Aerolíneas Argentinas, one of the newest members of SkyTeam, is offering a status match to members of certain programs, including AAdvantage. Chalk this opportunity up to American Airlines’ superior route network to South America? Or maybe they’re trying to get you in on another “AA.”
If you have status with LAN, TAM, GOL, Avianca/Taca, Iberia, or American Airlines, you can participate in this status match. If you are an American Airlines Platinum member, you can match to Aerolíneas Argentina Oro, which is SkyTeam Elite. If you are American Airlines Executive Platinum, you can match to Platino level, which is SkyTeam Elite Plus. If you have status on any of those other airlines, you can refer to the chart above.
Both of these levels will be useful if you plan on flying Delta or any other SkyTeam airline, but don’t have status on SkyTeam. And while Alaska Airlines is partners with Delta, Air France, KLM, and Korean Air, the benefits of elite status don’t always translate from this non-alliance partner.
When it comes to Preferred Seating on Delta, you’ll get access to “bulkhead seats, aisle seats toward the front of the plane, window seats toward the front of the plane, and emergency exit row seats.” Not a lot to be excited about, but certainly something that can help. As for Extra Baggage Allowance, SkyTeam Elite members are allowed one checked bag, the same as a Silver Medallions, Alaska Airlines MVPs, and Delta American Express cardmembers. SkyTeam Elite Plus members are allowed two free checked bags.
If you still want to earn miles in Delta’s or Alaska’s program, I would simply have the Aerolíneas Argentinas number in the system for when you are selecting seats and checking in for baggage requirements. Once at the airport, ask to have your frequent flyer number changed to Delta or Alaska.
Lastly, if you match to Platino/SkyTeam Elite Plus, you’ll get lounge access at Delta Sky Clubs and other SkyTeam lounges, even on domestic itineraries*. This is something I currently have taken care of with my American Express Platinum card, but if you have flights on Delta and want to access the club, this is one avenue of access. You also don’t have to worry about changing your frequent flyer number back and forth, as long as you get a Platino SkyTeam Elite Plus card from the airline.
*Update: as Gary points out in the comments, domestic itinerary lounge access may not be a benefit, though Delta’s Sky Club site says different things on different pages. A SkyTeam Elite Plus member would definitely get it on an international itinerary, but may or may not get it on a domestic itinerary.
It seems that status matches will be good for a year after you get the status, as the airline’s elite program works on a rolling 12-month basis. As for the actual value of the miles, I couldn’t find any interesting redemptions, as it seems that the earn:burn ratio is rather poor.
This isn’t necessarily the greatest status match of all time, but it has its benefits. And even if status matches are once in a lifetime (though that can be worked around), I don’t foresee Aerolíneas Argentinas being a program you’ll participate in for anything other than a random status match.