How to get a free Oneworld Sapphire, Qantas Gold status match

By Chris Chamberlin, May 12 2015
How to get a free Oneworld Sapphire, Qantas Gold status match

Here's a shortcut to getting VIP treatment with some of the world's largest airlines – including Qantas, American Airlines, Airberlin, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, South American's LAN and TAM airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways.

These airlines and a handful of others belong to the Oneworld airline alliance, and as a rule of thumb, the top-but-one tier of these airline's frequent flyer schemes – which often come with a Gold membership card – all belong to the Oneworld Sapphire category.

Note the Oneworld logo and blue 'Sapphire' icon at the bottom-right of this Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold membership card
Note the Oneworld logo and blue 'Sapphire' icon at the bottom-right of this Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold membership card

This means you can enjoy many of the perks of business class – including access to airport lounges, priority checkin and boarding and a better chance of an upgrade – even if you're flying in economy on any Oneworld member airline.

Use your Oneworld Sapphire card to stop by the new Qantas LAX business lounge
Use your Oneworld Sapphire card to stop by the new Qantas LAX business lounge

You'd usually need to fly tens of thousands of miles with an airline from the Oneworld family to get a Sapphire-grade card, but a 'status match' deal currently run by Oneworld member Airberlin will give you free Gold status in Airberlin's TopBonus frequent flyer scheme and equivalent Gold-lined perks across all other Oneworld airlines.

What you need

To get in on this status match deal you'll require a Gold- or Platinum-grade frequent flyer card with an airline outside the Oneworld family – the theory being that these members would already enjoy enjoy many of the same perks with Airberlin, so there's no need to status match them.

Nor does Virgin Australia's Velocity Gold or Platinum status qualify for the status match, for similar reasons given the airlines' mutual partnership – although some Etihad Guest Gold and Platinum members have found their cards accepted by Airberlin (part-owned by Etihad), and others not.

What's left? Plenty of popular frequent flyer programs and their elite tiers such as Emirates Skywards Gold or Platinum, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold or PPS Club, GarudaMiles Gold or Platinum, United MileagePlus Premier Gold, Platinum and 1K, or indeed similar status levels in other non-Oneworld and non-Virgin programs.

What you get

Any of those cards make you eligible for Gold status in Airberlin's Topbonus frequent flyer program, which in turn is equivalent to Oneworld Sapphire status and on the same level as Qantas Gold.

How to get your free Oneworld Sapphire status

First up, join the Airberlin Topbonus scheme – it's free.

(Handy hint: Decline the ‘Topbonus Service Card’ offered during the sign-up process for €119/year. This isn’t required to join the scheme and only provides benefits when travelling with Airberlin – not its web of partners.)

Then send an email to [email protected] with your Topbonus number and a scan, photo or copy of your current Silver, Gold or Platinum frequent flyer card.

Airberlin is usually rather quick to reply, and if you meet the criteria, your new Oneworld Sapphire/Topbonus Gold card will be sent out via 'snail mail' – slip it into your passport wallet and you'll be ready for your next domestic or international flight.

Also read: How to get a free Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status match

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Apr 2015

Total posts 12

This worked for me - using my recently acquired Etihad gold membership (which was status matched through my Virgin gold status)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 May 2015

Total posts 10

Hi Diana, Can I just check how you were successful with status match from Virgin to Etihad? I am currently platinum with virgin and I do fly Etihad for my international flights and was thinking if I snatch a gold or platinum membership of their frequent flyer. Thanks

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Apr 2015

Total posts 12

I believe the max they status match to is Gold.

I also read that they are no longer status matching with Virgin, but it might be worth a shot?

13 May 2015

Total posts 20

Anyone know how long the new matched status is valid for? 1 year? More?

Reg
Reg

American Airlines - AAdvantage

20 Jun 2012

Total posts 25

Valid for a year and takes about a week to arrive in the post.

13 May 2015

Total posts 20

Thanks Reg.

The mention above that "GarudaMiles Gold or Platinum" can be used via Air Berlin for status match is inaccurate - or rather it didn't pan out for me as hoped for.

The reply from Air Berlin was : "thank you for your E-Mail and your Status Match request. Unfortunately a status match with Garuda Indonesia member card is not possible. It only is possible for some airlines."

Interesting, thanks for sharing – this isn't mentioned in Airberlin's list of exclusions.

If you're a GarudaMiles Platinum member, you could always aim for a Star Alliance status match with Turkish Airlines and then use that Gold card for a match with Airberlin – then you'd be covered with all three major alliances!

Thanks Chris;  Garuda are Sky Team not Star Alliance.

Correct, but Turkish Airlines is Star Alliance – so with SkyTeam you'd be covered with Garuda Elite Plus, Star Alliance with Turkish Star Alliance Gold and then Oneworld with Airberlin Oneworld Sapphire. ;)

Ahhh, penny's dropped now. Thanks for the heads up Chris.

SRR
SRR

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2015

Total posts 1

I tried the status match with topbonus Air Berlin with a Qantas platinum card only to receive a very prompt email stating the following:

"Thank you for your E-Mail and your Status Match request. Unfortunately a status match with oneworld airlines is not possible."

Has anyone actually been able to achieve this?

Hi Scott,

From the article above:

"To get in on this status match deal you'll require a Gold- or Platinum-grade frequent flyer card with an airline outside the Oneworld family."

(Qantas = Oneworld. Also, Qantas Platinum already gives you Oneworld Emerald privileges which trump Oneworld Sapphire, so the benefits you'd receive from Airberlin would actually be less than through Qantas, with a few exceptions on actual Airberlin flights.)

Air New Zealand - NZ*E

17 May 2015

Total posts 94

I signed up to the Topbonus program last night and sent them my NZ *G details with my status match request. I was sent a confirmation that I was being sent a Oneworld Sapphire/Topbonus Gold Card within 14 days - the whole process took 30mins online.

08 Dec 2015

Total posts 1

Got a rather pesky answer from Air Berlin: This offer is only available for German, Austrian and Swiss members. That's all.

Looks like you've missed the boat Mikky: when this article ran in May the offer was open to citizens of all countries.


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