How to get a SkyTeam Elite, Elite Plus status match

By Chris Chamberlin, July 14 2017

If you passport wallet packs a Gold or Platinum frequent flyer card from the likes of Qantas and Virgin Australia, this SkyTeam status match will unlock similar VIP perks with the likes of Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines and more.

Your free SkyTeam Elite or Elite Plus status will let you enjoy many of the benefits of business class – including access to airport lounges, priority check-in and boarding and a boosted baggage allowance – even if you're flying in economy on any of the 20 airlines belonging to the SkyTeam alliance.

SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus cards are usually issued as a reward for flying tens of thousands of miles with SkyTeam airlines – so how can you get this gratis status?

A 'status match' promotion currently offered by SkyTeam member China Southern Airlines delivers free Gold or Silver status in its Sky Pearl Club frequent flyer scheme, which are equivalent to the Elite Plus and Elite tiers of all other SkyTeam airlines.

Who can get a SkyTeam Elite, Elite Plus status match

You'll ideally be sitting on the top rungs of the frequent flyer ladder with a Platinum-grade or Gold-grade frequent flyer card with any airline, including Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Similar status with other Oneworld and Star Alliance member airlines also counts, as well as non-aligned airlines such as Emirates and Etihad.

You can even get a China Southern Sky Pearl Club status match against any other SkyTeam member, provided you've got Elite or Elite Plus status– although we'd expect most applicants to be holding status with airlines other than SkyTeam.

If your status match application is successful, your new SkyTeam Elite or Elite Plus status will be valid through the end of February 2019 – that's a solid 18 months of SkyTeam perks!

How SkyTeam Elite Plus status match tiers line up

Here are some of the most common frequent flyer tiers which will qualify you for China Southern Sky Pearl Gold / SkyTeam Elite Plus status:

  • Oneworld Emerald: such as Qantas Platinum or Platinum One, Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Diamond, Malaysia Airlines Enrich Platinum, British Airways Executive Club Gold and so on
  • Oneworld Sapphire: this includes Qantas Gold, Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold, Malaysia Airlines Enrich Gold and British Airways Executive Club Silver
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum, Etihad Guest Platinum
  • Star Alliance Gold: including Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold (as well as PPS Club and Solitaire PPS), Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold and Elite, and Lufthansa and Swiss Miles & More Senator and HON Circle

SkyTeam Elite Plus status gives you business class lounge access before international flights on any SkyTeam member (although lounge access doesn't extend to domestic flights such as in the USA with parter Delta) and fast-track your way through the airport with Sky Priority queues.

Your alliance-wide extra baggage allowance is also boosted by 20kg over and above the allowance shown on your ticket, with priority baggage handling; you can even secure an economy seat on already-full SkyTeam flights when booking at least 24 hours before departure.

How SkyTeam Elite status match tiers line up 

Here are some of the most common frequent flyer tiers which will qualify you for China Southern Sky Pearl Silver / SkyTeam Elite status:

  • Oneworld Ruby: such as Qantas Silver, Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Silver, Malaysia Airlines Enrich Silver, British Airways Executive Club Bronze and so on
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Gold
  • Emirates Skywards Gold, Etihad Guest Gold
  • Star Alliance Silver: including Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Silver, Air New Zealand Airpoints Silver, and Lufthansa and Swiss Miles & More Frequent Traveller

SkyTeam Elite doesn't include airport lounge access, but you can still use the priority check-in and boarding queues of all SkyTeam member airlines. You also gain an extra 10kg of baggage or one extra piece when flying with SkyTeam. 

How to get your free SkyTeam Elite, Elite Plus status

If you're not already a member of China Southern's Sky Pearl Club rewards scheme, join for free on the airline's website. You'll need a mobile phone number for this, because China Southern sends an SMS verification code as part of the sign-up process.

(For Australian mobile numbers, be sure to drop the leading '0' from the number – so select 'Australia +61', then key in your mobile number beginning with '4'.)

Once your membership is active, use your membership number and PIN to login at the same website, then browse to Member Profile > Contact Info and enter a mailing address so you can receive your membership pack.

Next, download China Southern's official Microsoft Excel status match form [28kB] – we've hosted this on our own AusBT server to make things easier.

Enter your Sky Pearl Club membership number, first and last names, email address, your employer's company name, the airline with which you currently hold elite status, and your status tier with that airline, and save the Excel file.

