Back in June I was given mid-tier elite status by Turkish Airlines, Gold in their Miles & Smiles program, as a result of my british midland Gold status.

The bmi program was winding down as a result of the airline being acquired by British Airways, and Turkish was making a play to acquire their customers.

What that meant to me is that I would continue to have lounge access with United and US Airways whenever flying either airline, even domestically. Because “Star Alliance Gold”-level frequent flyers with non-U.S. frequent flyer programs are entitled to that access. (Of course I already get US Airways lounge access from my American Express Platinum card. So for me this was about free United access.)

Here’s what’s interesting, though. It wasn’t just a limited-time offer to pick up British Midland’s customers. Turkish Airlines will offer status matches on an ongoing basis.

The status lasts two years and they give you two years to re-qualify (if you choose to).

Since I do not live in Turkey, the rules are 25,000 Status Miles in year one or 37,500 Status Miles in two years, and they will let you purchase 10,000 towards the 37,500 (either at 25 euros per thousand or 30 euros, the website separately lists both prices and I haven’t checked which one applies in practice). I did a bit more analysis in my original post on the status match.

What’s most interesting is who they will offer this to.

Reader Ron A., an American AAdvantage Platinum member, emailed a request which was denied. But the response he received outlined which members Turkish will offer the matches to:

Please be informed that only Star Alliance Gold , Skyteam Elite Plus and Oneworld Emerald members have an opportunity for Status Match.

They will match other Star Alliance Gold members. So a United or US Airways Gold (50,000 status miles) can get Turkish Gold, and thus free lounge access.

They will also match American Executive Platinums and also Delta Golds.

The idea here is they will offer their status which is equivalent to the top tier in the Star Alliance to anyone that has top tier in an alliance. Oneworld has three tiers, so only the very top will get matched by Turkish. Star Alliance and Skyteam have only two tiers, with top tier offered to 50,000 mile flyers at United and at Delta.

So, as Ron points out, “50,000 miles a year on Delta will get you
a match from Turkish but 50,000 on American won’t.”

To me it’s interesting that they will match United! Traditionally airlines haven’t been willing to ‘poach’ customers from within the same alliance.

If you want a status match from Turkish, registered for their Miles&Smiles program. Then send a request to customermiles@thy.com including a copy of your membership card and online statement showing your status.

  1. Jon P said,

    Is there a mileage requirement for this? I’m platinum on UA so do I need to fly xx miles on TK to get status match?

  2. Gary said,

    @Jon P – it’s a match not a challenge, so no requirement to fly turkish

  3. X said,

    Anyone had any success actually crediting flights to Turkish? I took a United flight 6 weeks ago that still hasn’t shown up. If it was easy, I’d just credit all my Star flights to TK to try and get the 37,500, but doing the whole “save my boarding pass and fax credit card receipts” won’t cut it.

  4. Jon P said,

    That’s awesome….I’ll be sure to do this. Thanks!

  5. Zach said,

    My wife did it successfully as a US Plat. Worked pretty easily. Took about a week for them to approve it and another month for the card to arrive, so it isn’t a super quick process, but it does work.

  6. Andrew said,

    So if you do this and you’re flying domestically, you could still have your US Airways FF# on your reservation, but so long as you have the Turkish *G card, that’s all that matters for lounge access?

  7. DBest said,

    Is it two Calendar Years, or two years from the match date? Or should we wait until Jan 1st to sign up?

  8. mogon said,

    Mine is through June ’14. The remaining question I have is whether one needs to actually credit a flight to Turkish Airlines in order to be sent the card itself. The website says that that is the case, but there are reports on FT from others who say they received their cards w/o such a flight credit.

  9. Tech Trainer said,

    I did the status match months ago, but I was never sent a Turkish Gold card. Without the card, you can’t easily get into United lounges, although I believe some have obtained entry by bringing along a paper printout from the TK web site demonstrating your Turkish Gold status.

