The Loyalty Program Guide to Alaska Airlines

By Angela Marie Feher

August 20, 2019

Travel enough and you start to notice the difference between the haves and the have-nots. That is, those travelers who have elite status (and the perks that come along with it) and those that don’t. If you’re in the latter part of that passenger profile, you might be asking yourself questions like: What are the perks of signing up for a frequent flyer program? How can I receive complimentary upgrades? Is there a secret password for accessing an airline’s lounge? Is it really worth it to pursue the top-tier status?

With these questions in mind, our team set out to better understand not only what it means to have elite status with a US-based airline, but what we could be missing having say, Gold status versus Platinum. In this multi-part series, we answer these questions—and more—about domestic carriers’ loyalty programs.

Alaska Airlines 

How to earn miles with Alaska Airlines

Travelers part of Alaska’s frequent flyer program are known as Mileage Plan™ members. As a member of this loyalty program, you can earn one mile for every mile flown on Alaska, even on the lowest fare. Members can earn bonus miles depending on fare class and elite status. Plus, you can earn when you shop, dine, rent a car, stay in a hotel, and more. There are so many ways to earn miles, both in the air and on the ground.

Alaska miles can be used for award travel and other redemptions. For example, you can fly round-trip in economy from BOS to MIA for as little as 25,000 miles; JFK to SFO for 25,000 miles; and from DTW to LAX for just 20,000 miles. Want to make the most of your miles? Alaska maintains a list of current deals to help you plan a getaway within your mileage budget.  

As a member of this loyalty program, you can earn one mile for every mile flown on Alaska, even on the lowest fare. Members can earn bonus miles depending on fare class and elite status.

How to achieve elite status with Alaska Airlines 

Once you become a Mileage Plan member, you immediately start accruing towards an elite status. Alaska’s elite status program has three tiers: MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K

Here’s what it takes to achieve each tier:  

TierEligible miles earned on Alaska AirlinesEligible miles earned on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partnersSegments flown on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners
MVP20,00025,00030
MVP Gold40,00050,00060
MVP GOLD 75K75,00090,00090

Here for the benefits

You’ve flown the miles, now it’s time to cash in on the perks. Each MVP tier yields its own benefits. Perks like earning more miles from your flights and upgrades depend on your elite status. Here’s a sampling of the perks you’re eligible for at each tier:

MVP

  • Receive a 50% bonus on base miles earned with Alaska Airlines and our elite-qualifying airline partners
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Two free checked bags for you and companions on the same reservation
  • Access to preferred seating
  • First Class and Premium Class upgrades, when available

MVP Gold

  • Receive a 100% bonus on base miles earned with Alaska Airlines and our elite-qualifying airline partners
  • Priority check-in and boarding, and express security line at select airports
  • Two free checked bags for you and companions on the same reservation
  • Complimentary same-day flight change and standby when a confirmed flight change isn't available
  • Partner lounge access available in London, Reykjavik, Shanghai, and more
  • Unlimited First Class and Premium Class upgrades upon availability for yourself and a companion 
  • A complimentary premium beverage in the Main Cabin
  • Waivers for Mileage Plan service charges and ticket change fees

MVP Gold 75K

  • Receive a 125% bonus on base miles earned with Alaska Airlines and our elite-qualifying airline partners and 50,000 bonus miles when you attain status
  • Priority check-in and boarding, and express security line at select airports
  • Two free checked bags for you and companions on the same reservation
  • Complimentary  same-day flight change and standby when a confirmed flight change isn't available
  • Discounted Alaska Lounge membership and Four complimentary Alaska Lounge day passes
  • Partner lounge access available in London, Reykjavik, Shanghai, and more
  • Unlimited First Class and Premium Class upgrades upon availability for yourself and a companion 
  • Complimentary premium beverage in the Main Cabin and inflight entertainment player (available on coast-to-coast and Hawaii flights)
  • Waivers for Mileage Plan service charges and ticket change fees
  • Opportunity to nominate someone for MVP status

Alaska also offers all elite members a dedicated phone line for reservations and customer service. Elite Leave is available for new parents. For a full list of benefits, Alaska Mileage Plan page

Partner airlines

Mileage Plan members can earn miles traveling to more than 900 worldwide destinations on select partner airline flights. Partner airlines include: 

Aer LingusHainan Airlines
American AirlinesJapan Airlines
British AirwaysKorean Air
Cathay PacificLATAM Airlines
CondorPenAir
EL AL Israel AirlinesQantas
EmiratesRavn Alaska
 Fiji AirwaysSingapore Airlines
 Finnair

Hubs and lounges

While headquartered at Seattle (SEA), Alaska has several focus cities across the US, including: 

Looking to put your lounge access to use? You can currently find seven Alaska lounges in the five airports below. Alaska Lounge members also have access to 32 Admirals Club locations and 31 Qantas Club locations worldwide. 

Pro tip: Use the TripIt app’s interactive airport maps to locate lounges in the airport(s) you’re traveling through. You’ll have everything you need to navigate your way with estimated walk times and step-by-step directions.

Ready to join? You can sign up for a Mileage Plan membership here. We’ve also created guides for Delta and JetBlue