Airberlin is offering a very open-ended status match offer to its Topbonus Gold tier, as I first learned from Head for Points. This includes Sapphire status with the oneworld Alliance, of which American Airlines is a member. And among the many benefits of Sapphire status are access to preferred seating, extra baggage allowance, and access to business class airport clubs (basically any lounge that isn’t specifically designated for first class or arriving passengers).
But you say you already have status with oneworld as an American AAdvantage member, so why is this important? Access rules prevent you from getting complimentary access as a oneworld member on domestic and some international flights when using AAdvantage status.
American Airlines AAdvantage® members and US Airways Dividend Miles members, regardless of their tier status or class of travel, are not eligible for lounge access when travelling solely on North American flights within or between the U.S., Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean.
On the other hand, if you had status with another carrier, such as Airberlin, then you could use that to get in — even if you are on a wholly domestic American Airlines itinerary. Airberlin’s Gold status match offer is an enticing proposition if you fly American Airlines and live in the United States but don’t have an Admirals Club membership. Many people who got the Citi Executive AAdvantage credit card last year and are canceling as the annual fees hit may be looking for an alternative that lets them keep using the lounge.
Now the catch: You can’t use American Airlines status, or any oneworld status, to match to Topbonus Gold. What you can use is any status with any other airline. That means Alaska Airlines, Delta, or United status would be acceptable, even lowly MVP or Silver status. If you live on the West Coast, I’m guessing there are a number of people who have Alaska Airlines status but fly the occasional American Airlines itinerary on longer journeys back east. I personally maintain status with both programs and could definitely take advantage of this offer.
Raffles suggests you might also consider looking for a way to status match from a oneworld carrier to another carrier and then match that to Airberlin. I believe that Alaska Airlines is still offering status matches up to MVP Gold 75K, and it’s not uncommon for most U.S. airlines to match up to their middle tier if you make a request and show evidence of status with a competitor.