How to Status Match With Alaska Airlines [In-Depth Guide]

Alaska airlines plane

Full Disclosure: We may be compensated when you click on links to credit card products from our advertising partners, such as American Express, Chase & Barclays. Opinions on this site are ours alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. Thanks!

The benefits of airline elite status are highly desirable.

It’s always a pleasure to board early, fly in the front of the plane, change your flights when you want to without fees, and have a dedicated phone line for assistance when things go wrong.

But achieving elite status requires dedicated loyalty to an airline — and once it’s earned, it can be difficult to give it up.

So what if you have to move to a different part of the country that’s not serviced well by your current airline, or you just want to try a new airline because your current airline isn’t treating you as special as they once did?

No need to worry.

Once you’ve achieved elite airline status, there are other airlines that would like your business too…and they’ll often offer you the opportunity to try them on for size.

This is called a status match or status challenge. It’s basically a shortcut to elite status granted by a new airline, and it can soften the blow if you need (or want) to change airlines.

Alaska Airlines is one airline that offers such a status match, along with Delta, United & AA.

In this article on how to status match with Alaska Airlines, we’ll cover the following:

  • What exactly is a status match/challenge
  • How/when to request a status match and what to expect
  • An overview of the Alaska Airlines status match program
  • How to keep elite status after the match

Alaska Airlines’ program has some unique features, so let’s get started learning more and find out how a status match with Alaska Airlines can benefit you.

What Is a Status Match and How Does It Work?

If you’ve flown enough with an airline to achieve elite status in their frequent flyer program, other airlines might be interested in luring you over to try out their product in hopes you’ll become a loyal customer.

A status match or challenge is a program that airlines establish to offer other airlines’ elite members a direct match of their status and/or an abbreviated path to achieve elite status.

For example, if you have achieved and currently hold Delta Gold Medallion elite status, you might ask Alaska Airlines if they will match that to their Gold level status so you can try out their airline.

Rules differ between airline status matches/challenges, and some airlines do not even offer such a program.

The Difference Between a Status Match and a Challenge

If you have airline status and request that another airline match that status, you will receive one of the following answers:

Approved for a status match

  • You will receive immediate matching status with the new airline once your request is approved, and it continues for a specified period of time.

Approved for a status challenge

  • You will not receive elite status until a specified challenge is completed.
  • You will be required to fly a specific number of miles or segments within a period of time (usually 90 days) in order to receive elite status.
  • You may also have to meet minimum spending requirements with the airline. These flying/spending requirement are usually far less than you would normally need to reach elite status.

Approved for a status match that includes a status challenge

  • You receive immediate elite status as soon as your request is approved.
  • You’ll keep that status level during the time you spend completing the stated challenge requirements.
  • Once the challenge is completed, your status is extended, usually until the end of the next qualification year period.

Request denied

  • Your request could be denied because the status you have is with an airline that is not eligible for the new airline’s status match program.
  • You may also be denied because your current status was achieved by completing a challenge or through another status match. The new airline is looking for status that was earned by completing the normal annual flying requirements with your current airline.

Good News: Fortunately, Alaska Airlines simply grants a status match and requires no additional challenge activity. If you are approved, you will receive immediate matching status that will continue for a specific amount of time.

Alaska airline interior
Elite status can allow you to secure first class upgrades in Alaska Airlines premium cabins. Image courtesy of Alaskaair.com.

Hot Tip: If you need more clarification on this topic, check out our piece — The Ultimate Guide to Airline Status Matches/Challenges.

Alaska Airlines Status Match Program

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan frequent flyer program has 3 levels of elite status:

  • MVP
  • MVP Gold
  • MVP Gold 75K

When you submit a request, Alaska will consider a status match from your current elite status to its corresponding elite status level.

Unlike other airlines that have status match/challenge programs, Alaska Airlines matches to its highest elite status tier.

For example, if you have AAdvantage Executive Platinum status with American Airlines, Platinum or Diamond Medallion status with Delta, or 1K status with United, you can expect to be matched to Alaska Airline’s MVP Gold 75K — Alaska Airline’s highest elite status level in its Mileage Plan program.

Alaska Airlines is also one of few airlines that grants an elite status match with no further requirements. The status is usually good for the remainder of the current calendar year or for up to 15 months, depending on when your request is approved.

This gives you plenty of time to try out their airline and qualify for continued elite status.

Who Is Eligible for an Alaska Airlines Status Match?

