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All Alaska Partners Earn Elite Qualifying Miles Starting January 15, 2014

by on December 10, 2013 · 8 comments

in Alaska, Elite Status

This morning, Alaska Airlines announced that starting January 15, 2014, Mileage Plan members would earn elite-qualifying miles on all its international airline partners. Until then, you can still only earn elite miles on the following partners:

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 11.20.27 AMBut after that date, the program will add:

British Airways
Cathay Pacific
Fiji Airways
Korean Air
Qantas

EQM accrual will match current redeemable/award mileage accrual rules by fare class for each airline, which you can learn more about here. As a reminder, Mileage Plan has three elite tiers, which you achieve at the following thresholds:

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 11.23.48 AM

MVP: 20,000 miles on Alaska or 25,000 miles on Alaska and partners or 30 segments on Alaska and partners
MVP Gold: 40,000 miles on Alaska, or 50,000 miles on Alaska and partners or 60 segments on Alaska and partners
MVP Gold 75K: 75,000 miles on Alaska or 90,000 miles on Alaska and partners or 90 segments on Alaska and partners

Though some Alaska elites might see this as a negative because it makes elite qualification easier, for that same reason I see that as a net positive and another way that Alaska is pushing back against Delta’s encroachment into the Pacific Northwest and Seattle market in particular, making it even more of a viable alternative to Delta’s Medallion elite program – especially for folks based on the West Coast and Delta flyers looking for another program to focus their elite strategy on once Delta’s revenue-based elite requirements come into effect in 2014.

Starting January 15, Alaska flyers can earn elite miles on all airline partners.

Starting January 15, Alaska flyers can earn elite miles on all airline partners.

That’s because if you hit even just low-tier MVP status at 20-25,000 miles you get a 50% mileage bonus on Alaska’s elite-qualifying partners including both Delta and American, and if you hit MVP 75K status, you earn a 100% mileage bonus as well as complimentary upgrades on Delta in the US and a 50% discount on Economy Comfort (25% at MVP and 50% at MVP Gold), not to mention other elite perks on both Delta and American such as free checked bags, priority check in, boarding and more. Not only that, but on some airlines like Korean Air, you’ll be able to earn EQM’s toward Alaska status, while you cannot toward Delta status even though the two are SkyTeam partners.

More and more, I’m seriously considering going for Alaska MVP status in 2014 because it would be nice both to fly all of Alaska’s premium partners and bank award and elite-qualifying miles in one spot, but also to have the flexibility to redeem those miles on all those great airline partners. For example, I just flew from Dubai to JFK in Emirates first class for 90,000 Alaska miles and $90 in taxes and fees (review to come!), which was an amazing value.

Not only that, but MVP status also comes with some very high-value perks including ticket change and cancellation fee waivers on paid tickets for MVP Gold and Gold 75K members, which can be an incredible value. Plus, you’re still on the upgrade list with Delta (even though upgrades are not that likely).

Still, the real point to me would be the ability to redeem Alaska miles with flexibility on the premium Oneworld and SkyTeam partners I’m most likely to fly anyway, and then I would just suck it up and buy coach tickets or cheap domestic first class tickets when I needed to otherwise.

All in all, this is a great move on Alaska’s part and one that makes its MVP elite program that much more attractive for flyers looking for an alternative to Delta Medallion especially.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • iflytoomuch

    Delta’s skypesos are pretty much worthless while Alaska’s miles are awesome. And, Alaska does a status match!

  • Amy

    Would it be better to accumulate miles with American or Alaska Partners? Can you do both?

  • thepointsguy

    Depends… if you fly enough for elite status, banking to American might make more sense. But, if you travel a lot on all these different carriers, banking to Alaska might make more sense. All depends

  • Poley King

    1) No upgraded on AA for MVP or MVPG. That is only on Delta.
    2) Change fee waiver is nice but its not as big of a perk as it was. Alaska no longer has a change fee for anyone as long as its done more than 60 days in advance.

  • Dizzy

    This program also makes it look more and more promising as an alternative to united #unfriendly. I’ll be leaving that program after 2014 is over (will bank my miles there next year since I will get a good bonus earn).

  • Aaron

    I am a Pacific NW based traveler and have been Delta Gold Medallion for 2013 and looking to be in 2014 as well. Being in the PNW I end up flying Alaska frequently and banking the Delta MQM’s which is nice, I actually get upgraded much more frequently on Alaska than Delta, but how would I realistically switch to Alaska Mileage Plan at this point?

  • Some Guy

    Yes, this is correct – the article is wrong in that there is no mechanism for upgrades on AA. You get Main Cabin Extra seating, and PriorityAccess but no upgrades.

  • Alan

    I’m a Platinum on Delta and live in Kenya. Would it be worth it to change to Alaska to bank all my miles since I mostly fly on KLM and Emirates (though sometimes on Kenya Airways as well)? I could then add BA and Korean EQM all in one place. Thoughts?

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