While Alaska Airlines isn’t one of the “big three” US airlines, the Seattle-based carrier has quite a robust loyalty program, which many people are loyal to. In particular, Alaska Mileage Plan is the only major US frequent flyer program that still awards miles based on how far you fly rather than how much you spend.
I figured I’d write a series about Alaska’s elite status tiers, and in this post I wanted to take a look at Alaska MVP Gold 75K status, which is the second highest of Alaska’s four published elite tiers. How do you earn MVP Gold 75K status, what are the perks, and is it worth it? In separate posts I’ll cover MVP Gold 100K, MVP Gold, and MVP status.
How to earn Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K status
Alaska Mileage Plan elite status can be earned based on either accruing a certain number of elite qualifying miles or a certain number of elite qualifying segments. On top of that, you need to fly a certain number of segments on Alaska.
Here are the requirements for the four Mileage Plan elite tiers, from the lowest to the highest tier:
- Mileage Plan MVP status requires 20,000 elite qualifying miles OR 30 elite qualifying segments; on top of that, at least two eligible flights must be marketed and operated by Alaska
- Mileage Plan MVP Gold status requires 40,000 elite qualifying miles OR 60 elite qualifying segments; on top of that, at least six eligible flights must be marketed and operated by Alaska
- Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K status requires 75,000 elite qualifying miles OR 90 elite qualifying segments; on top of that, at least 12 eligible flights must be marketed and operated by Alaska
- Mileage Plan MVP Gold 100K status requires 100,000 elite qualifying miles OR 140 elite qualifying segments; on top of that, at least 24 eligible flights must be marketed and operated by Alaska
One of the things that makes Mileage Plan great is that you can not only rack up elite miles on Alaska and its oneworld partners, but also on other partner airlines, ranging from Air Tahiti Nui, to Condor, to Icelandair, to Singapore Airlines, opening up lots of opportunities to earn status by flying with other airlines.
Note that there are a couple of other ways to earn MVP Gold 75K status:
- With the Alaska Mileage Plan million miler program, you receive MVP Gold 75K status for life if you rack up two million lifetime miles
- With the Alaska Mileage Plan status match challenge program, you can receive MVP Gold 75K status for a period of 90 days, and maintain it by flying 20,000 miles during that trial period
Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K status benefits
Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K status comes with a variety of perks, ranging from complimentary upgrades, to oneworld elite status, to extra legroom seating. Let’s go over the details of each of these perks, roughly in the order that I value them.
Complimentary first class upgrades
MVP Gold 75K members receive unlimited complimentary space available upgrades on all Alaska Airlines flights, except on Saver fares. These upgrades are even valid for one companion on the same reservation.
Complimentary elite upgrades can start clearing up to 120 hours before departure, which is the same window at which MVP Gold 100K member upgrades start clearing. However, upgrades clear for MVP Gold 100K members ahead of MVP Gold 75K members.
Within each elite tier, the tie-breaker to scoring an upgrade is what fare class you’ve booked, with the higher fare classes getting priority for upgrades.
How often should you expect upgrades to clear as an MVP Gold 75K member? It really depends on the routes you fly, the days of the week you fly, what kind of fares you book, etc. Nowadays a lot more people are paying for first class than several years ago, so don’t expect that upgrades will always clear. However, I’d expect upgrades to clear an average of maybe half of the time as an MVP Gold 75K member.
oneworld Emerald status (including lounge access)
MVP Gold 75K status automatically gets you oneworld Emerald status, which I’d consider to be the most valuable alliance-wide status out there. For context, MVP Gold 100K and MVP Gold 75K members receive the same oneworld status tier. This offers various benefits when traveling on any of the over dozen oneworld airlines, including priority check-in, priority boarding, and more.
As a oneworld Emerald member you’ll also get access to most oneworld first & business class lounges when traveling on long haul international flights. This includes everything from American Flagship Lounges, to the Qantas First Lounge LAX.
50,000 Alaska Mileage Plan bonus miles
MVP Gold 75K members receive 50,000 bonus Alaska miles every year when they qualify for status (this doesn’t apply when you earn the status through a status challenge). This is a huge mileage bonus — personally I value Alaska miles at 1.7 cents each, so to me those miles are worth $850.
Complimentary Premium Class seating
Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members receive complimentary Premium Class seating for them and up to one companion on the same reservation at the time of booking, subject to availability. The only exception is that if you’re on a Saver fare (Alaska’s basic economy), you’re not eligible to assign a Premium Class seat for free.
Premium Class is Alaska’s extra legroom economy seating, typically in the front of the economy cabin and at exit rows, and it generally offers several extra inches of legroom. Furthermore, Premium Class offers complimentary alcoholic drinks, including beer, wine, and cocktails.
125% status mileage bonus
Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members receive a 125% mileage bonus on flights, so miles really add up. In other words, if a flight covers a distance of 1,000 miles and you booked a fare that earns 100% elite miles, you’d end up earning 2,250 miles for the flight. If you find a low enough fare with Alaska, mileage running may just still be a thing with the airline. That’s especially true when you also factor in the 50,000 bonus miles you get when qualifying for the status.
