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

Alaska airlines plane
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The benefits of airline elite status can be highly desirable. It’s always a pleasure to board early, fly in the front of the plane, change your flights when you want (or need 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 happens 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 other airlines like Delta, United, and American. In today’s article, we’ll review how Alaska’s status match plus challenge works, when to best request the status match, and how to extend your status beyond the status match period.

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan loyalty 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 it will match that to its MVP Gold status so you can try out its 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 matches 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 normally do 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 requirements 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 current or 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

Alaska Airlines grants a status match along with a status challenge that, once completed, can extend the granted status. If you are approved, you will receive an immediate corresponding matching status that will continue for 90 days while you complete the challenge.

Alaska Airlines plane interior
Elite status can allow you to secure first-class upgrades in Alaska Airlines premium cabins. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Hot Tip: If you need more clarification on the topic of airline status matches and challenges, check out our ultimate guide to airline status matches and challenges.

How the Alaska Airlines Status Match Challenge Program Works

Note that airline status matches and challenges change on a regular basis, so be sure to check with the airline prior to submitting a request or booking flights.

Here is an overview of current information regarding the Alaska status match challenge program.

The Status Match

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 includes matches to its highest elite status tier.

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

Once approved, Alaska Airlines will match your corresponding airline elite status to one of its equivalent tiers. This granted status is valid for 90 days.

During that time, you will be asked to complete a challenge and fly a specific number of miles on Alaska Airlines to have your granted status extended.

The Status Challenge — Extending Your Granted Status

If you submit your status match request after July 1, 2021, and complete the following requirements within the 90 day period, your granted status will be extended through December 2022.

  • 5,000 miles to keep MVP
  • 10,000 miles to keep MVP Gold
  • 20,000 miles to keep MVP Gold 75K

Flights must be flown on Alaska Airlines, not partner airlines.

Bottom Line: Once your status match is approved, you will receive the corresponding level elite status for 90 days. During that period you will need to complete the specific flying requirements to extend your granted status. July is the best month to submit your status match request as once you have completed the challenge requirements, your status is valid through December 2022.

Who Is Eligible for an Alaska Airlines Status Match?

Alaska Airlines considers status matches for legal residents of the U.S. 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 Aeroplan 25K (Prestige) and 35K
American Airlines AAdvantage Gold
Delta SkyMiles Silver Medallion
Frontier Elite
Hawaiian Pualani Gold
JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic
Southwest A-List
United MileagePlus Premier Silver and Premier Associate
MVP
Aeromexico Platinum
Air Canada Aeroplan 50K
American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum
Delta Medallion Gold
Hawaiian Pualani Platinum
Southwest A-List Preferred
United MileagePlus Premier Gold
MVP Gold
Aeromexico Titanio
Air Canada Aeroplan 75K and 100K
American Airlines ConciergeKey
American Airlines Platinum Pro
American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum
Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Diamond Medallion
Southwest A-List Preferred + Companion Pass
United MileagePlus Premier Platinum, Premier 1K, and Global Services
MVP Gold 75K

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

How and When To Submit a Status Match Request

Alaska Status Match
Submitting a request for a status match is easy via Alaska Airlines’ website. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

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 also be sent to [email protected].

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 on or after July 1, 2021, and are approved, Alaska Airlines will grant you equivalent status for the next 90 days. During that time, if you complete the assigned challenge, your status will be extended through December 2022.

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 Credit: Eliyahu Yosef Parypa via 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 class48 hours before departure72 hours before departure120 hours before departure
Companion upgradesN/AYesYes
Priority boarding, check-in, seat selection, and 2 free checked bagsYesYesYes
Discounted lounge membershipYesYesYes + 4 free day passes
Complimentary same-day flight changes and waived change feesN/AYesYes
Nominate someone for MVP statusN/AN/AYes

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 its 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

In order to maintain elite status, you must complete the following requirements on an annual basis:

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 for valid elite status the following 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 its airline partners.

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

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

Hot Tip: Alaska Airlines credit card welcome 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. There is also no charge to participate in its 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 and therefore be able to qualify to extend your status and 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:


The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


Frequently asked questions

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?

Yes. Once you’re approved for a status match, Alaska Airlines initially grants status for 90 days.

During that period you must meet the terms of the challenge to extend your status with Alaska Airlines beyond the 90-day period.

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 the current status match with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, it is best to submit your request on July 1 or later so you can receive status through the entire following year.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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11 comments

  1. Flieslikeabanana October 1, 2018

    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 ?😭

    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. 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.

      Reply

  2. 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.

    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.

      Reply

  3. Does Alaska offer a status challenge, or do they only status match?

    Reply

    • Hi Stephen. Alaska Airlines offers a status match only. During the time period in which you have granted status you could qualify for Elite status by flying the appropriate level of miles. However it is not a requirement.

      Reply

    • Hi Stephen. Alaska only offers a status match, whereby you need status on another airline first, and they’ll match you to the appropriate tier on their end. I recommend matching for status after October, that way it is good for the remainder of the year, AND the following year. It’s an easy way to extend status with little effort. 🙂

      Reply

  4. Not any more, now you have 4 months to complete a specific # of miles to keep it for the rest of the year.

    Reply

    • Hi Rob. Did you happen to receive a status match that had a 4-month qualification period or have other insight? This would be a great data point as the Alaska Airlines site is still showing 3 months in their current terms and conditions. “In order to keep your status after the initial three-month period, you’ll need to fly on flights marketed by Alaska Airlines and operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon or SkyWest during that initial three-month period”. Thank you so much.

      Reply

  5. Looks like this has changed and now you only get status for 90 days and have to qualify in that period.

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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