If you’re a frequent flyer, consider signing up for a loyalty program! There are various options from different airlines so it’s important to do a little research before choosing which one to join. Finding the perfect fit can be dependent on factors like elite status and perks.
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In this guide, we’ll go over the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program and it’s value, so you can decide if it’s worth it to join.
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Alaska Airlines Elite Status Overview
If you tend to fly with Alaska Airlines often, or you travel with one of their partners often, then you will be able to easily qualify for their Mileage Plan elite status: MVPP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K. To gain status, you will need to earn enough miles or fly enough segments in one calendar year.
|MVP||MVP GOLD||MVP GOLD 75K|
With each status level that you earn, you will gain access to more benefits:
|Benefits||MVP||MVP GOLD||MVP GOLD 75K|
|Welcome bonus miles||50,000|
|Premium Class upgrades||x||x||x|
|First Class upgrades||x||x||x|
|First Class guest upgrades||4||4|
|Premium beverage in Main Cabin||x||x|
|Priority check-in & boarding||x||x||x|
|Express security line||x||x|
|2 checked bags||x||x||x|
|Partner lounge access||x||x|
|Alaska Lounge day passes||x||4|
|Waived ticket change fees||x||x|
|Nominate someone for MVP status||x|
Alaska Airlines Elite Status Value
As mentioned before, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program has three tiers: MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K.
The lowest tier you can earn through this program is the MVP status, which requries 20,000 miles on Alaska flights, 25,000 miles on Alaska and partner flights, or 30 segments on Alaska and partner flights. To calculate the value of MVP stat, we used 24,000 miles at a cost of $0.125 per mile. So the total spend is $3,000.
Below is a list of MVP perks along with their estimated values:
50% mileage bonus ($216). With 24,000 miles flown, the mileage bonus will get you an additional 12,000 Alaska miles, worth $216. Note: Not all fare classes on partner carriers will earn full miles, especially economy class.
Preferred seating ($50). You can select your preferred seat on Alaska flights, like an aisle seat or one closer to the front of the plane. Note: This perk is not available on Alaska’s Saver fares, and they do not include Premium Class or First Class seats.
Upgrades to Premium Class ($100). These seats give you four extra inches of legroom, as well as complimentary snacks and drinks. You’re eligible for immediate upgrades to Premium Class at the time of booking for fare classes Y, S, Z or B. All other fare classes won’t be upgraded until 48 hours prior to departure. This perk does not apply to companions on the same itinerary.
Upgrades to First Class ($150). You’re eligible for complimentary upgrades to First Class on Alaska-operated flights, when available. Y, S, and Z fares are eligible to clear immediately, while all other fare classes will start clearing 48 hours before departure. Companions cannot get free upgrades to First Class on your MVP status.
Priority airport services ($75). Enjoy priority check-in and boarding when you fly with Alaska Airlines. While it’s not the most valuable benefit, having access to priority airport services will save you some precious time on hectic travel days.
Two free checked bags ($100). You and your travel companions can check two bags for free when you travel on Alaska flights. It’s important to note that most other loyalty programs only offer one free checked bag to low-tier elites. This benefit can offer huge savings if you check multiple bags regularly when you fly, but we’re assuming most people travel more lightly.
Priority phone line ($50). Although most people won’t use this perk, accessing the priority phone line is a great option should you run into weather issues or other problems.
The next tier up in the Mileage Plan program is MVP Gold status, which requires 40,000 miles on Alaska flights, 50,000 miles on Alaska and partner flights, or 60 segments on Alaska and partner flights. To calculate the value of MVP Gold st1atus, we used 48,000 miles at a cost of $0.125 per mile. So the total spend is $6,000.
Below is a list of MVP Gold perks along with their estimated values:
100% mileage bonus ($864). With 48,000 miles flown, the mileage bonus will get you an additional 48,000 Alaska miles, worth $864.
Preferred seating ($100). Same perk as MVP status, but we calculated more frequent utilization.
Upgrades to Premium Class ($250). Similar benefit as MVP status, but you’re now eligible for immediate upgrades (Y, Z, S, B, M, H, Q, L, V, N and K). If you booked in a lower class, you’ll start clearing into available seats 72 hours ahead of your flight. And lastly, you can upgrade a companion on the same itinerary.
Upgrades to First Class ($550). Like upgrades to Premium Class, this perk has additional fare classes eligible for immediate upgrades (B and M). All lower fare class will start clearing up to 72 hours before departure. You’ll also be able to upgrade a companion traveling with you.
Four First Class guest upgrades ($400). You’ll get four First Class guest upgrades every year you qualify for MVP Gold. These certificates are fully transferable to friends and family, even when they’re not traveling with you. They’re valid on flights booked using the companion fare benefit from the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card, but this perk don’t apply to deeply-discounted and award tickets (G, R, T and X classes).
Premium beverage in Main Cabin ($25). If you can’t snag an upgrade, you can at least enjoy a complimentary beverage in economy. At $6 to $7 a pop, the value of this benefit depends on how frequently or not you get upgraded to Premium or First Class.
Priority airport services ($175). You’ll enjoy the same priority airport services as MVP members plus express security lines when flying Alaska, where available.
Two free checked bags ($200). Same perk as MVP status, but we calculated more frequent utilization.
Partner lounge access ($50). Get complimentary lounge access when you travel with certain partners, including the Galleries Lounge in London-Heathrow (LHR) with British Airways and the Saga Lounge in Reykjavik (KEF) with Icelandair. You’re allowed one guest with you.
