Alaska Status Matching To MVP Gold 75K

While I fly dozens of airlines a year, I have two frequent flyer programs I’m most loyal toAmerican 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.

Alaska-737

Why Alaska status is awesome

MVP Gold status is almost a requirement of living in Seattle. In addition to the great award redemption opportunities, they have a couple of perks that make them stand out:

  • 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 elite.flyer@alaskaair.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:

Alaska-Status

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:

Alaska-Airline-Partners

Bottom line

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.

Comments

  1. Wow! This might be a lifesaver for me. I’m EXP, but started a new business this year so didn’t fly that much (and when I did fly, redeemed miles to save cash) so won’t even be Gold on AA next year. I know that MVP out of DC will be minimally useful on Alaska itself, but could help make my flying more tolerable on AA in 2015.

    One question, though: on the website it seems to imply that you only get priority security when it’s branded as Alaska’s Express lane, but you get Priority AAccess Check-in/Boarding. Is that just poorly worded, or for some reason do you not get Priority AAccess security?

  2. Why no mention of Southwest as a status match option?
    I just received MVP Gold 75K status via match to RR Companion Pass.

  3. Status matching to Alaska was the best thing I’ve done in my FF career. Upgrades on Delta, Economy plus on AA international flights, free bags all around, priority everything, I know that things are changing, but I hope Alaska and Delta relationship remain the same, especially the reciprocal mileage earning, I fly delta all year, and credit to AS. In fact Delta alone earned me MVP this year 🙂 love them.

    Alaska please never change!

  4. The airlines on their Elite Qualifying list are just incredible. Best mix hands down! This has SkyTeam, OneWorld and even *A (isn’t LAN Star? ), plus Emirates and Qantas!!!

  5. This is fantastic. I have been UA 1K and MVP Gold for the last eight years, but won’t make either this year. Now I can use the last couple of months as a 1K to get MVP 75k!

  6. @ Abdel — Great list indeed! LAN is in oneworld, but it is indeed cool that their EQM partners span alliances.

  7. Hi Ben,

    I am considering matching my DL Platinum status to AS because I am unlikely to even be able to hold Gold for next year due to some temporary changes in my work travel patterns this year. If AS is the only status I hold, but I will mostly flying AA/DL due to being Midwest-based, how would one gain the perks of the status but still credit the flying to a partner carrier?

  8. Can you match more than once per lifetime? I’ve already matched once, and I regret not re-qualifying….

  9. @ Nathan — You do get priority boarding/security/check-in, but the only upgrade benefit you’d have is on Delta, and that’s only on day of departure. So it’s not quite the same as having status on the “native” airline, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

  10. Hey Ben you have any feedback on a Medallion getting an upgrade on DL and then before check-in changing to the Alaska FF number to get both the UG perks and then earn on AS? Or, would putting in the AS number dump you out of UG? Have not tested but could do so next month and advise if no feedback.

  11. @ rene — I (obviously) haven’t tried it personally, but I don’t believe that would work. I don’t think it would let you change mileage numbers once your upgrade has cleared.

  12. Quick question. Do I really need both sides of my current elite card? I can screen shot a duplicate but can’t find my United elite card. I’ve got a MileagePlus statement that shows my status with them. Any help would be appreciated.

  13. Hi Lucky,

    Based on what AA recently did with it’s lack of milesAAver award space on international travel, Glitch or no Glitch, I’m thinking of crediting all my EXP miles earned in 2015 to my MVP Gold75K acct. Having taken advantage of this status match. I’m confused by the bonus mileage earning on the AS website. Will I earn 100% bonus MVP Gold75K miles no matter what class of service I travel on AA metal? I’m solely interested in the award redemption ability. There seems to be better international award availability redeeming with AS partners then with AA and it’s partners on the AA site. Do you think this is a wise strategy? If not, why?

  14. Lucky,

    As you mentioned as an AA EXP you can book and apply swu on AA flights and then credit it to AS for status eqm. I’m curious how you do this logistically, especially ex-HKG for example. Unlike ex-US, I assume you want to check in as EXP/OWE on your BP to access the F section in the Wing.. So do you just simply change your reservation online to credit to AS sometime before the flight after you’re cleared thru immigration and airside. Would you need a new BP since the old one shows the AA #?

    Thanks

  15. @ E — Showing your EXP card when you get to the lounge should work as well, so there’s no problem switching it before you access the lounge. I usually just do it at check-in.

  16. I am sooo lost reading this… I need a 101 miles class
    Trying to fly to Hawaii ( Hawaiian Airlines 50k we are 4 people in the family-low season) and we want to go to Rome looking to open more CC but all this bonuses and matching are giving me headaches. Should I start opening an Alaska AL CC? We are in NYC/NJ.

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