Alaska Mileage Plan Cuts Elite “Thank You” Gifts For 2016

Filed Under: Alaska

Alaska very much feels like a “hometown airline.” Despite their growth, they have a ridiculously loyal following from those in the Pacific Northwest, which I could never fully wrap my head around. However, their Mileage Plan program is fantastic, in terms of earning miles, redeeming miles, and elite benefits.

For several years Alaska has been sending out “thank you” gifts to MVP Gold members towards the end of the year. They did this in 2015, 2014, and 2013, where they had the choice between two Gold Guest Upgrades, two Board Room day passes, and two Gogo Wi-Fi passes.


In years prior to that, Alaska would send out cookies to elite members, so the above were gifts were the very nice replacement for that.

It’s certainly a nice touch, though the gift as such isn’t a published benefit. At the same time, members came to expect it.

It’s my understanding that this year Alaska won’t be offering Mileage Plan MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members “thank you” gifts. That’s an interesting move, given that at the moment it’s a pretty uncertain time for elite members.

While I have no inside knowledge into their logic, I’d speculate that:

Bottom line

Ultimately Alaska’s elite “thank you” gift was never a published benefit, though at the same time members became accustomed to it. The Mileage Plan program has been nicely improved this year, so personally I think they’re not being unreasonable, especially as they’re shrinking the size of their first class cabins as well. However, some will no doubt view this as a devaluation.

What do you guys think — does a consistent annual gift at some point become expected, or are the people who are disappointed being unfair?

  1. What is the source? All I have seen is one post from someone on Flyertalk who said they heard this from someone at Alaska. Journalism should include independent verification.

  2. Well try this I have been in the top 3% for many many years and I did not get anything this year from AS, not even a electronic Christmas card! I miss the cookies, but you can buy them from Pacific Cookie Co. As for the certs nice but hey not a deal breaker.

    There could be another reason for this is they are so damn busy with the last minute merger thanks to the Obama DOJ that this was not at the top of their list. Fine as a businessman I can deal with that. The FC cabins are shrinking but with extra leg room I like. There is the premium coach product coming that’s nice.

    End of the the, the “home town ” airline has flown the coop. Been saying that for a few years now.

  3. The upgrade certificates are pretty worthless. I never seem to book on a fare that they are eligible to use. I think I have about 10 that are going to expire. I’d like to see the certs usable on any fare, that way they would have some value.

    I’m already a Board Room Member, although I question the value and will not likely renew my membership.

    GoGo certificates- I’m on the monthly plan, so these don’t hold any value for me either.

  4. Gotta love it; no Christmas bling, blame Obama. If I already have a go-go pass, upgrades and a lounge membership…pretty much a tree in the forest with no one around.

  5. Update: A couple people on FlyerTalk report talking to CSRs who said no gift per a company memo. Many people are seeing more GGUs in their accounts than they should have, many with up to 12 for the year (including myself but 4 or 6 came from my status match earlier in the year). No consistent explanation as to when and how they came about.

  6. I received a thank you gift. I just recently became Gold 75k and was offered a gift. What’s odd is I stumbled upon it in my account and didn’t receive an email about it.

  7. I am not happy about this. With Alaska pushing elites behind (literally and figuratively) non-loyal fliers willing to pony up more money, the hometown airline feel is going to go away. Even less first class seats in what everyone knows is not really a competitive first class does not help. The nice little touches like the “thank you gift” makes us frequent fliers feel special and remain loyal. Alaska may lose us. Delta is trying hard to woo away Alaska’s clientele in its new Seattle hub. It may be time to take another look at other airlines.

  8. Alaska likes to spend alot of $$ on P.R. “spins”, like convincing their guests
    that they invented First Class.
    If they seriously wanted to push the “Hometown” tag, they could change the
    name to Seattle Airlines.

  9. Alaska Airlines customer service has definitely dropped off.

    Virgin America FF can transfer to Alaska Airline mileage plan and immediately begin receiving benefits.

    Alaska Airlines elite FF get zero benefits on Virgin flights and are often relegated to ‘day of travel’ seat assignments… middle seats, by the toilet.

    Alaska Airlines values Virgin America FF business over their own loyal customers

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