Mileage Plan

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Mileage Plan is a loyalty program, and the frequent-flyer program, of United States based airline Alaska Airlines. Members can accrue program miles from flying Alaska Airlines and partner operated flights, using co-branded credit cards, and booking vacation and hotel packages, among other methods.

Mileage Plan miles can be redeemed for award flights on Alaska Airlines and partner carriers and provide eligibility for elite status with Mileage Plan.

History[edit]

In 1981, American Airlines began AAdvantage, a customer loyalty scheme popularly known as frequent flyer programs. Soon afterwards, other large airlines in the United States launched similar programs. In June 1983, Alaska Airlines began their frequent flyer program named Gold Coast Travel.

Alaska Airlines acquired Jet America Airlines in 1987. Jet America's frequent flyer program credited flights by segments (number of flights taken), which differed from Gold Coast Travel, where members earned credits based on the mileage of flights taken. Upon acquisition by Alaska Airlines, participants of Jet America's frequent flyer program were enrolled in Alaska Airlines' Gold Coast Travel and credited miles instead of flight segments that they previously held. In September 1989, Gold Coast Travel was renamed Mileage Plan.

Miles that participants held in Mileage Plan previously did not have expiration dates. Later, Mileage Plan cancelled mileage balances if no activity occurred after 24 months.

Accrual structure[edit]

On all scheduled Alaska Airlines flights, including flights operated by Horizon Air, Virgin America, SkyWest and PenAir, members accrue one mile per mile flown. On flights under 500 miles, a minimum of 500 miles are awarded.[1]

In 2015, major airlines in the United States switched to revenue-based accrual programs, in which credit is based on the fare paid. For passengers flying economy class, this change resulted in many flights accruing less credit than with a distance-based program like Mileage Plan.

In 2016, Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America, which offers a revenue-based accrual program, Elevate. As of January 2017, the frequent flyer programs of the two airlines remain separate, however members of Virgin America's Elevate program can convert Elevate points to Mileage Plan miles at a rate of 1.3 miles per point, enabling Elevate members to book flights on Alaska Airlines and its partners. Also, Elevate Gold and Silver elite status is matched by Alaska Airlines' corresponding elite tiers.[2]

Membership tiers[edit]

MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K are Mileage Plan's elite tiers for frequent travelers. Members in elite tiers receive additional benefits compared with non-elite members, including complimentary upgrades to First and Premium Class, increased mileage accrual, priority check-in and boarding, discount or free lounge access, complimentary checked bags and other benefits.

Members may attain elite status through one of the following methods:[3]

Qualification Method MVP MVP Gold MVP Gold 75K
Miles earned on Alaska/Virgin America flights1 20,000 40,000 75,000
Miles earned on Alaska/Virgin America/Qualifying Partner flights2 25,000 50,000 90,000
Segments on Alaska/Virgin America/Qualifying Partner flights 30 60 90
Notes
  • ^1 Includes Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and Virgin America
  • ^2 Elite qualifying partners do not include PenAir or Ravn Alaska

There is no minimum spending requirement in order to receive elite status in Mileage Plus.

Additionally, Members who fly 1,000,000 miles on Alaska Airlines are granted MVP Gold status for life.

Partner airlines[edit]

In addition to wholly owned Horizon Airlines and Virgin America, Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan is partnered with eighteen partner airlines.[4] Partner airlines include Oneworld alliance members (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines and Qantas) and SkyTeam alliance members (Aeromexico, Air France, KLM and Korean Air) and Star Alliance members (Singapore Airlines).


Alaska Airlines was also a former partner with regional carrier Kenmore Air beginning in 2010.[8] Until April 2017, Delta was a mileage partner prior to establishing Seattle as a hub city. [9]

Additional Benefits[edit]

Members who are residents of the State of Alaska are eligible to participate in Alaska Airlines' Club 49 program. Participants and all travelers on the same reservation receive two complimentary checked bags on flights to or from Alaska. Participants also receive two annual discounts for 30% off refundable one-way coach fares from or within Alaska on Alaska Airlines, when booked within four days of departure.[10]

Alaska Airlines flights, as well as Horizon Air flights, are bookable as part of Oneworld Global Explorer fares.[11]

In March 2016, Alaska Airlines introduced a promotional award where Mileage Plus members could redeem 10,000 miles to cover the $85 cost of a TSA PreCheck screening application charged by the Transportation Security Administration.[12]

Recognition[edit]

Mileage Plan is the recipient of the U.S. News & World Report 2015-16 Best Travel Rewards Programs based on an airline's overall score on the ease of earning miles or points and the ease of award redemptions as well as ways to earn points other than flights, additional membership perks, whether miles expire, award flight availability and other criteria.[13]

References[edit]