I’m seriously considering moving to Seattle, and as an American flyer that inevitably means one thing — switching at least some business to Alaska Airlines. They do a ton of code sharing and many American itineraries out of Seattle involve travel on Alaska, so I’m all for it. While Alaska and American do offer some reciprocal elite benefits, upgrades aren’t among them, so I was planning on status matching to Alaska. It’s my goal to requalify for MVP Gold with them, which would take a reasonable 40,000 miles per year of travel on Alaska. My plan is to credit my Alaska segments to Alaska and my American segments to American, even if they’re on the same itinerary, to maximize elite benefits in both cases.
So it was my plan to status match to Alaska this year. Most airlines have a status match program whereby you can match status from another program, which is a great way to win over someone’s business. In most cases if you status match in the second half of the year, your status is good for the remainder of the year and the entire following year. After all, the logic is that you can’t requalify for status in just a couple of months, so they want to give you the full year to experience the status and requalify.
Earlier in the year American offered status matches to United 1Ks, which seemed smart given their financial situation. What they did which was really smart, in my opinion, is later tell the matched 1Ks that they needed to fly just 55,000 miles to requalify. After all, the goal of status matching is to win someone’s long term business, so pro-rating the required flying makes perfect sense to me.
And then there’s Alaska. Their policy for years has been that any status match before October 1 was valid just for the remainder of the year, and not for the following year. That’s plain dumb business, in my opinion. If you’re going to status match someone to a tier that requires 40,000 miles per year of flying, you can’t possibly expect them to requalify for that status in a period of three months. Well, their match policy got even less generous, because as of this year they’re only matching for the entire following year as of November 1. So if you were to status match on October 29 they’d expect you to fly the full 40,000 miles in two months.
Anyway, at the end of the day a status match is a privilege and not a right, so they’re perfectly within their rights to do that. I’ll simply be avoiding them till November 1 on routes where I have the option to book with Alaska or another carrier.