While I fly dozens of airlines a year, I have two frequent flyer programs I’m most loyal to — American AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan.
I’m Executive Platinum with American, which is also the airline on which a vast majority of my revenue flying is. The status is invaluable, and I’ve yet to fly economy on a revenue ticket with American this year (though a fair amount of my flying has been using upgrades confirmed in advance, as well as some “cheap” paid premium cabin tickets).
I’m also MVP Gold 75K with Alaska, which is new loyalty for me as of the past two years, which is when I moved to Seattle. Alaska Airlines is really quirky, and I kind of love them for that. Their planes are pretty homely for the most part, though they have good employees and an excellent frequent flyer program.
Why Alaska status is awesome
- As an MVP Gold you can cancel revenue tickets for free up until departure — the entire ticket cost just goes into your travel bank, which you can use towards a future ticket
- Alaska has a great standby policy, so as an MVP Gold you can switch flights same day fairly easily at no cost — this is especially convenient given how many frequencies Alaska has in many markets out of Seattle
Anyway, about a year ago I wrote a post reflecting on my MVP Gold status match at the time. Back when I matched, MVP Gold was the highest status they would match to.
Marginal benefits of Alaska MVP Gold 75K
Above MVP Gold, Alaska has MVP Gold 75K status, which was introduced a few years back. The way I see it, the major incremental benefits of MVP Gold 75K over MVP Gold are:
- 50,000 bonus redeemable miles upon requalifying for status every year
- Higher upgrade priority (you clear 120 hours out, vs. 72 hours out)
- Ability to nominate someone to MVP status
There are other benefits, but I think for the most part they’re not worth mentioning. But really the first two perks above are the biggest. As an MVP Gold 75K you have a fighting chance at an upgrade on a transcon, while in many cases you wouldn’t as an MVP Gold.
Furthermore, give how valuable Alaska miles are, you can’t beat earning 50,000 additional bonus miles on top of the 100% mileage bonus you usually earn. That means if you fly 75,000 miles on Alaska you earn a total of 200,000 redeemable miles, which is like a 160%+ elite mileage bonus.
Alaska now status matching to MVP Gold 75K
What’s interesting is that historically Alaska hasn’t matched to MVP Gold 75K status. However, if you check the Alaska Status Match Thread on FlyerTalk you’ll see recent reports from top tier elites at American, Delta, and United proactively being matched to MVP Gold 75K status.
Presumably you’ll only get the 50,000 bonus miles upon requalifying, but that’s still pretty awesome.
To request a status match from Alaska, simply send an email to email@example.com. A match that’s requested now would be valid through December 31, 2015.
Crediting miles to Alaska worth it?
Since I don’t live in Seattle anymore I’m kind of pondering whether to try and requalify for status or not. I don’t fly Alaska nearly as much as I used to, so I’m mainly crediting partner airline flights to Alaska.
In general I’m doing this because I value their miles more than just about any other mileage currency.
For example, I credited the miles from my recent American trip to Hong Kong to Mileage Plan, which I was happy about.
But how much does it make sense to credit miles to a partner airline exclusively for the redeemable miles, when you’re not actually taking advantage of the elite benefits that much?
Keep in mind that Alaska has different elite tiers depending on whether all the miles you’re crediting to them are from travel on Alaska, or if they include travel on partner airlines. Here’s the chart:
So you actually have to credit 90,000 miles to Alaska to earn MVP Gold 75K, assuming it includes travel on partner airlines. On the plus side, they do have a nice variety of partner airlines:
This is Alaska’s most generous status match policy ever. I’m guessing it has a lot to do with their “Battle in Seattle” with Delta, whereby they’re trying to win over as much business as possible. Hopefully it doesn’t come at the expense of pissing off their members earning status “the hard way” too much.