Continuing in my status match series, I want to highlight today the under-publicized status match offer currently on the table from Turkish Airlines. Like the SAS status match offer, Turkish is open to matching your elite status on any airline, even within Star Alliance. Unlike SAS, Turkish requires both a copy of your card and a recent account statement when requesting a status match. The airline then scrutinizes your statement, making a determination whether they feel you might be valuable to them before granting the status match.
To match, you must first join Miles&Smiles here. Then send a status match request to [email protected] with a copy of your elite card(s) and recent account statement(s). I include the (s) because it cannot hurt to show them that you have elite status with more than one carrier.
It took me several tries before I successfully registered so be patient--the TK website leaves much to be desired. Once you register, you'll get an e-mail like the one below and must click through to validate your registration.
Is is worth your time to match the status? Definitely, especially if you are a Star Alliance flyer. Most importantly, a Turkish Miles&Smiles elite card will give you access to United and US Airways lounges when traveling domestically, something you cannot do with Star Gold status on United or US Airways. Gary does a noble job of outlining the benefits of Turkish Airlines and I'll point out a few highlights here:
- The status lasts two years and you have two years to re-qualify.
- Unless you live in Turkey, 25,000 status miles in year one or 37,500 status miles in two years are necessary to re-qualify for Star Gold elite status.
- 50% discount on purchased business class tickets for a companion traveling with the member.
- 100% mileage earning on all United flights, with 500 mile minimums.
- US Airways crediting is not so generous--click here to see what fare classes earn only 50%.
Like any award program, in terms of award redemption there are both good and bad features:
- Fuel surcharges are passed on to consumers on all carriers that levy fuel surcharges, including United Airlines. (US Airways and TAM are the only two carriers in which you can avoid a YQ on Turkish)
- U.S. to Turkey is only 70,000 miles r/t in business class on Turkish metal. 90K to Middle East on Turkish metal.
- U.S. to Europe/Northern Africa (including Ethiopia and eastern Russia) is 105,000 miles on Star Alliance.
- An open jaw and a stopover are permitted, though one-way awards at half the round-trip price are not.
More details from Turkish here.
Unlike the generous award chart that bmi once had, the value prospect of banking miles with Turkish Airlines is not as high, yet as you can see above there are some good details to be had, and I will say this--I cannot think of an airline I'd rather fly within Europe than Turkish. The in-flight meals and wonderful lounge in Istanbul make Turkish Airlines a carrier I go out of my way to fly.