Airline:  Alaska www.alaskaair.com

FF Program:  MileagePlan

Flights: A bunch to 96 airports

Aircraft: 245

Alliance:  None, but mini-network with AA, DL, EK which count EQM.

Club:  Boardroom (Cost=$295-400/ year depending upon Mileage Plan status)

Why fly Alaska?: The major airline flying out of ANC, SEA, and PDX. HAs special deals for Alaska residents if you are fortunate enough to live there. Has an alliance-like agreement with AA, DL, and EK which counts EQM on Mileage Plan and allows upgrade priviledges on DL within CONUS. Lower EQM requirements for status than other airlines.

FF Program at a glance: Alaska Airline’s program is a typical one where frequent flyers earn one mile for every mile flown. Bonuses are granted for RDMs based upon fare class and status. Bonuses are granted for EQM based upon fare class. Bonus RDMs are commonly announced as promotions for certain routes, but bonus EQM almost never granted.

Status is achieved at three levels, MMVP, MVPGold, and MVPGold75K and easily win the award for most akward title for a frequent flyer status level. Status requirements are lower than most airlines due to the more limited network provided that you only count AS miles. If you include partner EQMs, the levels are similar to other airlines’ requirements. Status lasts from the date earned through the next calendar year to January 31st of the year after that. Soft landings generally do not occur and status can drop to GM immediately.

Annual Qualification MVP® MVP® Gold MVP® Gold75K
Flight miles flown solely on Alaska Airlines during a calendar year (January 1 through December 31) 20,000 miles 40,000 miles 75,000 miles
Flight miles flown on a combination of Alaska Airlines, AeroMexico, Air France, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, KLM, or LAN during a calendar year 25,000 miles 50,000 miles 90,000 miles
Flight segments flown on a combination of Alaska Airlines, AeroMexico, Air France, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, KLM, or LAN during a calendar year 30 segments 60 segments 90 segments

Miles must be credited to your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account to qualify for MVP, MVP Gold, or MVP Gold 75K.

Mileage Accrual MVP® MVP® Gold and 75K
Bonus Flight Miles earned on Alaska Airlines, AeroMexico, Air France, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, KLM, or LAN 50% 100%
Elite bonus miles (i.e. 50% for MVP and 100% for MVP Gold and Gold75K) do not apply towards future elite status qualification.

AS offers complimentary upgrades to First on all flights.  Priority is by fare class and then by status.  MVP Gold and Gold 75K members get four one way “guest” upgrade certificates per year to use for themselves or friends.  Members with residency in Alaska may join Club49 for additional discounts including two one way 30% off certificates that can only be used within four days of a flight.

Tips and Tricks:

1.  The Alaska Airlines Visa from B of A is one of the best cards out there.  For a $75 you get a Companion Certificate for a $99 companion fare.  The great thing about this Companion Certificate is that both parties earn EQM meaning this is a great deal for you and a FF buddy to get miles for half price.  The real beauty is that you can each credit your miles to AS, DL,or AA depending on your choice of FF program.

2. The AS Boardroom membership includes admitance to another airlines club (generally AA or DL) in most other airports that AS flies to.

3.  Their agreement with EK is unusual in that they are the only U.S. airline which grants EQM for flying EK.  One RT to Dubai from the U.S. almost gives you enough miles for MVP!  If you fly to the UAE, this is a better place to put the miles you earn than any other.  Likewise, AS miles are great for redeeming for a trip to the UAE.

4.  Gold and Gold75 members get one free drink when flying coach.  Gold75K’s get a free Digiplayer.

5.  AS hosts Gold Luncheon (and Breakfasts) to MVP Gold and above members where their executives disclose airline and FF program changes prior to public disclosure.  Tehse are also feedback sessions where I personally feel they listen.

6.  MVP Gold75K members also get a 50k RDM bonus and four day passes to the Boardroom.

7.  Miles on AS tend to be more highly valued as there are a lot fewer lucrative deals for free miles such as CC bonuses.  AS flights to remote Alaska can be quite expensive, so redeeming miles for these flights is often a great payback.  If you haven’t been to Nome or Barrow, then these are once-in-a-lifetime vacations.  Just don’t expect a four star hotel!

Posted by glenn | 4 Comments

4 responses to “Everything Alaska”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Interesting program. Very different from what I’m used to with AA, DL, and UA.
    I’d really love to spend some time in Alaska. I don’t think my same-day-turnaround mileage runs to ANC actually count!

  2. ALCO says:

    Most coach fares on EK (M, B, U, K, Q, L, T, V, X, or H) only earn 50% mileage.

  3. Joey says:

    Thanks for this. I live on the east coast and rarely ever see AS planes so I’m not too familiar with the program.
    As for EK flights, if it’s saver, then it earns 50%, if it’s flex, 100%.

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