Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Status Match Now a Challenge

I have previously written about Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles being the easiest way of obtaining elite status in the Star Alliance, as long as you have top tier status with a competitor! This situation is due to Turkish offering a fairly generous status match programme to its Elite status level, which is equivalent to Star Alliance Gold and offers such perks as bonus miles, lounge access and increased luggage allowance.


The status match programme has changed, however, and now is more like a challenge. As before, you will require the following:

  • Status with a competing airline. Since Elite (Star Alliance Gold) is all you really want (Silver is practically worthless), this will require another Star Alliance Gold status, Oneworld Emerald status or Skyteam Elite Plus status
  • A screenshot of your competing account information, preferably showing recent activity and, of course, your status level
  • A Miles & Smiles account in the same name as the competing programme (you’d be surprised how many people can’t manage this… although perhaps blaming the parents is more sensible for being stuck with extended names and surnames)

With these items, you should go to this website, which will look like this:

tk status match

When Miles & Smiles respond (or not, but you can easily check your account via Awardwallet), your account will be upgraded to Elite status for four months. If you’re desperate for a physical card, apparently clicking on “lost card” when logged into your account can move things along quicker.

To extend your new status any further, you are required to complete one paid flight on Turkish Airlines within those four months. Obviously you must also credit the miles for that flight to your Miles & Smiles account. By doing this, your status will be extended to one year (from the date of your status match being approved).

Although Miles & Smiles Elite status usually runs for 2 years, you then have the entirety of just the one year to accumulate 15,000 status miles, which will then extend your Elite status for the standard 2 years. If you don’t manage the 15,000 miles, you will lose your new Elite status after that first year.

You can visit the Miles & Smiles website to figure out how many status miles you can earn on the various airlines and fare classes. For example, with the 150% earn rate on Turkish Airlines Business Class, you would only need 10,000 actual miles flown (a long-haul return) on Turkish Airlines in Business Class to earn those 15,000 status miles. The earn rate is 200% for many First Class fares, which on airlines such as Thai, Egyptair (if you dare) and Air India (if you double dare!) can be quite reasonably priced.

Somewhere along the way things might not work correctly, but Miles & Smiles are pretty good at fixing things when contacted through their online feedback form.

Once you’ve done jumped through the challenge hoops, retaining status is fairly straightforward. Miles & Smiles Elite members are required to earn 25,000 status miles in the first year or 37,500 status miles over the two years your Elite status is valid. Oddly enough, this means that, should you hit the 25,000 miles in Year 1, anything you accumulate in Year 2 is mostly worthless. (In case it sounds confusing, in order to renew your Elite status, you need to go beyond the 15,000 miles of year 1 of your challenge and complete all 25,000 miles during that same year. Otherwise you will need 37,500 status miles over the two years)

It’s also worth keeping in mind that these status matches are usually permitted only once in a lifetime. Although you might fancy lounge access for an upcoming Star Alliance flight, you’re best advised to only request the status match if you are planning to fly on Turkish Airlines within the four months and preferably if you think you can achieve not only the 15,000 status miles, but the 25,000 status miles that would in fact allow you to stay as Elite and renew for another 2 year period.

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11 comments on “Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Status Match Now a Challenge
  1. Pietro says:

    Anybody else meet situation when Elite status downgraded after 1st year despite of collection 15000 status miles well before end of year? For my requests TK answers qith quote of Elite renewal terms and statement they were not fulfilled; but I doublechecked and both points (TK flight in 4 months + 15000 status miles in 1st year) are fulfilled, miles and flights well registered on TK account. And I even have old confirmation from TK that they see I already collect required 15000 miles and they will renew Elite later in proper time.
    Situation is unpleasant for me not only because I had spend usd516 for upgrade class ONLY to collect required 15000 status miles in time – and that money simply wasted if Elite status will not be renewed. I wonder if TK silently change announced rules and sort passengers to profitanle and unprofitable before renew status. Or may be they just forgot to change settings of robot which downgrade status in end of year with usual rules.
    Anybody have similar situation or expert hint for me?

    • Flying Piggie says:

      It looks like you did everything right. Have you contacted TK though the webform? They are usually pretty good at sorting things out, as long as you ask in writing and not try to talk to them on the phone.

