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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.

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.

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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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BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

    Earn 60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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
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Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.