I’ve been an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold member for several years, and before that I earned status with other airline loyalty programs, too. I hope you’ll believe me when I say that earning status with Alaska Mileage Plan is one of the easier experiences I’ve had. It is different from the competition, but I consider it different it a good way.
As you set New Year’s resolutions, consider adding elite status to your list. Here are four ways to make it happen in 2019:
1. Fly the distance
You’re probably familiar with award miles already. Airlines issue them. Credit cards issue them. There are lots of ways to earn miles for future award travel redemptions. But elite status is different. You need to earn a different kind of mileage, called elite-qualifying miles.
A key advantage of Mileage Plan is that a mile flown is a mile earned, so you will always earn at least one mile for every mile that you fly on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air. This is true for both award miles and elite-qualifying miles – and is in stark contrast to other programs that tie the number of miles you earn to the price of your ticket. Other programs may also impose a minimum spending requirement in addition to a mileage requirement. Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t do that. You just need to focus on flying a certain total distance during the year.
2. Rack up segments
There is an option to earn status with elite-qualifying segments, not just miles. A round-trip ticket earns at least one segment in each direction, for example, and a connecting flight would earn more.
Alaska Airlines is tracking all three of these totals in your Mileage Plan account: elite-qualifying miles from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, elite-qualifying miles from Alaska plus all partner airlines, and elite-qualifying segments. You’ll earn the appropriate status for whichever threshold you reach first. Take a look at my own progress during 2018 to see how this works.
If I had counted elite-qualifying segments, I wouldn’t have earned any status with just 17 segments during the year. But for frequent business travelers traveling short distances, segments can add up quickly!
3. Fly an Alaska Global Partner
You don’t need to travel on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air to earn elite-qualifying miles toward elite status – you can fly one of their partner airlines. Thanks to travel on Alaska and partner airlines, including a spring trip on Emirates, I earned MVP Gold status with a total of 57,468 elite-qualifying miles.
Alaska Global Partners include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Singapore Airlines as well as many others. You can earn elite-qualifying miles when you fly with many of these carriers and add your Alaska Mileage Plan number to your reservation.
One thing to note: The rules for earning elite-qualifying miles are different on Global Partners, and the number of elite-qualifying miles you earn on partner flights will vary depending on the ticket you purchase. A complete guide for each partner airline is available so you can check how many elite-qualifying miles your ticket will get you before you buy.
4. Cash in on your companion fare
Any tickets you pay for using Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™, a benefit of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card, are also eligible toward award and elite-qualifying miles. That said, if your tickets are redeemed with award miles, you cannot earn additional award miles or elite-qualifying miles.
In conclusion, Alaska Airlines makes it easier to earn status in several ways. The important thing is simply to keep flying to earn MVP benefits in 2019!
The Alaska Airlines credit card program is issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A. Visa and Visa Signature are registered trademarks of Visa International Service Association and are used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.