Alaska MVP Gold 75K Lounge Pass Devaluation Reversed

Filed Under: Alaska

It’s always nice when a loyalty program reverses negative changes… and that’s exactly what Alaska Airlines has just done.

Why I Love Alaska Mileage Plan

Generally speaking I think Alaska Mileage Plan is one of the most compelling loyalty programs. They continue to award miles based on distance flown, do everything they can to avoid devaluing their award charts, and just generally are good at making their elite members feel valued.

Alaska’s top tier status is MVP Gold 75K and it requires flying either 75,000 miles exclusively on Alaska Airlines, or 90,000 miles on Alaska Airlines and their partners. The benefits of MVP Gold 75K over MVP Gold status are as follows:

  • You receive 50,000 bonus redeemable miles for earning the status
  • You receive a 125% mileage bonus (rather than a 100% bonus)
  • You have higher priority for upgrades, standby, etc.
  • You can nominate someone to MVP status
  • You receive four Alaska Lounge passes per year
  • You receive complimentary inflight entertainment players when in economy on longer flights

In general I think Alaska does a good job differentiating the two elite tiers, especially given that I value the 50,000 bonus miles you get for earning the status at nearly $1,000.

Alaska’s Lounge Pass Devaluation

Last December I wrote about how Alaska quietly devalued the four lounge passes that MVP Gold 75K members receive. Per an update on their part, the passes only became redeemable for the member and those traveling with them, meaning that they could no longer be gifted.

Understandably that was a frustrating development for many. A lot of MVP Gold 75K members pay for a lounge membership, so the only value they got from the passes was being able to gift them to friends and family not traveling with them.

You’d also think this would have been a great way to not only reward MVP Gold 75K members, but also to introduce others to the value of lounge access.

Alaska Reverses Lounge Pass Devaluation

About nine months later, Alaska Mileage Plan has reversed this decision. MVP Gold 75K lounge passes can once again be gifted to friends and family. As the Alaska website explains:

To redeem 75K Lounge day passes, visit the Alaska Lounge and provide your Mileage Plan number or voucher code to the Concierge. You are welcome to share your 75K Lounge day passes with friends or family. If you do share, please share the voucher code (available in “my account” under “Alaska Lounge passes.”) Please do not share your Mileage Plan number. To ensure account security, we cannot access a member’s account without the member present.

This is a positive development, and hopefully MVP Gold 75K members with some of these in their account who couldn’t get use out of them can now once again use them.

I suspect this change was initially made to avoid people from selling the passes, since that violates the rules. But that’s a risk whenever you offer a benefit that can be gifted.

Bottom Line

I thought it was frustrating that Alaska changed this policy in the first place, so it’s nice to see that they’ve reversed that decision. For those MVP Gold 75K members who had passes they couldn’t use, you now have a few more months where you can gift the ones expiring this year.

(Tip of the hat to @mjreay)

Comments
  1. Not too happy about this. I am a MVPG 75k and have an Alaska Lounge membership. My family used these passes when not travelling with me.

    AS continues cutting back the benefits that made AS special.

  2. Not a big deal for me at least, maybe to some. I don’t see this warranting an article in IMHO. Was initially reported on FlyerTalk by anecdotes and then research by an observant member.

  3. Waah! People who have no business in a crowded Alaska lounge can’t get in anymore. Devaluation my …. This is not a devaluation; it’s called “only allowing those that should be there to actually enjoy the lounge.”

  4. Alaska lounges (the non-updated ones anyway) have to be the worst domestic airline lounges. All the ones I’ve been to are stuck in the early 90s.

  5. Alaska still rules by far however if they start killing off their program I would stop earning my status with them and go back to the legacy carriers where I hold more than one lifetime status tiers

  6. @Lucky —> It’s interesting…it never occurred to me that one could (or would) SELL my lounge passes. Then again, since my kids are over 21, I’d use lounge passes to get them in (my wife can enter on my membership, as can kids UNDER 21 — but they’re 22 and 24, respectively, so that won’t work anymore….

