Alaska Airlines on paljastanud neli tähelepanuväärset muudatust oma MVP (Most Valued Player) eliitstatus.
Alaska Airlines is overhauling four major parts of its Mileage Plan loyalty program.
The changes include simplifying how you earn status, introducing the ability to earn status from credit card spending, devaluing a key perk of becoming an MVP elite and revamping the benefits package you receive when you hit status and more.
Overall, these changes will likely be good news for many flyers, though travelers who used to earn status exclusively from Alaska segments might not be as excited.
As you can see, it’ll be entirely possible to earn Alaska status without stepping foot on an Alaska plane. That’s great news for travelers who frequently travel with Alaska’s Oneworld and non-alliance partners, as it’ll make it easier than ever to quickly rise through the elite ranks.
As part of the changes, TPG spoke with Alaska’s loyalty chief Brett Catlin, who confirmed there won’t be any updates to the rates for earning EQMs with partners.
Catlin also shared some of the reasoning behind this simplification, saying that “we recognize that ultimately a guest that’s choosing to spend their time with Alaska and our partners and instead of our competitors, that’s a win.”
Note that the airline is capping the total number of EQMs you can earn from credit card spending at 20,000 EQMs, which equates to $50,000 in spend on the card. That’s enough to earn MVP status without stepping on a plane.
Speaking about this new benefit, Catlin shared that “this is something we’ve heard from a lot of our guests and has increased the past couple years, is as our competitors have rolled out this option, we’re going to give folks in 2024.”
Unlike the carrier’s partner American Airlines, Alaska won’t let you swipe your way to top-tier status. Asked why, Catlin said that “we could have gone all in and not had a cap, but the concern there is you end up massively blowing out your elite ranks. We want to be cautious in doing that because we want to make sure we can protect the benefits we offer our elites.”
As part of the news, Alaska is also launching a one-time benefit for its top-tier MVP Gold 100K members. Any EQMs earned beyond the required 100,000 EQMs for status will roll over to 2024.
Note that this is a one-time offer that likely won’t be extended into future years.
Fewer bonus miles for elites
One of the main perks of earning elite status is that you’ll accrue redeemable miles at a faster rate.
But as part of Alaska’s changes, the carrier is reducing the bonus miles earned by elites starting on Jan. 1, 2025. As you can see in the chart below, three of the four elite tiers are seeing reductions by as much as 50%.
MVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75KMVP Gold 100KElite bonus miles through 202450% bonus100% bonus125% bonus150% bonusElite bonus miles in 202525% bonus50% bonus100% bonus150% bonus
Alaska explained that “our ethos going into this is that the value that we’re perhaps taking on the bonus mile side is getting wholly reinvested in the milestone perks-based reward program. And so the goal is not to devalue at all,” said Catlin.
“It’s still quite generous vis-a-vis the competitive set,” he added.
No matter how you slice it, this part of the update is a devaluation for most elites. That said, there seems to be some good news to compensate for the devaluations.
Milestone rewards are coming soon
While the details are light, Alaska promises a revamped suite of elite benefits launching in late 2024.
The airline says that you’ll be able to pick the benefits you care about most, like bonus miles, status accelerators, travel experiences and day-of-travel perks.
Pressed for more details, Catlin said that the purpose of this program is to “genuinely give people more choice because we’ve heard from guests that that’s what they’re after across a number of different attributes.”
While we’ll have to wait to see what’s unveiled, it seems like these milestone rewards might be similar to how American, Delta and JetBlue offer elites a suite of perks from which to choose from as they cross different thresholds.
As long as Alaska doesn’t make any stealth devaluations as it rolls out this new program, then the ability to customize your elite experience will likely be considered a welcome upgrade to MVP status.
Alaska Airlines is making big changes to elite status, and — bucking the recent trend — they’re mostly good news.
This includes simplifying how you earn status, adding the ability to boost your earnings from credit card spending, changing how many bonus miles elites earn and introducing an all-new rewards structure.
While some elites might miss earning fewer bonus redeemable miles, it seems like the overall program is being upgraded with Wednesday’s announcement, especially for those who want to spend their way to status.
This move comes on the heels of the airline releasing a revamped award chart, and it appears that Alaska is once again focused on trying to turn its loyalty program into a competitive advantage.
“We see Mileage Plan and what we’re building with our book-direct platform on AlaskaAir.com as being a conduit for people to come in and engage with the brand who might not live in a market like Seattle,” explained Catlin.