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Complete guide to airline status matches and challenges in 2024

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers. 

While most loyalty programs do not offer a way to extend elite status beyond the current year, a workaround is available: By matching your expiring elite status to a competing loyalty program, you can potentially maintain your benefits by selecting different carriers.

Numerous airline loyalty programs provide the opportunity to match elite benefits from other programs. For instance, if your Delta Air Lines Medallion elite status will expire next year, you might be able to match it to a competitor’s program. This typically grants you temporary elite status with the competing program, which can be extended by meeting specific flight or revenue requirements.

Therefore, if you qualify, you can gain complimentary elite status with another airline. Keep reading to learn more about current airline status matches and challenges you can snag in 2024.

What is an airline status match?

A status match typically involves getting an equivalent or lower status tier with a new airline based on your existing status with a competitor’s program. So, why would airlines offer a status match challenge?

If a traveler has shown significant loyalty to one particular airline and program, this behavior can be attractive to a rival airline. The traveler may consider switching loyalty because they are unhappy with their existing program, or perhaps their circumstances have changed, such as moving from a city like Houston, where United Airlines is the dominant airline, to Atlanta, where Delta has a hub.

If you want to try out another program but don’t fancy starting from scratch, a status match or challenge can be a great way to solve this problem. It’s worth exploring the major elite status match and challenge opportunities available if you want to break up with an airline — though there are some caveats to consider.

What to know about getting an airline status match

United Airlines Boeing 777-300ER departing HNL
A United Airlines Boeing 777-300ER departs Honolulu. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

There are some important strategies and principles to remember when initiating a status match or challenge.

For a status match, you must typically provide a photo of your membership card and a mileage statement to prove your status. It is crucial to avoid altering or falsifying your credentials, as this can result in severe consequences, including account suspension.

On the other hand, a status challenge may or may not require you to have existing status. The airline will specify the number of elite qualifying miles or dollars you must earn within a specific time frame to achieve a particular elite tier. It is essential to thoroughly understand the requirements and which activities count toward the challenge, as some cobranded credit cards or partner airline tickets may be excluded. Remember that status matches and challenges are often limited to once per lifetime per account, although some carriers have exceptions.

It is usually advised to complete a match or challenge after June to enjoy status for the rest of the year and potentially retain it for the following year. However, recent airline status match challenges, like the one Delta began offering in 2024, will allow you to maintain status through January 2026.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that airlines may not always publicize their status match and challenge opportunities. You may need to call or email the airline’s customer service and check websites like StatusMatcher. Remember that your request’s outcome may vary depending on the agent processing it.

Related: Is airline elite status still worth it?

Alaska Airlines status match

Alaska Airlines Airplane Landing at LAX

Alaska Airlines used to offer straightforward status matches; however, the current status match process now includes a challenge component.

Alaska will match elite status from the following programs:

  • Aeromexico Rewards
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
  • Frontier Airlines Miles
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus

When you request a status match, you will be granted the corresponding status level in the Alaska Mileage Plan program for 90 days. To retain this status beyond the initial period, you must fly a specific number of miles on flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air or SkyWest Airlines, depending on the tier you match.

The required flight thresholds are as follows:

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

Unfortunately, Alaska’s MVP Gold 100K tier has no status match opportunity.

To submit a request, visit the dedicated status match page and provide a screenshot of your current mileage statement displaying your name, status and miles earned this year or flown in the prior year to achieve elite status.

If matched to MVP Gold 75K, you won’t be eligible for the 50,000 bonus miles associated with qualifying for that status, even if you successfully reach the 20,000-mile threshold. However, if you match to Gold and fly enough to keep that status, you will receive four Gold guest upgrades. Meanwhile, those who complete the MVP Gold 75K challenge will receive those upgrades, plus four Alaska Lounge daypasses and the ability to nominate someone for MVP status.

If you request a status match by the end of June and fulfill the requirements, your new status will be valid until the end of the calendar year. On the other hand, if you initiate your status match on or after July 1 through December and fulfill the requirements, your status will be valid until the end of the following year, so applying for it in July or August of this year would maximize the length.

Related: Alaska Airlines MVP elite status: What it is and how to earn it

American Airlines status match

American Airlines Airbus A321

American Airlines offers a status challenge program called Instant Status Pass to Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Diamond Medallion members and United MileagePlus Premier Platinum and Premier 1K elite members. To participate, you can apply on and be matched to either AAdvantage Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum.

The program consists of three phases, each lasting four months. Upon registration, you will immediately enjoy the benefits of the chosen status tier. To maintain the temporary status for another four months, you need to earn a prorated number of Loyalty Points, which is around one-third of the full requirement for a year.

The Loyalty Points required for each tier are as follows:

  • AAdvantage Gold: 13,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum: 25,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro: 42,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum: 67,000 Loyalty Points

During each phase, you can earn Loyalty Points through qualifying activities with American, its partners and cobranded credit card spending. All these activities count toward your status challenge.