    There’s a thread on Flyertalk about this and the general consensus seems to be that you have to have to credit at least one flight segment to TK in order to get the card.

    But whatever you do, don’t call TK customer service, because their hold music loops every 7 seconds and will drive you insane (“We, are, Turkish Airlines. We, are, globally yours.”) And no lounge is worth that. Well maybe the Istanbul TK lounge, which is the most glorious lounge I’ve ever seen.

  10. Gary said,

    @Tech Trainer – I matched and got my card, no flight necessary, their fulfilment was simply slow

  11. Gary said,

    @Andrew correct

  12. Rewarding Recap: Hyatt Contest, Hilton Fall Promo, and 35% off W Bed - Hack My Trip said,

    [...] More info on getting a status match with Turkish Airlines – View from the Wing [...]

  13. German Expat said,

    So what is the consensus ? Get it now or wait until January to get the maximum time ?

  14. Richard said,

    i applied for a match 2 months ago and my status expires 2 years from my signup.

    signup for an account first so they have an account to match. i got my gold card a few weeks later – no flight credited.

  15. thomas said,

    That website is a total pain. Kept wanting me to live in Turkey, and then it gave me an error saying a duplicate account exists (probably happened after hitting enter, but getting those errors).

    Try again tomorrow.

  16. mark said,

    Great post. I am surprised people didn’t complain about you letting “the cat out of the bag.”

  17. JoeDiver said,

    Your timing couldn’t be better Gary. I just cancelled my UA Presidential Platinum Card and my RCC membership will run out the end of November. Wish me luck

  18. Teddy said,

    What’s the advantage to have a TK *G card for those folks who have already got status matched to A3 *G till 12/31/2015 (or infinity)?

  19. Gary said,

    @Teddy – none unless you want to use the Aegean program

  20. Gary said,

    @JoeDiver – good luck!

  21. gpapadop said,

    Can I get into TK lounges if I am not flying TK (or other Star Alliance airline) if I do this? I understand I can enter TK lounges when I am flying another Star Alliance airline (of course when flying TK). Am I getting this right?

  22. CDKing said,

    At least one people I know have been denied access because they don’t have their TK number in their reservation.

    I have accessed the UC dozens of times with no problem when crediting to UA. I’m not sure if its because i have a UC membership as well. Only a few people mentioned my UC membership but most have handed me the wifi cards they only give to guests.

  23. A Week’s Worth of Miles and Points + Contest Reminder - Just Another Points Traveler said,

    [...] Match For Star Alliance Gold Status with Turkish Airlines: Gary @ View from the Wing provides an in-depth explanation about how to retain your Star Alliance Gold Status for lounge [...]

  24. Edward said,

    I can’t enroll the account,same problem with Thomas. It said I have a duplicate account exists. Does anyone know how to fix this? Thanks

  25. Steve Kalman said,

    I matched as UA Gold, took a while.

    Their site has some US cities on a list, but if you don’t live in the top 100 or so, then that’s a small problem.

    I livein rural PA and the nearest listed city was Philly. I put that in, got the notice of the match, then sent a note to them to correct the address. The card showed up about a month later and I’ve used it to enter a UA club.

    I’ve since cancelled my PresidentsPlus card and opened a Mileage plus card (to get a checked bag free.)

    I’ll lose UA Gold at the end of the year. My last flight (over Labor day weekend) I booked via UA FF number and got upgrades. Had they not cleared I would have asked the lounge desk to change FF to TK.

    I’ll have another 2 or 3 flights (RT, so double that) and will have a chance to register miles to them.

  26. Tech Trainer said,

    Although I status matched six months ago I never got a card. However, I emailed TK and requested a card. They wrote back a day later and are (supposedly) sending me a card!

  27. KS Tan said,

    I was matched in early July and received my card three weeks later. No miles required.

  28. Jered said,

    Gary,

    I can’t find it on the Turkish Airlines site, but I assume that elite qualifying miles requires travel on TK metal? With UA, at least, partner miles are not qualifying.

