While it might not be terribly useful to most, here’s a potentially fun opportunity to get a top-tier status match without any flying requirement. The airline briefly offered a status match opportunity like this in 2021, and it has now been brought back through the end of 2022.
What is Bamboo Airways?
Some context might be useful here. Bamboo Airways is a fairly new Vietnamese airline that was founded in 2017. The airline is growing at a ridiculously fast pace, and already has dozens of planes, including brand new Airbus A321neos and Boeing 787-9s, which feature solid onboard products.
The airline has plans to fly to the United States in the near future, and has all kinds of long haul growth aspirations. Bamboo Airways has its own frequent flyer program, Bamboo Club, but doesn’t belong to a major alliance, and doesn’t have any valuable frequent flyer partnerships (at least not yet).
By the way, can we agree that Bamboo Airways has the second best frequent flyer program name, after Cayman Airways’ Sir Turtle Club?
Bamboo Airways’ Bamboo Club status match
Bamboo Airways is offering a status match to all oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam frequent flyers. Bamboo Airways is matching all the way up to top-tier status:
- oneworld Ruby, Star Alliance Silver, and SkyTeam Elite, will match to Bamboo Club Gold
- oneworld Sapphire will match to Bamboo Club Diamond
- oneworld Emerald, Star Alliance Gold, and SkyTeam Elite Plus, will match to Bamboo Club First
To apply for a status match:
- Register for Bamboo Club, which is free and instant
- Complete the status match request form, which requires including a copy of your frequent flyer card and ID; you must apply by December 31, 2022
- If eligible, your application will be approved within 7-10 business days
- Note that the application asks for an address in Vietnam, though the terms explicitly state that this offer is valid for people globally; I’ve heard of people getting approved when entering foreign addresses, so this might just be because Bamboo Airways will only ship membership cards domestically
It’s not entirely clear how long a status match is valid for.
What are Bamboo Airways elite perks like?
What are elite benefits like as a Bamboo Airways Bamboo Club member? Bamboo Club Gold members receive:
- Business class check-in
- Priority seat selection
- An additional 5kg of checked luggage
- Priority boarding
- Priority bag delivery
- 50 bonus points on your birthday
Bamboo Club Diamond members receive the following incremental perks:
- Business class lounge access
- An additional 10kg of checked luggage
- Complimentary upgrade to Bamboo Plus or Bamboo Business if your original class is full and seats in the higher cabin are available at the time of check-in or boarding
- 100 bonus points on your birthday
Bamboo Club First members receive the following incremental perks:
- An additional 20kg of checked luggage
- 150 bonus points on your birthday
As you can see, these benefits would come in handy if you fly Bamboo Airways frequently, though even so:
- The elite perks are fairly weak, even when traveling with Bamboo Airways
- There are no perks on other airlines, as you may find with an alliance airline
I also find it noteworthy how the airline has essentially formalized operational upgrades as an elite perk — you only get upgrades if economy is oversold and there’s space in the higher cabin. That’s a policy virtually all airlines have, though it’s not typically promoted, since something like this will only lead to disappointment.
Is a Bamboo Airways status match worth it?
On the surface a status match with no flying requirement valid to anyone that has status with a major alliance is intriguing, especially when you can get top-tier status. Obviously if you fly Bamboo Airways with any frequency this could be worth it. If you don’t (and I suspect most of us fall into this category), there are two ways to look at this:
- On the one hand, who wouldn’t want to say they’re a Bamboo Club First member, and Bamboo Airways does eventually plan to fly to the US
- On the other hand, given the lack of perks on any other airlines, there will likely be limited value to this for most people
If Bamboo Airways were already flying to the US, I’d totally take advantage of this just for giggles, and fly the airline. Vietnam is once again open to visitors now, so this could be useful if traveling between other regions. But for now I figure I’ll save this opportunity for when it’s actually useful.
I sure do love my Starlux Airlines COSMILE Insighter status, which I earned through a status match. The major difference was that the Starlux status match is valid for several years. It even came with an awesome commemorative card and luggage tag.
Bamboo Airways has launched a status match promotion through the end of 2022. On the surface it’s cool to be able to get a top-tier status match without any sort of a flying requirement, though in reality I’m guessing this will be of limited use to most people.
Anyone plan to take advantage of this Bamboo Airways status match?
(Tip of the hat to The Milelion)