Alaska Airlines extends elite status, companion certificate validity due to coronavirus

Apr 7, 2020

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Airlines around the world are scrambling to adapt to the new reality of the coronavirus outbreak. While much of this attention has been focused on cutting capacity and additional cleaning measures for flights that are operating, frequent flyers have been wondering about their elite status. Delta, United and several other carriers have already announced major updates for 2020, and today, another airline is joining the group: Alaska Airlines.

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Here’s how Alaska is adjusting its elite status program for this year.

Alaska Airlines has announced that it is extending all Mileage Plan elite status through December 2021. If you qualified based on your 2019 flying activity, you’re all set through the end of next year. This will include all tier benefits with the exception of the 50,000 bonus miles normally awarded to MVP Gold 75K members. This is especially noteworthy given the carrier’s planned entrance into the Oneworld alliance next summer, as you should enjoy added perks across all Oneworld carriers at that time, regardless of how much (or little) you fly in 2020.

In an email to elite members, Alaska has also announced that all elite-qualifying miles earned between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2020 will rollover to 2021. If you were able to take advantage of the carrier’s previously-announced bonus offer — now extended through May 31, 2020 — this could give you a big head start on qualifying (or requalifying) in 2021.

In addition, any member who enrolled in the carrier’s status challenge program between Dec. 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 will have their trial status extending through Dec. 31, 2021 as well. This is an incredibly fortunate turn of events for anyone who was hoping to take a shortcut to Alaska elite status in 2020, as you’re essentially getting two years of “free” elite status.

If you have an outstanding companion fare benefit from the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, you’re also in luck. All certificates set to expire in 2020 will now be extended until Dec. 31, 2020, allowing you to purchase travel through Nov. 26, 2021.

Finally, the carrier is not announcing any adjustments to elite status qualification criteria at this point, but they do plan to add additional opportunities to earn elite-qualifying miles later in the year.

All in all, this is a great announcement by Alaska and should put existing Mileage Plan elite members at ease. Regardless of how much you do (or don’t) travel in 2020, your Alaska elite status will remain through the end of 2021. Here’s hoping that additional airlines continue to announce similar updates in the days and weeks to come.

Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

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