Alaska Airlines adds new 100,000 mile Elite Tier
On March 31st, Alaska Airlines will be joining the OneWorld alliance along with American Airlines, British Airways and more. Current MVP Gold 75k members are enjoying extended status from last year and will soon have OneWorld Emerald Status, but what about those who are the super Alaska flyers? The real road warriors who pound out more than 100,000 miles each and every year?
Today, Alaska Airlines announced that there will be a new tier in 2022 for those 100,000 and more flyers.
In a letter from the new CCO of Alaska Airlines Andrew Harrison, we found out that once the dust settles from the OneWorld merger, we can expect to see a fourth level to Alaska’s Award Winning Mileage Plan.
We know your elite status is important and you may be thinking about how to retain it for 2022, given that your flying may look different this year. Here’s what to expect for 2022:
• As a reminder, you need to fly at least 6 segments on Alaska flights in 2021 to re-qualify for 2022 status. • We’re giving you 50% more elite-qualifying miles on Alaska flights between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2021. • For members who fly 100,000 miles per year, we’re also introducing a new tier starting in 2022. This will recognize our absolute top echelon road warriors and offer perks such as increased bonus miles, top upgrade priority on Alaska flights, lounge benefits, and more. Look for more details later in 2021. • You’ll have access to the fully-activated oneworld Alliance where you can earn miles and use them on 13 global oneworld member airlines. In fact, earning elite-qualifying miles on our partners will help you reach the 100K tier much faster!
This is amazing on many levels. First, any miles that you fly between now and June will give you a 50% boost. Those miles will be on top of the current 75% bonus if you are on a paid first class ticket as well.
Second, Alaska Airlines already offers amazing partner bonuses for flying in premium cabins on partner airlines. Getting to the next tier should be that much easier to achieve.
Lastly, making sure that you have to fly at least 6 segments on Alaska Airlines is a good start to make sure that a ton of flyers from other airlines don’t start crediting to Alaska Airlines without any intention to ever set foot on an Alaska plane.
What benefits could be coming?
MVP Gold 75k members already earn a 125% bonus miles, so could this new 100k level be a 200% bonus? I think it’s more likely that it will be a 150% bonus, but time will tell. Alaska does like giving out miles to its top tier flyers so 200% isn’t out of the question.
Top upgrade priority is no surprise, as currently MVP Gold 75k members get cleared at 5 days before departure, so it’s likely that either the MVP Gold 100k members will get a 7 day priority or be on top of the list ahead of the 75k members.
Lounge benefits would be nice on all flights operated by Alaska Airlines, as currently MVP Gold 75k members only get four passes a year. With that said, the Alaska Airlines lounge network is fairly limited and only in their main hubs, so I’d love to see an expansion of benefits with American Airlines and their Admirals Club.
What I’d like to See
Alaska has always clumped all their elite into one category for a certain things. For example, MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k have all had the same priority check in counter. I’d like to see them kick out the 100k group and give them their own benefits. Perhaps that’s their own check in counter. Maybe a separate area inside the lounges, much like British and Air France do for their First Class passengers.
It would create just that extra level of elite-ness that flying that much deserves.
I’d also like to see some sort of account pooling or mileage pooling. If you’re a 100k member, perhaps you should be able to pool your family miles together or gift miles to a friend or family member. Many airlines do this, and it truly costs the airline nothing from a technical standpoint as we’ve seen the “special services” department at Alaska Airlines gift out miles and credits for many things in the past.
My Take on this
In 2020 we had 92,082 miles and in 2019 we have 95,201. Nothing was there for us to get to the 100k level, and we found ourselves either flying Delta or crediting to other programs. This is a smart move, so long as they don’t devalue the 75k level in order to grant extra benefits to the 100k level.