Leaked Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Changes for Travel on Virgin America

Brendan Dorsey shares leaked details of an announcement expected today by Alaska Airlines about the elite benefits that are coming for travel on Virgin America.

Virgin America will ultimately adopt the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program, but in the meantime they’re moving the two airlines and programs gradually closer together. You can link Virgin and Alaska accounts, move points, and Virgin America elites get Alaska Airlines status.

Alaska Airlines elites traveling on Virgin America have thus far received only priority check-in and boarding. However what they’re phasing in appears to be as follows:

Coming Spring 2017:

2 free checked bags

Coming Late Summer 2017:

Complimentary access to preferred Main Cabin seating
Eligibility for Main Cabin select upgrades
An advance purchase window to buy first-class upgrades

It’s a move towards having Alaska elites treated similarly to Virgin elites on Virgin metal. Virgin does not offer complimentary upgrades to its own elites. Eventually the paid upgrade model for elites will presumably go away once Virgin America Elevate folds into Mileage Plan.

Virgin America ‘Legally High’

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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  1. I believe VX offers comped upgrades to MCS from Main Cabin for its Elite. There are no upgrades to First Class.

  2. Being an elite on Alaska gives you little reason to fly on Virgin when AA or Delta compete on the same route. Usually the fares are the same, but on AA or Delta you get better seats and free luggage at no additional cost. On Virgin, I get a middle seat in the back of the plane even though I am a Gold 75K. They should have had elite members of Alaska be able to do a status match on Virgin. Can’t imagine there would have been any technological issues with that. It seems like Alaska is more interested in not losing the Virgin passengers, as opposed to providing its own members a better product.

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