Qatar Airways has started a limited status match campaign which could earn you Oneworld elite status and an upgrade into business class for free.
If you are someone who holds elite status with Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines or Virgin Australia you can now ask Qatar Airways for a match to an equivalent status within their Qatar Airways Privilege Club programme.
This could be an easy and fast way to Qatar Airways and thus Oneworld Alliance elite status without needing to take a single flight.
The current Qatar Airways status match campaign runs until 20th March (23:59pm Doha time) so you do have to be quick to apply.
To request a status match, you only have to send an email to email@example.com mentioning your Privilege Club number. You also have to attach a picture of your current frequent flyer card and a statement (for example a screenshot) of your latest flight activities within your current frequent flyer programme.
If you are currently not a member of the Qatar Airways Privilege Club there is nothing to stop you from subscribing now as it’s a process that takes mere minutes.
What happens then?
According to Qatar Airways, you’ll receive a reply within 10 days whether or not your status match request has been granted or not.
If your status is indeed matched to an equivalent status within the Qatar Airways Privilege Club, this will be valid for the next 12 months. One of the neat aspects of this status match campaign is that you will also be given reduced requalification requirements.
For example, instead of the normal 300 Qpoints which are needed to maintain a gold status within the Qatar Airways Privilege Club, you now only need to earn 150 points within those 12 months.
If you are matched to silver status (or to the highest platinum status), requalification requirements are also halved for the first year to 75 and 300 points respectively.
Are there any drawbacks to a status match?
A question which is often asked is whether there are any drawbacks to requesting a status match. Simply put: there are none. You will not lose your status with your current frequent flyer programme if you ask for a status match – the only thing that will happen is that you gain status with an extra programme!
Status matches were invented by airlines to lure away the best customers of their rivals as top frequent flyers are usually also those who spend most money on tickets.
By offering a status match, Qatar Airways is thus hoping to win some business from rival airlines, which is why it is giving away a full year of status for free as the long term benefits could be big for them.
Just note that normally you can only match your status once with a single airline. If Qatar Airways matches your current status, but you end up not using it and losing it altogether over the next few years, you will probably not be able to take advantage of another Qatar Airways status match campaign in the future (although you are free to go for a status match with any other airline!).
Why this is great for me?
If you do hold status (especially gold or higher) with any of the aforementioned frequent flyer programmes to which Qatar Airways will match, it can be certainly worth it.
To many, it is simply worth it to have status within the vast Oneworld network, which besides Qatar Airways also includes such airlines like American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines.
If you are matched to Privilege Club Gold status (which equals Oneworld Sapphire status), you will for example get priority check-in, lounge access and 75 percent bonus miles on top of the normal mileage earning for Qatar Airways flights.
Best of all is perhaps the free Qcredits which those matched into Privilege Club Gold or Privilege Club Platinum will receive. Gold members get 40 Qcredits, while Platinum members receive 60 Qcredits.
These can be used for example for free upgrades from economy class to Qatar Airways’ excellent business class product – and 40 Qcredits should definitely be enough to secure you an upgrade on many long-haul flights.
Even if you do not end up flying Qatar Airways or other Oneworld airlines a lot (and thus would be downgraded to a lower status after a year) – this status match could still be highly worth it just for the Qcredits and an upgrade and for a bit of lounge access.
Having Star Alliance gold status with Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles programme, I decided to try out the status match myself and just send over my paperwork by email. So let’s see what will happen to my request!
Although I do love Qatar Airways’ in-flight product (they are excellent in both economy and business class) I rarely fly them or other Oneworld airlines due to simple geography.
I live in an airport dominated by SkyTeam and Star Alliance, who both offer the most useful connections to me. That said, with Oneworld elite status it does make it more attractive to try out one of the two Oneworld airlines (BA and Qatar) who fly out of my home airport, so who knows what the future might look like.
Although Qatar Airways is certainly not considered as the best Oneworld frequent flyer programme after some recent devaluations, it can still be a good programme for those who fly Qatar Airways a lot given the increased mileage earning rates that come with elite status.
Otherwise I’d still say that for most other European travellers it would make much more sense to join for example British Airways’ Executive Club as they offer much more lucrative options to redeem miles.
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