Why This Is A Great Time To Status Match To Alaska Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines offers a fantastic loyalty program, arguably the best of any US carrier. The issue is Alaska’s limited route network, as they operate primarily from the west coast. Even when their takeover of Virgin America is complete, their strength will still only be to/from the west coast. So status with Alaska isn’t useful for everyone.

Alaska-Virgin-America-Merger

Still, the program is worth knowing about, and it’s also worth being aware of the status match opportunities they have.

Alaska’s elite status requirements

Alaska has three elite tiers — MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K. Here are the requirements to qualify for status:

alaska-status

As you can see, there are different requirements depending on whether you’re qualifying exclusively through travel on Alaska, or also through travel on their partner airlines. One of the best things about Alaska is the unique partner airlines they have, and how you can qualify for status with them exclusively through partner airline travel, if you want to.

alaska-partners-1
alaska-partners-2

Alaska’s elite benefits

Here’s a chart with the benefits of each elite tier:

alaska-elite-benefits-1 alaska-elite-benefits-2 alaska-elite-benefits-3 alaska-elite-benefits-4

The way I see it, here’s what makes Alaska Mileage Plan special:

  • They continue to award miles based on distance flown rather than how much you spend (though that could always change in the future)
  • They let MVP Gold members and above cancel revenue tickets for free, and the value of the ticket is placed in their “travel bank” and can be applied towards a future ticket
  • They have a great same day flight change policy
  • All elites get unlimited complimentary upgrades, and MVP Gold members and above receive four upgrade certificates they can use to confirm an upgrade in advance
  • They have great mileage bonuses — MVP Gold members earn a 100% mileage bonus, while MVP Gold 75K members earn a 125% mileage bonus, plus 50,000 bonus miles when they requalify; that means if an MVP Gold member flies 90,000 miles to qualify for status, they’ll really earn 252,500 miles, which is ~280% of the distance flown
  • Alaska has great airline partners, so it can be lucrative to fly their partner airlines and then credit miles to Alaska

Alaska-Rebrand

Why now is a good time to status match to Alaska

Alaska Mileage Plan has a great status match program, as they’ll match people all the way up to their top tier MVP Gold level. Alaska will match elite members with Aeromexico, Air Canada, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and Virgin America.

In general you can expect that they’ll match American Executive Platinum, Delta Diamond, and United Premier 1K, to MVP Gold 75K. Meanwhile mid-tier status levels generally match to MVP Gold, and so on.

To request a status match, email elite.flyer@alaskaair.com with a scan of your drivers license or passport, both sides of your current elite card, and a screenshot of your online account showing your name, current status, and YTD miles flown.

The reason this is a great time to match is because it’s now October, which means if you status match now status will be valid for all of next year, through December 31, 2017.

If you status matched before October, status would only be valid through the end of this year.

So this is a great way to get ~15 months of status with Alaska.

While Alaska and Virgin America don’t yet offer reciprocal elite benefits, keep in mind that Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America is expected to close any day now, and I imagine shortly thereafter they’ll begin offering some sort of reciprocal benefits. So this match could be useful for eventually getting perks on Virgin America as well, I imagine.

Bottom line

Alaska Mileage Plan is a really quirky frequent flyer program that I quite like. Status matches are once in a lifetime so I wouldn’t recommend matching if you don’t plan on using the status. That being said, if status with Alaska could be useful, this is the ideal time to match.

Alaska can be a great program for collecting miles for travel on other airlines. For example, Hainan has consistently had cheap business class fares between Los Angeles and Changsha, and those flights earn 200% miles with Mileage Plan. If you’re MVP Gold 75K you’d earn a total of 200% elite qualifying miles and 325% redeemable miles, which is incredible.

Hainan-Fare

Has anyone status matched to Alaska lately, or plan on doing so soon?

(Tip of the hat to No Mas Coach)

Comments

  1. I submitted for a match last week from the Southwest CP. I haven’t heard back yet. I’ve read it takes a couple of weeks, right?

  2. Thx for this post. I wish I had three weeks ago when I was researching status matching from SW A-List!

    @nico, I submitted about a week and a half ago, and I heard back in about a week. After I had the enrollment email, the benefits showed in my existing reservation several hours later.

  3. The status match is a one time only, right? I’m AA Gold and mostly fly AA or Alaska. I’ll probably make Gold this year, but probably not next year with the revenue requirement. I’m wondering if I should wait until next October to status match, so I’ll have at least two years of some status, or if that’ll be risking that they’ll stop doing status matches by then.

  4. I think this gets rerun every year about this time by one blogger or another.

    don’t forget to mention that AS will be shrinking first class beginning next year to 12 not 16!!

  5. @Lucky – One word of caution – they only status match if you live in one of their markets. I live in Toronto and had AA platinum and they refused a match.

  6. Last year I got matched to MVP using USAirway Silver status and it expired 12/31/15. Just a week ago I emailed my Delta Gold status and over the weekend I was matched to MVP gold!! I have quite a few flights booked on Alaska for the whole family over the next 15 mths and I am looking to add more with the newly matched status!

  7. If its a one time deal, gotta pass for now. Still waiting to see what AA does next year although all arrows are pointing down with the changes they’ve implemented so far. AS just doesn’t have the route map I personally need for my flights here domestically. As far as transfer partners go, they have some great stuff that I’m highly interested in.

  8. @Caddietravels – you do not get the 50k bonus if you status match to MGPG75. You need to earn that the hard way.

  9. This was a couple years ago so maybe this has changed but when I did a UA 1K match and they told me at the time they only matched to MVPG and did not match to MVPG75.

  10. As AAdvantage Gold, I would just be matched to MVP, correct?

    I don’t see any reason NOT to do this….

  11. Alaska is only matching Southwest CP and JetBlue Mosaic to MVP. They previously matched both of those to MVP Gold. I have both and just got matched to MVP. Multiple data points out there show the same.

  12. I have about to expire Lufthansa status, and I’ll move to Seattle soon. Do you guys think it might be worth to inquire about a match, even if LH is not on their ‘official’ match list?

  13. @DTS Can’t hurt, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I would also include the details around your move to the area and expectations around your travel with Alaska, if applicable. I would think that they might be more inclined to make an exception if they feel like you will be a valuable customer.

  14. Right now, I am planning on waiting until next October to do this match and am praying that the opportunity still exists. I am currently AA Platinum and will be again next year. I will not be able to meet the spend requirements to maintain this status after 2017.

    I am eager to switch my loyalty to Alaska to be able to fly American, Delta or Alaska out of my home airport and still earn distance based miles and elite qualifying miles. Being an Alaska MVP Gold flying on AA or Delta does not get a whole lot of benefits, but it is better than nothing.

  15. I have AS flight in May to Hawaii booked using BA Avios. If I status matched, would I be able to get a free upgrade as an MVP Gold? Or use one of the upgrade certs?

  16. F reduction is only on 737-800 but adding premium economy and increasing F seat pitch by a lot on all aircraft.
    United 1K does match to 75K. I did it myself last year.

  17. Everyone has some sort of limits in status match. Either it is lifetime or 5 years. I simply create a new account with a different address and match again.

  18. Just a question to anyone who may know. Any oneworld airlines offering straight up status matches right now? I matched to Avianca’s Amigos last year and that was a great help, would like to try oneworld carriers as well. Coming from FlyingBlue Platinum Elite for Life. Thanks in advance for any help!

  19. Do you need a copy of the physical elite card? I can’t seem to find my AA Executive Platinum card; would a screenshot do? I’m only EXP til 2/2017 so I definitely want to take advantage of this.

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