Turkish Miles&Smiles, United Airlines

Star Alliance Gold from Delta Gold? Yes, This Match Can Work…

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If you fly United often and want complimentary elite upgrades, you’re going to need United status. No way around that.

But if, due to the rather arduous requirements around the newest incarnation of the United Mileage Plus program have you feeling like it’s not even worth trying, perhaps Star Alliance Gold status will help soothe your pain.

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NOTE: If you haven’t already done a match directly to United, and can actually meet the requirements of the match (Fly 6 PQF and earn 2,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express) you should do that first. But that will only work once every 5 years. If you’ve exhausted that, read on…

Star Alliance Gold Benefits Include

  • Extra luggage allowance (either an extra bag or an extra 44 pounds, depending on the airline)
  • Priority check-in
  • Lounge access for you and a guest (you can be in any class of service!)
  • Priority boarding (with 1st/Business)
  • Priority bag handling
  • Higher Standby List Priority
  • Gold Track Priority security screening where available

Again, this won’t get you upgrades (except perhaps during IRROPS) but it sure beats having no status! And having lounge access can be clutch when things go wrong as the desks in the lounge can do what the agents outside can’t.

What You’ll Need

We’re going to look at using the Turkish Miles&Smiles program to secure your Gold status.

You’ll need a top tier status to make this work, with one exception. In the US, that will mean Delta Gold or higher, United Premier 1K, or American Airlines Executive Platinum.

Wait – only Delta Gold?! That’s right. Because Delta’s Gold equates to Skyteam Elite Plus, and there is no higher Skyteam tier, that seems to qualify.

The Match to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Elite

First off, this is a relatively unpublished program and therefore there are no guarantees. You’ll likely be approved if you meet the criteria, including flight activity as I’ll discuss, but you may not be. If you aren’t matched…. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .

You’ll need to submit your proof of your top tier alliance status (as described above) to Turkish and, if approved, you’ll get 4 months of Star Alliance Gold via their Elite tier.

If you can fly just ONE international flight on Turkish metal (to or from Istanbul and anywhere not in Turkey) you’ll secure it for 12 full months.

For most people in the US, it should be possible – if you really care about Star Alliance Gold – to pull off this one year (or hey, just enjoy 4 months!).

But if you can fly a total of 15,000 qualifying miles on Turkish metal within that first 12 months, you’ll be extended for a second full year of Elite (Star Alliance Gold). New York to Istanbul is just over 5,000 miles one way. An example trip that would give you that full two years of Star Alliance Gold would be New York to Male return connecting in Istanbul which would net 17,534 miles.

To Process a Turkish Elite Match

Go to the Turkish feedback form and login. (If you don’t already have an account you’ll need to create one first). Click to the Miles&Smiles box and select Membership Processes.

Request that they match your [insert status] to Miles&Smiles Elite. Upload and attach the following to your submission: an image of your corresponding elite status card (must not be expiring within 2 months) and a PDF of your recent activity (I wouldn’t do this unless your account has some recent flight activity).

turkish match

So Now I’m Collecting Miles&Smiles Miles?

On these flights, you are. Once you’re Star Alliance Gold you can go back to whatever makes sense for you, though that may mean requalifying with Turkish.  The Turkish award chart is quite generous (especially for long US domestic business class), though best used on round trip awards that the website can book. A domestic transcon business class on United, for example, is just 15,000 Turkish miles vs. 35,000 United miles. However, a one way won’t be bookable online and the email process to ticket may take too long to preserve availability. You can also fly fro the US to Istanbul or on to Europe in Business for 45,000 TK miles – if there is saver space. And those will have fuel surcharges.

Another nice feature is that you can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to Turkish Miles&Smiles to top off your account for an award.

In Summary

It’s a bit of a roundabout way to Star Alliance Gold status, but if you are already Delta Gold or higher and can manage one trip to Turkey (or beyond) within the 4 months, it may be well worth it for the lounge access alone.

Tell Me If You Match!

Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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