Extended: Alaska offering bonus elite-qualifying miles through 2020

Jun 16, 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. The airline previously announced that it is extending all Mileage Plan elite status through December 2021. In addition, it is now extending a promotion that provides flyers with bonus elite-qualifying miles.

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All Alaska Mileage Plan members are now eligible to earn a 50% bonus on elite-qualifying miles for Alaska-operated flights from now through December 31, 2020. Previously, this bonus was only available for flights through spring. This is a simple way to boost your prospects for elite status qualification with Alaska this year. While registration was initially required, that is no longer the case for this promotion.

(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.
  • 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 June 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 card is also currently offering temporary bonuses in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Personal and business cardholders will now earn 2,500 elite-qualifying miles for every $5,000 spent on their card before Sept. 30 (up to 10,000 bonus elite-qualifying miles). Further, cardholders will earn 1 additional mile per dollar on dining and takeout through July 31.

READ MORE: Earn elite-qualifying miles, bonus miles at restaurants with your Alaska credit card

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 plan on flying, you might as well book with Alaska to accelerate your progress toward MVP elite status with the airline. In case you missed it, Southwest is offering a similar promotion where it will award summer travelers double Rapid Rewards per flight, but you must register online and complete your travel by Aug. 31, 2020.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.

Featured photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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