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Will British Airways match my status with another airline?

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A common question I get asked is whether you can get a status match with British Airways.  Will BA match your status with any other airline?

Some airlines will match your elite status with a competing company in order to encourage you to give them a try. Since you already have status with another airline, they know that you are likely to become a frequent flyer with them if given the same benefits, and are unlikely to switch unless you are given benefits from Day 1.

This can be useful in many cases, especially if the airline you achieved status with is closing a particularly important route for you that means you no longer consider them your airline of choice. In this case, a status match lets you jump over to a new airline without a loss of status benefits whilst you start from scratch.

will British Airways status match me?

Unfortunately, British Airways Executive Club virtually never matches status from other frequent flyer programs. You will often receive this generic response:

Tier status, as you know, is our way of recognising and rewarding our most loyal and frequent travellers. To upgrade certain Club members to higher tiers which other members have worked hard to achieve would be unfair and undervalue their continued support.

Take a look at the site if you want further proof.  This is a site where people post their successes and failures in requesting status matches from airline and hotel companies.

However, there are certain rare exceptions to this. For example, British Airways offered a status match following the bankruptcy of Air Berlin in the hopes of enticing German residents to join Executive Club. Unfortunately, such offers are severely time-limited.

Other rare exceptions to British Airways’ firm stance can be had if your employer signs a large corporate contract with them though these are on an ad-hoc basis and there is no guarantee of success.  You need to be prepared to work your way up through the British Airways Executive Club ranks from scratch.

There is an alternative though

As you probably know, British Airways is a member of the oneworld airline alliance. This includes carriers such as American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways as well as smaller airlines such as Royal Jordanian and Royal Air Maroc.

Some of these other carriers may well be happy to give you a status match from another airline, as long as it isn’t a sister carrier in the oneworld alliance.

If you have status with one oneworld airline, it is valid with ALL oneworld airlines. If you can, for example, get your Virgin Atlantic status matched to Royal Jordanian, your Royal Jordanian card would get you access to British Airways lounges, priority boarding, free seat selection and other BA elite benefits.

The site will give you examples of airlines which are currently matching.

(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works.  You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )

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