7 ways to make the most of your Mileage Plan elite status 

Those who get it, never want to lose it: Elite status in Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan. It’s that good.  

With an array of benefits, it can be overwhelming and, frankly, easy to overlook what  your status brings to the table when you fly with us and our fellow oneworld Alliance members. We’re here to change that, especially as many of us are travelling more.  

1. Land an upgraded seat – right away. 

As you might already know, elite members on Alaska enjoy complimentary First Class and Premium Class upgrades when available.  

Each tier has a set of fare classes that are eligible for instant upgrades that can be used as early as when you book your trip. If upgrade space is available on your flight and you book one of these fare classes, you’ll be upgraded immediately.  

If no upgrades are available at booking, or you didn’t book one of the fare classes eligible for upgrades at booking, you’ll be put on the upgrade waitlist. Where you sit on the waitlist depends on four factors:   

  1. Your elite tier 
  1. The fare class your ticket is booked in 
  1. If you reached Million Miler or Two Million Miler with us (this is a new addition) 
  1. The final tiebreaker, when all of the above is equal, is the date and time you’re added to the waitlist 

The upgrade window opens five days (120 hours) before travel for MVP Gold 75K and 100K, three days (72 hours) prior for MVP Gold and two days (48 hours) prior for MVP.  

It helps to know that not every seat that’s shown on our seat map is eligible for an upgrade – even within the upgrade window – and sometimes upgrade space is not available until closer to departure. Friendly  reminder: Saver fares are not eligible for upgrades. 

We recently made a notable change: The upgrade list now shows all guests who are eligible for upgrades – not just those who have checked in. You’ll see the latest upgrade list beginning 24 hours before the flight on our app, online or at the gate. Dive into more details about qualifying for complimentary upgrades

2. Share your status with friends or family. 

Every year, MVP Golds and higher receive four Gold guest upgrades. This is a great way to share your status with people like friends or family. 

You can apply the Gold guest upgrade to a reservation you’ve already made, or you can see where the guest upgrade can be used instantly when you’re booking a flight.  

Like complimentary upgrades, using guest upgrades is dependent on space availability. Top things to know when using this perk: 

  • Not all fares are eligible. To see which ones you can apply a guest upgrade to, select “MVP Gold guest” in search results and look for flights with a blue “F”. 
  • Be flexible. Off-peak flights or dates may likely have more availability for instant upgrades using a guest upgrade.   
  • Check back closer to travel. If no upgrade space is available when you book, visit the Manage Reservation page closer to your trip since upgrade availability may change.   

Note: Not all fares are eligible to have a Gold guest upgrade applied. We’ve mapped out specifics of what you need to know when using Gold guest upgrades

3. Earn bonus miles.  

As an elite, you earn bonus miles with every flight you take with Alaska or our partners.  Mileage Plan offers the highest elite bonuses in the sky, getting you to that next award even faster. Elite bonus miles are earned on top of any base flight miles earned, but not on promotional bonus miles.   

Mileage Plan offers the highest elite bonuses in the sky, getting you to that next award even faster.  Elite bonus miles don’t count as elite qualifying miles or toward tier requalification.   

Elite bonus miles range from 50% of base miles to 150% of base miles depending on your tier. Learn more about our tiers.  

4. Keep your status when you fly on world class airlines. 

If you have elite status with us, you automatically have Priority tier privileges with the oneworld Alliance, a group of the world’s leading airlines with connections to more than 900 destinations in 170 territories.  

  • MVP members a oneworld Ruby 
  • MVP Gold members a oneworld Sapphire 
  • MVP Gold 75K/100K members a oneworld Emerald 

The benefits are worth crowing about: Our elite flyers can get priority check-in, access to preferred seating and priority waitlist when on standby, priority boarding, bonus miles and more depending on tier status. oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members can also access partner lounges when traveling internationally.    

The specific benefits vary depending on the airline you’re flying on, and it’s helpful to know that you will not necessarily receive the exact same benefits you’d receive on Alaska. For example, you’re eligible for complimentary upgrades on Alaska but upgrades are currently not a oneworld benefit. 

5. Enjoy added benefits when flying American Airlines. 

American Airlines is a oneworld member like us, but we also share a longstanding partnership. As a Mileage Plan elite, you’ll enjoy added benefits when flying on American Airlines – on top of your oneworld Priority privileges: 

  • All our elites are eligible for complimentary access to select extra legroom seats known as Main Cabin Extra on American Airlines when there’s availability. Unlike Alaska’s Premium Class, Main Cabin Extra does not have a waitlist if these seats are full. 
  • All elites enjoy free bags and priority boarding. 
  • MVP Gold 75K and 100K members are eligible for space-available complimentary business or first-class upgrades on American Airlines in the U.S. and between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Central America, with confirmation as early as 72 hours before departure if seats are available. You’ll be prioritized after American Airlines’ Platinum Pro members. Members are now eligible for upgrades whether the flight was booked with us or on American Airlines. 
  • We know changes happen. MVP Gold 75K and 100k receive complimentary, same day confirmed changes on American Airlines. 

6. Treat yourself in the Lounge and onboard. 

Our guests love our Lounges. Our MVP Gold 75K/100K members receive four complimentary day passes every year. You can even share them with family and friends if you like. Interested in purchasing a Lounge membership? All our elites get a $100 discount. 

On board, we like to pass along special somethings to our MVP Gold members and higher when they’re with us in the main cabin. Savor a complimentary premium beverage or a jcoco-branded chocolate bar. Our MVP Gold 100K members are also offered a light snack in the main cabin, such as popcorn, potato chips or chocolate almonds.  

7. Keep your status with elite-qualifying miles. 

Elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) are the ticket to earning and keeping your status with us.  Our EQMs are accrued based on the distance you fly and any class of service bonuses.  

You can gain elite status based on the eligible miles earned or segments flown—not just on Alaska—but also flying on our additional airline partners

Note: Each of our airline partners has a different earn rate that may not always equal 100% of the miles flown. 

In addition to the total eligible EQMs or total segments flown, there’s a minimum number of trips required on flights marketed and operated by Alaska in order to earn or keep your status

Since EQMs vary by the type of fare you book, certain fare classes – such as First Class – earn even more. It’s an amazing way to rack up EQMs and get you to elite status faster. For example, if you purchase a First Class ticket on Alaska, you’ll earn 200% of your total flown miles as EQMs. Learn more about the EQMs you can earn with us.  

Our Mileage Plan offers the fastest path to elite status in the United States.  Not only are the elite qualifying thresholds some of the lowest compared to other U.S. airlines with similar qualification criteria, but there are also no minimum revenue requirements to earn or keep your status.   

We hope you’ll continue enjoying your benefits or sign up today to join the many travel perks!