Alaska Mileage Plan Offering 50% Bonus Elite Miles

Filed Under: Alaska, Flight Deals

I expect virtually all travel loyalty programs to make it significantly easier to earn status this year. Some programs have already announced how they’ll make it easier, while other programs are acknowledging they’ll have to adjust elite tiers, but are saying that they’re waiting to make a decision of how much. I think either approach is fair.

In early March, Alaska Mileage Plan was one of the first loyalty programs to offer a promotion to make it easier to earn elite status. That didn’t surprise me at all, as Alaska consistently does a great job with their Mileage Plan program. That promotion has now been extended.

Alaska Mileage Plan is offering 50% bonus elite qualifying miles for Alaska Airlines flights between March 7 and May 31, 2020 (initially the promotion ran through April 11, 2020):

  • Registration is required prior to your first eligible flight (it’s fine if you booked travel prior to registering)
  • Valid for all flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air; not valid for travel on partner airlines
  • Only elite miles will receive a 50% bonus, and not redeemable miles

This comes as Alaska Airlines has announced plans to cut capacity by 70% in April and May, with the expectation of still seeing significantly reduced demand over the summer.

While I understand why Alaska introduced this promotion in early March, at this point the promotion isn’t very useful as such. Nobody should be flying for fun or mileage running, and encouraging people to do so isn’t helpful. My hope is that this promotion is extended far beyond the current period, to when it’s once again safe to travel.

What do you make of Alaska’s 50% bonus elite miles promo?

Comments
  1. Hooray for The Corona virus Double Miles promo!
    We will all be dead but yay for double miles
    If we make it alive we will need every one of them when Alaska guts their program redemption and goes to revenue based earning 🙁

  2. Combined with the current sale, this is a great mileage running opportunity!

    I wonder if they’ll get more generous (e.g. 2X miles or outright status extensions) if the virus continues to hurt demand?

  3. I just requalified for 75k last week and then this comes out. It’s all in the timing, I guess.

    Oh well, I would’ve got it anyway but this should help a lot of fliers looking to get their elite status.

    How long until AA copies this? Get ready.

  4. I need Delta to step up. I’m going to Australia in 3 weeks, in D1. That would be yuuuuuuuuuge.

  5. I’ve seen $20 fares for SoCal-NorCal.
    Viral Mileage run anyone?

    A little over $1000 for MVP Gold is not bad.

    You get roughly 27k miles which is about $490 so that means you are buying 20+ months of MVP Gold for around $500.

  6. Ok so I’ve looked more into this. It actually work for people with flexible time (aka bloggers)

    You can do 3 R/T on Tue/Wed for $35 each
    So 13.5 R/T ($472) will get you MVP and 20,250 EQM and 13,500 RDM ($243)
    Another 13.5 R/T ($945) will get you MVP Gold and 40,500 EQM and 33,750 RDM ($607)
    Another 18 R/T ($1575) will get you MVP75k and 90 segments and 69,750 RDM ($1255)

    You can do all this in 8 weeks starting from nothing. Buying status for cost minus RDM value would be
    MVP for $230
    MVP Gold for $340
    MVP 75k for $320 !!!!!!!

    This isn’t even factoring credit card bonus (assume AMEX/Citi at 8.5%) which will cost you less than $200 for MVP 75k.

    Did I make a mistake somewhere?

    ***I’m against any unnecessary travel at the moment and condemn this behavior in such times.
    But I know I can’t stop crazy mile junkies.
    So enjoy spreading the virus. Karma will kill you soon.

  7. Oops, I miss the part that it ends Apr 11.

    Now only if this gets extended. We are talking possible OW Emerald for next year.

  8. @Eskimo: For a little bit more, Alaska was offering $99 one way fares between SJC-OGG, and also SFO-EWR. So 2.5 roundtrips on the transcon, followed by a roundtrip SJC-LAX run, will get you MVP, for $545 in spend. (Or $594 to fly 3 roundtrips on the transcons.) This is quite doable if you wanted to do the run.

    And, I imagine that if you’re an elite already, your free upgrades will probably clear, so you’d likely be flying up front on some of these.

  9. @-

    The status sweet spot isn’t at MVP but at MVP Gold. The cancellation fee waiver is very useful, it almost makes this like a WN with real F upgrades. Otherwise a lot of their route and price overlaps with WN.

    I couldn’t care less for upgrades on MR (nice to get but the miles are much nicer). In the old days of MR, we would spend our weekends going to SIN for 3 hours and still have a good time. Gone are the times when you can boost your status over a few weekends.

    The problem with AS for many people is it’s a west coast heavy airline and fewer destinations than legacy 3. This makes their miles harder to earn. Blogs don’t emphasize that when they try to sell you the AS CC. They only sell you the CX F redemptions from sign up bonus. That card is not for the majority of people. I’d normally go with WN over AS.

  10. Since I already qualified for MVP75 at much great cost, it does not help me at all and will be flying this week anyway.

  11. @ All — Contrary to everyone’s presumptions, this virus wont “be over” in April or May or June…

  12. And this is exactly the problem I have been posting about. You all, including Ben, bitch and moan about people staying home, omg airlines are cutting service and should be, but are all up Alaska’s ass with this promo. It’s stupid and it does nothing but fees the fire.

  13. @ Gene….you are correct, but many of the businesses that are currently closed will be back open.

  14. 50% bonus elite miles, complimentary upgrades that will likely clear, and free corona to take home.

    What’s not to like?

  15. Two people above report plans to go to Hawaii or Australia. If the current regulations apply, that will mean isolating for two weeks upon arrival. Isolation has strict rules. Cannot go out even if you planned to maintain distances with others.

  16. There is a win-win-win here. Let us book flights that we can get the mileage credit and bonus and not have to fly. That way Alaska gets the revenue, we get the miles and credits and we don’t put anyone in harms way. That would be a popular promotion.

  17. mmm – no thanks. I would rather stay home and do the right thing than fly for points. Alaska Airlines is showing poor form IMO. Movement of people should not be encouraged now.

  18. It is a good promotion. There are who still need to travel owing to compulsions, employment risks etc. Rewarding them for their loyalty.

  19. I’m an MVP Gold and stuck in Mexico for the duration. Living in Alaska, which has a very restrictive quarantine for anybody flying into Alaska – with a $25,000 fine, I wouldn’t fly now if you paid me. I actually had a ticket to go home last week – TUC – SEA – JNU. The Tucson-Seattle flight was cancelled and the itinerary became TUC-PDX-SEA-KTN-JNU. I’m wouldn’t take that routing in the best of times and to fly through both PDX and SEA … no way. Whatever happens with Alaska status happens and good luck to all who are taking advantage of the offer. NOT ME!

  20. Just to confirm – a West Coast to East Coast trip that normally nets 5K towards your yearly status now nets 7.5k towards it – AND you don’t actually get any more actual miles in your account than the 5k you flew. Thanks for clarifying!

  21. At this point in the Covid-19 pandemic, NO ONE knows when the shelter-in-place orders will lift — the President not withstanding. Here in California, some counties have already extended partial closures of government agencies, and the state DMV had closed all field offices until at least May 1st. (The state self-quarantine order, as of now, is set to expire April 7th, though everyone here — that I’ve spoke to — expect that to be extended another 4 weeks.)

    With that in mind, and keeping in mind too that I cannot be the only Alaska customer that has had to cancel scheduled flights due to the Covid-19 virus, Alaska should extend the promotion through the end of the year…AND commit to maintaining everyone’s current status through the end of 2021 (unless they qualify for the next level up).

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