Calling all Companion Pass holders! As if Companion Pass isn’t sweet enough, you can also get amazing perks with airlines other than Southwest!
What’s our status?
Airline status is getting harder to obtain through conventional flying for most. When you think of “earning miles”, one might assume that is determined by the miles flown. That is no longer the case with the big-three, they now require you to “spend” your way to a status.
EQD’s, or Elite Qualifying Dollars, are earned based on the cost of your flight. Regardless of the distance of your flight, the airlines only care how much you spend. With American, $3,000 needs to be spent on airfare to qualify for AA Gold, before government fees/taxes. (plus 30 EQS’s or 25k EQM’s)
Match.com, for statuses
A status match is the act of taking your status, like Companion Pass, and requesting a similar status with another airline. By showing that you have Companion Pass, you are telling a competing airline that you are a “frequent” and “loyal” flyer. Airlines want those types of passengers so they will incentivize you to become loyal to their company by offering a competing status.
There are three levels to a ‘status match’, if another airline accepts your request:
— Match – You now instantly have the requested status with no contingencies or requirements (typically through the end of the current or following year)
— Challenge with trial status – You will get to try the status for 3-4 months but must fly X amount in order to retain
— Challenge with no trial status – You will be able to more quickly obtain competing status by flying X amount, but you don’t get to try the status as you are working to obtain it (Some airlines offer a challenge at a cost, like American)
There is a website dedicated to finding these status match sweet-spots. StatusMatcher.com allows folks to upload their results of status match/challenge requests. Since it is community driven, there will always be some conflicting results, but I’ll detail our outcome.
Give me the gold
For 2017, Alyssa earned Companion Pass and I am her companion. She simply emailed Alaska Air a front and back copy of her Companion Pass card as well as a copy of her government ID. If you already have an Alaska Mileage Plan number send that as well, it will prevent them from having to create one for you. You can enroll, here. (send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the email she wrote: “Hello, I am requesting to be status matched from Companion Pass to MVP Gold 75K, here is my Alaska Mileage Plan number XXXXXXX” (which included copies of the two previously mentioned items)
Just 8 business days later, she received this email response from Alaska Airlines:
Boom! Alyssa now has Alaska Airline’s HIGHEST status, MVP Gold 75K, for the rest of the year. With the merger of Alaska and Virgin underway, this status will offer even more later in the year.
MVP Gold 75K status entitles you to:
- Unlimited First Class upgrades for yourself and a companion
- Unlimited Premium Class upgrades for yourself and a companion
- Preferred seating
- Complimentary inflight entertainment player
- Complimentary premium beverage in the Main Cabin
- Four First Class guest upgrades
- Unlimited upgrades on select Delta flights
- Preferred seating on American Airlines and Delta
- Complimentary Main Cabin extra seating on American Airlines, with up to six inches of added legroom
- Priority check-in and boarding
- Two free checked bags for you and a companion
- Express security line at select airports
- Complimentary same-day standby when a confirmed flight change isn’t available
- Complimentary same-day flight changes
- Discounted Alaska Lounge membership
- Four complimentary Alaska Lounge day passes
- Priority check-in and boarding on American Airlines and Delta
- Two free checked bags for you and a companion on American Airlines
- Priority Access status on American Airlines
- Partner lounge access available in London, Reykjavik, Shanghai and more
You get all that for free?
All those perks are ripe-for-picking through the end of the year. Alyssa will get unlimited upgrades on Alaska, and upgraded seats on American and Delta when available.
For existing reservations, such as an American Airlines flight, just go to “Travel Information > My Trips”, then edit the passenger information with your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number. Once added, you can select your FREE upgraded seats on that American Airlines flight! When you check in for your AA flight you’ll also receive boarding Group #4, of 1-9. If you hold an American Airlines platinum credit card, you’ll only get boarding group #5.
Sharing is caring
Oh but wait, there is more. When you become an MVP Gold 75K member, you are able to nominate one person to MVP status. (Alaska status levels: MVP > MVP Gold > MVP Gold 75K)
Just fill out this simple nomination form and within 5-7 days the nominee will get an email confirmation that they’ve been upgraded to MVP. I know because Alyssa just nominated me to MVP!
As an MVP, I will get preferred seating on Alaska, American, and Delta flights. In addition, I will get priority boarding and free checked baggage on Alaska airlines. As an MVP, you are also eligible for first class upgrades when available. I nominated my mother-in-law to MVP in 2015 and she was upgraded to first class on BOTH her flights, to and from Hawaii. How cool is that?
Last year, I used my Alaska MVP Gold 75K to status match instantly to JetBlue Mosaic status. I ended up holding Mosaic status for about 7 months, it actually saved me when I needed to cancel an award flight (no penalty)
International flight upgrades
It just so happens we are flying from Tokyo to Los Angeles on American Airlines later this year. Once I added Alyssa’s Alaska Airlines MVP number to our American booking (under: edit passenger info), it instantly gave us both free access to Main Cabin Extra seats.
We were able to lock-in two bulkhead seats on our 10 hour Boeing 777 flight. These seats normally cost $157 a piece to reserve, that cost is waived thanks to Alyssa’s MVP Gold 75K status. (which is the result of sending a single email!)
Once you earn Southwest Companion Pass, you can take that perk to the next level with Alaska Airlines and others. This Southwest 40,000 point sign-up bonus with just $1,000 spend requirement is a good start towards earning Companion Pass. That means you only have to spend $333 per month, for three months (read: Chase 5/24 rule)
One user stated that AirBerlin was willing to match their Alaska Airlines status to TopBonus Gold. Another option is to send a status match request to LATAM, which is also a OneWorld carrier. AirBerlin TopBonus Gold and LATAM Platinum will both earn you OneWorld Sapphire status.
Sapphire with OneWorld scores you great perks when flying on any OneWorld carrier such as; British Airways, Iberia, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qatar, Royal Jordanian and others.
- Access to priority Business Class check-in
- Priority boarding
- Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating when offered by the airline operating the flight
- Priority standby and waitlisting (where offered)
- Access to more than 650 airport lounges (with one guest) when travelling internationally, including premium Business Class and frequent flyer lounges, regardless of the class of service flown that day.
You will need to wait until you receive your Alaska MVP Gold 75K card and welcome packet in the mail before trying to match from Alaska to others, which takes about 3 weeks. Once you have your physical MVP Gold 75K card, you can take a copy of it and email other airlines requesting a match or challenge. (don’t forget to ask nicely)