Mileage Plan

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Mileage Plan is the frequent-flyer program of Alaska Airlines. Members accrue program "miles" by 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 June 1983, Alaska Airlines introduced their frequent-flyer program, Gold Coast Travel. In 1987, Alaska Airlines acquired Jet America Airlines, which offered a frequent-flyer program that awarded credit by flight segments (number of flights taken), compared to Gold Coast Travel, where members earned credit based on the mileage of flights taken. After acquisition by Alaska Airlines, participants of Jet America's frequent-flyer program were enrolled in Gold Coast Travel, and in September 1989, Gold Coast Travel was renamed Mileage Plan. Alaska Airlines also purchased regional commuter airline Horizon Air in 1986 and incorporated the carrier into Mileage Plan.

In 2016, Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America, which offered a revenue-based accrual program, Elevate. On January 1, 2018, Elevate was discontinued, with all remaining accounts converted to Mileage Plan accounts.[1]

Accrual Structure[edit]

On all scheduled Alaska Airlines flights, including flights operated by Horizon Air, SkyWest and PenAir, members accrue one mile per mile flown. On flights under 500 miles, a minimum of 500 miles are awarded.[2] Miles can also be accrued by flying eligible flights on Alaska Global Partners.[3]

Beginning in 2015, most airlines in the United States switched to revenue-based accrual programs, where credit is awarded based on the fare paid. Alaska Airlines has previously indicated that retaining a distance-based accrual program is a competitive advantage over other carriers.[4]

Partner Airlines[edit]

Mileage Plan includes 16 partner airlines that comprise the Alaska Global Partners.[5] Partner airlines include Oneworld alliance members (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines and Qantas), SkyTeam alliance members (Korean Air), and Star Alliance members (Singapore Airlines). Alaska Airlines flights, as well as Horizon Air flights, are bookable as part of Oneworld Global Explorer fares.[6]

The airline partners of Mileage Plan are:

Alaska Global Partner Airline Alliance Partnership Commenced
Republic of Ireland Aer Lingus[7] (none) 2018
United States American Airlines Oneworld 1999
United Kingdom British Airways Oneworld
Hong Kong Cathay Pacific [8] Oneworld 2003
Germany Condor [9] (none) 2013
United Arab Emirates Emirates [10] (none) 2012
Fiji Fiji Airways [11] (none) 2009
Finland Finnair [12] Oneworld 2017
China Hainan Airlines [13] (none) 2015
Iceland Icelandair [14] (none) 2015
Japan Japan Airlines [15] Oneworld 2016
South Korea Korean Air SkyTeam 2008
Chile LATAM Chile Oneworld
United States PenAir (none)
Australia Qantas Oneworld
United States Ravn Alaska (none)
Singapore Singapore Airlines [16] Star Alliance 2017

Alaska Airlines was a former partner with regional carrier Kenmore Air beginning in 2010.[17] Delta had been a mileage partner from 2004 until 2017, after it established Seattle as a hub city.[18] Alaska Airlines was also a former mileage partner with other SkyTeam members, including Aeromexico, from 2013 until 2017, and Air France and KLM, from 2007 until 2018.[19][20]

Membership Tiers[edit]

Mileage Plan's elite tiers for frequent travelers are MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K. Members in elite tiers receive additional benefits compared to 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:[21]

Qualification Method MVP MVP Gold MVP Gold 75K
Miles earned on Alaska flights1 20,000 40,000 75,000
Miles earned on Alaska / Elite Qualifying Partner flights2 25,000 50,000 90,000
Segments on Alaska / Elite Qualifying Partner flights 30 60 90
Notes
  • ^1 Includes Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air
  • ^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 Plan. Additionally, Members who fly 1,000,000 miles on Alaska Airlines are granted MVP Gold status for life.

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. In 2017, the Freight For Less program allowed Club 49 members to ship up to 100 pounds of freight for a flat rate of $10 through Alaska Air Cargo.[22][23]

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.[24]

Recognition[edit]

Mileage Plan has been the recipient of the U.S. News & World Report No. 1 Loyalty Program since 2015, based on an airline's overall evaluation of six criteria: ease of earning a free round-trip flight, benefits, network coverage, flight volume, award flight availability and airline quality ratings.[25][26]

References[edit]

  • "Shift in Service by Jet America Stops Losses: Move From Oakland to Orange County Pays Off". latimes. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  • Cohen, Brad (14 April 2016). "7 reasons to collect Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles". USA TODAY. Retrieved 12 May 2016.