Status matching is the term where you use your status in one hotel or airline membership program to ask for the same status level in another program.
Why would this be necessary and why would airlines and hotels allow this, you ask? These companies love to charge for every little service possible, so it seems weird to think they would hand out benefits for free.
Pretend you have moved from New Jersey to Atlanta and travel for work frequently; perhaps 1-2 flights a week. Whereas before Newark, a United hub, was your “home” airport, now it’s Hartsfield Jackson, a Delta hub. United has several levels of status ranging from top tier Global Services to a basic Silver and each require a certain amount of miles flown or flights credited to a United MileagePlus account. Delta has the same policy with their Skymiles program, albeit with mildly differing requirements. A high-tier status level could include complimentary upgrades on flights, like from economy to business or even business to first, as well as additional mileage credit. For instance, JFK-SFO is around 2,500 miles, but you could earn 1.5x or even 2x the base mileage if you have a high status tier. Throw in dedicated customer service telephone numbers, which come in handy for missed flights due to bad connections or weather, and you can see why a frequent flier would not want to start with no status with a new airline.
Since Atlanta has many more available flights from Atlanta than United does, it makes sense to ask Delta for a status match, since you would like to enjoy the same or similar benefits when flying. Delta usually will respond with a temporary match for 90 days and will make you fly “x” amount of flights or miles over that timer period to prove your loyalty to them. Delta will give you the matched status until February of the next year, or, if it’s after July, until February of the year after next.
Everyone wins except your old carrier United, of course. Delta has created a new revenue stream while you keep your flying benefits. Fantastic – except you still have to spend the “x” sum during that temporary period to prove loyalty. In a best case scenario, you don’t have to spend any amount to get matched status – you ask and then receive!
Best Western is a chain that doesn’t require any short-term loyalty to status match.
That’s right – no money, no nights, no nothing!
While Best Western isn’t exactly the type of hotel chain to play the miles and points game for, it has the most hotels in the world, which makes top-tier status pretty valuable, in my opinion. Again, it’s also free. It’s also extremely easy to sign up for with the “Status Match. . . No Catch” program. Call the number (1-800-444-7646) and ask to match. The CSR will ask you to email either a recent hotel program statement or a picture of your loyalty card with another chain and then they take care of the rest. It took around 2-3 weeks for Best Western to send me my “Diamond Elite” status card.
Diamond Elite includes the following specific benefits, as well as several others that carry over from lower status levels:
- Best Available Room
- Welcome Snack/Beverage or 250 Points
Since there are Best Westerns with suites, that means I’m entitled to a suite! For free! I don’t turn down suites, FYI. . .
In summary, if you have any kind of hotel status, whether it’s gold/silver/diamond/platinum/uranium, call up Best Western and match! It’s free, easy and rewarding.