      • Pietro says:

        Thank you for prompt answer.
        Sure I contacted TK. After 3 weeks and many attempts to get answer, that answer is “As of start date of elite membership; within 4 months trial period, one international Turkish Airlines flight should be credited for extending your card validity date to 1 year. Also; if 15.000 status miles collected from Turkish Airlines flights at the end of the first year, the elite membership will be extended 1 more year and the total validity date will be 2 years. When we checked your membership account we confirmed that the above mentioned criteria has not been fulfilled.”

        They quote same rules as I got; problem is that I fulfilled both of them and that was recognized by TK before (their answer by December 2016 – “Due to your request, when we checked your account and we have seen that you have been collected 16957 status miles. Please be informed that, your expiration date will be extended after the end date of your first year period which is December 27th, 2016. We kindly would like you to check your account after that date. “)

        And checking several FFP forums I see it is not isolated problems; I saw at least 5 feedbacks where people cannot understand what happens. My first guess what TK wrongly set robot which use common rules (25000 miles in end or 1st year or downgrade) or silently filtered passengers who didn’t use TK business class during trial period. But one of feedbacks reports many accounted flights in J class with TK and more than 25000 status miles – with downgrade from Elite to Classic Plus in end of 2016, not renewed to Elite.
        So may be TK use wrong start/end dates for estimate if terms fulfilled or not?
        What I am sure in at the moment – status match goes wrong on TK side

        • Flying Piggie says:

          Wow. That must be really annoying. The only other thing I can think of is they are now ignoring that first TK flight within 4 months. But it just looks like the IT programming is all screwed up, everybody who is status matched gets downgraded no matter what, and nobody knows how to fix it.

          I still have my TK Elite from the older status match program, and I did the 25K miles back in 2014 to keep my status through 2017. So I haven’t gone through the new process. Nor do I know anybody at TK who could help. Sorry…

          • Pietro says:

            Good to know I am not only one person facing that crazy issue. May be situation worth note in article about TK Elite challenge? That challenge still goes on and I see on FFP forums new travellers goes into challenge. On their place I would like to have that important info (that Elite renewal onto 2nd year of challenge may not be granted as expected), when select FFP loyalty program for invest efforts and extra money

          • Pietro says:

            With help of fellow FFp’s one root of issue is detected: now answers from TK tell about 15000 status points collected specifically on TK flight. Original rules in 2015-2016 didn’t mentioned |on TK flights”. However, it seems like more unannounced changes in rules (or simply errors) are still to be found – few reports mention collection of more than 20k points on TK flights with same downgrade in end of 1st year

    • Tal says:

      I am in the exact same situation. I had over 25,000 status miles in the first year, but only 13,000 were on TK flights.

      TK customer support notified me that I had to earn 15,000 status miles on TK flights. But that condition was clearly added retroactively… The words of the original agreement was “If you accumulate 15.000 status miles at the end of the first year, Elite membership will extend 1 year more”.

      Any ideas how to deal with this retroactive change in rules?

      • Pietro says:

        I guess pushing this into media is best way. As my 3rd attempt adressed to department of MilesSmiles gives zero result.
        Sorry for not participate in that longer, I already lost interest to TK because it is matter of self respect, not doing business with thouse who violate business ethic. So I am switching to SkyTeam (my routes allow that), partially because SAS, Singapores, and TK service disappoints me so I feel like better to avoid *a

        • Flying Piggie says:

          Sorry to hear about the problems. I think being very loud on social media like Facebook and Twitter is the only thing left to try. I’m surprised that TK is so willing to alienate potential customers since they are surely struggling due to the security situation in Istanbul and the rest of the country.

  2. Petr says:

    I got same Issue,

    I flown more than 30000miles 1st year and they downgraded me. Today is my next TK flight and I am affected by baggage limit and less miles earning. I will request pay me back difference in overweight allowance with/without Elite card.

    Now is 3 weeks since I have no feedback from them.

    Poor Airport staff, tonight i will fight for right with them about this issue.

    • Pietro says:

      Did you made 15000 miles collected specifically on TK flights in 1st year? That seems to be root of problem. But my original email confirmation mentioned just 15000 status miles to collect. Looks like TK change rules somewhere in 2016 and apply new rules also for older cases. Without any prior notifications. I judge that as non-professional violation of business ethic code. Best air company in Europe for 6 years, hah? I wonder to check where person which gives away these awards spend his holidays during this 6 years

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