It’s the season for status match opportunities right now as yet another loyalty program takes to Twitter to offer status matches to elite members in other programs. Recently we’ve seen Hyatt matching to their top tier Diamond status and Hilton following suit shortly after, and now Virgin America has sent out a tweet reminding travelers that they’re happy to match status from competing airlines to their Elevate loyalty program.
They’ve even set up a page on their website explaining just how to apply for a status match and the process is pretty straight forward:
- If you’re not already a member of their Elevate program you’ll need to sign up here.
- Next, email them with your name and Elevate number, plus a screenshot of your most recent mileage summary or a copy of your membership card showing your name and current elite level with a qualifying airline.
- They’ll get in touch with you to let you know what status level you have been matched to or if they need any additional information.
If you received a status match from Virgin America in 2014 you will not be eligible for another status match this year (which seems only fair!):
Elevate Members who received an approved match to Elevate Gold or Elevate Silver Status during 2014 are not eligible to apply for a subsequent match using existing or new proof of qualifying status in a competitor frequent flyer program.
What Status Will You Get?
Virgin America have taken the guessing out of the equation and laid out exactly which stays levels from other programs will be matched to their gold and silver levels:
Virgin Elevate Gold:
- American Airlines – Executive Platinum
- American Airlines – Platinum
- Delta SkyMiles – Platinum Medallion
- Delta SkyMiles – Diamond Medallion
- Southwest Rapid Rewards – Companion Pass
- United MileagePlus – Global Services
- United Mileage Plus – Premier 1K
- United MileagePlus – Premier Platinum
Virgin Elevate Silver:
- American Airlines – Gold
- Delta SkyMiles – Gold Medallion
- Delta SkyMiles – Silver Medallion
- Southwest Rapid Rewards – A-List Preferred
- Southwest Rapid Rewards – A-List
- United Mileage Plus – Premier Gold
- United MileagePlus – Premier Silver
The status match appears targeted at members of other US loyalty programs but there’s nothing to say that they won’t match stays from other airlines too.
|ELEVATE RED||ELEVATE SILVER||ELEVATE GOLD|
|ELEVATE REWARD POINTS|
|5 Points/$ spent on Virgin America flights||✓||25% bonus||100% bonus|
|MAIN CABIN SEATING|
|Complimentary Express seat selection||At Check-In||At Booking||At Booking|
|Complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Select||–||-12 Hours||-24 Hours|
|Advance purchase window for First Class upgrades||-6 Hours||-12 Hours||-24 Hours|
|PRIORITY AIRPORT SERVICES|
|Priority check In||–||✓||✓|
|Priority baggage handling||–||✓||✓|
|Virgin America Loft at LAX Passes||$30 per person||$15 Per person||Free access|
|DISCOUNTS AND FEE WAIVERS|
|Take 25% off a non-refundable Main Cabin ticket||–||1 Ticket Per Year||2 Tickets Per Year|
|Complimentary checked bag(s) weighing up to 50 lbs.||–||1||3|
|Elevate redeposit fee||$100||$100||Waived|
|Contact center service fee||$20||Waived||Waived|
|INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE PARTNERS|
|Virgin Atlantic benefits:|
|Virgin Australia benefits:|
|Priority luggage handling||–||–||✓|
|Lounge access in Australia||–||–||✓|
If you think you may need to do some flying on Virgin America next year or if you just want to try them out then this could be a very useful offer. The free checked bag you get at Silver level or the 3 you get at Gold level are money savers straight away and the fact that you get lounge access at LAX with Elevate Gold status (which you can match to from mid-tier status at other airlines) is a bonus.
If you haven’t got status locked up for next year this could be a good way to keep flying with a modicum of comfort next year. Even if you don’t plan on flying with Virgin America you may be able to status match from Elevate to a program of your choosing next year…although there’s no guarantee that will happen.
One word of caution: If you already have status with another airline for 2016 I wouldn’t go for a status match with Virgin America unless you’re sure you’re going to do at least some flying with them (and therefore get some benefit from the status). If you status match now it will probably rule you out from getting a status match further down the road…..and that could be unfortunate if you suddenly find yourself needing to fly on Virgin America in the future.