Can Million Miler Elites Status Match to Another Airline?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Reader Questions are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.
Earning lifetime elite status with a major airline requires flying a million miles, which is no small feat, even for the most serious of road warriors. After decades of commitment, you’d expect people to stay loyal to that airline for life, but programs change, people move and you may find yourself wanting or needing a new carrier. TPG reader Linda wants to know if she can use her million miler status to match to a new airline …
I’m an AA million miler with lifetime Gold elite status. I don’t fly much with AA anymore, and I’m wondering if I could status match to Delta Silver with my million miler status?TPG READER LINDA
For starters, we have a complete guide to airline elite status matches and challenges with full details on each of the major carriers. However, the requirements vary. Some may offer a straight-up match, while others provide an accelerated pathway to status by requiring a certain amount of flying. Others may ask for a screen shot showing recent activity, whereas others may simply want a membership card. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that these requests are generally reviewed manually. As a result, there’s no guarantee that one person’s experience will match another’s — even if they hold the exact same elite status.
In order to answer this specific question, I turned to two in-house experts on the TPG team who currently hold Million Miler status with different airlines. Brian Biros — TPG‘s resident backpacker — is a million miler with United. He told me he had no problem status matching to Delta Gold Medallion status last fall using this screenshot of this account — which makes it clear that his United Premier Gold status is from his million miler status and not his year-to-date flying.
As noted above, most airlines simply require a screenshot documenting your elite status to initiate a status match, but some have more stringent requirements. For example, to match to United, you need to submit the following(emphasis mine):
“A copy of your most recent mileage summary or 2019 membership card for the frequent flyer program you are matching from. It must clearly identify your current elite status, including your status expiration date.”
Because Brian has United Gold status for life, his account doesn’t show an expiration date anywhere for this elite status. However that’s not the case for every airline.
TPG‘s resident Delta guru Darren Murph is a Delta million miler, meaning he enjoys Silver Medallion status for life — though he typically earns a higher tier each year. Even though his Silver status will reset every year, his account does show his Silver status expiring January 31, 2021. This should be more than enough to satisfy United’s proof of expiration requirement if he wanted to initiate a status challenge.
Finally, it’s also worth remembering that most status matches/challenges require an extra step. You’ll usually be given the status you’re matching or challenging to for 90 days, and if you want to extend it, you’ll need to fly a certain amount. In Linda’s case, matching to Delta Silver status will require her to earn 6,250 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or 8 Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and $750 Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) or an MQD waiver from credit card spending to extend her Delta Silver status past the three-month promotional period.
If you’re a million miler, you’ve really earned your status, and the good news is that you should be able to use that status to match or challenge with another airline. The only caveat would be that some programs require additional information like proof of status expiration or recent activity in a program to successfully enroll in a match/challenge, and not all million miler accounts show would have those details. For complete information, be sure to check out our guide to airline elite status matches and challenges.
For more on million miler status please see:
- Your Guide to American Airlines Lifetime Elite Status
- Your Guide to Delta Air Lines Lifetime Elite Status
- Your Guide to United Airlines Lifetime Elite Status
Featured image by Darren Murph/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees