Alaska Airlines Extends Elite Status and More

Delta and United announced that their elite status would be extended through the end of next year. Air Canada followed on Monday. Now Alaska Airlines has announced their own extension of elite status, along with companion certificates, and shared other things to expect for elite members in the weeks ahead.

  • Current status will be extended: Members with status in 2020 will have that status last through the end of 2021.

  • Trial status from elite challenges is being extended, too: Anyone who enrolled in an elite status challenge from December 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020 will have their trial elite status extended through the end of 2021. Wow.

  • Credit card companion certificates will be extended: any companion certificates expiring in 2020 will be extended to December 31, 2020, allowing travel to be ticketed through November 26, 2021.

  • There will be bonus mile opportunities for top elites: Alaska’s MVP Gold 75K members usually earn 50,000 bonus miles on achieving that tier. Having their 75K status extended won’t come with 50,000 additional bonus miles, but there will be information “in a few weeks” on “how 75K members can earn additional bonus miles for travel this year.”

  • There will be additional qualifying mile opportunities. Alaska doesn’t plan to reduce their qualifying thresholds, as United did. Instead they plan to offer “ways you can earn additional elite-qualifying miles this year.” It’s not clear whether those will be ‘double qualifying miles promotions’ (as they did already early in the crisis) or whether there will be qualifying mile opportunities for things other than flying (as Air Canada is offering).

Unfortunately Alaska still hasn’t done anything to stop expiring miles, leaving them fairly close to alone in the market in that regard.

Nonetheless they’re leaving American AAdvantage as the major U.S. program to not yet speak to member elite status going forward.

(HT: @SamFromQueens)

Update: I failed to mention above but elite qualifying miles that have been earned January 1 – April 30, 2020 will roll over and count towards earning status next year.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Hi @Gene,
    I am delighted at your feedback, we will make sure that it reaches the appropriate trashca…oops i meant to say division. Meanwhile, please stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you to our refurbished Oasis seats soon.

    Sincerely

    Chairman Parker

  2. Nice how the certificates will expire before the 2021 holiday season/sarc but I guess we should be thankful that they will be valid for 2021 summer travel.

    The mileage expiration is heinous for families that may travel only once a year and just had their spring and possibly summer trips wiped out.

    Overall I think AS has the most customer-friendly FF program but I find the response a bit lacking for occasional flyers

  3. While Alaska was late to the table they did the right thing so no complaints there.
    My issue being in a high risk group are My Wallet funds which will expire in January next year
    Until there is a cure or treatment or vaccine I wont be traveling much or at all going forward
    And while I’m not afraid of getting the virus I am frightened at the thought of being someplace anywhere in the world including my own country where the hospitals have limited medical personnel, beds, safe isolation and lack of a potential respirator.
    My road warrior days are for today over.Done!
    Now what to do with many millions of miles?If this goes on for years likely cash in for restaurant gift cards the equivalent of using your miles for a toaster 🙁

  4. The email sent to AS elites also included that EQMs earned 1/1/20-4/30/20 will rollover to 2021 to give them a jumpstart on qualify.ing for 2022 status!

  5. @Gary – So what happens if I’ve already made my 75K status by the beginning of March (because of course, rushing my flights made sense at the time).

    My understanding is that my 75K would already expire at the end of 2021, so there’s nothing to extend. Would the mileage I’ve earned this year now be applied to my status attempts next year?

    Just wondering. Thanks for any insight that you could provide.

  6. @VX_Flier – the EQMs from Jan – April earned in 2020 are rolled forward to 2021, so sounds like you’ve already qualified for 75k for 2022.

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