Alaska Airways is recent off of asserting a brand new award chart that had members respiratory a sigh of reduction. Many had anticipated unhealthy information, this wasn’t unhealthy information, and there are even a variety of candy spots.
Now they’ve simply introduced modifications to how Mileage Plan members will qualify for standing beginning subsequent yr, and painted an image of modifications to anticipate to elite advantages beginning in 2025. And once more, it’s usually excellent news. They regularly trumpet themselves as providing probably the most beneficiant airline loyalty program within the U.S. It’s largely true, they usually’ve absorbed that it’s a actual aggressive benefit for them.
Segments No Longer Required To Earn Standing
For incomes standing in 2024, you’ll solely must depend your qualifying miles. They’re dropping segments as a status-qualifying metric. The variety of qualifying miles to earn every standing degree stays the identical.
- You gained’t earn standing on segments, simply qualifying miles
- You don’t must have a minimal variety of Alaska Airways segments for standing, so you possibly can earn standing flying on any of their companion airways that earn qualifying miles, even with out ever setting foot on an Alaska Airways flight.
At present you possibly can qualify both primarily based on miles flown or flights taken. The choice of incomes standing primarily based on variety of flights goes away, however so is the requirement to have a minimal variety of flights every year on Alaska flights.
Present Alaska Airways Standing-Incomes Necessities
The chance right here is big, for example even for those who’re an American Airways flyer. American is best for incomes standing via bank card spend and on-line buying. However for somebody incomes their standing purely or largely by flying, Alaska is the higher possibility – even when your whole flights are on American.
That’s very true for those who’d earn the next standing with Alaska Mileage Plan than American AAdvantage, since you’ll be larger on the improve record even when flying their companion American. You simply forego American’s Loyalty Selection awards however even that will likely be altering in 2025.
Certainly, I’d rank Alaska as finest for incomes standing for those who aren’t a excessive fare flyer of any main U.S. airline (although Primary Economic system fares solely earn a fraction of normal fares).
It did appear fascinating to me that they’re eliminating the requirement to fly Alaska itself, although.
- oneworld has at all times required segments on an airline’s personal flights to earn standing. American obtained an exception for his or her new Loyalty Factors-based program, however the rule was nonetheless in impact for others. Nonetheless, Brett Catlin, Alaska’s Vice President of loyalty, alliances and gross sales, tells me that the change “wasn’t controversial in oneworld.”
- Traditionally Alaska has privileged its personal steel flying – up to now even requiring fewer qualifying miles to earn standing if flown completely on their very own flights, and the next status-earning threshold if together with companion flights. So there’s been an actual migration away from favoring Alaska flights over time.
Catlin tells me that they wished “simplicity,” that the strategies of qualifying for standing had been too exhausting for many to know. Additionally they didn’t need to disincentivize companion flying. They know that their clients don’t simply fly on the Alaska Airways route community, and that they serve these clients via companions wherever they journey. The combination of partnerships, particularly inside oneworld, demanded this. (I’d add that Delta can serve passengers immediately on worldwide, together with out of Seattle, whereas Alaska wants these partnerships to compete.)
Put one other approach, this modification is a part of absolutely “unlocking” the complete advantage of the airline’s membership in oneworld.
Credit score Card Spend Counts Extra In ’24
For 2024 solely, each $10,000 spend on Alaska Airways bank cards earns 4,000 elite qualifying miles, as much as a complete of $50,000 spend and 20,000 qualifying miles.
Charges (together with annual price) and different changes don’t depend in the direction of the spending whole, however spend throughout a number of playing cards depend in the direction of the identical $10,000 thresholds – you possibly can mix spending on a private (shopper) and small enterprise card to succeed in the $10,000 degree. Sadly the 20,000 qualifying mile cap stays in place even if in case you have multiple card.
Whereas I questioned capping the power to earn qualifying miles through card spend (because it’s limitless at each American and Delta), Catlin famous that $50,000 in spending is critical, although there’s a “lengthy tail of small companies that may transcend” that quantity of spending, the provide remains to be “related to the most important share of shoppers” in addition to being “attainable.”
This variation is just for 2024 as a result of they’re testing it. I anticipate that sooner or later bank card will grow to be a much bigger a part of elite-earning. They only didn’t need to go there suddenly. In Catlin’s phrases, they didn’t need to “10x” the “100k tier…in a single yr” and likewise disappoint those that had been already incomes it.
MVP Gold 100K Roll Over
MVP Gold 100K members who earn greater than 100,000 EQMs in 2023 can have the surplus roll over towards their standing in 2024. Alaska is evident that this isn’t a brand new rollover function and is one time solely.
Milestone Rewards Coming Subsequent Yr, Diminished Bonus Miles
Alaska Airways will likely be introducing Milestone Rewards within the second half of 2024. Together with these new selection advantages for elite members, which I anticipate to be conceptually much like American’s Loyalty Selection awards and to Delta’s selection advantages, will come lowered bonus mileage-earning from flights for elite members under the highest 100K tier.
I requested Brett Catlin about Milestone Rewards and he made clear that members aren’t really dropping out on bonus miles in the event that they don’t need to – that one of many selections will likely be bonus miles that restore members to their earlier incomes. It’s simply that members will be capable to select different issues as an alternative.
He famous that there will likely be profit selections “between standing tiers, earlier than [members] attain MVP,” as effectively. All of this “comes at a price” and adjusting the bonus miles assured at every tier is critical for the “economics of Mileage Plan” however they intend to be “actually beneficiant.”
And he provided me a bit about what these awards will appear like.
If bonus miles is your most vital program attribute, you’ll be complete on bonus miles. For those who want different issues, like assured confirmed upgrades, experiences, or sharing your standing with a pal or member of the family, you may select to commerce off [those miles].
Whereas Alaska has generally made modifications to their program up to now with out discover, Brett understood the significance of belief in giving discover to modifications in elite advantages – recognizing that persons are about to begin flying in 2024 for advantages in 2025, letting them know now concerning the lowered bonus miles from flying (as a selection) mattered though they’re not but ready to element Milestone Rewards in full.
No Extra Adjustments To Subsequent Yr’s Program, However Count on Annual Adjustments In Future Years
Catlin emphasised that there will likely be “no different modifications for subsequent yr” so no surprises on the horizon, advantages will stay the identical. Nevertheless he mentioned to “anticipate annual modifications [announced] every fall” to this system as they be taught and work to enhance it.