    I sent them my UA 1K and AA Exec Platinum cards and they did a status match. I hope my card arrives!

  29. Simon said,

    Just received an e-mail this morning in response to my request for status match:

    Dear xxxx,

    Referring to your e-mail message dated October 06,2012 , Elite card status match has been provided and your membership has been updated as ” Elite Card ” level.

    We would like to be honoured to see you as an Elite member for your future flights by Turkish Airlines.

    Kind Regards,
    TURKISH AIRLINES INC.
    CUSTOMER RELATIONS MANAGEMENT

  30. Gary said,

    @Jered – Partner miles will help you qualify on United! And you don’t have to fly any miles on Turkish to qualify or re-qualify.

  31. Helena Smith said,

    Email received from Turkish Airlines today:

    We Have received your e-mail message dated 06.10.2012.

    In order to evaluate your request about Gold membership status match, we would like you to send the copy of your Gold memberhsip card together with the copy of your membership statement to following e-mail adress; customermiles@thy.com
    Thank you for choosing Turkish Airlines on your flights. Kind Regards,

    TURKISH AIRLINES INC.
    CUSTOMER RELATIONS MANAGEMENT

  32. cbkcc1 said,

    will this status match also work to get through the priority security lines? in that case would you have to put the TK number and then change to the United (or whatever other carrier) at the gate?

    thanks

  33. BostonSun said,

    I requested a status match twice, once with my AA Platinum and then a few days ago with my Delta Gold, sending copies of the card and statement each time.. both times i received the same response email that Helena Smith has quoted above… after which i resent the same stuff.
    match never happened the first time with AA (a month ago), maybe it will work this time..? Anyone have any experience similar to this??

  34. Rslev said,

    How long did it take to hear back from TK? I emailed about a week ago asking for match to UA Gold and haven’t heard anything.

  35. CDKing said,

    @Rslev, Did you get the email stating they received your request? That’s the only communication I received. I logged into my TK account a few days later and the status had been granted.

  36. Jon P said,

    I sent request on a Friday and status was matched following Tuesday. I have not received a card from them yet, but anyone else get one?

  37. Gary said,

    U have a card, it took about 6 weeks. They hadn’t responded to my status match request after a week so I re-forwarded it and they responded in hours with a match.

  38. BostonSun said,

    My account has now been cancelled! This is quite bizarre.. I requested a match, didn’t receive one and instead kept getting back an email that said:

    We Have received your e-mail message dated 15.10.2012.
    In order to evaluate your request about Gold membership status match, we would like you to send the copy of your Gold memberhsip card together with the copy of your membership statement to following e-mail adress; customermiles@thy.com
    Thank you for choosing Turkish Airlines on your flights. Kind Regards,

    TURKISH AIRLINES INC.
    CUSTOMER RELATIONS MANAGEMENT

    And I would resend the requested info and now they’ve cancelled my account! Does anyone have a similar experience?

  39. Gary said,

    @BostonSun there are a bunch of reports recently of cancelled accounts from folks who shouldn’t have had any problems, something very odd afoot that isn’t in any way likely related to matching requests.

  40. BostonSun said,

    Huh.. well thanks for the response. that really is odd. Maybe I’ll try signing up for an account again in a few days.. really wanted the *A match :(

  41. Jered said,

    FWIW, I posted about getting a status match on 10/10, and just received my card today (10/27).

  42. Jered said,

    Additionally, the welcome letter also says “you can earn status miles when you fly with Turkish Airlines [...] as we as with Star Alliance member airlines.” That’s huge. I fly well more than 100K miles on United, and would gladly spend some of those “excess” flight miles on keeping lounge access.

  43. Jered said,

    I seem to be the only one left commenting on this post, but figured I’d add some data points since I had the opportunity to use my Turkish Airlines card this past weekend flying BOS-ORD round trip.

