Last week, I had written about the opportunity that existed to get Gold and Silver Status with Air India, depending on your Air India SBI Credit Card and your status with certain other competing airlines. While I had sent in my request for a status match a few days before I wrote about this post, I expected to do a follow-up or few with SBI Cards and/or Air India before getting this Gold Status, and I wasn’t even sure if I was going to get it or not. It did not matter much because at the moment I am a sporadic Air India flyer with most of my business with Jet Airways.

Anyhow, there was radio silence from the other side and I thought if nothing happened within another week or so, I would start to chase up. But last evening, after 14 days of writing to SBI with my Jet Airways Platinum details, I logged into my AI Flying Returns account and saw that my account had been converted to a Golden Edge Club account.

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While the most interesting benefit for me is the lounge access (no clear policy on the website) and small cancellation fees on tickets, I expect that Air India will join the Star Alliance this year and then my benefits will also be applicable at the Star Alliance Gold level.

So, if you picked up an Air India SBI Credit Card and have status with a competing airline, you don’t need to wait to spend INR 10 Lakhs to be able to get Gold Status anymore. Just ask for this status match.

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SBI credit cards started to issue Air India co-branded credit cards last year, and they are maybe one of the best airline credit cards out there from an Indian perspective. Take an example, if you get the Signature version of the card, you get:

  • 20,000 Air India miles to start-up on payment of first year annual fees
  • 1 Air India upgrade voucher on sign-up
  • 20,000 Air India miles bonus on spending INR 3 lakhs in the year
  • 20,000 Air India miles bonus and Air India Silver Club status on spending INR 5 lakhs in the year
  • 50,000 Air India miles bonus and Air India Gold Club status on spending INR 10 lakhs in the year

Air India / SBI Cards seems to have recently added one more benefit for customers with the Signature Air India card. This one is a straight up status match if you have status with some other airlines.

The status match is applicable on Jet Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Etihad, Qatar, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and American Airlines as per this chart . Essentially these are airlines whose hubs Air India flies to and see’s major competition for business.

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Once you’ve logged into your account, you’ll see instructions for getting a status match on the sidebar.

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The instructions are very simple. You have to send your status card scan, along with a statement of activities for the past one month and your Air India membership number. Of course, since SBI Card is facilitating this status match, you are not going to be able to get status matched before having an Air India Signature credit card.

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There is also information out there which states that tier-upgrades depend on acceptance of Air India. So, if you are an Air India Signature card holder, maybe you want to look into this status while Air India gets ready to join the Star Alliance. Report back your experiences here.

(H.T. : Parag Mehta)

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Etihad offers a Gold Guest status match every now and then, and they are now inviting frequent travellers to sign up for the next round. For those of you who are interested, this round of the status match will be valid for applications received till February 22, 2014.

etihad

Of course, the requirements are that you should be a Gold member of another frequent flyer program, that means one less than the top or the top most tiers in most programs. You should send in your existing gold card/higher, your latest statement along with your Etihad Guest membership number to guesttiermatch@etihad.ae before 22 February 2014. The members who will be matched, will be informed within a month of application, although Etihad has taken longer in the past. And yes, the discretion to match lies with Etihad, so not everyone may receive one of these shiny new plastics.

The benefits of Etihad Guest exist on Etihad as well as many partner airlines they have an alliance with:

amongst others.

I have to admit I did not fly with them much the last time I got status matched, but that was also because I was hoping and waiting for them to integrate with Jet Privilege. I am guessing that would happen sooner now, than later, which will allow me to utilize my status with Etihad more often.

Update: The status match conditions were changed overnight to be offered only to members in the UAE now.

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