Reader Question: Star Alliance Status Match Options With Minimal To No Flight Activity Required

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We received a Reader Question yesterday asking about options to match British Airways Gold to any Star Alliance Gold status without having to fly in order to qualify for the status.

Status matches has gotten more tight in recent years unless there was a big promotion like Sky Team’s Alitalia that tried to acquire customers en masse and pretty much gave top tier to almost everyone applying.

As far as Star Alliance goes the options are rather limited but let’s have a look at the question of our reader Jean-Philippe:

Hello John,

I often fly OneWorld pooling into BA Gold and Skyteam pooling to AF Silver. Due to a move of country in 2017 I’ll be flying more Star Alliance. I haven’t yet decided which airline I’ll be pooling flights to. It will most probably be one of the european star alliance carriers.

The last few years we’ve seen many status matches between airlines to obtain status on another airline. This year however, it seems there have been none.

I would very much like to benefit from a star alliance airline status while building status, even if the building of status is not necessarily at the same star alliance carrier.

Is there any star alliance carrier doing a straight status match without the need to fly on them? I don’t necessarily care about their location, it would simply serve me wile I build the status with one of the carriers which perhaps is not so generous to match status, and allow to continue to benefit from similar status privileges I already have elsewhere whilst no longer flying those other carriers.


Getting Star Alliance Gold makes absolutely sense if he is based in one of the Central European Countries and even Scandinavia where Star carriers are the most prevalent.

Let’s have a look at the participating carriers overall:

From all the airlines above, the easiest to obtain (match) Star Alliance Gold through is Turkish Airlines which has a permanent Status Match Promotion.

I wrote about this last March (access here) and the conditions are still active, meaning they match you instantly for three months without flight requirement but you DO require one flight (segment) for the extension of the status over another year. Actually another 9 months because your new card will expire exactly one year from when you first requested the match. You need 15,000 Status Miles within that first year to re-qualify for another year under discounted conditions.

Turkish used to match instantly without any requirement and then for two full years, however that was stopped early 2015 as it probably generated way too many ‘members’ who neither flew Turkish or ever credited any miles there.

Copa used to do an outright status match that got suspended for the time being. United Airlines offers still challenges which also require flight activity.

There is a way of a shortcut toward Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold. If you have an American Express Platinum Card you can receive ShangriLa Jade Status which due to their new ‘Infinite Journeys’ partnership with Singapore Airlines gives you a Fast Track to Gold with just three flights within four months. John wrote more about this promotion (see here).

The easiest European Airline to achieve Gold is probably Aegean Miles&Bonus but there is no jump start in form of a match.


In my opinion Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles is still the best bet when it comes to a status match. It provides fair time frames to collect very little flight activity and you get three months Gold Status upfront to make your life a bit easier.

As I said above times are getting tough again and airlines at the same time often tighten their qualification hurdles for active members by adding spend requirements and lowering earning rates. It’s just logical that they also cut back on these instantaneous matches that generated a lot of ‘dead fish’ who used the card only for lounge access at partner airlines.

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    Great article. THIS is the stuff we are interested in reading about: how to deal with the maze of programs and learning how to extract the best we can depending on our individual circumstances, given the continual “enhancements” we see in the loyalty programs. Not the other faff that was piling up on this blog last year. Well done.


    Great article. THIS is the stuff we are interested in reading about: how to deal with the maze of programs and learning how to extract the best we can depending on our individual circumstances, given the continual “enhancements” we see in the loyalty programs. Not the other faff that was piling up on this blog last year. Well done.

  • mojo

    Perhaps someone can provide so clarity for me:

    So, I’m Platinum with AA, which means I’m One World Sapphire. When I book a flight on AA via AA website, I get to pick my seat in Main Cabin Extra for free. When I book a flight on BA (a OneWorld partner of AA), not only do I not get to pick my extra-legroom seat for free, I don’t get to pick ANY seat at all without paying a premium. I have entered my AA FF# at time of booking for the BA flight, but still no Sapphire benefit.

    What gives, what am I doing wrong? What’s the point of reciprocal status with a partner if the benefits don’t transfer.

    As directly relates to this article, I’d love to have reciprocal benefits on Star alliance via Turkish Airlines whilst working to fulfill status match/challenge from AA to UA.

    For me, being able to have free bags and free seat selection is a big deal, as I have no delusions of ever getting an upgrade. Lounge access is nice, but I usually don’t have enough time between connections to make use of the lounge, anyway. I also value the access to better point-rates on award tickets (e.g. on UA). But if the benefits don’t transfer over, what’s the point?

    Any enlightenment here would be appreciated.

    • Even BA elites need to pay to select certain seats on their flights unless Gold members (oneworld Emerald).

      If you are Turkish Gold and credit the flights to UA, you need to keep showing your membership card to get access to the lounges and for the extra luggage allowance.

      Theoretically they can enter one FF# for elite benefits and another one where the miles go. This rarely works nowadays, however.

    • Rolf

      Dear Mojo

      Free seat reservation is only given to oneworld emerald members

  • Ivan Y

    @ Sebastian – please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe not all Amex Platinum cards come with ShangriLa status. For example, US cards only come with SPG Gold and HHonors Gold.