Skip to content

Alaska announces MVP Gold 100K benefits — and you might be disappointed

Sept. 17, 2021
5 min read
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.

Yesterday, Alaska Airlines sent an email to Mileage Plan elite members that extended its ongoing "Fast Track to Status" promotion along with offering an easier way for existing elites to requalify for status.

In the same email, the airline announced elite status qualification for its forthcoming MVP Gold 100K elite status tier. This status tier will require Mileage Plan members to earn 100,00 elite-qualifying miles or fly 140 segments, including 24 segments on Alaska-marketed and operated flights, in a calendar year for qualification.

That last requirement is the most interesting — clearly, Alaska is targeting folks who actually take its own flights. There's no revenue requirement, i.e. a certain amount of money you need to spend with the airline each year, for any level of Alaska Mileage Plan status. This remains a nice differentiating point from other legacy U.S. carriers including American, Delta and United.

Alaska then quietly updated its elite status page with MVP Gold 100K benefits — and frankly, they're a bit disappointing.

Let's take a closer look at what MVP Gold 100K will offer when introduced in January 2022.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

MVP Gold 100K elite status benefits

(Photo by Markus Mainka/Shutterstock.com)

For the most part, MVP Gold 100K is the same as MVP Gold 75K, but with a few added benefits, including:

  • Complimentary upgrades up to 120 hours before departure and with higher priority than MVP Gold 75K
  • 150% bonus on earning award miles (compared to 125% with MVP Gold 75K)
  • Two one-way international upgrade certificates on American Airlines (MVP Gold 75Ks get one)
  • Complimentary premium beverage plus snack when flying in Main Cabin (MVP Gold 75Ks only get a beverage)

These benefits will be available when the status tier officially launches in January 2022. Elite status members who reach the qualification levels in 2021 will be automatically upgraded from MVP Gold 75K to MVP Gold 100K when it comes into existence.

Related: What is Alaska Airlines elite status worth now that Alaska has joined Oneworld?

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Why I'm not impressed

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

It's great to see Alaska finally introduce a new top-tier elite status that rewards its most valuable customers. That said, the airline could have done a better job actually rewarding them.

Comparing MVP Gold 100K to other top-rung statuses like American Executive Platinum, Delta Diamond Medallion or United Premier 1K, it falls short. Specifically, it has fewer confirmed international upgrades than other top-tier statuses, and you can only redeem them on American flights...in competition with American Executive Platinums trying to redeem their own (more numerous) systemwide upgrades.

Further, the benefits above and beyond those enjoyed by MVP Gold 75Ks aren't very exciting. For example, some TPG staffers were hoping for free Alaska Lounge access and enhanced Gold Guest Upgrades. These benefits would make MVP Gold 100K feel special, but instead, we're left with a slightly enhanced version of MVP Gold 75K, though the 150% mileage bonus compared to 125% is a nice bump.

One benefit of MVP Gold 100K is the lack of a specific spending requirement. Earn 100,000 elite-qualifying miles and fly at least 24 segments on Alaska flights, and you have status. Now, you'll likely spend a fair chunk of change on Alaska flights to hit that 24-segment mark, but at least it's nice not to have to aim for $15,000, like you would need to earn American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum (in a normal year), for instance.

Also significant: since Alaska is substantially smaller than the so-called "Big 3" airlines, earning those 24 segments might be more difficult given Alaska has a more limited route network, especially when it comes to international flights.

Now that Alaska is a member of the oneworld alliance and has resumed a close partnership with American Airlines, Alaska flyers may opt to earn American Executive Platinum or Platinum Pro status instead. These members are eligible for upgrades on Alaska flights as early as 120 hours prior to departure. Executive Platinums are eligible for arguably better benefits, like four systemwide upgrades that can be used on American international flights, too.

Related: How do I earn elite status with an airline alliance?

Bottom line

I'm glad to see Alaska finally announce MVP Gold 100K benefits after months of teasing the new top-tier elite status. But I can't help feel that Alaska missed the ball on benefits by only adding perks that are slightly better than MVP Gold 75K, like a free snack in Main Cabin and an extra American upgrade. Regardless, the moderately enhanced version of MVP Gold 75K will probably be good for Alaska's most frequent flyers and doesn't take a ton of additional flying to qualify.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

Earn 60,000 points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

    Earn 60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.