Alaska Quietly Devalues MVP Gold 75K Lounge Passes

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.

Well, it looks like Alaska has quietly devalued one of their MVP Gold 75K perks. The four Alaska Lounge passes that MVP Gold 75K members receive are now only redeemable for the member and those traveling with the member.

It used to be that you could gift these to someone else, but that’s no longer possible.

For many that’s a frustrating development. 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 be a great way to not only reward MVP Gold 75K members, but also to introduce others to the value of lounge access, who may not otherwise have access.

So this is no doubt a negative development. My guess is that this change was made due to people likely selling these passes, which violated the rules. But when you’re able to gift them to anyone, there’s not a whole lot the airline can do to prevent people from buying and selling them.

So I wouldn’t consider this to be that huge of a deal, but it is something to be aware of, if you’re an MVP Gold 75K member who was used to gifting these to other people.

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.

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