If you have top-tier elite status with Alaska Airlines or you’re nearing it, there are some new benefits in the Mileage Plan program you’ll want to know about.
Starting this year for 2023 status, members who reach MVP Gold 100K top-tier Alaska status will have the opportunity to enjoy one additional benefit from a slate of choices. These choices could go a long way toward making air travel more enjoyable — or at least less expensive.
Of course, in order to tap into the new benefit, you’ll have to lock in your status by the end of 2022, so the clock is ticking.
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Choice of 4 benefits
On top of existing benefits Mileage Plan MVP Gold 100K members enjoy as part of their top-tier status with Alaska, members will also be able to choose one additional perk from a list of four potential options beginning in 2023.
Those choices include:
50,000 bonus miles.
Nominating someone else for MVP Gold status for 2023.
An Alaska Lounge+ membership for 2023.
Complimentary inflight Wi-Fi for the whole year.
The slate of choices gives you the opportunity to earn enough Mileage Plan miles for a free flight, elevate the air travel experience of one of your frequent traveling companions, enjoy a bit more luxury at the airport, or offset the cost of accessing the internet while flying, allowing you to surf the web and get more work done while traveling.
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Choosing your benefit
Each of the benefits offers a significant improvement on what is already high-level elite status within the Mileage Plan program. Here’s something to consider with each of the four choices.
50,000 Mileage Plan bonus miles
When you go by straight value, 50,000 bonus miles within the Mileage Plan program may pack as much of a punch as any of the four benefits.
TPG values Alaska’s miles at 1.8 cents each, so 50,000 bonus miles are worth around $900.
It’s often hard to get this large of a number of miles all at once without signing up for a travel credit card, so if you don’t have any plans of adding a card to your wallet in the near future, this is a way to replenish the miles in your Mileage Plan account. Keep in mind, you can use these miles on Alaska’s partner airlines, too.
Nominating a companion for MVP Gold status
While those with Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 100K status can already improve the air travel experience for those within their traveling party, this could be an intriguing option to consider.
By nominating a companion for MVP Gold, they’ll be able to earn their own complimentary upgrades to first class or premium economy starting 72 hours before departure.
They’ll also get companion upgrades. So, if you have a spouse and two children you frequently travel with, you could nominate your spouse for MVP Gold status. Then, conceivably, each of you would be able to use a companion upgrade on an additional family member, depending on availability.
The newly nominated MVP Gold member would also save on air travel costs and get on a quicker path to future free trips with free checked bags and 100% bonus mileage earnings on flights with Alaska or its Oneworld Alliance partners, including American Airlines.
Alaska Lounge+ membership
While Alaska Lounge members can access the airline’s nine lounges, an Alaska Lounge+ membership also provides access to partner lounges worldwide.
Ordinarily, standard Alaska Lounge members pay $350, and Lounge+ members pay $500.
When you’re an elite status member, you get a $100 discount on lounge access, regardless of your status level or whether it’s an Alaska Lounge or Alaska Lounge + membership.
This perk is a way to get your lounge membership for free, and also gain access to partner lounges at no cost. It will help ensure your wait in the airport or on a layover is a bit more comfortable.
Complimentary inflight Wi-Fi
How much savings this perk would get you depends on how often you’re paying to surf the internet while on board.
Like with Southwest Airlines, inflight Wi-Fi with Alaska comes in at a flat fee of $8 per flight; this is less than many other carriers.
Top-tier members, of course, fly with Alaska regularly, so if you pay for Wi-Fi on 100 flights per year, you’d be saving $800 by opting in to this perk.
At the same time, unlike the other three benefits you could choose from, this perk would not provide any carryover perks when flying with a Oneworld partner.
CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY
MVP Gold 100K status tier taking shape
It’s worth noting that this new addition to Alaska’s MVP Gold 100K elite status comes as the airline solidifies the status level as part of its Mileage Plan program.
Alaska launched the status in 2022 as its new top-tier level, allowing its most loyal flyers to enjoy improved priority benefits.
With year one nearly in the books, it’s not too surprising to see the airline making some adjustments to the program for year two; in this case, it’s added benefits for members who qualify.
As a reminder, in order to meet Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 100K status, you have to earn 100,000 elite qualifying miles with Alaska or its partners. Or, you must fly 140 qualifying segments, 24 of which must be on Alaska-operated flights.
Members enjoy a 150% bonus earning on Alaska and its partner flights — as well as complimentary upgrades to first class beginning 120 hours before departure — along with a host of other benefits.
Members get complimentary upgrades to first class on American Airlines, too. TPG managing editor for news Clint Henderson is an Alaska MVP Gold 100K member, and he has enjoyed upgrades on the vast majority of his flights on American in 2022. (MVP Gold 75K members get complimentary upgrades on American as well.)
MVP Gold 100K members also enjoy a host of other perks such as two international upgrade certificates for use on American Airlines, express security, and priority check-in and boarding.
Members at this status level are considered Oneworld Emerald, which is the designation given to American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members.
From fueling future free travel to elevating (or saving money on) your air travel experience or that of your frequent travel companions, this new choice of perks is a hefty addition to the suite of perks Alaska offers to Mileage Plan MVP Gold 100K members.
If this is enough to entice you to go the extra mile to qualify or maintain your status before the Dec. 31 deadline, keep in mind there is a nice promotion on Alaska flights to and from California right now that could help you get there faster.