Back in October I wrote a post entitled “Is Alaska the weirdest airline in the US?” I’ve just found it odd the degree to which Seattleites take pride in “their” hometown airline, which, oddly enough, is named after a completely different state. But then again there are many parts of Seattle culture I don’t understand.
I status matched to Alaska Airlines MVP Gold from American Executive Platinum status at the beginning of November, and plan on using them for my flights up and down the west coast, for which they’re tough to beat. While American elite members get certain benefits on Alaska, like priority check-in, security, boarding, and exit row seating, they’re not eligible for upgrades or many fee waivers. And since Alaska upgrades are quite easy I decided it was worthwhile trying to maintain MVP Gold status.
And the program is awesome, at least for their routes with multiple frequencies. The first cool benefit is that they allow free ticket changes. That means that you can speculatively make bookings and still change the times/dates later/routes, while only paying the difference in fare (and not any change fees).
But what I really, really love about their program is their same day confirmed change policy. If you’re an MVP Gold member, you can make free same day flight changes for you and your companions on the same reservation starting at 10PM the night before you travel. That in and of itself doesn’t sound that great, but you get last seat availability on any flight. That means if a flight is “Y1″ (meaning only one seat is left for sale) you can switch on to it at no cost — your original fare class doesn’t have to be available.
Even better than that? If you’re in upgraded first class you can switch to any flight with first class space, even if there’s no upgrade space. So if the flight is “F1″ (meaning only one first class seat is left for sale), you can switch from your flight in upgraded first class to any flight that has at least one first class seat left for sale.
This almost makes it advantageous to book the off peak flight time where fares are cheapest and upgrades are easiest, since you can go back and confirm yourself on just about any flight you’d like in first class the night before.