Turkish Airlines is known for being one of the easiest frequent flyer programs to maintain Star Alliance Gold membership, unlocking airport lounge access and other priority perks whenever you fly with any of the 26 affiliated member airlines such as Singapore Airlines, ANA and United Airlines.
But here's something that the airline doesn't talk much about: travellers with top-tier status on competing airlines are eligible to apply for a status match with Turkish Airlines, giving four months of free Star Alliance Gold membership right off the bat.
This is one of the best status match offers currently available, as United recently suspended its status challenge program in October 2019.
Just take one Turkish Airlines international flight within the four-month trial period, and you could be flaunting your status for a further eight months, giving you a full year of Star Alliance Gold membership. Here's how to make it work.
Qualifying for Turkish Airlines' Star Alliance Gold status match
To start, you'll need to be a registered member of Turkish Airlines' Miles&Smiles loyalty program – join online for free if you're not already a member.
Unlike other airlines that status match almost everybody, Turkish Airlines has a strict guest list of who's eligible. They are:
- Oneworld Emerald (e.g. Qantas Platinum and Platinum One)
- SkyTeam Elite Plus (e.g. Delta Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion)
- Star Alliance Gold (e.g. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold)
- Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum
- El Al Platinum and Top Platinum
- Etihad Guest Gold and Platinum
- Oman Air Sindbad Gold
This list specifically excludes all Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyers, as well as Qantas Silver and Gold members.
How to request a Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold status match
Visit the feedback page on Turkish Airlines' website to get the process rolling. It's best to be logged in to your Miles&Smiles account for easier access.
Select 'New feedback' and enter your personal details.
Next, select 'Miles&Smiles program' for the feedback category, and 'Membership processes' for the feedback subject. In the text box, enter the reason that Turkish Airlines should give you a status match (e.g. you intend to fly the airline a lot more due to a new job).
Finally, you'll need to provide supporting documentation. This includes a scan of your membership card clearly showing the name and expiry, a copy of your recent activity statement with the competing airline showing you taking status-earning flights, and a scan of your ID.
Send it off, and Turkish Airlines will usually respond within a few business days. The airline may require more information, so don't expect to get the status match straight away. If successful, your Miles&Smiles account will be upgraded to Elite, equivalent to Star Alliance Gold, for four months.
How to keep your Star Alliance Gold status with a single flight
Want to turn that gratis four months into a full year of benefits? Just take one paid Turkish Airlines international flight within the initial four-month period.
The airline doesn't fly to Australia, but busy business travellers headed to Europe could hop on a Singapore to Instanbul flight or travel from Turkey to just about any other major city in Europe to satisfy this requirement.
If you fancy a second year of Star Alliance Gold, Turkish Airlines may even offer you the opportunity to maintain your status by notching up 15,000 Status Miles from Turkish Airlines-operated flights within your first 12 months of being matched.
This is achievable with a Singapore-Istanbul return business class fare, which would earn at least 17,000 Status Miles as an Elite member.
After those two years, you will need to continue maintaining your Gold status through the usual means, which would require 25,000 Status Miles a year or 37,500 Status Miles over two years for non-Turkey residents, earned through Turkish Airlines or Star Alliance member-operated flights.
A Sydney-Singapore-London return flight in Singapore Airlines business class nets at least 26,680 miles if credited to Turkish Airlines, so it's fairly easy to maintain Turkish Airlines Elite membership even when flying other Star Alliance airlines.