    I was very happy to find my card was honored at the United Club in Boston. On the return flight, however, I was told by the agent that it was only valid if I were connecting from an international flight. I’m pretty sure she was mistaken, but since my flight was boarding in 15 minutes I didn’t raise a fuss.

    I’m guessing she wasn’t paying attention and did not notice it was not a MileagePlus card. Regardless, I would warn any *G member to expect potential trouble on US domestic-only travel.

  44. Gary said,

    @Jared the agent is incorrect, you could of course carry a copy of the rules with you or ask them to check with a supervisor (they will be quite cross with you when they find out they are wrong)

  45. Simon said,

    Data point.

    Re: post 29 – I received the welcome pack on 10/31, so about a 3 week wait between approval and physical receipt.

  46. United Club Rates to Increase, 3-Year Membership Discontinuation - Frequently Flying said,

    [...] As many people do, another way to gain access to United’s domestic lounges is to hold Star Alliance Gold status in a foreign carrier’s frequent flier program. I believe Turkish Airlines is still matching elites from other programs (even United), according to Gary’s post. [...]

  47. BostonSun said,

    Update: Account was reinstated after I sent in lots of (requested) info including a copy of my passport. Requested match about 3 times after that.. last one was Nov 28. Received the gold kit in the mail yesterday, 12/3! :)

  48. Damon said,

    It’s 12/7/12; just submitted my request. I’ll follow up when I hear something.

  49. Tech Trainer said,

    I also got my Gold kit this week, approx 12/3/12. Odd, since I’ve been Gold since February 2012, re-requested about 1-2 months ago. Gary, it would be really cool if your blog could support month/day/year for comments, or at least for your initial entries, which only have the month/day.

  50. Gary said,

    I may see if comment display formats can be changed. Posts themselves do show year in the URL…

  51. Raj Panjabi said,

    I just submitted last to Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles desk a request to match my Premier Gold status with UA. How long does the process take to match and is Turkish Airlines still matching UA status? Also how will I get notified that my status was matched?

  52. Raj Panjabi said,

    How is THY Famlly program? Has anyone registered for it? How does it compare to other Airline family frequent flyer programs such as British Airways, Emirates..etc.

  53. Raj Panjabi said,

    I submitted my elite status request for Turkish Airlines to match my UA Premier Gold Status on Thursday, Dec 6. When should I get a response from them. Will they email me or should just check my account online to see they upgraded my status.

  54. Steve Kalman said,

    Re 43/44

    I am in the Orlando club as we speak, using TK *G to get in, along with boarding pass. No problem, the agent swiped the card and scanned the bar code, the system beeped; she said welcome.

  55. Raj Panjabi said,

    Hi Steve..which elite program did Turkish Air match of yours? When did you apply for the status match and how long after you sent the status match email did you get a reply. I just sent my status match for my Premier Gold of UA last Thursday (Dec 6)and am awaiting their reply.

    Will await you reply..Raj Panjabi

  56. Raj Panjabi said,

    Hi Damon,

    I see you submitted your request for TK to match your elite status on Dec 7. I did my on Dec 6. I awaiting the reply from TK Air. Have you gotten your reply yet? Please let me know when you get your reply so I can also know when I will expect mine. Thanks..Raj Panjabi

  57. Raj Panjabi said,

    I just got my upgrade to Elite Card matching status today after requesting last Thursday.

  58. mangoMan said,

    Submitted a request for my wife using Delta Gold card on 12/6. She received the email confirming status match on 12/13. No card yet though.

  59. Raj Panjabi said,

    Mango Man..The card will take 4 weeks to come. It is mailed from Turkey. I also just got upgraded on 12/12 after submitting request on 12/6.

  60. Helena Smith said,

    After about 2 months and couple of polite e-mail reminders from me, I finally have an email from the airline confirming my status match to Elite (aka Gold). I checked the airline website and that also shows elite status. Status expires December 2014! Now will need to wait for my Card.

