Alaska Airlines is further clarifying the requirements for their new 100K status which launches in 2022. MVP 100K status was announced on January 6, 2021. Yet, at that time, there was no information about the new elite level. It was coming, but no other details were shared. Since then, requirements and additional benefits have been slowly shared. It took until September 16, 9 months and 10 days later for Alaska Airlines to share 100K requirements and new benefits.
Now, two months after sharing benefits and requirements, Alaska Airlines is further clarifying the 24-segment requirement for 100K status.
Elite Status Segment Requirement
For the 2022 program year, Alaska Airlines is requiring a minimum number of segments for elite flyers. To ensure Alaska Airlines is rewarding their frequent flyers and not just those who fly other airlines, they have set an extremely low bar for segment requirements for most levels. An MVP flyer needs 2 segments, Gold requires 4, and 75K needs only 6 flights on Alaska Airline’s metal. Yet, a 100K elite is required to fly 24 segments with Alaska Airlines.
One would expect a higher ramp up for the 75K elite level as well, but that’s not the case. Alaska Airlines is only interested in making the 100K group extremely exclusive to their frequent flyers. Meanwhile, all other elite status is available to infrequent flyers of Alaska Airlines. Including those who fly mostly long haul international partners.
Rollover Segment Clarification
Due to the pandemic, Alaska Airlines has several ongoing promotions to help flyers keep their elite status. This includes a 50% bonus of elite qualifying miles and rollover miles and segments. Even credit card spending counts towards elite status. Yet, the confusion has been around rollover segments. There has not been clarity if rollover segments count.
A botch rollout of the new Alaska Airlines mobile app made it appear that rollover segments would count. In late October, Alaska rolled out IOS App version 5.0.1 with a segment counter for Alaska Airlines flight. Within days Alaska pushed an update to 5.0.2 which removed the Alaska Airlines segment counter because it displayed incorrect information.
The Android app version 4.0.1 also included the specific Alaska Airlines segment counter, and it counted both rollover segments and 2021 segments.
Yet, like the apple version, Alaska Airlines quickly replaced it with version 4.0.2 and removed the minimum segment counter. Thus, creating further confusion for those who thought they had qualified and those who had not.
Now, Alaska Airlines has updated their website and added language which states rollover segments will not count towards the 24 segments.
“The minimum number of Alaska flight segments to earn or retain status for 2022 must be flown in calendar year 2021. Segments rolled over from 2020 are not eligible.”
You can see previous versions of the website here, without this language.
Timeline of events
January – announcement of new elite level for those who fly 100,000 miles or more.
September – 100K benefits and new 24 segment requirement announced.
October – updates to mobile apps to show number of Alaska Airlines segment flown.
Early November – Alaska Airlines removes specific segment counter from the apps.
Late November – Alaska Airlines announces that rollover segments will not count toward segment requirements.
Many passengers are excited for 100K status. There are many frequent flyers who want a higher recognition than 75K and they fly more than other customers. As Alaska Airlines aligns more closely with American Airlines elite levels and integrates with OneWorld, these changes have been expected. However, Alaska Airlines has done a poor job communicating the new elite level and requirements. Leaving customers and employees confused on the requirement of 100K status.
Now, just weeks before the end of the program year, Alaska Airlines is telling passengers that they must fly 24 segments in 2021 to earn 100k status. And, that rollover segments will not count. This is something that Alaska Airlines should have clarified earlier.
There are a lot of moving parts in the Airline industry but proactively communicating with customers is important. Especially the most loyal customers. There is likely going to be several customers who hit 100,000 miles, but not the 24-segment requirement. As rollover miles count towards 100K status, it’s odd to me that the rollover segments do not count. Program changes and requirements should be announced months in advance, not weeks.