In prep for my upcoming longest flight ever — a 14-hour skip from SF to Hong Kong — I figured I should give myself every possible chance of somehow scoring an upgrade out of economy class.
I learned that United Airlines will match your elite status from another airline, and I was surprised to learn how easy it is to extend that elite status from the initial 3-month trial period up to more than a year.
First step was to read up on the requirements here.
Then I just had to go to this submission page, sign in to my United account, and submit a PDF of my Alaska Airlines elite status membership card.
Some airlines require proof of miles flown, etc. in order to match you, but not United — just proof of your membership.
I submitted my request for review.
Expecting to wait at least several days, I was surprised to get this 15 minutes later:
That was way easier than I ever realized or expected it would be.
Since my Alaska status is the lowest tier (MVP), I was matched to United’s lowest tier (Silver).
So what will this get you?
I’m crossing my fingers for an upgrade on one of those two 14-hour flights, though I have zero clue what my realistic chances of that are.
Here are some of the elite benefits:
One thing of note is that United will only give you a status match once every five years, so you may want to use it strategically.
Since I don’t see myself having any status higher than the lowest tier with any airline, I went ahead and splurged on my United match.
Within the first 90 days of your new status, you have to fly a certain amount in order to extend that elite status beyond the trial period.
Here is what they require:
So I just have to fly 7,000 miles to extend my elite status for a whole year?
If I’m understanding that right, my two trans-Pacific flights will put me at about double that requirement.
This Silver status could end up being very valuable, or hardly at all. We’ll see.
Here are some notes about how long you’ll get to keep the elite status if you complete the challenge:
By the way, I earned my Alaska status through a status match as well, to my Frontier Airlines status (that one I actually earned).
I’m half expecting someone to comment & say “Bro, you can’t get seat upgrades with measly Silver status on international flights!”
If that’s the case, please do reach out and let me know.
Thanks for reading!
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