I’m tempted to take advantage of the generous status match offer from Alaska Airlines, but not convinced now is the time considering the way 2021 is unfolding. My only object: preserve oneworld emerald status.
Tempting Status Match Offer From Alaska Airlines
When I lived full-time in Frankfurt, Star Alliance Gold Status was easily the most valuable status. My weekend trips always started in a Lufthansa Lounge, no matter what cabin I flew in. In fact, on the days that I flew I would head to the lounge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner since my office was right in the airport. Those were the days…
In 2019, Hyatt granted me a free status match to American Airlines Executive Platinum status, which I took full advantage in early 2020 to visit lounges like Qantas First Class Lounge in LAX, The Pier in HKG, or the Finnair Platinum Wing in HEL. These lounges are all amazing and frankly better than any Star Alliance Gold lounge in the system. It opened my eyes to how valuable oneworld status was, even if I still preferred to fly United Airlines over American.
All bets are off in our new pandemic world. My favorite lounges have been closed for nearly a year and thinking about putting in the miles and dollars necessary to re-qualify for status this year seems premature at this point, especially with so many travel restrictions still in place.
But I can tell you this: oneworld emerald status opens so many great doors. I love it.
And that is why the latest status match offer from Alaska Airlines is so intriguing. Currently, Alaska Airlines is offering status matches (no challenge required) for elite members of Delta SkyMiles, Southwest Rapid Rewards, and United MileagePlus.
Alaska will officially join oneworld on March 31, 2021, and with that will come oneworld priority tier status. While the status will only remain good through the end of 2021, re-qualifying for MVP Gold 75K, Alaska’s current top-tier status, is much easier than re-qualifying for Executive Platinum status on American Airlines. That’s because AA does not have dollar spending minimums. So for 2021 re-quaifcation (meaning status good through all of 2022), I would need to fly:
- 75,000 miles on Alaska Airlines or partners (including American Airlines)
- six segments must be on Alaska itself
Alternately, I could fly 90 segments. Well, the 75,000 miles seems quite doable this year with no minimum dollar amount. Heck, that makes those $62 mileage runs on American Airlines suddenly much more valuable…
However, I still find myself gravitating to United Airlines. Unless international borders suddenly swing open later this year, there’s no way I’ll be able to spend the requisite amount to re-qualify for 1K status. I’ve done more travel than most, it seems, and I’m not anywhere close. That just makes Alaska suddenly much more attractive.
Will Airlines Extend Status Into 2022?
Even though I am personally ready to explore the world again, the world is not ready for me. All these status matches may not even be timely at the moment. I’d hate to play the status match card this year when I could save it until next year.
While just a gut feeling at this point, I tend to think that airlines will be forced to extend status for one more year or at least offer extremely generous promotions. As I mentioned above, right now I’m not even close…and I just cannot see myself doing it. But we’ll see.
I’ve never held elite status on Alaska Airlines and always respected the carrier as independent and a bit old fashioned (in a good way). I’ll certainly consider the status match opportunity before the April 15th deadline. Still, I’m not sure now is the time…
Will you take advantage of the status match offer from Alaska Airlines?
image: Alaska Airlines
I’ve reached the acceptance stage that for the first time in decades I will spend next year flying with nothing more than my awarded “lifetime” status at the lower tiers on AA/UA/DL. My years of Emerald and Exec Plat will be gone as I’ve barely put in 20K miles thus far this year. Not having Europe, South America, and Asia travel guts my earnings. Which leads me to rethinking and retooling my entire strategy. Freestyle, no care for loyalty, and just fly the best schedule, best deal (especially Premium cabin at discounted fares) and giving more attention to Jet Blue domestically. In some ways it’s good, it forces an end to my feeling trapped in a one-sided relationship as I just couldn’t bear the thought of no lounges or upgrades. Assuming I get back to the same level of flying next year I will not spend the entire time subjecting myself to AA at less than Exec Plat so as to reboot.
I guess this will become a trend. And I’m even going to give it a name, “Commando” style.
Great comment! I am based in Asia and will do exactly the same thing. Plus I already made a decision to NOT do business with UA before the pandemic after Kirby changed the way of status qualification.
One big thing to be aware of is that Alaska has never been good at clearing complimentary upgrades. They often have flights leave with empty seats and people still on the upgrade list
Really? I’ve gotten upgrades as a 75K at least a day in advanced but sometimes at the gate. As noted in a comment below I’m based out of SFO and not SEA/PDX which likely plays a factor into that.
I status matched from United to Alaska in 2018 and never looked back. I had 800K lifetime miles on United and walked away after all the devaluations. Alaska is a great airline (albeit smaller).
Are your upgrades clearing?
Alaska sells pretty reasonable first class fares so I tend to purchase those. However, for all the times I purchased coach I was upgraded. Caveat is I’m based out of SFO and not SEA/PDX.
Fwiw, those $62 MRs aren’t going to help that much. IIRC, those are in O or Q, and net just 25% distance flown of EQMs. Let’s say LAX-MIA is 2342mi, and $62 buys a 4684mi trip. At 25% EQMs, one would have to fly about 64 of those LAX-MIA RTs.
(Not to be a bummer.)
But yeah, OWE looks lovely.