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Quick points: Shortcut elite perks with status matches

March 25, 2022
4 min read
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Elite status is one of the best ways to make your travel more comfortable and enjoyable. Although most travelers think that the only way to earn elite status is by spending thousands of dollars with the same airline or hotel, in many cases, you can leverage your existing elite status to earn status with a different company without having to start from the bottom.

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What are status matches and challenges?

Hotel status can land you a complimentary upgrade to a suite. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Travel providers are always looking for high spenders. One of the best ways to "acquire" one of these customers is to offer them complimentary status if they can prove that they're an elite customer with another company.

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A status match is exactly what it sounds like. It allows you to document your status with one company and then receive status with another. Usually, you'll be granted temporary status and will need to complete a challenge in order to extend it through the end of the year. For entry-level hotel status matches that could be something like "stay five nights in three months."

Related: What are hotel and airline status matches and how do you get one?

How do I participate in a status match?

To participate in a match, you'll usually need to head to a dedicated page and upload a screenshot of your current competing mileage statement with your name, current status and miles earned year-to-date or miles flown the prior year to earn elite status.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

You can check out statusmatcher.com to get an idea of the historic success rate that individuals have had when it comes to status challenges. Keep in mind that all of these submissions are self-reported, so there's no guarantee that you'll have the same outcome. We've also published guides on airline, hotel and car rental status matches and challenges. As a whole, it's much easier to get an outright status match with rental car companies. Hotels and airlines are more likely to provide a challenge component.

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

When should I do a status match?

Delta One Suites. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

A status match can be a lifesaver in certain cases. For one, if you've relocated to a city with less service on your preferred airline, it can make sense to participate in a status match. For example, as a Premier 1K member with United Airlines, if I moved to Atlanta, I would likely switch my preferred airline to Delta Air Lines. Delta has a status challenge program where I would be eligible for Platinum Medallion status for three months. Then, to extend my status, I would need to accrue 18,750 Medallion Qualification Miles or 25 Medallion Qualification Segments and $2,250 Medallion Qualification Dollars or hold an MQD waiver within three months. Thanks to my United status, I could receive Platinum Medallion status and start getting perks like complimentary upgrades on my Delta flights from day one.

Keep in mind that many programs only offer one status match or challenge over the lifetime of an account. As a whole, it makes sense to only participate in a status match or challenge if you are actually going to use the status.

Related: The ultimate guide to getting upgraded on Delta

Bottom line

If you hold elite status with one company and are thinking about switching to another, you might be dissuaded by the notion that you'd need to start at the bottom as a general member and work your way back up to status. Luckily, status matches and challenges allow you to use your current status to help you get status with a competitor.

Again, you'll want to be careful of when you choose to do a status match or challenge, as many of the programs allow them only once per lifetime of the account.

Featured image by Ethan Klapper/The Points Guy
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
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Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees