Alaska offering bonus elite-qualifying miles through May

Apr 7, 2020

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Editors note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. This post has been updated to reflect the extension of the bonus period. It was originally published on March 6, 2020.

It’s no secret that the coronavirus outbreak is having a massive impact on the travel industry. Many companies are trimming back business travel, which has many road warriors are questioning whether they’ll be able to requalify for elite status.

Well, if you’re an Alaska Airlines flyer, you’re in luck. On April 7, the airline announced that it is extending all Mileage Plan elite status through December 2021. In addition, it is extending a promotion that provides flyers with bonus elite-qualifying miles.

Stay up-to-date on the outbreak by visiting our hub page for coronavirus coverage and signing up for our daily newsletter.

All Alaska Mileage Plan members are now eligible to earn a 50% bonus on elite-qualifying miles for Alaska-operated flights from March 7 through May 31, 2020. Previously, this bonus was only available for flights through April 11. Registration is required at this link before your first eligible flight, but this is a simple way to boost your prospects for elite status qualification with Alaska this year.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
This promo could put you that much closer to first-class upgrades on your next Alaska flight. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Here are some additional details:

  • The offer only applies to Alaska flights (including those operated by Horizon and Skywest). It’s not applicable on partner airlines — though remember that you can still earn bonus redeemable miles on all long-haul partner flights through the end of the year.
  • Alaska has confirmed that the bonus applies to flights booked prior to registration; however, you must register before taking your first flight.
  • There’s no limit to the bonus elite-qualifying miles you can earn through this promotion.
  • Any Mileage Plan member can register; it’s not limited to current MVP elite travelers.

READ MORE: What is Alaska Airlines elite status worth in 2020?

As an example, let’s say that you had a round-trip flight booked from Seattle (SEA) to Boston (BOS) during the applicable dates. This flight covers a distance of 2,496 miles according to the Great Circle Mapper, so you’d normally earn 4,992 elite-qualifying miles round-trip. Under the promotion, that’ll jump to 7,488 elite-qualifying miles, meaning just three round-trips would be enough for low-tier MVP status.

The offer comes as coronavirus impacts on demand on air travel, including in the United States. And Alaska’s Seattle hub is experiencing a cluster of cases. Even though the carrier has taken significant steps to combat the disease on its flights, it’s also waiving change and cancellation fees for flights ticketed between Feb. 27 and April 30.

READ MORE: TPG’s guide to traveling during the coronavirus outbreak

Ryan Butz, Alaska Airlines’ managing director, guest loyalty marketing, acknowledged the subject in a statement to TPG:

“Many of our most loyal flyers have been affected by employer-initiated restrictions on non-essential travel, and have been asked to work remote for the next 30 days. We want to give those members an opportunity to retain their elite status, whether they’re continuing to fly for work, or whether their definition of ‘working remote’ means working from Hawaii.”

For customers, it’s also worth noting that the bonus elite-qualifying miles will apply to tickets booked using the Companion Fare benefit on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card from Bank of America. As a cardholder, you and up to six travelers on the same reservation can also check a bag for free on these flights.

If you don’t currently have the card in your wallet, now’s a great time to sign-up, as it’s offering an enhanced welcome bonus of 40,000 miles, the Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) and a $100 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

The information for the Alaska Airlines Visa has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.          

The Points Guy does not recommend any nonessential travel at this time, but if you have an Alaska flight between now and May 31, you might as well register for this promotion to accelerate your progress toward MVP elite status with the airline.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.

Featured photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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