Alaska first class guest upgrades
While MVP Gold 75K members receive unlimited complimentary upgrades on Alaska, they also receive four guest upgrades per year. These can be used to confirm an upgrade on an eligible fare for any Alaska flight at the time of booking, subject to upgrade space being available. This can be used either for the MVP Gold 75K member, or for a friend or family member, as these can be transfered to others.
Alaska isn’t great about making confirmable upgrade seats available in advance, but when you can find a use for these, it’s great.
American Airlines upgrade certificate
Alaska and American have a partnership, and as part of that, MVP Gold 75K members receive one complimentary confirmed American upgrade per year. Think of this as being like an American systemwide upgrade, except with a different name. This can come in handy to confirm an upgrade, whether it’s a domestic or international flight.
Priority check-in, security, and boarding
Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members receive a variety of priority services at the airport, including:
- Priority check-in, with first class
- Priority security screening
- Priority boarding, with Group A (right behind first class and MVP Gold 100K members)
Generally I think priority boarding is the most valuable of those benefits. Most people check-in online, and nowadays TSA PreCheck and CLEAR will typically save you the most time at security, rather than a priority security line.
Same day flight changes & priority standby
Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members can make complimentary same day flight changes to another flight in the same market. There are capacity controls to this, so don’t expect that it will always be possible, even if there are seats available.
Beyond that, MVP Gold 75K members receive priority standby, as the standby list is prioritized based on elite status. As an MVP Gold 75K member, you should typically be near the top of the standby list, just behind any MVP Gold 100K members.
Three complimentary checked bags
Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members can check three bags free of charge on all itineraries. This applies to the member and any companion traveling on the same reservation. Checking bags with Alaska Airlines is pretty painless, thanks to the carrier’s 20-minute baggage guarantee.
With this, you’re promised that your bag will arrive within 20 minutes of your arrival, or you can claim 2,500 bonus Alaska miles or a $25 Alaska discount voucher.
Complimentary drink or chocolate in economy
To make the travel experience a bit more pleasant when upgrades don’t clear, MVP Gold 75K members receive a complimentary premium beverage or chocolate on most flights of over 350 miles. Keep in mind that if you’re in Premium Class, you already receive free premium drinks, so then you’re probably best off selecting the chocolate.
Four Alaska Lounge day passes
Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members receive four lounge day passes per year, which will be electronically deposited in your Mileage Plan account. These can either be used for yourself, or shared with friends and family.
Reciprocal elite perks on American
In addition to the international upgrade certificate you receive on American, there’s also a larger reciprocal upgrade agreement between Alaska and American. Specifically, you can potentially be eligible for first class upgrades on American, as well as Main Cabin Extra seating. The value of this obviously depends based on how much you fly with American.
Is Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K status worth it?
For non-top tier status, I’d say Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K status is extremely lucrative. First of all, I love how the status gets you oneworld Emerald status, which is incredibly valuable if you fly with oneworld partner airlines with any frequency.
MVP Gold 75K status is also rewarding when traveling with Alaska, from the 125% mileage bonus, to the 50,000 bonus miles annually, to the upgrades, and more.
If you are an Alaska frequent flyer, it could be worth trying to aim for MVP Gold 100K status, as this will get you higher priority for everything, as well as Choice Benefits, which could get you a lounge membership or 50,000 bonus miles, for example.
The major catch with going for status with Mileage Plan is that Alaska is a much smaller airline than the “big three” US carriers, so being loyal to Alaska takes effort. Fortunately Alaska has lots of partner airlines, making miles easy to rack up. However, you’ll generally find that you get stronger perks when you’re actually flying with the airline you have status with.
Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K status offers lots of value perks, especially given that it’s not even top tier status. From oneworld Emerald status, to lots of upgrades (including complimentary upgrades, upgrade certificates, and more), to the ability to earn a huge number of bonus miles, I think most MVP Gold 75K members find themselves to be pretty well rewarded.
There’s something to be said for going for MVP Gold 100K status if you can swing it, given the incremental perks are quite valuable for “just” 25,000 additional elite miles in a year.
If you’re an Alaska MVP Gold 75K member, what has your experience been?
I thought Million Milers got MVP Gold for life.
Unfortunately OW integration still doesn't work properly. BA, AY, always says I am a sapphire on the BP...
Same with JL, sapphire on the boarding pass for AS 75K. Had to beg my way into JL First lounge at Haneda by showing AA Emerald status.
I have the same issue when I fly BA. I take it there’s nothing to be done on our end? I have had luck showing my (digital) card and asking the agent to look me up in the system (which shows that I’m emerald).
As a 75K since they came out with that status 7-8 years ago, my upgrades have been about 75% of the time even on high demand routes like ANC-SEA and SEA-DCA. As a 100K, I have cleared 13 of 15 flights so far this year. On AA, upgrades are about 50%, mostly on shorter less-demand flights. Best airline program out there!
Only two free bags to Mexico as a Gold 75K member.