Alaska, American Airlines streamline the upgrade process for top-tier elites
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Getting upgraded on an American Airlines flight as an elite Alaska Airlines flyer is about to get much easier.
Beginning on Thursday, Alaska’s top-tier MVP Gold 75k members will automatically be added to the upgrade waitlist for American Airlines flights, as confirmed by a carrier spokesperson to TPG.
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!
When Alaska officially joined the Oneworld alliance on March 31, the Seattle-based carrier also unveiled expanded reciprocal elite benefits with American Airlines. This included free extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra seating on AA flights, as well as space-available complimentary upgrades for top-tier elites that officially began on April 5.
Although MVP Gold 75K members have been eligible for free upgrades for nearly two months, the process of actually getting one hasn’t been seamless. You’d only be eligible for a first-class bump once the check-in window opened, and you’d need to manually opt in to accept a free upgrade.
Beginning on Thursday, however, Alaska’s top frequent flyers will be automatically added to the upgrade waitlist for eligible American Airlines flights. For now, they’ll only be eligible to clear as soon as the day of travel, but moving the eligibility window to 72 hours is a future benefit coming later this summer, a spokesperson confirmed. MVP Gold 75Ks will be prioritized after American’s Platinum Pro elites on the upgrade waitlist.
Note that free upgrades on American only apply to domestic flights within the U.S., including Hawaii, as well as select short-haul routes between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Central America. Upgrades are valid from coach or premium economy to the next class of service.
This MVP Gold 75K free upgrade benefit can be used by the elite member and up to one companion booked on the same reservation.
This isn’t the only improvement coming this year for Alaska elites traveling this American. This fall, Alaska plans to detail a new benefit for MVP Gold 75K members — they’ll receive a confirmed upgrade certificate valid for travel on eligible AA long-haul international routes. (For a limited time before the new benefit kicks in, top-tier Alaska elites can enjoy two one-way space-available upgrades on select long-haul AA routes.)
American Airlines elites flying with Alaska have already enjoyed a more seamless space-available upgrade benefit with Alaska since early April. AA’s top-tier Executive Platinum members qualify for free upgrades with Alaska beginning as early as 120 hours before departure, pending availability. They are prioritized after MVP Gold 75K members in fare class order, and then by request date and time.
Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.