Status match programs are exceedingly common in the U.S. but extend to very few programs elsewhere. British Midland is known to regularly offer complimentary status based on elite levels in other programs. British Airways will offer status matches as part of corporate contracts. And at least a few years ago Mexicana offered status matches as well.
But beyond that, they’re almost unheard of. Although occasionally there will be a Star Alliance-wide offering, sometimes tied to distress of a competitor carrier or losing a member airline (e.g. Varig).
Through December 15 there’s an offer for Alitalia elites to comp on over to the Star Alliance member of their choice. Only this time not every Star carrier is participating, notably absent are Lufthansa and Singapore. But Alitalia elites can receive status on Asiana, Thai, Air New Zealand, ANA, EgyptAir, SAS, South African, SpanAir, TAP Portugal, and Air Canada — in addition to usual status match possibilities United, US Airways, and bmi.
As it happens, I am an Alitalia elite member, a vestige of the $33+tax business class fare to Cyprus from a couple of years ago. (And surprisingly I’ve found myself needing Skyteam status a few times this year even though I do my best to avoid Skyteam carriers.)
So I may have to consider my possibilities here. First tier Alitalia elites get the equivalent of Star Alliance Silver on the Star carrier of their choosing. And second and top tier elites with Alitalai get the bottom level of Star Alliance gold on their carrier of choice.
I need to do a bit of due diligence, for instance Asiana offers an extremely long requalification period normally for status. We’ll see what works out best, but I think I’d like to try out a comp on a carrier whose program I don’t usually use just to try them out.