  61. Raj Panjabi said,

    I just called Turkish Airlines to find out when I will be getting my welcome package and card since I just become a Elite Card member. They said only after you take a flight either on TK or Star Alliance. But I was also told that in 4 weeks I should get card regardless of taking my first flight. I would like to find out which of the above true.

    will await a response.

  62. Gary said,

    @Raj Panjabi as others note, a card arrives

  63. 1 Week In With United Premier Gold Status | Mile Collector said,

    [...] as most of my travel is domestic, and I have historically not had access to United lounges.  Gary explained in detail how to perform such status [...]

  64. Damon said,

    update from my 12/7 post of submitting the match request; I received an email confirmation of the match on 12/13. Will update when I receive the auto-generated (if this is true) card and package.

  65. Raj Panjabi said,

    Outside of the status match which I received, I looked at the mileage awards levels and I have to say that the mileage award levels by Turkish is no way as good as United or US Airways. So besides the elite status benefits, I do not see the award travel benefit. What is the comment from you all on this.

  66. Nick said,

    Don’t you get attitude from the Lounge Dragons if you are crediting to UA but using a TK card?

  67. Raj Panjabi said,

    I am trying to see whether to stick with Turkish Airlines Elite Status (which I have) or start accuring elite miles on Aegean Airlines. The tier miles accural for Aegean seems to be less per year (4K for Blue and 16K for Gold) than the per year tier accural for Turkish (12500K for Classic Plus and 25K for Elite status). Of course Turkish also offer a 2 year accural period for their Elite Status level where as Aegean offers on a per year accural for their elite status. With Turksih, you can also purchase 10K Tier miles for about $400. Also Turksih Elite benefits are vaild for 2 years, how long is Aegean elite benefits last? As far as mileage award levels it seems that for *A domestic USA awards and USA-Europe awards, Aegean Airlines is better than Turksish. For India, Asia, Australia, they both are not the best.
    I would really like if someone could tell which of the 2 airlines is best to keep as I am taking a trip next month on Air New Zealand which is a *A carrier.

  68. Gary said,

    @Nick – I never have (using bmi status for years, using Aegean status, etc)

  69. Jon said,

    @nick I’ve never had an issue, most of them have never seen a gold Card from TK and examine it for a while

  70. BostonSun said,

    FWIW, My husband and I flew on Air Canada award tickets last week and had no problem getting all the *A Gold benefits (Priority check in/boarding/bags etc) as well as problem free lounge access just by showing the Turkish Elite card.

  71. Raj Panjabi said,

    Gary..I need your advice..
    I am taking a trip to London next month and will be using Air New Zealand. I am currently a ELITE status member with Turkish Airlines but also am member with Aegean and United Airlines programs. I will be flying economy on NZ (H,M,Q,V,W,T fares). I am confused which program to accure the miles to. With Turkish Airlines, I will only get 50% miles when flying on one of above fares, with Aegean I will get 70% and with UA I will get 100%. But with UA I have to achieve elite avery year and the benefits are only valid for one year whereas with Turkish it is for 2 years and with Aegean it is for 3 years.

    So I would like your expert oponion on which airline to accure the miles for my roundtrip travel from LA to LHR on NZ.

    Will await your reply.

  72. CDKing said,

    A friend had a problem getting into UA club when not crediting to UA. I have not had a problem but wasn’t sure if they were looking and seeing my UC membership. I will see what happens on Saturday now tat my UA Club has expired.

    I did message Star Alliance on facebook who confirmed you can credit to UA and show your TK card for lounge access:

    “you can collect miles for the flight on your UA card but still use the TK Gold card to justify your lounge access – that is correct. The lounge will need to see the TK card to give you entry and will need to note the TK frequent flyer number, but there is no need for this number to be the one that is in the booking.”

  73. mangoMan said,

    To follow up on my earlier post, my wife received her Elite card in the mail on 1/10, exactly 4 weeks after getting the email confirming the status match. No flight was credited to Turkish.

