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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Loyalty Program Review

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Loyalty Program

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Alaska Airlines Summary Table

  • Home Country U.S.
  • Major Hubs Seattle, Anchorage, Portland, Los Angeles
  • Airline Alliance None
  • Signature Lounge Board Room

Alaska Airlines Overview

Alaska Airlines is the 7th largest carrier in the U.S., operating solely within North America as a mainline carrier.

Alaska Locations Served

Together with its subsidiary Horizon Air (which offers regional connections), Alaska serves over 100 destinations with both first class and economy service.

Neither an historic legacy carrier nor a low-cost carrier, Alaska has managed to maintain its high on-time performance and customer satisfaction by focusing on home airports where they have a strong following, especially Seattle and Anchorage.

Features of the Airline

Alaska operates a fleet of all Boeing 737s with anywhere from 12-16 first class seats. Its small fleet of 737 Combi aircraft only offers economy.

The Combi have cargo in the front half of the passenger deck, since these planes are most often used for “milk runs” between remote Alaskan cities.

Its regional subsidiary, Horizon Air, operates Bombardier aircraft in an all-economy configuration.

Flying Over Seattle

Alaska Airlines Mileage Program

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan is an award-winning program that is considered user-friendly among airline loyalty programs.

You can directly earn miles from any Alaska or Horizon Air flight, in addition to flights on many partner airlines and an increasing number of non-airline partners as well.

Joining Mileage Plan

To join Mileage Plan, sign up on their website. You can join for free and immediately begin earning points for flights and redeeming them for awards.

They have an elite status program discussed below. Here, you start off with no initial status, but can earn it as you fly. Alternatively, you can get status matches from some of their partners.

Mileage Plan Membership Tiers

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program has 3 status tiers:

  • MVP
  • MVP Gold
  • MVP Gold 75k

Mileage Plan Program Benefits by Elite Status Level

As Alaska Airlines says on their website, their MVP – Most Valuable Passenger – program rewards customers who spend the most time on their planes to make their flying experience even more enjoyable.

To that end, Alaska’s MVP tiers and bene?ts are a little easier to understand than some of its rivals.

Alaska also has a reciprocal partnership deal with both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, where Alaska MVP customers can observe some partnered elite benefits.

The reverse is also true for those with AAdvantage or SkyMiles status (see our articles for full benefits). Benefits include priority seating and partial access to Main Cabin Extra and Comfort+ seating, as well as free bags.

Mileage Plan Introductory Tier Benefits

The introductory tier has no name in Alaska Mileage Plan, and others no additional benefits beyond the ability to earn and redeem points for flights on Alaska, or by using the services of its partners (airline or otherwise).

To earn status, you must collect elite qualifying miles. Alaska uses the actual miles flown to account for this. Bonus miles can be earned depending on the class of fare booked.

You will earn the first level of elite status (MVP) once you either reach 20,000 miles flown on Alaska, 25,000 miles between all Elite Qualifying Partners, or 30 segments between all partners.

Mileage Plan MVP Tier Benefits

To start with, the MVP status grants you many benefits. First, you’ll get a 50% bonus on miles flown on Alaska and their Elite Qualifying Partners.

Next, you’re eligible for upgrades. Depending on your fare class, you can get instant upgrades (Y, S, and B), or you can get put onto the standby list up to 48 hours in advance. You’ll also earn upgrades on Delta.

Service benefits are many, starting with a dedicated customer care line to help you with any issues. Next, you will get 2 free checked bags on Alaska, and 1 free bag on American.

You’ll get priority check-in on Alaska and American. Preferred seating is available on Alaska, American, and Delta, and you can get 50% of Main Cabin Extra seats for American.

You will have priority access (security line) status on American, and priority boarding on all 3 partner airlines.

If you’re looking for lounge access, you will get 50% of your initiation fee for Alaska Board Rooms, as well as $25 off your annual membership.

After flying 40,000 miles on Alaska, 50,000 miles between their partners, or 60 segments, you will reach MVP Gold status.

Mileage Plan MVP Gold Tier Benefits

MVP Gold offers you all the benefits of the previous tier, plus some improvements and additional benefits.

Bonus mileage goes up to 100% on miles flown. Complimentary upgrades are available instantly on more fare classes (Y, S, B, M, and H), and you will get upgraded up to 72 hours in advance on standby otherwise.

In addition, at this level you get Companion Upgrades. These allow you to bring one companion with you on your travels. You can give instant upgrades to any family or friend using 4 one-way guest upgrade certificates.

Also, when you’re on the flight and don’t get an upgrade, you will receive one complimentary premium beverage on flights that offer service.

You’ll still get 2 free bags on Alaska, but you also will get 2 free bags on American as well. In addition, American’s Main Cabin Extra seats are available at no cost.

For your Board Room membership, you’ll get a waived initiation fee with $55 of your annual membership.

Further, you will get waived fees for changes and service charges for issued tickets. This includes same-day flight changes, and you are also now allowed to be on standby and waitlist for full flights.

Finally, you’ll get express security lines for Alaska at the airport, access to the Icelandair Saga Lounge for you and a guest, and one unique benefit: the ability to give an “Expression of Thanks” to a deserved employee.

After you make it to 75,000 miles on Alaska, 90,000 miles between partners, or 90 total segments, you will advance to the top tier: MVP Gold 75k.

Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75k Tier Benefits

Those in MVP Gold 75k receive a few different benefits as well as improvements to their current ones.

