United, Delta, or American Elite? Status Match to Copa and Get Free United Club Access!

For a long time the way to get free United Club access has been to match status to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles. They’ve been inconsistent over the years in how they’ve accepted matches (first via email and then via web form), how long they’ve taken to reply (quickly vs months), and what status they’ve been willing to match (sometimes United status, sometimes only competitor alliances, sometimes only top tier status). But it’s status that lasts two years.

I’ve written there are airlines in all 3 alliances offering status matches.

This is least useful with Skyteam which has both Alitalia and Aeroflot currently offering matches. Skyteam status doesn’t get you Delta lounge access on domestic US itineraries.

If you’re a Star Alliance Gold member, though, with an airline other than United you can use United’s lounges. While United Gold elites and higher get access to the lounges of non-US Star Alliance partners in the US they do not get United Club access unless they’re flying internationally. But Star Alliance Gold members of all other frequent flyer programs (like Aeroplan, Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, Lufthansa’s Miles & More, etc) do.

What’s interesting is that Star Alliance member Copa, which used to use United MileagePlus as a frequent flyer program but recently launched its own, is status matching both United elites and elite members of other alliances. Per Miles to Memories:

  • Send an email to accounts@connectmiles.com and request a match. Status matches are not listed under the reasons to email this address, however hopefully someone will forward the request off.

  • Call: Contact the Copa Service Center at 1-844-287-0304 between 7am and 11pm CST Monday-Saturday to ask for a match via the telephone.
  • It makes sense why Copa would offer status to United elites, since Copa’s frequent flyers are United MileagePlus elites. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started to institute a rule, pressured by United, that a minimum number of Copa segments be demonstrated before becoming eligible for a match. But so far there appear to be successful reports from United elites as well as others.

    About Gary Leff

    Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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    1. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they started to institute a rule, pressured by United, that a minimum number of Copa segments be demonstrated before becoming eligible for a match.”

      I doubt United cares. If folks are just using their Copa *G status to access United lounges, Copa pays United for every lounge entry. Anyone UA can swindle into paying to access their dump of a lounge is just more money for UA. If anything, Copa may want to require some demonstration of commitment to flying their metal before bankrolling entry into the UA club.

    2. Question: I have Aegean *Gold status I earned last year about five minutes before they changed the rules. It will expire at the end of this year.

      Are any matches available from this status and what is the best strategy to use?

    3. Same question as Jason.
      The BP has UA *G number and then enter using the COPA card? Or the BP need a COPA *G number.

    4. i’ve credited to united while using a card from another carrier for years. once in a blue moon an agent has thought crediting to the program with your status was necessarily, easy to switch FF#s to that program and then switch back.

    5. Question: To get access to a United Club, would I have to use my Copa Elite number on my flight record for that day and therefore forgo getting Mileage Plus credit? I ask because this was an issue recently with Delta. I recently got an Alitalia Elite status match (at VFTW’s recommendation), but Delta would only give me elite privileges on my next flight if my flight record used the Alitalia number. I have no need for Alitalia miles, but since the Alitalia number saved me $100 in baggage fees, I was happy to pass up the few hundred SkyMiles for the flight. But I might not be so willing to pass up UA miles for, say, 30 minutes of club access. Do you know if United Club will let Copa Elite in, even if I’m flying on a MileagePlus reservation?

    6. Called Copa after reading Gary’s column and received an email 7 hours later that I’ve been matched Platinum status on Copa. Thank you Gary!!!!

    7. They will status match. One downside, they are no issuing any cards yet. They asked me to printout and laminate them. Not sure if that pass the sniff test with UA clubs….

    8. One thing, they are quick, just got matched, but its a big joke.
      Sent them my DL Gold, BA Gold, AB Gold and AZ Gold card, got matched to Copa Silver, so its useless and not good for anything at all.

    9. I called the number you gave and within five minutes they approved a gold match so I am hoping to use it to gain entrance to United Clubs when I fly domestically on United using my Mileage Plus number on my reservation.

      There is no expiration date on the Copa CennectMiles card.that I printed. Does that mean it is good forever or until they change the rules? thanks

    10. @Gary and others, same question to Jason/Jake, with a bit more info. I status matched to Copa Platinum without a problem, and I downloaded my Copa Card to my Apple Wallet on my iPhone. You can do this via the ConnectMiles site.

      I tried entering a United Club by scanning the QR code on my Copa Card on my iPhone. No luck. My BP had my UA #, so that also didn’t work. They changed the FF# on my BP to Copa –> success. But, the process of changing the FF# on my BP back to UA was definitely not easy. I couldn’t do it via my phone or via the reservation record on UA.com by clicking on Edit Traveler in the reservation. There was no way to edit/change the FF# attached. So, had to call, resulting in them having to un-Check me, lose my seat, then re-Check me. Could have been the guy didn’t know what he was doing, but given that I also couldn’t change it, it seems like it’s not very easy.

      Any recommendations on the best way to fly with a UA# on the BP but enter the UA club using the Copa Card? Thanks!

    11. Physical card will work. And if you’re in the club just have them swap frequent flyer #s, you don’t have to be unchecked in to do it (although some club agents will refuse – incorrectly – thinking you have to credit to the program you’re using to access the club)

    12. Monday Oct 5 I joined Copa’s program online to get my Copa acct number.
      Then I called the Copa phone number above. They asked for my United FF# — looked it up while I was on hold. They said I looked eligible (I’m United Gold) and would receive an email with the outcome. Within 48 hours the email arrived with my Copa Gold status match.

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