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A status match can be an easy way to jump from having no status with an airline or hotel to gaining preferred treatment as a top-tier customer. Today, TPG Contributor Leigh Rowan outlines the steps he took recently to get Emirates Skywards Silver status.

Late last year, I booked an Emirates economy ticket from SFO to Bangkok (via Dubai) for an incredibly low $513 fare. Once I had the ticket confirmation in hand, I knew what I needed next to make my 4 long-haul flights even more comfortable: Emirates Skywards status.

Though I had flown on Emirates before,  my most recent trip with the ME3 carrier was back in 2010, when I flew from Istanbul to Nairobi, via Dubai. Emirates isn’t a member of an airline alliance, so I couldn’t take advantage of partner benefits. I knew if I wanted to enjoy elite perks on my upcoming flight, I’d need a shortcut.

Fortunately, that shortcut wasn’t hard to find. I requested a status match, and within 2 weeks, I was a proud new Emirates Skywards Silver member.

adas
Even basic Skywards blue status gives you benefits like the option to upgrade with miles.

Why Skywards Status?

Aside from my addiction to airline status, why would I want Emirates Skywards status? This may be a silly question to ask, especially on a site like TPG, but it’s nonetheless relevant. If I only have one flight coming up on Emirates, does it really make sense to go through the hassle of requesting a status match?

For me, the answer is absolutely yes. I saw Emirates Skywards status as an opportunity to economically sample the airline’s premium products and services without having to shell out a lot of dough. And given that I fly to Europe a lot (Emirates flies JFK – Milan), as well as to Asia at least once a year (Emirates flies to 60+ destinations in Asia, via Dubai), my hope is that I’ll use Emirates status on more than just these first few flights.

Despite
While Delta seems to be imploding the SkyMiles program, I was able to leverage my Platinum status to curry favor with Emirates Skywards.

Status Matching the Emirates Way

Emirates technically doesn’t offer status matches to their program, but they do make exceptions. In my case, I did a little handy internet research and read two major status matching resources — Status Matcher and FlyerTalk’s handy Emirates Skywards section — to understand what would compel Emirates to match my other airline status levels.

At the time, I had status on two airlines:

  • Delta SkyMiles Platinum
  • Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Silver (acquired via FoundersCard)

Based on what I learned from Status Matcher, I knew I had to make a case to Emirates to match me to Skywards Gold. I made my appeal in a letter to Emirates (sent via the Emirates Help Center, selecting Skywards, followed by Membership Tiers / Definitions) indicating my near-top-tier status with Delta and my flight habits:

Hello Friends at Emirates,

I am writing to request a status match to Emirates Skywards Gold. As a Delta SkyMiles Platinum member (with over 100,000 miles per year in trips to Asia and Milan), I am looking to change airline loyalties after severe devaluation in Delta’s benefits.
 
I have attached a screenshot from Delta.com showing my Platinum Medallion status for 2014 and 2015.
 
My Skywards number is: EK xxx yy zzz
 
I would very much appreciate an opportunity to enhance my Emirates status, as I look forward to flying your airline a great deal in the coming months and years.
 
All the best,
Leigh Rowan
Emirates serves
Emirates serves 10 North American cities, along with dozens in Europe and Asia, so I should be able to get good use out of my Skywards Silver status.

What Happened Next

Emirates customer service acknowledged receipt of my submission within 2 hours. After that, I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, 6 days later, I got a kindly note from Vivian at Emirates asking for my physical address and for a picture of the actual Delta SkyMiles membership card, rather than the screenshot I had supplied. I needed to go back to the Help Center on the Emirates website and submit the information there.

After another epic wait (I was getting excited — 6 days in between each communication is too long!), I was informed that Emirates had made a decision: I was to be granted Emirates Skywards Silver Status, not Gold. As per official policy, Emirates does not grant status matches at more than one membership tier at a time. If I had already been a Skywards Silver member, I could have been bumped to Gold, but with no current status, the best Emirates could do was Silver. I asked if I could use my Cathay status to bump me up to Gold, but Emirates customer service refused.

dubai
Skywards Silver status offers lounge access in Dubai.

In the End – Is a Status Match Worth It?

After doing my initial homework, the entire status match process was fairly simple, and the upside and benefits were substantial. On my Emirates flights in November / December, I was able to access the Dubai Business Class Lounge, I received 50% bonus Skywards miles for my flights, and I was even operationally upgraded to business class (stay tuned for that review!) on one of my flights.

I’m hopeful that I’ll have more chances to use my Skywards status before it runs out in November of this year; I’m already eyeing those JFK-Milan flights!

Have you ever status matched to an airline (Emirates or otherwise)? Please share your experiences in the comments below!

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