Earlier this year we heard from several airlines about how they would adjust their elite status benefits and requirements in light of the dramatic decline in air travel. These policies have generally included a continuation of status for an extra year. In addition, airlines have varied in lowering their thresholds, with some lowering the travel requirements this year and others allowing elite qualifying credits to rollover and provide a head start in 2021.
Alaska Airlines initially said they would roll over any elite qualifying miles (EQM) earned by April 30, 2020, to the qualification period for next year. I always felt this was odd because no one should be traveling during March or April, and I’d think the airline really wants to encourage travelers to come back in the second half of the year when some restrictions may be lifted.
That April 30 deadline remains on the website today, at around 11 AM Pacific Time. However, I was one of several people who noticed different language in this morning’s press release when Alaska published its quarterly financial results. The language in their updates appears to extend the rollover period to include all travel during 2020. (I also reached out to Alaska Airlines for confirmation and am waiting for a response.)
Extended elite Mileage Plan status to all members until Dec. 31, 2021, and offered for all 2020 qualifying miles to apply to 2021 status achievement.
Correction: Alaska Airlines reached out after this article was published and confirmed that the press release was in error. Only elite qualifying miles earned by April 30, 2020, will roll over to the 2021 program year. Too bad!
This is a welcome development that will make it much easier for some people to earn MVP Gold or 75K status for the first time. I personally think I can get my way up to 75K, but I think you would be very pleased to reach MPV Gold. It has among the best elite benefits in the industry, particularly given it only requires between 40,000 and 50,000 miles to earn. Those perks include complimentary upgrades you can gift to a friend and the ability to change your ticket without a change fee at any time before departure.
Delta Air Lines has already announced that all of their members’ 2020 miles will roll over to 2021, so this may be Alaska’s competitive response. I have not seen something similar from United and American. Whatever the reason, it’s good news for travelers. I expect we’ll continue to see updates and promotions as the year goes on and airlines are better able to predict how travel patterns will resume.