Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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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.
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.
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
Approved for a Status Challenge
Approved for a Status Match That Includes a Status Challenge
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.
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.
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 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan frequent flyer program has 3 levels of elite status:
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.
If you submit your status match request after July 1 and complete the following requirements within the 90 day period, your granted status will be extended through December of the following calendar year.
Flights must be flown on Alaska Airlines, not partner airlines.
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 Airline||Matches to This Elite Status With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan|
Air Canada Aeroplan 25K (Prestige) and 35K
American Airlines AAdvantage Gold
Delta SkyMiles Silver Medallion
Hawaiian Pualani Gold
JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic
United MileagePlus Premier Silver and Premier Associate
Air Canada Aeroplan 50K
American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum
Delta Medallion Gold
Hawaiian Pualani Platinum
Southwest A-List Preferred
United MileagePlus Premier Gold
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|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure to include/attach the following:
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.
If you submit a request for a status match on or after July 1, 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 of the following calendar 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!
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:
|Benefits||MVP||MVP Gold||MVP Gold 75K|
|Complimentary upgrades to premium and first class||48 hours before departure||72 hours before departure||120 hours before departure|
|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|
|Discounted $179 CLEAR membership with annual bonus miles for renewal||Yes||Yes||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 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.
In order to maintain elite status, you must complete the following requirements on an annual basis:
|Requirements||MVP||MVP Gold||MVP Gold 75K|
|Eligible miles earned on Alaska Airlines||20,000||40,000||75,000|
|Eligible miles earned on Alaska Airlines plus qualifying partner airlines||25,000||50,000||90,000|
|Segments flown on Alaska and qualifying partner airlines||30||60||90|
These requirements must be completed within any given calendar year for valid elite status the following year.
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.
Provides the potential to earn plenty of miles to fly with Alaska Airlines or over a dozen partners. Plus, get an annual companion fare from just $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23)!
With the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card in your wallet, you could get great perks and earn miles at the same time. This is a win-win if Alaska is the airline you prefer to fly with! Plus, its annual companion fare is a great benefit for traveling couples.
Hot Tip: Alaska Airlines credit card welcome offers 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.
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.
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 was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
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.
Once you have submitted all of the required documents to Alaska Airlines, you can expect an answer within 4 weeks.
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.
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.
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.
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