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It’s no surprise that loyalty program status matches are always a hot topic at TPG — you can score some pretty amazing perks with very little work, just by leveraging your elite status from a competing chain. Programs typically require that you have a similar level of status with a competitor before they’ll extend elite perks, and some go so far as to verify flights or stays, to avoid upgrading customers who attempt to match with status earned without any paid travel.

Of course, because the stakes are so high, fraud often comes into play, with customers creating “Photoshopped” credentials or lying about their qualifications. Frequent flyers even chat about their fraudulent status match techniques openly in comments and discussion boards. And while a program may not take legal action, it could shutter your account, taking all of your points and miles in the process.

Alaska’s status match can get you free first-class upgrades.

One TPG reader shared his recent experience with an Alaska status match (which I took advantage of just last year, specifically to receive the free first-class upgrade certificates). This reader requested a match using his United Platinum status, which was provided by United’s sales team rather than earned from paid travel. He was shocked to discover that Alaska was able to confirm this with United (a competitor), and declined his match request, providing the following explanation:

Thank you for your reply. We have verified with United and they advised that your status was granted on not earned. Unfortunately since your status was not earned by flying we are unable to offer you a Tier Match into our program. Please be advised that a Tier Match is only offered to a member who has achieved elite status by actual flight miles flown and has not been granted status based on credit card activity, transferred points, or any promotional offer.

It’s unclear how Alaska was able to confirm this information, but it does serve as a reminder that program representatives may choose to research your request thoroughly, and if you lied about your qualifications or submitted fraudulent credentials (neither of which was the case here), a brand could choose to shut down your account.

Have you received a similar response when requesting a status match?

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