Things are happening with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and this post will cover some of the latest developments. Historically speaking, any time that Alaska Airlines makes changes, particularly with improvements, the weak link has been information technology (IT). This post will cover four areas involving Alaska’s frequent flyer program.
Second Chance For Status Requalification
The status qualifying period at Alaska Airlines runs from January 1 through December 31 each year. Due to the pandemic, many customers may be close and need a little help to get over the hurdle. Instead of extending current status for an additional year, Alaska Airlines has taken a different approach. Alaska Airlines has responded by extending the current status for an additional four months through April 30, 2022. This additional four months will allow those customers a chance to fulfill their status requalification through a special challenge. Here is how the status requalification challenge works:
- MVP (tier 2) members will need to earn 5,000 base flight miles,
- MVP Gold (tier 3) members will need to earn 10,000 base flight miles and
- MVP Gold 75K (tier 4) members will need to earn 20,000 base flight miles.
Alaska Airlines only has a mileage required for achieving status. Unlike other airlines, Alaska has no minimum dollar spend. This means that all airfares with the exception of Saver Fares (basic economy) earn at least one elite qualifying mile (EQM) for every mile flown. Additional EQMs can be earned through ticketing in a higher fare class. Alaska Airlines flights also earn a minimum of 500 miles. I fly between Portland, OR and Seattle WA frequently which is only 129 base miles. This route pays a minimum of 500 miles each way.
There is no registration required for this challenge and it only applies to existing members with their current elite status level. This challenge is calculated on base miles only.
The New MVP Gold 100K Status
Alaska’s IT department is meeting the challenge on MVP Gold 100K status. As customers are crossing the 100K finish line, Alaska is sending out congratulatory emails for those members. Here is the email that I received last week:
As a reminder, the mileage qualification activity from January 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020 did carry over for MVP Gold 100K status qualification. Those segments earned during that period did not. I will illustrate that in the next section of this post.
MVP Gold 100K benefits will be in effect on February 1, 2022. I was told by an Alaska Airlines customer care representative that the mileage bonuses earned in January will be increased to the 150% retroactively.
New Look For The Mileage Plan Interface
The IT department elves have been busy in the mileage plan workshop. The desktop version of the mileage plan interface has a new and fresher look to it.
The new opening page shows a very clear and concise summary of your mileage and status activity. This screenshot shows that I have a total of 49 segments flown in 2021. I flew seven of those segments as partner flights. You will see that only 30 segments are shown as Alaska Airlines-operated flights. Where did the other twelve segments go? Those twelve segments were part of the carryover miles flown from January 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020 and do not count towards MVP Gold 100K qualification.
In the new desktop interface, by clicking on membership benefits, you will be taken to a single-page snapshot of your elite status benefits.
Million Miler Status
It appears that there are two developments here. Achieving million-mile status has granted those members with tier 3 – MVP Gold status for life. Here is what’s new:
- Million-milers will receive a meal in economy class. This meal will be determined by the type of catering on board for any given flight and
- There is a new two-million-mile status. This status will grant lifetime tier 4 – MVP Gold 75K status for life.
Only miles that are flown on Alaska Airlines operated flights count toward million and two-million miler status.
Historically speaking, any improvements in the customer experience has been at the mercy of the IT department. It looks like things are starting to progress with IT. Those customers that need a little extra time to requalify their current status will have a four-month challenge to keep their status through December 31, 2022. Alaska’s status is easier to qualify for since there are no minimum dollar spending requirements.