One of the best shortcuts for getting elite status with any hotel or airline program is to do a status match or status challenge. These are very easy to do and what it amounts to is one loyalty program matching you to an elite tier based on the elite tier that you belong to in another program.
United Airlines is one of these programs that offers a status match and in this article I will tell you everything you need to know about United status matches, including what tiers match to programs like Southwest, Marriott, etc. I’ll also go into detail about the status challenges that you can use in order to hold on to the elite status that you can earn via a status match.
Does United Airlines offer a status match?
United Airlines offers a status match to various tiers of its elite MileagePlus program.
How the United status match works
This status match for United Airlines is very simple. You simply submit the required form and documents (proof of status) for the status match and then wait to be matched to a respective level of status.
You will then be able to keep the elite status for a short amount of time and then if you want to maintain that status throughout the year you’ll need to meet additional requirements.
I will explain all of these requirements in detail below.
How long do you get to keep status?
If you meet the criteria for the status challenge you will be given United elite status for 90 days. If you want to keep the status for the remainder of the program year you’ll need to earn a certain number of Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or Premier qualifying segments (PQS) on flights operated by United or United Express within a 90-day Offer Period.
Note that if you are unable to complete the PQM or PQS requirement within the 90-day period, your matched MileagePlus Premier status will expire and you may be returned to a lower earned Premier level, or general member status, at United’s discretion.
The number of PQM or PQS you must earn depends on the Premier status level you are matched to in MileagePlus.
Here are the requirements that you will have to meet:
|MileagePlus Premier status||PQM or PQS requirements|
|Premier Silver||Fly 7,000 PQM or 8 PQS on flights operated by United or United Express|
|Premier Gold||Fly 12,500 PQM or 15 PQS on flights operated by United or United Express|
|Premier Platinum||Fly 18,000 PQM or 22 PQS on flights operated by United or United Express|
Compare those to the normal requirements:
|Premier level||PQM and PQS requirement (and PQD requirement for U.S. residents)|
|Premier Silver||25,000 PQM or 30 PQS (and $3,000)|
|Premier Gold||50,000 PQM or 60 PQS (and $6,000)|
|Premier Platinum||75,000 PQM or 90 PQS (and $9,000)|
|Premier 1K||100,000 PQM or 120 PQS (and $15,000)|
What level of status can you get?
The level of elite status that you are given depends on the type of elite status that you have with another airline program.
Here are some examples of the different types of matches you can receive.
|Frequent flyer program||Level||Level||Level|
|Delta Air Lines Medallion level||Silver||Gold||Platinum|
|American Airlines AAdvantage elite status||Gold||Platinum||Platinum Pro|
|Level matched to in MileagePlus||Premier Silver||Premier Gold||Premier Platinum|
The following data points are taken directly from statusmatcher. I believe that the website is reputable but I have not been able to personally verify the accuracy of the data points so you might want to double check with United before proceeding with a status match.
Also, these things could always change but the data below should give you an idea of what you can expect with a status match to United Airlines. But again, always verify first!
Note that you probably will have to show actual “butt in the seat” flying miles if you are going to the companion pass route. Simply earning the companion pass with your credit cards is probably not sufficient for a status match.
- JetBlue Mosaic = United Silver
- MVP = United Premier Silver
- MVP gold = United Premier Gold
- MVP Gold 7K = United Premier Platinum
- Gold = United Premier Silver
- Platinum = United Premier Gold
- Black = United Premier Platinum
- Black signature = United Premier 1K
- Ivory = United Premier Silver
- Silver = United Premier Gold
- Gold = United Premier Platinum
- Platinum = United Premier 1K
- Blue = United Premier Silver
- Bronze = United Premier Gold
- Silver = United Premier Platinum
- Gold = United Premier 1K
- Bronze = United Premier Silver
- Silver = United Premier Gold
- Gold = United Premier Platinum
- Platinum = United Premier 1K
- Marriott Bonvoy Titanium = United Premier Silver
How to submit your status match
If you would like to submit your status match then you will need to fill out this form. The form only takes a few seconds to fill out as all you have to do is select the airline information and upload your documents.
