf you have United Silver status, you can match to Silver Medallion by flying 8,000 MQM’s or 10 MQ segments. If you have Premier Gold you can match to Gold Medallion with 16,000 miles or 20 segments, and Premier Platinum and Platinum 1K’s can match to Platinum Medallion by accruing 26,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM’s) or 35 Medallion Qualifying segments within 90 days.

However, if you hope to go for Diamond, you will still need to rack up the usual 125,000 MQMs in a year to get Diamond status – regardless of a challenge. So for instance, if you challenge and then complete 26,000 MQMs to achieve Platinum, you still need to accrue 99,000 more MQMs to get Diamond (top status). Delta will match your current status and that is the highest level to which you can aspire during the challenge, so even if you fly enough for a higher level, you’re still stuck at the one you were offered the match to.

Also just remember that Delta also instituted a revenue requirement for elite status qualification starting in 2014 where you have to spend between $2,500-$12,500 depending on your elite level to maintain status, so that’s a consideration.

People rarely equate this egalitarian carrier with elite status, but it did introduce its new Mosaic tier system back in July of 2012, and it offers 90-day status challenges here.

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 6.50.18 PMPer the rules, you must be a qualified flyer by meeting these requirements:

  • 1. You must be a TrueBlue member. If you are not a TrueBlue member, sign up for free here.
  • 2. You must be currently enrolled in one of the following airline loyalty programs with the specified status:

– American Airlines: AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Executive Platinum
– Delta: SkyMiles Medallion Silver, SkyMiles Mediallion Gold, SkyMiles Mediallion Platinum or SkyMiles Medallion Diamond
– US Airways: Dividend Miles: Preferred Silver, Preferred Gold, Preferred Platinum or Preferred Chairman
– United Mileage Plus: Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1k
– Southwest Rapid Rewards: A-List, A-List Preferred, Companion Pass
– Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: MVP, MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K

If you do qualify:

Before December 31, 2013 (11:59 PM EST), email proof of your eligibility:

1) Your valid and current TrueBlue number in the body of the email; and 2) your most recent statement, current credentials card, or some other documentation showing your current membership and status in one of the eligible loyalty programs.

You will immediately receive an email acknowledging that TrueBlue has received your application for the Mosaic Challenge and is reviewing it and you should have a response within 2 weeks.

If you are accepted, you will have 90 days to complete the Mosaic Challenge by earning 3,750 base flight points. You earn 3 base points per $1 – so this basically involves spending $1,250 on airfares. Base flight points are the 3 points per $1 you earn on the base fare of your individual JetBlue flight. All other bonus points, partner points and booking bonuses do not count.


For all of you thinking of switching to United, they do offer a status challenge program focused on Delta (but also American) elites and only up to Platinum status (though it never hurts to ask if you want top tier 1k status). Generally Silver Medallion = Premier Silver, Gold Medallion = Premier Gold, Platinum Medallion = Platinum Premier.

To attain status through January 31, 2015, you’ll need to achieve the following miles during a 90 day timeframe. The amount of PQM or PQS you must earn depends on the Premier status level you are matched to in MileagePlus:

MileagePlus Premier Status Flight Requirements
Premier Silver Fly 7,000 PQM or 8 PQS on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Silver status
Premier Gold Fly 12,500 PQM or 15 PQS on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Gold status
Premier Platinum Fly 18,000 PQM or 22 PQS on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Platinum status


  • To be considered for Premier status through this promotion, please send the following information to:
    • Email:
    • Fax: 605-343-4104
    • Mail: Mileage Plus Service Center
      Attn: Premier Status Match
      P.O. Box 6120
      Rapid City, SD 57709-6121
  • Your MileagePlus account number. If you are not already a member, join today.
  • Your name, complete current mailing address and email address
  • A copy of your most recent mileage summary or 2013 membership card that clearly identifies your current elite level in the frequent flyer program you are matching from.

So there are plenty of other birds in the sky for you elites out there, and if you do status challenge or match, report back on your experiences here.

US Airways (Buy Status):
Though it doesn’t offer status matches, US Airways actually sells status outright by selling bundles of Preferred Qualifying Miles. You can buy Chairman’s Preferred (their top status) for $3,999 (though that drops to only $2,999 as long as you have at least 1 Preferred Qualifying Mile) or Platinum for $2,999 ($2,499 if you have at least 1 Preferred Qualifying Mile).

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 6.45.18 PM

If you want to try to get status on the airline without paying through the nose for it, they do offer trial status challenges (which is basically a paid status challenge like American’s) for between $200-$600 depending on what tier you’re going for, and you don’t need to already have status with a competitor. When you pay the fee and complete the flight requirements (in this case, only elite qualifying flights earned on flights operated by US Airways and US Airways Express can be applied toward the Trial Preferred program) within 90 days, you get to keep your status for the rest of the year, so if you earned it within the 90 day period that now ends in January, your status will be good through February 2015.

The levels: $200 for Silver, $400 for Gold and $600 for Platinum and you have to fly:

  • Silver: Fly 7,500 miles or 10 segments
  • Gold: Fly 15,000 miles or 20 segments
  • Platinum: Fly 22,500 miles or 30 segments
  • Chairman’s: Fly 30,000 miles or 40 segments

You can enroll for their trial Preferred offer online, and when you pay for your challenge and complete the flight requirements, you will be awarded the status level you have completed.

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