Alaska Mileage Plan Introduces “Elite Leave” For New Parents

Last week British Airways announced a new feature that lets new parents put their elite status on hold for a year when they have a baby. A few other airlines have this policy as well, and I tend to think it’s a pretty common sense benefit to offer. A lot of parents travel less the year after they have a baby, so it seems silly to isolate them and potentially lose their long term loyalty. Then again, airlines losing sight of the big picture would hardly be a new trend.

It looks like Alaska Airlines is the latest airline to introduce extended elite status to new parents. Alaska Mileage Plan elite members can now extend their status by a year when they have a baby.

Alaska-Leave

Here’s how you take advantage of this perk:

Step 1. Once you’re back from parental leave, email us at elite.flyer@alaskaair.com with your:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Mileage Plan number
  • Proof of pregnancy or parental leave – a note from your doctor or employer will do.

Step 2. We’ll verify that you’re eligible and extend your current status through the following year, so you can focus on your bundle of joy.

In this case Alaska isn’t even really putting your status on hold, per se, but rather they’re just extending it by a year, so you can enjoy it for the year in which it’s valid, and then have it extended one year beyond that. This should work even for parents who don’t travel less after having a baby.

Per the terms, comped status (like status earned through a match) isn’t eligible for this promotion. Furthermore, if you’re an MVP Gold 75K member and have your status extended, you won’t receive the 50,000 bonus miles for the year your status is extended. Qualifying types of leave including maternity, paternity, and adoption.

The terms are pretty broad in regards to how they define “leave,” and also in terms of the timeline of when they’ll extend status. In other words, if your status were to expire just a few weeks after you first become pregnant, I don’t see anything preventing you from getting an extension, as long as you have a note from your doctor or employer.

Anyway, kudos to Alaska on introducing this benefit for parents.

Comments

  1. @Eric, what @coffee18 said. They don’t really care anyhow I suspect, this just gets them some positive publicity.

  2. As someone expecting twins this summer i’d love to see Delta enact this before the year is over.

    That said, i think this is ripe for abuse. What stops someone from forging a letter from an employer (not like Delta can verify employment) just to get an extra year of elite status when they fall short.

  3. I think this is awesome!!! Yet another reason to love Alaska Air! 😀 This is a great consideration especially for women travelers who are often “grounded” longer. I’m not sure how many people will take advantage of this, but those who do will really, really appreciate it.

    I’m surprised some of you instantly imagined people abusing this status extension. Do you really think that many people would go to that trouble to abuse this? It is such a great step to earn goodwill among fliers, its worth it for AS even if there are a couple malicious elite abusing it.

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