Alaska Airlines considers status matches for legal residents of the United States and Canada. If you hold one of the following elite status levels and are a qualified resident, you are eligible to request a status match with Alaska Airlines.

If approved, your status will be matched with the corresponding Mileage Plan elite status according to the following chart.

Elite Status With Current AirlineMatches to This Elite Status With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • Aeromexico Gold
  • Air Canada Altitude 25K (Prestige) and 35K
  • American Airlines AAdvantage Gold
  • Delta Medallion Silver
  • Frontier Elite
  • Hawaiian Pualani Gold
  • JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic
  • Southwest A List
  • United Premier Silver and Premier Associate
  • MVP
  • Aeromexico Platinum
  • Air Canada Altitude 50K
  • American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum
  • Delta Medallion Gold
  • Hawaiian Pualani Platinum
  • Southwest A List Preferred
  • United Premier Gold
  • MVP Gold
  • Aeromexico Titanio
  • Air Canada Altitude 75K and 100K
  • American Airlines ConciergeKey
  • American Airlines Platinum Pro
  • American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum
  • Delta Medallion Platinum or Diamond Medallion
  • Southwest A List Preferred + Companion Pass
  • United Platinum, 1K, and Global Services
  • MVP Gold 75K

Bottom Line: It is possible to status match with Alaska Airlines at any of their 3 elite status levels — even the top MVP Gold 75K — based on the corresponding elite level you have with your current airline. 

Alaska status match link
Submitting a request for a status match with Alaska Airlines is a simple process. Image courtesy of Alaskaair.com.

How and When to Submit a Status Match Request

How to Complete a Status Match Request

The first step is to sign up for the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program and make note of your membership number.

You can then access the online form here or prepare an email asking to be granted status at the Alaska Airlines level that matches your current status. An email can be sent to elite.flyer@alaskaair.com.

Make sure to include/attach the following:

  • Your Alaska Airline Mileage Plan account number
  • Your full name, mailing address, and email address
  • A copy of your current membership statement showing activity, elite status, and expiration date
  • A copy of your physical membership card (front and back), or a screenshot of your digital membership card.

You are not required to fly a certain amount of miles or segments with Alaska Airlines to be approved for a status match, but if you have an upcoming flight booked you should include that information in your email request.

It can take as long as 4 weeks to receive a response to your request, so plan accordingly.

Hot Tip: Like many airline status matches/challenges, Alaska’s status match is limited to once in the lifetime of your account, so it’s best to wait until you’re certain you’ll be flying Alaska Airlines frequently before you request the match.

The Importance of Timing

If you submit a request for a status match and are approved, you’ll usually receive that granted status for the remainder of the calendar year.

However, if you submit and receive approval after October 1, you may receive status for the remainder of the current year and the entire following year.

Hot Tip: If you know you’ll be losing status with an airline at the end of the qualification year, this might be a good time to leverage your current status and enjoy continued benefits at a different airline via a status match/challenge!

Alaska plane
Keeping your elite status beyond the granted status match period will require you to fly Alaska Airlines and meet annual requirements. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Benefits of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Elite Status

As soon as you’ve been status-matched to Alaska Airlines elite status, you’ll immediately experience the associated benefits.

Below is an overview of the benefits that are offered with each elite level.

BenefitsMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
  • Complimentary upgrades to premium and first class
  • 48 hours before departure
  • 72 hours before departure
  • 120 hours before departure
  • Companion upgrades
  • N/A
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Priority boarding, check-in, seat selection, and 2 free checked bags
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Discounted lounge membership
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes + 4 free day passes
  • Complimentary same-day flight changes and waived change fees
  • N/A
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Nominate someone for MVP status
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Yes

As with all airlines, the higher your elite status, the better your chances of getting an upgrade. Elite status also allows you to also receive those upgrades further in advance, or even immediately on purchased tickets (depending on fare class).

For details on all the benefits of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status, see their website for a complete overview.

Hot Tip: Check out our in-depth guide for all the information you need on how to upgrade to first class on Alaska Airlines.

Keeping Your New Elite Status

Annual Qualifications for Elite Status With Alaska Airlines

During the period that you’re enjoying your granted elite status, you can work to achieve ongoing status by completing the following requirements:

RequirementsMVP MVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
Eligible miles earned on Alaska Airlines20,00040,00075,000
Eligible miles earned on Alaska Airlines plus qualifying partner airlines25,00050,00090,000
Segments flown on Alaska and qualifying partner airlines306090

These requirements must be completed within any given calendar year.