The status you achieve in the first phase determines your starting point in the subsequent phase. This means that regardless of the initial tier you registered for, you will begin the second phase with the benefits you unlocked in the previous phase.

Related: Quick Points: How Hyatt and American loyalists can earn more rewards by linking accounts

British Airways status match

British Airways Airbus A319

British Airways is currently offering a limited-time status match opportunity for British Airways Executive Club members based in the U.S.

From now through May 7, new and existing U.S.-based British Airways Executive Club members with elite status in one of eight airline programs can receive reciprocal status with the British Airways Executive Club status for free.

Here are the programs and status levels eligible for this match:

Airline loyalty program British Airways Executive Club Silver status British Airways Executive Club Gold status 
Delta SkyMiles Delta SkyMiles Gold Medallion Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion
Air Canada Aeroplan Air Canada Aeroplan 50K Air Canada Aeroplan 75K and Super Elite
Lufthansa Miles & More Lufthansa Miles & More Senator Lufthansa Miles & More Hon Circle
United MileagePlus United MileagePlus Premier Gold United MileagePlus Premier Platinum and Premier 1K
Air France-KLM Flying Blue Air France-KLM Flying Blue Gold Air France-KLM Flying Blue Platinum
Scandinavian Airlines EuroBonus Scandinavian Airlines EuroBonus Gold Scandinavian Airlines EuroBonus Diamond and Pandion
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold

Note that you must apply online for this offer and provide valid proof of eligible frequent flyer status.

Approved applicants will be upgraded to the matched British Airways Executive Club tier for six months, with the opportunity to extend the match for up to a year by booking two eligible flights or one return flight, per the offer’s terms and conditions.

Eligible flights include BA-marketed business- or first-class flights with origins in North America, Canada or Mexico and landing in Europe, Norway or Switzerland. Eligible flights must be operated by British Airways, American Airlines, Aer Lingus, Iberia or Finnair.

Delta Air Lines status match

Delta A330-900neo at the gate in JFK airport

Delta SkyMiles is currently offering a status match, up to Platinum Medallion, to elite members of various airlines, including international programs like British Airways Executive Club, Lufthansa Miles & More, Virgin Australia Velocity and major U.S. programs.

After submitting your information and proof of your current status, you’ll be matched to the corresponding Medallion tier, complimentary, for three months.

With Medallion status moving to a Medallion Qualification Dollar-earning system in 2024, to extend the status beyond the initial three months, you would need to earn the following:

Delta status match

If you qualify and complete the challenge’s additional requirements, your Medallion status will be extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Related: Delta Medallion status: What it is and how to earn it

Frontier Airlines status match

frontier plane

While not yet available, you can join the waitlist for Frontier Airlines’ 2024 status match. The landing page does reveal some details of the new match program, including that:

  • You can match from 45 different airlines, hotels and cruise lines.
  • A new Elite Silver tier will provide 12 points per dollar spent and Zone 2 priority boarding.

Although further details have not yet been released for 2024, Frontier has previously charged members for the “administrative costs” of approving a status match.

Related: I was offered top-tier airline elite status for $499 — here’s why

Hawaiian Airlines status match

Hawaiian Airlines first class Airbus A330
First class on a Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While not publicly advertised, HawaiianMiles has previously offered status matches up to top-tier Platinum status on a case-by-case basis via its online contact form. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

To ask for a status match with Hawaiian Airlines, the company typically requires two things:

  • Proof of current elite status
  • Documentation of flights completed that earned the elite status, including flight activity to at least one of Hawaiian’s destinations

Matches are usually good for one calendar year from the time of upgrade.

Related: How to upgrade your seat on Hawaiian Airlines

JetBlue status match

While JetBlue previously offered a limited-time status match for disgruntled Delta Medallion members following the widely controversial changes announced in 2023, that offer has now ended, and JetBlue currently has no publicly available status match offer.

Southwest Airlines status match

Southwest Boeing 737-800 interior
The interior of a Southwest Boeing 737-800. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Previously, it was difficult to discover Southwest’s status match and challenge programs as they were not widely advertised. However, the airline has now made these programs more accessible by providing all the terms and conditions on its website.

You must have status with another domestic airline to qualify for a Southwest A-List status match. Any status level seems to be accepted. To initiate the process, email with your full name, Rapid Rewards account number and proof of elite status.

Once your request is processed, you will receive promotional A-List status for 90 days. Typically, Southwest grants this status within 12 business days of submission.

To extend your A-List status for an additional 12 months, you must book and complete three qualifying round-trip flights (or six one-ways) within 90 days. These flights must be paid fares, not award tickets. Existing A-List members with expiring status are not eligible for a status match.

It’s important to note that according to the terms and conditions, your flights must be booked and completed during the 90 days. While existing bookings may not count, Southwest allows easy cancellation and rebooking without penalties. This means you can convert existing bookings into new ones if the fare has not increased significantly.

To qualify for the Southwest status match, you must not have received promotional A-List status from any program, including status matches and challenges, within the past 12 months.

