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TPG reader Michael sent me a message on Facebook to ask about status challenges:
“I have Platinum status with American Airlines and Gold status with SPG. Is there any reason why I shouldn’t try to match status with all the other carriers and hotel groups? I figure I might as well get benefits from every hotel and airline; Delta won’t know if I try to match with United at the same time, right?”
Matching status is a great way to leverage your standing with one loyalty program in order to earn benefits with another. Unlike a status challenge (which requires some amount of flight or stay activity), a status match grants you elite benefits outright, making it relatively effortless. That might inspire you to try and claim every inch of elite territory that’s available to you, but I recommend a more conservative approach for a few reasons.
First and foremost, many programs limit how often you can apply for a status match, and some allow you to apply just once during the lifetime of your account. Because you only get so many opportunities, it’s important to maximize them. For example, you could match from AAdvantage Platinum to Alaska Airlines MVP Gold status, but it won’t do you much good if you don’t end up flying with Alaska this year. You’d be better off waiting until the airline fits with your travel plans so the elite benefits will be more fruitful.
Second, while true status matches don’t require travel, you’ll still have to spend at least a little time applying. That may involve speaking with a customer service representative, filling out forms online, documenting your existing status, etc. It shouldn’t take long, but any time you spend acquiring elite status is wasted unless you actually use your benefits.
As for the other part of Michael’s question, there’s nothing to stop you from participating in more than one status match or challenge at a time. Plenty of flyers have status in more than one program, and Delta probably won’t know or care if you match to both Medallion status and United Premier status at the same time. However, note that both of those airlines tend to offer challenges instead of matches.
Finally, keep in mind that there are other shortcuts to earning elite status with both airlines and hotels. If a match or challenge isn’t available, or if you don’t want to use up your chance to apply, you still have options.
For more on status matches and challenges, check out these posts:
- Airline Elite Status Match and Challenge Options for 2016
- Hotel Elite Status Match and Challenge Plans for 2016
- When Should I Start an Airline Status Match or Challenge?