This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Alaska Airlines’ merger with Virgin America closed late last year, and since then, the carriers have been working to integrate, including extending benefits to elite members of both Alaska Mileage Plan and Virgin America’s Elevate program. There’s still much to be done, but so far we’ve seen priority check-in, boarding and two free checked bags for Alaska elites flying Virgin, and an offer of 10,000 points to existing loyalty program members.
The next phase of the elite integration, scheduled for “summer 2017,” gives Alaska elites access to preferred economy seats and Main Cabin Select upgrades, along with an advance purchase window for first-class upgrades. And just on time, TPG reader and Alaska Airlines elite member Rob wrote in with a discovery this week:
Today I booked a flight online using my Chase Sapphire Reserve points while having an Alaska rep on the line. After booking, she was able to manually move me to a preferred seat for free. She said that’s already been in effect for a few weeks now. It’s a manual process through them for now, but they were told on August 24 it’ll be live for people to do themselves online.
I confirmed with Alaska Airlines that elites can now select preferred economy seats and are eligible for Main Cabin Select upgrades — for now you’ll need to call in to Alaska to be assigned these premium seats, but online selection will be live on Thursday, August 24. Meanwhile, Alaska plans to inform elites of the change next Wednesday, August 30.
There’s no word yet on when the “advance purchase window” for paid first-class upgrades will be available to Alaska elites, but hopefully that’s on the way as well.
Have you managed to score a premium Virgin seat as an Alaska elite?
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees