Alaska Airlines announces status match for select elites, no challenge required

Feb 26, 2021

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Alaska Airlines used to have the most generous status match policy around. If you had elite status with another carrier, you could request a match to a corresponding status level in Alaska’s Mileage Plan program, no questions asked. July was typically the best time of the year to initiate this match, as your status would be valid for the rest of the year and the entire following year.

Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. Alaska added a challenge component to status matches in 2019. This means you have to request a match and then fly a certain amount on Alaska Airlines to maintain status past the 90 day trial period. In turn, this has effectively made these status challenges instead of standard status matches.

That said, Alaska is bringing back its old status match for a limited time with an offer directed at Delta, Southwest and United elites. These members can now be matched directly to a corresponding Alaska tier with no flight requirement. Plus, these members will earn a 50% bonus on elite qualifying miles earned on Alaska flights through the end of the year.

I’ll give you a closer look at this new Alaska status match in this article and discuss restrictions you should keep in mind. I’ll also give you a quick look at the standard status challenge offered to elites with other airlines.

Let’s dive in!

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In This Post

Alaska’s status match for Delta, Southwest and United elites

Small Alaska Airlines plane
(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

As discussed, Alaska’s new status match offer for Delta, Southwest and United elites lets members match their 2020 or 2021 elite status for an equivalent status on Alaska Airlines. This match is valid through the end of 2021, meaning you have just under a year to enjoy status and requalify for 2022.

Your 2020 or 2021 status must’ve been earned through flying, so promotional status and status earned with a credit card doesn’t qualify. Judging by the website, 2020 status earned in 2019 should qualify for the match. You will be asked to provide screenshots that confirm your eligibility.

This match also awards 50% bonus elite qualifying miles on all Alaska Airlines flights flown through the end of the year. Unfortunately, partner flights are not eligible. Again, you’ll need to meet all standard elite qualifying requirements by the end of the year to keep your status in 2022, so plan your flights accordingly if you want to keep status.

If you’re interested, apply for this status match by April 15, 2021.

Alaska status match overview

Requesting this status match is simple. You can view the full details on the status match website, but I’ll give you a quick overview here.

As discussed, Delta, Southwest and United elites who organically earned status are eligible for a status match. Here’s a look at how each status tier is matched:

Alaska elite tier Corresponding elite statuses
MVP Delta Silver Medallion
Southwest A-List
United Premier Silver
MVP Gold Delta Gold Medallion
Southwest A-List Preferred
United Premier Gold
MVP Gold 75K Delta Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion
Southwest A-List Preferred & Companion Pass (must hold both)
United Platinum, 1K, and Global Services

You’ll be asked to verify eligibility by providing a screenshot with the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your current status
  • Your miles flown year-to-date or miles flown the prior year to earn elite status.

One interesting thing about this status match is that the terms and conditions don’t explicitly exclude those who have taken advantage of a previous Alaska status challenge or existing Alaska elites. There’s no way to say if Alaska will honor status matches for those who fall into this camp, but it’s worth a shot.

Keep these details in mind before you match:

  • This limited-time status match offer expires on April 15, 2021.
  • It’s only offered to members who have achieved elite status for 2020 or 2021.
  • It is only valid on status earned with actual flight miles or segments in a Delta, Southwest, and United Airlines loyalty program.
  • Status granted based on credit card activity, transferred points, or any other promotional offer is not eligible for a status match.
  • Members who receive MVP Gold 75K status as part of this status match offer are not eligible for the 50,000 bonus miles associated with qualifying for MVP Gold 75K status.
  • Please allow up to 4 weeks for verification and approval.
  • You will receive a welcome email once the status match is approved, or you can also check your status in your account at alaskaair.com.
  • Offer valid only for legal residents of the United States and Canada.
  • Award travel does not count toward keeping your status.
  • A member who receives a status match through this offer may not request another status match for 2021 under any other offer.

Requesting an Alaska status match

To request an Alaska match, you’ll need to fill out this form on Alaska’s website. It’s pretty straightforward — just enter your current elite status tier, Mileage Plan number and email address. Then, upload a document that verifies your eligibility and submit the form.

Requesting Alaska Airlines Status Match
(Screenshot courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

Once your match is confirmed, you’ll receive an email from Alaska Airlines.

Related: Current airline elite status match and challenge options you should know about

The standard Alaska status challenge

Alaska plane in front of American planes at Los Angeles airport
(Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Not a Delta, Southwest or United elite? You’ll need to request a standard status challenge.

With this challenge, Alaska will still match your status from another airline, but it’s only valid for a limited, three-month window of time. After that, you’ll need to complete a certain amount of flying with the carrier. The requirements vary based on the Alaska Airlines status that you are granted, as follows:

  • MVP: 5,000 miles
  • MVP Gold: 10,000 miles
  • MVP Gold 75K: 20,000 miles

These miles must be earned on Alaska Airlines-marketed flights that are operated by Alaska, Horizon or SkyWest. Codeshare flights operated by other airlines and those booked directly with one of Alaska’s partners will not count toward these thresholds.

There is an upside to this standard status challenge. If you request a challenge by June 30, 2021 and complete the above requirements within the three-month trial period, your status will be valid through the end of 2020. However, if you request the challenge between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2021 and complete the three-month trial requirements, your status will last for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022.

In short, July is the best time to request a status challenge with Alaska.

Related: What is Alaska Airlines elite status worth in 2021?