Fee waivers ($300). Not having to pay a few additional fees can add up to a nominal amount. Waived fees include phone ticketing ($15), same-day confirmed changes ($25) and ticket change or cancellation fees ($125). That means you can essentially change or cancel any ticket – paid or award – without any penalties. Note: Only MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members are able to change or cancel their flight more than 60 days before departure.
Priority phone line ($100). Same perk as MVP status, but we calculated more frequent utilization.
The highest tier you can earn in the Mileage Plan program is the MVP Gold 75K, which requires you to earn 75,000 miles on Alaska flights, 90,000 miles on Alaska and partner flights, or 90 segments on Alaska and partner flights. To calculate the value of MVP Gold status, we used 90,000 miles at a cost of $0.125 per mile. So the total spend is $11,250.
Below is a list of MVP Gold 75K perks along with their estimated values:
125% mileage bonus ($2,025). With 90,000 miles flown, the mileage bonus will get you an additional 112,500 Alaska miles, worth $2,025.
50,000 bonus miles ($900). Receive a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles when you reach MVP Gold 75K status. Note: This does not apply to status match memberships.
Preferred seating ($175). Same perk as MVP Gold status, but we calculated more frequent utilization.
Upgrades to Premium Class ($500). Similar benefit as MVP Gold status, but you’re now eligible for immediate upgrades to Premium Class on all tickets (except Saver fare).
Upgrades to First Class ($1,100). An additional fare class (H) is eligible for immediate upgrades. All other tickets start clearing into First Class 120 hours before departure. This upgrade priority also applies to your companion traveler.
Four First Class guest upgrades ($400). Same perk as MVP Gold status.
Premium beverage in Main Cabin ($25). Same perk as MVP Gold status.
Priority airport services ($325). Same perk as MVP Gold status, but we calculated more frequent utilization.
Two free checked bags ($325). Same perk as MVP Gold status, but we calculated more frequent utilization.
Partner lounge access ($50). Same perk as MVP Gold status.
Four Alaska Lounge day passes ($100). These passes get you access to Alaska Lounges in Seattle, New York-JFK, Portland, Los Angeles or Anchorage. Most of these lounges are part of the Priority Pass program, so they’re accessible to several premium credit cardholders including The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve®. They’re also often subject to overcrowding. Because of this, we’ve valued this benefit lower than its retail price ($45 each).
Fee waivers ($450). Same perk as MVP Gold status, but we calculated more frequent utilization.
Nominate a friend for MVP status ($250). Gift MVP status to a friend or family member. The true value of this benefit depends on how frequently the lucky person flies with Alaska or its partner airlines. We estimated the value at a third of our valuation for MVP status.
Priority phone line ($200). Same perk as MVP Gold status, but we calculated more frequent utilization.
Is Alaska Airlines Elite Status Worth It?
Given the value estimates above, do you think Alaska Airlines elite status worth pursuing? Here are a few questions that will help you make your decision:
- Does Alaska Airlines fly to where you want to go? Their three tiers of elite status isn’t worth working towards if you don’t fly with Alaska Airlines frequently. Check Alaska Airlines’ service from your home airport and see how easily you can get to your choice destinations.
- Do Elite Status benefits matter to you? If you don’t think that you’ll utilize the benefits offered by Alaska Airlines’ elite status then putting the effort to receive elite status doesn’t make sense.
- How often do you travel? If you’re not a frequent flyer, then the higher status won’t be worth it. The benefits only apply when you travel. So, if you don’t use your perks the value of elite status drops.
- Do you prioritize price and convenience? Will you use Alaska Airlines even when it’s not the cheapest or the most convenient one? If you’re not willing to trade price and convenience for loyalty program perks, then Alaska Airlines elite status won’t be worth it for you.
Each person places their own value on each benefit. While you may value baggage over complimentary upgrades, another person might think lounge access is more important. Therefore, our analysis of Alaska Airlines elite status is more general. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your own needs so feel free to play with the numbers a little bit.
We need to determine a certain amount of flying and a corresponding amount of spending in order to assign values to different perks. We assumed the following while assigning value:
- You earn 20% more elite-qualifying miles than the minimum required for that status level.
- You spend an average of $0.125 per elite-qualifying mile.
As mentioned before, feel free to adjust the numbers according to your flying habits. If you only travel domestically, you’re probably spending less than $0.125 per mile. And if you’re paying for international First Class travel on a regular basis, you’re likely spending much more.
For this particular analysis, we value Alaska miles based on our most recent valuations, which is $0.018 apiece.
Alternative Access to Alaska Lounges
In our post above, we mentioned a couple of credit cards that are great for those of you who travel. For those that are interested in the Alaska Airlines Elite Stats for the passes into their Alaska Lounges in New York-JFK, Portland, Los Angeles or Anchorage, these two cards also offer a Priority Pass program. With this pass, you will be able to access the Alaska Lounges.
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
• 10X points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
• 5X Membership Rewards Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
• 5X Membership Rewards Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
This card comes with an annual fee of $695 (See Rates & Fees), but you cardholders can enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only. Terms Apply.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit.
• 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
• 5X total points on air travel
• 3X points on other travel and dining
• 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
When redeeming your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 50% more value.
This card does carry a $550 annual fee and there are no foreign transaction fees. However, you're able to earn a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year & up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre?®.
The value of a loyalty program is different for every person’s needs. Overall an elite status will make traveling easier and more rewarding, but the perfect program is different for everyone.
Hopefully, this post was able to help you get a better idea of whether or not MVP elite status is worth it for you. For more posts like this, check out our list of credit card bonuses!