There will be a drop-down menu where you can choose from one of many airlines and select the level of elite status that you currently have with them.
Here are all of the airlines that you can choose from:
- Aer Lingus
- Aero Mexico
- Air Europa
- Alaska Airlines
- Air France
- American Airlines
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific Airlines
- China Airlines
- China Eastern Airlines
- China Southern Airlines
- CSA Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Jet Airways
- Kenya Airways
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Korean Airlines
- LAN Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- Siberia Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- TAM Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Virgin Australia
You will also need to attach a copy of your most recent mileage summary or current year membership card for the frequent flyer program you are matching from. It must clearly identify your current elite status, including your status expiration date. (Please note that many digital cards do not include an expiration date.)
You can then choose your preferred challenge start date. You are allowed to choose a start date that is plus or minus 14 days from the date that you are applying so keep that in mind. Sometimes United does not honor this start date and you might need to follow up with them to request them to honor it.
There is also a box where you can leave additional comments.
United states to allow about 7 to 14 business days for them to process your request.
The offer is not valid for members who have participated in the MileagePlus status match program within the last 5 years. It is quite common for loyalty programs to exclude individuals who have recently participated in a status match program. A lot of times the exclusion may only be for the last two or three years but in this case it is the last five years.
Note that customers who have Star Alliance Silver or Gold status are excluded from this offer.
No Membership card
You will not receive a membership card for your status challenge during the first 90 days. However, you will still retain many of the the benefits.
During the 90-day Offer Period, you may not have access to all reciprocal Premier benefits with United’s partner airlines, including access to Star Alliance lounges. So if you were matched to United Gold for example you may not necessarily get access to Star Alliance lounges. It never hurts to try however.
One thing that is very important to note is that you may only qualify for the status that you were matched to for the remainder of the year when meeting PQM or PQS requirements for the status match.
So let’s say that you were matched to United Silver status but then you went ahead and overachieved and met the (status challenge) PQM or PQS requirements for Gold.
If that were to happen you would still be matched to United Silver status. Now of course you could still go ahead and meet the published requirements for United Gold status but it is just that you will not get the same shortcut that you would’ve gotten if you were originally matched to United Gold status.
This is why it is really important to go into a status match with a plan when it comes to airlines. In some cases, you might want to wait until you could reach a higher tier with your current program and then make that jump over to the status challenge at a later date.
When do you actually get the status?
Customers who earn Premier status through this promotion will have their accounts updated in the system within five to seven business days of completion and posting of the outlined PQM or PQS requirement for the status level matched to in MileagePlus.
Sometimes your status might get updated even quicker than this so my suggestion would be to get the United app and just check in every day or so.
Premier membership materials will arrive within four to six weeks thereafter.
How long will the status last?
The length of your membership will depend on when during the course of the calendar year you complete the status challenge.
If you complete this status match before July 1 first of a given year you should retain that status through January of the next year. However, if you complete the status match after July 1 then you will have status for that year and January of the second following year.
So for example let’s say that you completed the status challenge in October 2019. You would then be able to continue with that status for the remainder of 2019, all of 2020, and then you would have that status through January 2021.
But let’s say that you completed the status challenge in March 2019. In that case you would have status for the remainder of 2019 and through January 2020. So for a lot of people waiting until after July 1 of a year to do this status challenge will make the most sense since you will be able to enjoy the benefits for the longest amount of time.
United status matches are pretty easy to do and they allow you to match status from a variety of different airlines. If you can complete the challenge within 90 days then you can hold onto that status for up to one year and a half in some cases. So the key is to go in with a plan in terms of when you will meet that status challenge requirements and also how many expected miles and segments you will fly so that you’re matched to the best status level.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.