How To Get Alaska Airlines Elite Status (and Is It Worth It?)

Alaska Airlines new first class cabin

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Who doesn’t love airline elite status? Perks like free checked baggage, upgrades, and lounge access are ones that we can all use, but sometimes what you need to do to earn elite status can be confusing. We’ve gone over the ways to earn elite status with lots of popular airlines like Delta, American, and United, and today, it’s Alaska Airlines’ turn.

In this post, we’ll show you everything you need to know about how to get Alaska Airlines elite status, including the minimum requirements, levels of status, the benefits of each level of status, and that all-important question — is it even worth it?

How To Earn Alaska Airlines Elite Status

Earning elite status in the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program is relatively straightforward and easy to understand (unlike some of the other airline elite status programs out there)! Here’s a look at the minimum requirements needed to earn Alaska Airlines elite status.

To start, the earning period runs on a calendar year, from January 1 to December 31.

To earn status, you’ll need to meet the minimum number of elite qualifying miles (EQMs) or the minimum number of eligible segments. In addition, you’ll also need to meet the minimum number of flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines.

Elite qualifying miles are earned by flying on Alaska Airlines and its qualifying partners with a minimum of 500 miles earned per flight. Award tickets do not earn elite qualifying miles, and miles earned through the Alaska Airlines co-branded credit cards don’t count toward elite status.

Eligible miles earned on Alaska Airlines plus Oneworld and global partners20,00040,00075,000
Eligible segments flown on Alaska Airlines plus Oneworld and global partners306090
Minimum number of flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines246

Once you earn elite status with Alaska Airlines, your status will be valid through the following calendar year. For example, if you earn Alaska Airlines MVP status in October of 2021, your status would be valid through December of 2022.

After flying 1,000,000 miles on Alaska Airlines, you’ll earn be a Million Miler and earn MVP Gold status for life.

Elite Status Changes for 2021

Many airlines are offering elite status extensions and bonuses for 2021, and Alaska Airlines is no exception:

  • Elite qualifying miles earned from January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020, have been rolled over to 2021
  • Members earn 50% more EQMs (elite qualifying miles) on Alaska flights through September 30, 2021

Hot Tip: A new elite tier will be added in 2022 for those who fly 100,000 miles or more. Details about this new elite tier should be announced later in 2021.

Status Match to Alaska Airlines

If you have elite status with another airline, you can apply for a status match to Alaska Airlines.

You can match to MVP status from the following statuses:

You can match to MVP Gold status from the following statuses:

You can match to MVP Gold 75K status from the following statuses:

Once you apply for a status match, you’ll have 90 days to fly a certain number of miles to keep your status.

  • To keep MVP status, fly 5,000 miles
  • To keep MVP Gold status, fly 10,000 miles
  • To keep MVP Gold 75K status, fly 20,000 miles

Once you fly the required miles on Alaska, your elite benefits will be extended based on when you started your status match challenge. If you started by the end of June, your benefits will be extended to the end of that calendar year. If you started your challenge between July and December, your benefits will be extended through the following calendar year.

Bottom Line: You can status match to Alaska Airlines from a number of other airline statuses. After status matching, you’ll have 90 days to fly a specified number of miles to keep your benefits. To maximize the time you can take advantage of your matched status, start your status match challenge between July and December so your benefits will be extended to the end of the following calendar year.

Alaska Airlines Credit Cards

Many airlines’ co-branded credit cards offer fast-tracks to elite status. For example, the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® offers 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000.

Unfortunately, the Alaska Airlines co-branded credit cards (Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card or Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card) don’t help out when it comes to earning status. They do, however, offer a great way to earn lots more Alaska Airlines miles as well as great perks like free checked bags, and a yearly companion fare, so don’t overlook them.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, there is no way to fast-track to Alaska Airlines’ elite status with co-branded credit cards.

Alaska Airlines Elite Status Benefits

Alaska Airlines first class seats
Having Alaska Airlines elite status can help you get seats in the front of the plane. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines elite members have access to select benefits, regardless of elite level:

  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Preferred seating
  • Express security screening at select airports
  • Dedicated reservation phone line
  • Elite Leave for new parents, allowing you to keep elite status for an additional year during pregnancy or parental leave

In addition, elite members have the following benefits:

Alaska Airlines Elite BenefitMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
Oneworld Alliance statusOneworld RubyOneworld SapphireOneworld Emerald
Elite miles bonus50%100%125%
First class upgrades at time of bookingY, B faresY, B, H, K faresY, B, H, K, M fares
Premium class upgrades at the time of bookingY, B, H faresY, B, H, K, M, L, V, S, N faresAny fare except Saver fares
First and premium class upgrades on non-qualifying fares on Alaska Airlines48 hours before departure72 hours before departure120 hours before departure
Free checked bags223
Discounted membership for Alaska Lounges$50 off$100 off$150 off
Companion upgrades to premium and first classYesYes
First class guest upgradesYesYes
Complimentary premium beverage in Main CabinYesYes
Standby and waitlist for full flightsYesYes
Complimentary same-day flight changesYesYes
50,000 bonus miles upon qualificationYes
4 Alaska Lounge passesYes
Opportunity to nominate someone for MVP statusYes

Hot Tip: Having elite status helps you get first class upgrades on Alaska Airlines.