  74. Richard said,

    I am Delta Gold until the end of next month 2/13. I don’t understand how you send a copy of your card–since it is hard plastic. Also when I sign in to Delta it shows that I’m Delta Gold. Is this page enough? Thanks please help this senior citizen.

  75. Papa Smurf said,

    @Richard – The quickest to send a copy of the card is to take a photo of it with our phone. Email the picture to yourself and then you can attach to the request email.

  76. Richard said,

    Thank you for the suggestion–however while I do have a camera on my cell phone I don’t have a way to send it to my e-mail.

  77. Damon said,

    final update: I received my Turkish Elite package on 1/15/13 after receiving email confirmation on 12/13/12; looks as if the one month turnaround is fairly accurate.

  78. Damon said,

    Regarding CDKing’s comment: I inquired with United about this same thing and they responded that to get lounge access I would have to put my FF number in the reservation and thus boarding pass of the carrier I have the status on; i.e. can’t credit United miles for the flight AND use *A Gold status via another carrier to get access.

    I will email them back and state that they are mistaken :)

    Also, I’ve used my USAir Gold card to access LH and misc (Rome) lounges without any issues/questions.

  79. Gary said,

    They ARE mistaken. But go ahead and put your TK number in the reservation, access the lounge, then change the # in the reservation if need be.

  80. Gardy said,

    I know this is an old thread, but is anyone else having a problem getting a response from them? I sent my original request back on 10/1, and sent a follow-up request a few weeks later. They finally responded to my first email, asking me to submit my *A Gold card, etc. I did on 10/28, and have not received any reply from them either way. I’ve sent two follow-up emails since then, the most recent one being today. My TK account is still active, but nothign has changed and I’ve gotten no response. My US Air Gold expires the end of Feb (only made Silver last year – blerg!) and having *A Gold, as we all know, would be really nice. Any advice anyone?

  81. CDKing said,

    My UC finally expired. I guess they had been processing my entry using my UC credentials as entry had been quick and easy. Used my TK Gold card last weekend and it seemed like they had a hard time processing the entry. It tooka a few minutes of looking at the card, clicking and reading. Was able to get into BOS Term A, EWR, SAN & ORD without having to change numbers but it was still a hassle. I was worried they were updating my FF number but app kept showing me as 1K and points posted correctly

  82. German Expat said,

    I have the same problem, did send them my AA credentials already twice and never heard back. Might send them my UA credentials now. I figured it might be easier to match with a non Star Alliance carrier but seems to be not the case.

  83. Hear Ye! » The Chicago Seminars – a report said,

    [...] you have top-tier status on any airline, Turkish Airways will do a status match to their mid-tier status. Their mid-tier status happens to be at a Star Alliance Gold level, so you [...]

  84. Debra Wood said,

    I fly about 45,000 per year on United and Turkish, so this year I am going to accrue on Turkish instead of United, since Turkish goes SA gold at that level while united does not. Does anyone know whether I still get the United silver free luggage benefits on United when I am not checking in with a MP number, but with a TK number?

  85. Damon said,

    you’ll revert to the *A Gold benefits rather than United Silver; but still showing them your silver status/card should work as well.

  86. Worst Case Scenario: Use Your Miles to Escape Terrorists, Avoid Natural Disasters, and Evade the Mob - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    [...] That’s doubly true because many of my readers at least do not carry a stash of Turkish Miles&Smiles points around, even if they do have elite status in the Miles&Smiles program. [...]

  87. Airline Status Match Master Thread: 2012 - 2013 - Page 33 - FlyerTalk Forums said,

    […] See this from the View From the Wing blog: http://boardingarea.com/viewfromthew…lounge-access/ […]

  88. zakir hossain bhuiyan said,

    i want to be a member ship of turkish air lines, how can i do it pls , now i am live in spain . i am recidient card holder of spain .from 2006.so what can ido it pls

  89. Add A Comment

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