Nothing gets a certain set of frequent flyers more excited than a status match. For those unfamiliar with the term, a status match is where your elite frequent flyer status level is matched to a comparable level in a competing airlines frequent flyer programme. It means you can gain a high status with another airline without actually doing any flying with them at all.
Certain airlines offer a status match from time to time in the hope that you will defect from your preferred carrier and start spending money with them. I have no information on how successful this is in attracting and more importantly retaining new customers but it must be negligible as status match promotions are never usually common knowledge.
Gaming The System
Frequent flyers want a status match in order not to lose their lounge access and other priority benefits when travelling on a competitor. That is quite a natural desire when you think about it, but it is certainly not in the spirit of a frequent flyer programme.
The whole point of an airline loyalty programme is to reward people for flying frequently! It is not to reward the person who might fly with the airline once or twice a year but who actively chooses to regularly fly with another airline.
Playing the game smart means you can have status with all three major alliances as well as some unaligned airlines at the same time. All you generally need to do is send in a copy of your current elite card and perhaps your statement showing your flight history.
It really can be that simple. Airlines have started to cotton on to the abuse and are now making various stipulations about the matched status. For example, some airlines require the customer to fly a certain number of miles with them over a certain period of time in order to keep their elite tier.
You Don’t Deserve A Status Match!
Thing is, no-one deserves a status match. I once witnessed a Twitter exchange where someone was attempting to get American Airlines to provide complimentary elite level due to their upcoming business travel pattern. The people at American were politely and professionally turning the guy off.
Witnessing the customer throw his toys out of the pram at this was an eye opening experience. He just could not believe the airline refused and his sense of entitlement was galling.
Why do people think they deserve something they haven’t earned? This is mind boggling to someone who is a firm believer that you get things once you’ve earned them. I thought frequent flyer programmes were simple – fly a lot and earn your way to a high status. That is how it should be at any rate.
I tend to look down upon airlines that offer status matches for promotional purposes. They must be desperate for customers if they are willing to give their elite level cards away so easily.
Status matching devalues a frequent flyer programme in my eyes and that is probably why it is not loudly advertised by those airlines that do it. Nothing makes me more sad than the thought that I spent thousands of dollars and countless hours in the air to achieve my status while someone else had to just send in their competitors card to receive the same thing.
I think matching should be outlawed completely and I love airlines that just won’t do it at all. What are your thoughts on this matter? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
Featured image and Miles & Smiles image via oneworld. Other images via the airline featured.