Bonus mileage goes from 100% to 125% for these members. While they still only get instant upgrades on the same fare classes, they can be upgraded up to 120 hours in advance on standby.

In addition to other in-flight benefits, these members also get free in-flight entertainment when they can’t get an upgrade and are flying in main cabin.

Perhaps one of the best benefits is a bonus gift of 50,000 miles, provided when you reach the needed mileage threshold to attain this level.

MVP Gold 75k members also get the ability to give 1 friend or family member complimentary MVP status, and they’ll get 4 annual Board Room Day Passes.

Mileage Plan members who achieve 1 million actual flown miles on Alaska Airlines are granted a lifetime MVP Gold Status, and receive a complimentary meal or picnic pack whenever they fly in the main cabin.

Other Elite Status Information

Be sure to check the details for any of Alaska’s partners you may be flying since you can earn a variety of bonuses and status benefits. Their main partnership is with American and Delta.

If you’re interested in the Alaska Airlines Board Room, you may want to check out The Platinum Card® from American Express or other lounge access cards.

How To Earn Alaska Miles

There are multiple ways to earn miles on Alaska, including flying with them, traveling with a qualifying partner, or using some other partnered services.

Earning With Alaska and Airline Partners

Mileage Plan base miles are earned on a 1:1 basis of miles flown, and are not determined by the fare class or amount paid, as United and Delta have recently shifted to.

There is a 500-mile minimum guarantee, so short hops will provide you with at least a decent amount of miles. Bonus miles can be earned whenever you purchase an Alaska Airlines vacations package or fly in first or business class.

Premium cabin bonuses can range from 10% to 100% (double) the miles earned. One top of this, as an elite status member you will earn 50%-125% bonus on the miles flown.

Check the individual partner deals for more information, as each partner has a slightly different mileage accrual rate. Alternatively, you can always earn miles on those airlines to be redeemed for awards on Alaska, such as on American.

Other Ways To Earn Miles

Alaska Airlines has bonus miles offers which happen year round; check their website for details. Other non-airline partners exist, including car rentals, financial services, hotels, and other specialty businesses.

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

There are 2 partnered credit cards for the airline: the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Business Credit Card.

You can also transfer points and miles earned from other credit cards to Alaska Airlines with their partnerships, which include hotels and other credit card partners.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Hilton HHonors Loyalty ProgramHilton HHonors™ Card from American Express
 Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
Choice Privileges Loyalty ProgramBarclaycard Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card
Hyatt Gold Passport Loyalty ProgramChase Hyatt Credit Card

 

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Starwood Preferred Guest Loyalty ProgramStarwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
 Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN

Acheiving a Victory in Miles

How To Redeem Alaska Miles

Alaska Airlines has multiple ways to redeem your miles once you have earned them.

Flight Award Redemptions

A few different options exist for Mileage Plan members when redeeming miles for award seats on Alaska Airlines fares. These include normal fares, intra-state, Hawaii, and Mexico.

Miles can also be used toward upgrades for a set amount of 15,000 miles one-way.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to Alaska’s partner airlines, which cannot be upgraded into; you would have purchase an outright premium cabin award seat to sit up front in their partner carriers.

However, remember that you can also earn miles on these partners airlines and redeem them for flights on Alaska. This is true for the AAdvantage program.

Details on Other Types of Awards

If you purchase a money and miles reward option, you can actually earn miles on the purchased portion as well.

Alaska Airlines vacation packages also allow you to use an Alaska Airlines award for the flight portion of the package while earning miles on the vacation portion.

Finally, miles can be used outside of the airline, including magazine subscriptions and other household and travel goods.

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FAQ

What is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan? Is it worth it? What are the benefits?
Mileage Plan is Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer/loyalty program. By signing up to this free program, you gain access to a range of benefits for traveling and get to earn points (called “miles”) and redeem rewards once you reach enough.

The benefits change per your elite status level (MVP, MVP Gold, or MVP Gold 75k).

Elite status members receive bonus miles, get complimentary upgrades when available (even for companions), free premium beverages, free checked bags, priority check in, preferred seating, and more.

You accumulate miles by flying and by earning on other partners. Once you earn enough miles, you can redeem them for free flights with Alaska or other travel partners.

Who are the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partners?
Alaska Airlines is not part of an official alliance, but they have partnered with a number of the various airlines from each of them.

These partners include American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Aeromexico, Emirates, Fiji, Hainan, Icelandair, KLM, Korean, LATAM, and Qantas.

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan login?
You can sign in to your Mileage Plan account here.

How do I join Mileage Plan?
You can join Mileage Plan by filling out the online forms here.

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan dining program?
Most airlines, including Alaska, have a partnership with the dining network, allowing members to earn miles in their loyalty accounts simply for dining at partner restaurants.

You just need to register your credit card(s) and miles will automatically accumulate.

You can sign up for the Alaska Airlines dining program here. Note that you can only be a part of 1 dining program at a time, but can switch whenever you want by simply signing up for another program.

Is there an Alaska Airlines credit card?
Yes, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card is a Bank of America card. You can also utilize other credit cards to earn miles on Alaska.

By earning miles in AAdvantage with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard, you can use them to book partnered flights on Alaska.

You can get creative and use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express as well to earn British Airways points and utilize them for Alaska.

What are Alaska Airlines baggage fees?
Typical checked bags cost $25, up to $75 for more bags. If you have elite status in various programs, you get the baggage fees waived.

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan phone number?
1-800-252-7522

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan award chart?
You can find the award chart here. Flights start at 10,000 miles one-way on Alaska. Award prices can be found on the linked page.