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Many readers will be interested in opportunities to status match. Not everybody has an employer paying for dozens of flights or hundreds of hotel nights each year. But substantially more readers are going to be interested in the benefits provided to loyalty programme members with “elite status”.
The concept of the “status match” is pretty simple. A loyalty programme executive knows that their competitors will have some valuable customers who travel frequently. But since those valuable customers have built up certain benefits with the competitor, they are unlikely to give up those benefits in order to try something new. By offering to “status match”, however, it might be possible to poach that customer by making the switch easier or more desirable.
However, it is really hard to judge whether each applicant is actually a “valuable customer” or simply somebody we might refer to as a “travel hacker”. So most status matches have actually become “status challenges”. You may or may not enjoy the benefits of status straight away, and you almost definitely will need to meet some defined criteria – a certain number of flights, miles or hotel nights within a short period of time – to achieve (or hang on to) that elite status.
It can be tempting to sign up for every status match opportunity that comes along, but I want to highlight one important element, that you should keep in mind for the remainder of this post.
Any status match could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with that airline or hotel chain. So use it wisely…
Given this possibility, I recommend that you consider the following before automatically applying for that status match you have read about on InsideFlyer UK…
Am I Able to Meet the Criteria for Keeping the Status?
This might seem obvious. But if you sign up for a status match or challenge that requires a certain number of flights or hotel nights, I very much hope that you are planning to actually take those flights or stay those nights. Otherwise you might be squandering that “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for something that might only amount to a one-off airport lounge entry or a couple of hotel breakfasts…
How Much Will it Cost Me?
If you are lucky, you will be able to meet the criteria by shifting around some business travel that somebody else is paying for. In the absence of business travel, hopefully you can shift some personal travel around at no additional expense or inconvenience.
If meeting the criteria is going to require some mileage runs or mattress runs – i.e. flights or hotel stays that you do not actually require – then there’s nothing particularly wrong with that, as along as you are comfortable with the cost and have put some thought into this next point…
Will I Actually Use (and Receive Value from) the New Status?
If your main interest is in collecting shiny plastic cards, well good for you… But hopefully you are actually requesting a status match because you intend to use that elite status. This doesn’t necessarily require changing any pre-existing loyalties or preferences that you may already have, but a specific use is certainly helpful.
For example, if you are planning to spend some points on a stay at the Conrad Maldives, a Gold status match from Hilton Honors certainly makes sense. In the middle of nowhere, a complimentary breakfast and drinks will save you £££! If you only foresee staying at Hampton Inns or Holiday Inn Expresses – chains with few upgrades to be had and free breakfast for all – perhaps you needn’t bother…
For that reason, I won’t be participating in the latest IHG status match – click here for details. Even if I were to be granted a Spire status match, it still wouldn’t incentivise me to stay more than a few nights per year at an IHG hotel, yet ten paid nights at an IHG hotel this summer would entail substantial cost.
Can I Leverage This Status Into Something Else?
Sometimes you might be interested in a status match for reasons that have nothing to do with the airline or hotel chain that is granting you the status match. Perhaps you are hoping to leverage your brand new status into a status match with a different airline or hotel chain.
For example, you might currently have status with Hilton Honors, but you expect to lose it in early 2020. By status matching to IHG whilst you still hold a form of hotel chain elite status, you might be able to use your new IHG status to status match back to Hilton or to yet another hotel chain next year – even without staying more than once or twice at an IHG hotel.
Is this Opportunity Likely to Come Around Again?
Some status match opportunities are published and quite standard. You don’t need to rush to apply for a Hilton or IHG status match, because you can feel quite confident that you will probably also be able to status match in 2020 and beyond. A simple Google search, scan through InsideFlyer UK, or visit to statusmatcher.com will let you know whether a given status match opportunity is common or rare.
Indeed… some status match opportunities are truly rare. If British Airways decided to status match to Gold, I would rush to apply… simply because such opportunities are so infrequent.
A status match is a great way to obtain the benefits of elite status, without starting from nothing and meeting the standard criteria. But don’t just sign up for every status match that comes along. Put some thought into it first – you don’t ever want to receive the following e-mail…
Unfortunately we must deny your request for a status match as our records show…