Related: Southwest A-List status: What it is and how to earn it

Spirit Airlines status match

Spirit Airlines Airbus A321

Similar to Frontier’s offering, the Spirit status match is currently unavailable. You can register on Spirit’s website to join the waitlist or apply once it becomes available again.

Historically, here’s how the program has worked.

Those with elite status on many North American carriers were eligible for a 90-day status match to Spirit’s Silver or Gold tier, depending on their existing elite status.

Here’s a look at elite statuses that have been eligible for Spirit’s status match in the past:

Airline Silver status match — $49 application fee Gold status match — $99 application fee
Alaska Airlines MVP MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K
American Airlines Gold Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum
Delta Air Lines Silver Medallion Platinum, Gold and Diamond Medallion
Frontier Airlines 20k 50k and 100k
Hawaiian Airlines Gold Platinum
JetBlue N/A Mosaic
Southwest Airlines A-List A-List Preferred and Companion Pass
United Airlines Premier Silver Premier Gold, Platinum and 1K

In the past, you could extend your status by fulfilling the following requirements in the 90-day window:

  • Free Spirit Silver: Earn 500 status qualifying points by flying Spirit or spending on a cobranded credit card.
  • Free Spirit Gold: Earn 1,250 SQPs by flying Spirit or spending on a cobranded credit card.

Silver and Gold elite members receive waived fees, such as free seat selection, priority boarding and same-day standby. You’re even eligible for a free checked and carry-on bag at the Gold level.

We’ll update this story when (or if) the Spirit Airlines status match returns.

Related: Everything you should know before flying Spirit Airlines

United Airlines status match

United Boeing 737 MAX 9

United has relaunched its MileagePlus Premier Status Match Challenge promotion in 2024; members can register and receive complimentary status for 120 days.

Here’s a look at how several popular airlines’ respective statuses would translate to United MileagePlus status:

United status match

According to United’s website, this is only a partial list. A full list is available on the Premier Status Match Challenge form.

After enrollment, members have 120 days to earn a set number of Premier qualifying flights and Premier qualifying points to extend their elite status. If you earn Premier status on or after July 1, 2024, your elite status is valid through January 2026. If you earn status before July, your Premier status is only valid through January 2025.

United status match requirements

Note that the flights must be operated by United or United Express — partner flights (including those on Star Alliance carriers) aren’t eligible. Challenges are limited to once every five years per MileagePlus account.

Related: United Premier status: What it is and how to earn it

Virgin Atlantic status match

Virgin Atlantic A350 seat
Premium economy seats on a Virgin Atlantic A350. ANDREW KUNESH/THE POINTS GUY

Virgin Atlantic offers a publicly available status match to members of select competing programs.

Depending on your existing status tier, you’re eligible for an instant match to Second Tier (Silver) or Top Tier (Gold). However, those who match to Gold must have a future paid flight booked in Upper Class or premium economy to be eligible. Meanwhile, those matching to Silver must have a flight booked in any cabin to be approved for a match. Once approved, your status match will be valid for 12 months from the date the account was upgraded.

Here’s a look at what programs and status tiers are eligible:

Loyalty program Second Tier (Silver) Top Tier (Gold)
American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Pro Executive Platinum
British Airways Executive Club Silver Gold
Cathay Pacific Gold Diamond
El Al Matmid Gold Platinum
Hong Kong Airlines Fortune Wings Club Silver Platinum or Gold
Iberia Plus Oro Platino
Lufthansa Miles & More Senator Hon Circle
Pakistan International Airlines Awards +Plus Sapphire Diamond
Scandinavian Airlines EuroBonus Gold Diamond
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Silver Gold
South African Airways Voyager Silver Gold or Platinum
United Airlines MileagePlus Premier Platinum Premier 1K

Once your status is upgraded, you’ll enjoy your status for 12 months. Here’s what you have to earn in the 12 months to retain your status:

  • Silver: 400 tier points
  • Gold: 1,000 tier points

Those with Virgin Atlantic status benefit from flying with the airline and its partners. On Delta flights, Gold members receive priority seating, lounge access on select flights, priority baggage and other benefits. Plus, they receive benefits on SkyTeam airlines, including Air France, KLM, Korean Air and China Eastern Airlines.

Unfortunately, since Virgin Atlantic is now a member of Sky Team, you can’t use your Delta status for this match.

Related: The ultimate guide to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Bottom line

Airlines offer status matches and challenges to attract elite customers from their competitors. However, as customers, we can also benefit from these opportunities. Status matches and challenges provide a shortcut to enjoying perks, cost-saving measures and waived fees, especially if you are moving to a hub where your preferred airline doesn’t operate (or has a smaller presence).

They can also be advantageous for specific trips, particularly international ones. Or, you can use them if you’re ready to break up with your existing airline over unwelcome changes to its program.

Before applying for a status match or challenge, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions and ensure you can meet the requirements and apply at an opportune time. Don’t overlook opportunities with foreign carriers that could grant alliance elite status, offering benefits like lounge access and increased baggage capacity on domestic airlines.

If your current elite status is about to expire, remember to submit your status match request before it does to avoid missing out on the opportunity.