Enhancing Your New Elite Status

An Alaska Airlines-branded credit card won’t help you reach elite status, but it will help you earn plenty of miles that can be redeemed for award flights on Alaska Airlines and their airline partners.

You’ll also enjoy the annual $99 companion fare, which is a popular benefit that comes with their credit cards.

In addition, you’ll save plenty with the free checked bag benefit for you and up to 6 additional traveling companions.

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card (Learn More)

  • A generous sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 90 days after card approval
  • Annual companion fare for $99+ taxes/fees after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days after account approval
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 other passengers on the same reservation
  • 3 miles/ $1 spent on Alaska Airlines
  • 1 mile/$1 spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Additional Visa Signature benefits
  • $75 annual fee

The Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card

Also issued by Bank of America, the Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card comes with the same benefits as the personal Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card. The annual fee is $50 for the company, plus an additional $25 per card.

Hot Tip: Alaska Airlines credit card sign-up bonuses and spending on your Alaska Airlines-branded credit card are the fastest ways to earn Mileage Plan miles. For additional ways to earn lots of Alaska Airlines miles, check out our complete guide.

Everything Else You Need to Know

Status matches/challenges do not move your current elite status to the new airline.

For example, if you are approved for a status match with Alaska Airlines, you would continue to keep your elite status with your current airline plus be granted the new status with Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines is one of the few airlines that grants immediate status with no additional requirements, like a specific level of spending or a flying requirement. There is also no charge to participate in their status match program.

Final Thoughts

A status match or status challenge is the perfect way to transition to a new airline.

The timing of your request should be well thought out, though, since many airlines only allow 1 status match for the life of your account. The best time to request a status match is when you know you’ll be flying frequently on the new airline to fully utilize the associated benefits.

Several airlines participate in status match programs. Check out our in-depth guides to status matching and completing status challenges with these domestic airlines:


*Featured Image Credit: Pandaeast17 Wikipedia

FAQ

How does a status match work?

Travelers who have achieved elite status with a specific airline can request another airline to match that status. The reason the new airline is interested in doing this is to gain the business of a known frequent traveler.

The elite traveler simply submits a request to the new airline along with documentation of their current status. The new airline will review the request and approve or deny it.

Once approved, the status match period with the new airline becomes an opportunity for the elite member to experience the benefits of the new airline and decide if it is a match for them.

Status matches are for a specific period of time — long enough for the elite member to try out the new airline.

How long does it take to get a status match request approved?

Once you have submitted all of the required documents to Alaska Airlines, you can expect an answer within 4 weeks.

Do I have to fly to keep the status?

Alaska Airlines directly grants your status match without requiring you to fly any specific number of miles or segments with them.

Once you’re approved for a status match, you will receive an email stating how long the status will be good for. Once that period has ended, you will have to meet the annual flying requirements to achieve any status level.

Which airlines offer status matches?

There are several airlines that offer status matches, status challenges, or a combination of both.

In addition to Alaska Airlines, domestic airlines such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines offer some version of a status match/challenge.

How long does the status match last?

The length of a granted status can vary depending on what time of year you submit your request and get approval.

For Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, it is best to submit your request in October so you can receive status through the entire following year.

Advertisement

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

4 comments

  1. Flieslikeabanana · October 1, 2018 · Reply

    I applied for the status match from Delta Gold at Oct 1 1:27am Pacific Time and got an email saying it would only be valid until the end of the year if approved. Have they changed their rules ?😭

    • Christine Krzyszton · October 1, 2018 · Reply

      Thanks for your question. It is ultimately up to Alaska Airlines as to how long they grant status but since it is late in the year, I would certainly ask them if it is possible to extend status, especially since your request has not yet been approved. If you have Alaska flights booked for 2019 I would relay that fact to them as well. As mentioned in the article, you “may” be granted status through the following year. To my knowledge they have not changed the program, they’re just discretionary in granting status.

  2. Weedsport · October 8, 2018 · Reply

    This is an awesome article. We applied today Oct. 8th and received confirmation they are reviewing. It also noted that if approved it would expire December 31, 2019. As a United Million mile flyer I look forward to being approved, as we have several trips booked to Fairbanks, which United does not serve.

    • Christine Krzyszton · October 8, 2018 · Reply

      Wow, that’s great. Thank you for reading and taking the time to report your experience. Here’s hoping your approval comes through quickly and you enjoy the rewards of having Alaska elite status during your trips.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. For more information on our advertisers, see here.