The Turkish Airlines status match that isn’t

Turkish Airlines is unilaterally changing the T&C of their status match program...without notice.

I’ve written before about the different status match opportunities open to people who already hold elite status with one airline.

The TK status match has always been one of the flakiest around, with some people reporting an easy match and others having to jump through untold hoops.

It appears, however, that even if you are granted a status match with TK, you need to be hypervigilant when it comes to requalification.

In theory, the terms of the TK status match (they call it “Miles&Smiles Turkish Airlines’ advantageous Frequent Flyer Programme. Elite card trial period”. But bombastic naming really isn’t that surprising for an airline which renamed its lounge “July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge”. No, really.) are as follows

  • Upon approval, you get TK Elite status (*A Gold) for 4 months
  • During this 4 month period, you need to fly 1 TK international flight (in any cabin)
  • Upon doing this, your TK Elite status is extended to the rest of the first year
  • To enjoy status in the second year, simply fly 15,000 status miles with any Star Alliance carrier and credit the mileage to your TK Miles and Smiles account

You can see the obvious attractiveness of this- instead of having to fly 50,000 miles to requalify for *A Gold status (as you would have to with Krisflyer), you only need to fly 15,000.

However, there are reports that TK has unilaterally changed the T&Cs of the status match to require the 15,000 miles to be flown with TK only.

Loyalty Lobby has written about some experiences here (have a read of the comment section too)

Now, a Milelion reader has sent in his own account

One year past and I had accumulated thereabouts of 25K status miles (note: the reader indicated he needed 25K status miles to requalify, but both Loyalty Lobby and Flyertalk posters indicate they only needed 15K. In any case that’s not the main point of this post). I expected to receive my TKG card sometime in March 2017 however I was puzzled when I did not get it. The disadvantage about TK is that any enquiry has to go through their customer service form on their website that will give you a reference number. Any future correspondences must make reference to the reference number or it will be treated as a new ‘query’.  The customer service officer said they will refer to the membership department for investigation. After close to 2 weeks of no news, I decided to call them. Calling them requires you to make an international call to their Turkish hotline and the waiting times are horrendous.

The Customer service officer is of no help at all and keeps on creating new reference numbers for my inquiry. However, the customer service officer I spoke to mentioned that renewal is only granted if the status flights are on TK airlines.I argued and insisted that at the point of statusmatching, it was only indicated 1 TK full fare flight and 25K status miles can come from any *G airlines. I was aghast and horrified that they would do this to me and rescind on our earlier agreement that they had sent me via email. I promptly created yet another reference number on TK website with the welcome email from TK airlines in 2016 to show proof.

One fine day, while still waiting for my outcome of investigations, I was horrified to see that they had gone ahead and mailed me a TK Classic Plus card! I immediately called them to ask them about promised qualification criteria and received the same answer that the membership team will get back to me. I gave up and resigned myself to fate that I had wasted those precious status miles on TK that had rescinded my offer. Approximately 1 month after my initial inquiry (early April), I received an email reply from TK that status they were unable to accede to my request. So much for customer service!

Have a read of more experiences here.

I think that TK has a very good hard product and quite an impressive lounge, but it sounds like they can’t be trusted where keeping T&C is concerned.

So if you’re looking to do a TK status match, or have already done one, take note!

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Ben

If they can call their lounge Heroes of Democracy lounge, you can just about get an idea of what kind of customer service you will get from TK if your surname is not Erdogan.

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