Oneworld and Global Partner Benefits

In addition to benefits on Alaska Airlines, elite members get benefits on Oneworld Alliance partners and global partners.

Oneworld Alliance Partners

Oneworld Partners
Alaska AirlinesMalaysia Airlines
American Airlines
British AirwaysQatar Airways
Cathay PacificRoyal Air Maroc
FinnairRoyal Jordanian
IberiaS7 Airlines
Japan AirlinesSriLankan Airlines
Oneworld Connect Partner
Fiji Airways

Global Partners

Alaska Airlines elite members have access to the following Oneworld Alliance benefits.

Oneworld BenefitMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
Oneworld elite statusOneworld RubyOneworld SapphireOneworld Emerald
Earn and redeem miles on Oneworld partner flightsYesYesYes
Elite bonus miles on eligible Oneworld flightsYesYesYes
Priority check-inYesYesYes
Preferred or pre-reserved seatingYesYesYes
Waitlist and standby priorityYesYesYes
Priority boardingYesYes
Oneworld business class lounge accessYesYes
Extra baggage allowance and priority handlingYesYes
Oneworld first class lounge accessYes
Fast track at securityYes

American Airlines Benefits

Alaska Airlines elite members have access to the following benefits on American Airlines:

Access to Main Cabin Extra seating24 hours aheadAt the time of bookingAt the time of booking
Complimentary checked bags123
Complimentary domestic upgradesOn the day of departure
Complimentary same-day flight changesYes
International upgrade certificates72 hours before travel; coming in 2021

Other Partner Airlines Benefits

MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members plus 1 guest will have access to the following partner lounges:

  • Select Emirates lounges (through July 31, 2021)
  • Select Hainan Airlines lounges
  • Select Icelandair lounges

Is Alaska Airlines Elite Status Worth It?

Whether or not Alaska Airlines elite status is worth it or not depends on how you use the program. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of Alaska’s elite status to see what they are actually worth for an average traveler.

Free Checked Baggage

Checked baggage on Alaska Airlines
You’ll save money on checked baggage fees with Alaska Airlines elite status. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines elite members get a minimum of 2 free checked bags per flight. Typically, Alaska Airlines bag fees are $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second. If you fly 6 times a year (roundtrip) and check 2 bags each time, having elite status would save you $840!

If you don’t have Alaska Airlines elite status but would still like to avoid paying baggage fees, consider the Alaska Signature card or the Alaska Airlines Business card. Both of these cards come with a free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation.

Premium Class Upgrades

Alaska Airlines elite members can upgrade to Premium Class at the time of booking, which comes with roomier seats, complimentary beer and wine, plus priority boarding. Premium Class upgrades cost $29 flight, so if you fly 6 round trips per year, you’ll save $348.

Elite Miles Bonus

As an Alaska Airlines elite member, you’ll earn 50% to 125% in bonus miles. If you’re an MVP who flys 20,000 miles per year, that’s a bonus of 10,000 miles. According to our most recent valuations, Alaska miles are worth ~1.8 cents each. That means your bonus 10,000 miles are worth about $180. If you’re an MVP Gold 75K who flies 75,000 miles, your 125% bonus will give you an extra 93,750 miles with a value of about $1,688!

Final Thoughts

Airline elite status is a great thing to have to make each flight you take more comfortable and valuable. Thankfully, getting Alaska Airlines elite status is relatively straightforward. Each calendar year, you’ll need to fly at least 20,000 eligible miles or 30 segments in addition to at least 2 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines. Benefits of Alaska Airlines elite status include free checked baggage and seat upgrades.

Before you board your next Alaska Airlines flight, be sure to check out our complete guide to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan loyalty program as well as these ways to earn 100k Alaska miles in 90 days.

The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently asked questions

How do you get Alaska Airlines elite status?

Earning elite status on Alaska Airlines is simple. All you need to do is fly at least 20,000 eligible miles or 30 segments in addition to at least 2 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines within a calendar year.

How long does Alaska Airlines elite status last?

Once you’ve earned Alaska Airlines elite status it’s valid through the following calendar year. For example, if you earn elite status in November of 2021, it will last through December of 2022.

What does Alaska MVP status get you?

Alaska Airlines MVP status is the lowest level of elite status but it still comes with lots of benefits including priority check-in, boarding, and seating, seat upgrades, free checked bags, elite bonus miles, discounted Alaska lounges membership, and Oneworld Ruby status.

Does Alaska Airlines recognize American status?

Yes, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines elite members will enjoy some reciprocal benefits on these 2 airlines. American Airlines elite members can get upgrades from Main Cabin seats to the next class of service and Executive Platinum members will get an unlimited number of auto-requested free upgrades.

Does Alaska match status?

Yes, if you hold status with another airline, you can request a status match challenge from Alaska. This is a 1-time opportunity that will give you status for 90 days while you complete your status match challenge which allows you to keep your new status longer.

Complete this form to begin your status match challenge.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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