Alaska and Southwest are competing fiercely in California. Back in the day Alaska wasn’t really competitive in California, but after their takeover of Virgin America they’re claiming to be “creating the premier West Coast airline,” and that includes California.
Ultimately consumers are winning in this battle. Last month Southwest published a special Companion Pass offer for California residents, where they can earn Companion Pass status after applying for their co-branded credit card and completing the minimum spend. This is an incredible opportunity, given that Companion Pass allows you to take someone along on all your Southwest travels (whether an award or revenue ticket), and they only have to pay taxes.
Now Alaska is out with a special offer for California residents. New Alaska Mileage Plan members with addresses registered in California can earn 5,000 bonus miles after taking their first flight.
In order to take advantage of this offer members must enroll in Mileage Plan between November 15 and December 31, 2017, and complete a qualifying Alaska or Virgin America one-way flight between the enrollment date and June 30, 2018. That’s quite a long window during which you can take the flight. Furthermore, there’s no requirement that the flight be to or from California. Presumably they could ask for proof of your residency, though I can’t imagine they would.
Alaska Mileage Plan is my favorite US frequent flyer program. They continue to award a minimum of one mile per flown mile (at least for travel on Alaska and Virgin America), offer excellent elite benefits, and have exceptional award pricing for travel on partner airlines. I love not only the unique variety of partner airlines they have, but also the ability to have a free stopover when redeeming miles for a one-way ticket.
Redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for travel in Japan Airlines first class
So while your first flight needs to be on Alaska or Virgin America, long term Mileage Plan can be a great program for crediting miles from airlines like Emirates, Hainan, Icelandair, etc.
Hopefully some of you can take advantage of this great offer.
(Tip of the hat to Mommy Points)