Tip: if your existing status comes from a Oneworld, Star Alliance or SkyTeam airline, keep things simple by entering "Oneworld Emerald", "Star Alliance Gold' or "SkyTeam Elite Plus" in this field, rather than the likes of "Qantas Platinum", as shown below:

China Southern also requires a copy of your current frequent flyer card (either a clear photograph, scan or screenshot of a digital card) plus either a photo of your business card or your most recent frequent flyer activity statement.

Bundle these together in an email addressed to [email protected] (this is China Southern's North America marketing department) to request your matching Sky Pearl Club card.

Getting your frequent flyer activity statement

We'd suggest most business travellers would submit a copy of their business card to qualify for the China Southern status match, but if you'd rather include your most recent frequent flyer activity statement, here's how to get that for Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Qantas Frequent Flyer members can generate an activity statement by logging into their Qantas Frequent Flyer account, clicking 'View Activity Statement' on the top menu, and then 'Print Your Activity Statement' (it'll be easier to attach your statement to the email if you choose to save this as a PDF file).

Velocity Frequent Flyer members should log into their Velocity account, click 'My Activities' in the Velocity site's main menu, select the most recent month from the list available, click 'search', and then click 'print history' at the bottom of that month's table to generate a similar statement, which you may again create into a PDF file (or save as an HTML file if you don't have a PDF generator).

Getting your China Southern status match

After submitting your status match request, you'll receive an automated reply from China Southern promising a reply "in 3-5 business days."

While China Southern advises that this "Overseas Elite membership status match program is designed for invited customers," anybody can apply – it's just that "invited customers" will be placed at the top of the status match queue.

The airline advises that following the receipt of a valid status match request, "we will confirm your new Sky Pearl Club level by email in one month."

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Charlie Brodie

Charlie Brodie

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Apr 2016

Total posts 6

Chris does China Southern's Sky Pearl Gold or Silver give access to any Qantas lounges or other benefits due to their codeshare agreements? If so, what is the extent of this?

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2950

Short answer: no, because the airlines aren't alliance partners.

Long answer: Sky Pearl Gold members travelling with China Southern on international flights from Melbourne on a CZ flight number are granted access to the Qantas international business class lounge in Melbourne before those flights, but that's only because it's the contract lounge nominated by China Southern and is used by all lounge-eligible China Southern flyers from Melbourne anyway - so it's only because of that agreement rather than because of any alliance benefits.

laspod0

laspod0

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Aug 2016

Total posts 3

There might be a bit of a wait:

"

Dear Valued Customers,

Your email is well received. Thanks for getting in touch with China Southern Airlines North America marketing dept. We’ll get back to you in 3-5 business days.

Special notice: Overseas Elite membership status match program is designed for invited customers. We understand you may get the info from families, colleagues or friends, but limited by the quality control we’ll serve our invited customers at the first priority. If you are not in our current list please allow us a little longer time for process. We’ll try our best to serve you as soon as possible."

blingwad

blingwad

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Jun 2015

Total posts 67

I also received that reply but then today:

"Your application has been received. Our HQ office will review all your materials and get back to you in 2-6 weeks"

I started the process a few days ago as i saw the promo on facebook. 

tris06

tris06

China Airlines - Dynasty Flyer

22 Sep 2012

Total posts 68

Also not mentioned was that because its a CZ status match. Those granted gold (allowed 1 guest) also silver membership can use the domestic lounges in China flying CZ. Silver members will also have lounge access on any greater China (China-HK,HK-Taiwan or China-Taiwan) flight with China eastern, Xiamen or China airlines. While gold members will also be able to use China eastern and Xiamen domestic lounges in about 20-30 cities when flying a chinese skyteam partner.

jefflu88

jefflu88

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 May 2017

Total posts 6

Do they match all Star Alliance? Specifically United. 

John Odlum

John Odlum

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

Doesn't the article make it clear that this status match works with any airline in Star Alliance???

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 295

Thanks Chris good information

ajobbins

ajobbins

09 Feb 2012

Total posts 20

Boo. QF Gold can match to Elite Plus but those of us who are VA Gold only can match to Elite (with no lounge access). Sad face.

mcglynp

mcglynp

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Jan 2016

Total posts 61

That is fair.  With family pooling hitting VA Gold is a lot easier than QF Gold.   