    @Daniel —> While I don’t disagree with you, AS *is* on track to update all of them…

    @TProphet —> From my experience, AS has a l-o-n-g way to fall before reaching the level of UA.

  7. Really? Anyone saying Alaska is like United must be a Washington resident smoking the legal weed. There is NO comparison here at all. United is the absolute worst. As a former charter MP member I would rather walk miles over broken glass barefoot before I fly them ever again.

  8. And just so you know, the have pulled the entertainment players from flights as well all together! Sucks

  9. @Ken The entertainment players are still available on longer flights. They were pulled from short flights now that Alaska allows streaming content to your own device for free.

  10. @Ryan RDU-SEA is now a short flight?

    It does make a difference – while eating / watching a movie or working on computer / having a movie on.

  11. But we are NOT supposed to gift passes, we are not supposed to sell them either! Which other airline does it? Does Amex allow it? Why why so many complaints about changes that make absolute sense???

  12. I’ve been dealing with AK Air on this exact issue and they are willing to convert each of my 75k lounge passes to day passes. One person, no guests and 90 days to use. Better than worthless as the author indicates.

  13. I’m not sure Alaska’s lounges are the worst of all domestic carriers. Ever spent time in the Hawaiian Air “lounges?” “Rooms?”

    I do have a gripe with Alaska, though. My paid First seats don’t credit properly towards elite levels— I typically just get coach miles toward next year’s elite status. I’m too far to make 75k again next year, but I’d sure like the MVP Gold status, and I need to call them over F not crediting properly. Anyone else have this problem, or am I mistaken and a SFO-EWR trip only increments by miles flown?

  14. Re SST-Spot on about Hawaiian Airlines “Lounges”- I live in Hawaii and am always amazed to visit their dreary “rooms” (you nailed it) and wonder how they can justify calling these Lounges, let alone Premium ones. Especially from a carrier whose onboard service is generally better than the competition. Easily the very worst Lounge offerings for any US Carrier.

  15. Alaska’s lounges are not all very good though the new one at Seattle is OK. Food poor choices except I do like their pancake machines. I think overcrowding is actually the impetus for cutting back. Do people really sell these? I’m surprised. If that is going on I can see their problem.

    Overall still I like Alaska Air the best. They need to sort out their overseas partnerships, the Singapore one is a bust. I applaud their revised boarding system, it is much more orderly.

  16. Fantastic news. My wife can now use the lounge again when she comes to see me. Sometimes I am just too busy to get home and she flies up to Seattle for the weekend instead. Thanks Alaska – I promise I will not sell them to my wife.

  17. I find comments about Alaska Air’s lounges to be very subjective when compared to other carriers.

    If you haven’t seen AA’s or United’s bare offerings, you can’t claim that some of Alaska’s lounges are poor. And Hawaiian’s rooms are essentially broom closets.

    Based on comparable standards, Alaska’s Boardrooms are better off than most domestic lounges.

    And all lounges are ridiculously crowded.

  18. Alaska airlines lounge devaluation is primarily cutting off priority pass members whenever they feel like it. Shame on Alaskan and priority pass. If you can’t accept guests who are shelling out $550 a year for premium cards, just admit it.

  19. The real devaluation is that Alaska Airlines continues to partner with American Airlines!

    You don’t even get Alaska miles on domestic flights with American…What kind of partnership is that?! Oh yeah, a lame one!

    DUMP American and make up with Delta!

    We, the people.

  20. One big problem with the 75K passes is that you need to use one for EACH person. You don’t get to bring in immediate family with you on ONE pass. That surprised me when I was travelling with my family. Given we are a family of 5, we had to walk away.

  21. With the further AS/AA FF program break-up, is AA club access going away for those with an AS club membership anytime soon? I’m debating whether to renew my AS club membership for another year, as I don’t often fly AA.

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