Alaska status challenge overview

Like the match, requesting a standard Alaska status challenge is simple — the carrier even has a dedicated page for the process. However, before you start, you’ll want to review the terms and conditions to make sure you understand the requirements. You’ll also want to identify which tier of Alaska status you’ll enjoy from your existing elite status with another carrier.

Here’s a quick chart that shows how other airlines’ elite levels will map to the three tiers of Alaska elite status for the three-month trial period:

Alaska elite tier Corresponding elite statuses
MVP Aeromexico Gold
Air Canada Altitude 25K (Prestige) and 35K
American Airlines AAdvantage Gold
Delta Silver Medallion
Frontier Elite
Hawaiian Pualani Gold
JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic
Southwest A-List
United Premier Silver
MVP Gold Aeromexico Platinum
Air Canada Altitude 50K
American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum
Delta Gold Medallion
Hawaiian Pualani Platinum
Southwest A-List Preferred
United Premier Gold
MVP Gold 75K Aeromexico Titanio
Air Canada Altitude 75K and 100K
American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum
American Airlines ConciergeKey
American Airlines Platinum Pro
Delta Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion
Southwest A-List Preferred & Companion Pass (must hold both)
United Platinum, 1K, and Global Services

This list of eligible elite status tiers is one of the most comprehensive out there. Many airlines limit their published list to the major U.S. carriers, but Alaska includes others like Aeromexico, Air Canada and even Frontier Airlines.

If your preferred carrier isn’t listed, you can still attempt a challenge using the steps below. Just know that it likely won’t be successful. Reports within the last two years from StatusMatcher.com indicate that elite members with Flying Blue, British Airways, Japan Airlines and Turkish Airlines have been turned down.

Like the above status match, there are the other important details to keep in mind:

  • This is a once-per-lifetime match; once you’ve been matched, you can’t get another one.
  • A match is granted based on miles/segments flown; if you’ve been gifted elite status or earned it via credit cards or a promotional offer, you’ll likely get turned down.
  • Members who match to MVP Gold 75K don’t receive the 50,000 bonus miles given to members who reach that tier organically. However, successful matches to MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K will enjoy four Gold Guest Upgrade certificates after meeting the challenge requirements.
  • It can take up to four weeks for verification and approval, though it’s frequently much quicker.
  • It’s only valid for legal residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Again, this new program only offers Alaska elite status for a limited, three-month window. To keep it, you’ll need to satisfy the above flying requirements.

How to request a status challenge with Alaska Airlines

The process for requesting a status challenge is a little more involved than the match outlined above — here’s a look at the process:

1. Visit Alaska’s dedicated status challenge page.

2. Select your elite status from the drop-down list, then click NEXT.

3. Enter your Alaska Mileage Plan number and email address, then click CONTINUE.

Note: The system will not stop you from submitting a request if you’ve already utilized a status match in the past. I was able to get to the next step, even though I matched to MVP Gold 75K in 2015.

4. Upload a screenshot of your current status, including your name, elite tier and miles flown.

Like the match, your screenshot must include enough details for Alaska to verify your current status — including the fact that it was earned “the hard way” instead of gifted.

If your challenge is approved, you’ll receive a welcome email.

Related: Alaska Airlines announces Oneworld perks for elite members

Final tips for a successful status match

Alaska Airlines planes at Seattle airport
(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

In addition to all of the above, there are a few final reminders to help ensure that your Alaska status match or challenge is successful:

  • Don’t submit phony credentials: There are many tools these days that could allow you to doctor a screenshot to make it look like your status is higher than it actually is. While there’s a slim chance this would be successful, it’s simply not worth the risk. If Alaska determines that you’ve submitted fake account information, your Mileage Plan account will be shut down. Don’t do it.
  • Carefully consider the timing: As noted above, an Alaska status match is offered once over the lifetime of an account. It may sound appealing to avoid fees or unlock perks on your next flight, but once you use it, you can’t do it again.
  • Make sure you can hit the flying requirements: Alaska’s new status match program offers you temporary status for three months, and you then need to earn a set number of miles on Alaska flights to keep that status (5,000 for MVP, 10,000 for MVP Gold and 15,000 for MVP Gold 75K). Be sure you can earn those miles in the three-month period before initiating the match.
  • Make sure Alaska’s route network works for you: Finally, it’s critical to make sure that you aren’t doing a status match for the sake of getting status. Ensure that you can actually put those elite perks to use. If you’re based in the Midwest or Southeast and regularly fly to the East Coast — for example — Alaska simply isn’t a viable option. So you should consider putting your status match efforts toward an alternate airline.

Related: Complete guide to airline elite status during the coronavirus outbreak

Bottom line

Alaska is clearly using its new status match to entice Delta, Southwest and United flyers to switch their flying to Alaska and its future Oneworld partners. If you’ve wanted to give Alaska a shot, this match is a great way to sample Alaska status and easily retain it with a 50% bonus on elite qualifying miles. Just make sure you actually plan on flying Alaska this year, as taking advantage of this match may make you ineligible for a future Alaska status match or challenge.

Other elites can still take advantage of an Alaska status challenge but will be required to meet a certain amount of flying to keep status past the 90-day trial period. You may want to wait until the second half of the year to do this, though. Remember, matches received in or after July will have status good through the end of 2022 if requirements are met.

Additional reporting by Nick Ewen.

Featured photo by Michael Rosebrock/Shutterstock

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