John Odlum

John Odlum

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

Great tip-off on this, Chris and ABT, have applied today, now we will see if CZ honours this or like some airlines decides to move the goalposts after the event!

crosscourt

crosscourt

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 351

Issue with registering ... followed instructions but this did not occur ... China Southern sends an SMS verification code as part of the sign-up process. Tried to redo but it says the code was sent. Never received it.

crosscourt

crosscourt

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 351

Anyone else had the SMS verification code issue? I've now tried three times and nothing has come through.

1Worldfreqflyer

1Worldfreqflyer

29 Jun 2016

Total posts 19

Does anyone know of any Star Alliance status match promotions available as at 15 July 2017? I am Enerald Oneworld/QF Platinum but I've had enough of QF and find cheaper fares and options for RTW with Star Alliance carriers

jefflu88

jefflu88

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 May 2017

Total posts 6

Can probably exploit this if you got the United Airlines challenge which gives you gold for 3 months off a virgin gold card. Can end up with Elite plus when matched to United vs Elite with VA.

l.oconnor

l.oconnor

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jul 2017

Total posts 6

Hi Chris,

Just wanted to say thanks for this information. Have supplied everything and am awaiting confirmation. Great article.

Thanks again,

-Liam

itchyfeetagain

itchyfeetagain

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2017

Total posts 2

Chances for a match not looking good.

"Special Note:

The "Elite Member Matches" project is specifically sent to members who have been pre-qualified. It’s not a public program. We noticed many irresponsible distribution and malicious reproduction of the project, as well as too much forged, altered application materials, China Southern Airlines North America will suspend the application of non-invited members.

If you are informed by our account manager, please include the name of the invitee or CC your account manager.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Southern China North America Marketing Department"


laspod0

laspod0

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Aug 2016

Total posts 3

Ouch, that was sharp!

Flying-Doctor

Flying-Doctor

Etihad

07 Jan 2016

Total posts 10

Applied today and got the same reply of itchyfeetagain !! not looking good................

rob01

rob01

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 123

Hmmmm I was going to chase this up today after sending my application but after reading the above I might just leave it! Shame - I was going to book a flight with them for Oct to LHR to try them out .......

SidJames

SidJames

30 Aug 2011

Total posts 7

Oh dear, not good. I haven't had the "nasty" email yet but I suspect it will only be a matter of time.

misslaz

misslaz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jul 2015

Total posts 1

Just got that fun email too... hmmm not looking promising. 

dalefowler

dalefowler

Qantas

12 Jul 2013

Total posts 10

I am trying to join from the USA. Every time I fill out the form I cannot get past the confirmation code page. It never sends the code. Any ideas?

williamsusanto

williamsusanto

18 Nov 2011

Total posts 35

Because it is only invited existing members only in the US. It is misleading that status match available to everyone. 

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

The offer was available to those outside the USA – we checked this with China Southern before writing & publishing this article. China Southern appears to have since tightened up the entry criteria, as airlines sometimes do following an over-subscribed status match promotion.

jefflu88

jefflu88

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 May 2017

Total posts 6

So has anyone had success with this yet?

itchyfeetagain

itchyfeetagain

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2017

Total posts 2

No response thus far.

jeppetto367

jeppetto367

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 23

Still waiting here. My DL Gold expires this month so this would be of great use.

doug_westcott

doug_westcott

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 May 2015

Total posts 1

In my Auto Reply email to my application it stated "

Special Note:

The "Elite Member Matches" project is specifically sent to members who have been pre-qualified. It’s not a public program. We noticed many irresponsible distribution and malicious reproduction of the project, as well as too much forged, altered application materials, China Southern Airlines North America will suspend the application of non-invited members.

If you are informed by our account manager, please include the name of the invitee or CC your account manager.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Southern China North America Marketing Department

"

williamsusanto

williamsusanto

18 Nov 2011

Total posts 35

Guys this is vey clear the inviting anly status match for those in US based  only. 

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

As noted earlier: The offer was also available to those outside the USA – we checked this with China Southern before writing & publishing this article. China Southern appears to have since tightened up the entry criteria, as airlines sometimes do following an over-subscribed status match promotion.

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 295

Has anyone received a status match????

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