If you’re wondering how to make the most of Mileage Plan and even work your way up to elite status, the best advice typically comes from those who’ve done it. We talked to two 30-year Mileage Plan members: John from Juneau, a current MVP Gold 75K, and Bruce from Portland, who enjoyed MVP Gold status for years. While neither John or Bruce felt they had any sage advice, we begged to differ.
Here are a few tips from the Alaska Mileage Plan veterans:
Stick to Alaska and its partners when traveling for business
Business travel is often outside of your control, but companies are increasingly making it possible for employees to choose their airline and/or enter their Mileage Plan number when booking flights. Both Bruce and John racked up a lot of miles traveling for business by flying Alaska almost exclusively.
You’ll always earn a mile per mile flown on Alaska, but you can earn even more than that depending on the type of fare you book. First Class, and even certain economy fare classes earn additional bonus miles that get you even closer to elite status or that dream vacation faster.
And if your business travel takes you around the globe, booking with an Alaska Global Partner is a great way to ensure you’re still racking up your Mileage Plan miles. Earn even faster if you book Premium Class seats internationally. Earn rates vary by partner, but you can earn up to 3 miles per mile flown in Business Class or up to 5 miles per mile flown when you fly in First Class.
Spend more time in the air, not the airport
Neither Bruce nor John pay attention to racking up segments, though that is a way to earn elite status. Instead, John says he will look at the big picture of his trip: if there’s the option to have multiple segments but be stuck with a long layover, sometimes it’s worth it to book a longer, maybe slightly less direct route.
The way he looks at it: he’ll spend the time somewhere – in the airport or in the air. He’d rather spend more time on a plane, racking up miles.
Shop your way to your next vacation
Savvy members know that even if you don’t have any trips coming up, there are plenty of ways to keep your Mileage Plan balance growing. An easy one? Shopping! Through Mileage Plan Shopping, you can earn miles for your online and in-store shopping with over 850 participating merchants. Once signed up with Mileage Plan Shopping, you can mark stores as favorites to get alerts when additional bonus mile offers are running. There’s even a browser button you can download that will alert you when you are on a site eligible to earn miles, so you never miss out on mileage earning opportunities.
Save up miles for big trips abroad
Bruce is what you might call a Mileage Plan retiree – he had elite status for nearly 30 years and spent his miles sparingly. Now when he has more time to fly for fun, he’s using his miles to travel the globe.
He highly recommends flying an Alaska Global Partner and paying with miles. He and his wife traveled to Europe and purchased a one-way First Class ticket for around 60,000 miles, which he feels is a much better deal than paying for the ticket with cash.
Use miles for more than flights
Alaska Airlines Hotels gives you access to more than 400,000 properties worldwide, from unique boutique hotels to major chains. You can either earn miles for stays – up to an astounding 10,000 miles per night – or, redeem miles for all or a portion of your stay.