Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.
To earn top-tier status with Alaska Airlines a flyer is currently required to credit just 75,000 elite qualifying miles to their account. From 2022 that will no longer be the case as, in a move that was reasonably easy to predict, Alaska Airlines has just told members that it will be creating a new elite tier level next year.
Back in December when Alaska Airlines announced a nice positive change to how flyers can earn elite status and when it explained how its existing status levels would be mapped to the oneworld status levels from the end of March, I wondered if that announcement opened the door for Alaska Airlines to add a new top-tier status level that would require Mileage Plan members to credit 100,000 elite qualifying miles to the program. Well, apparently that’s exactly what Alaska Airlines plans to do.
With Alaska on the cusp of joining the oneworld alliance and with the airline now in a very close partnership with American Airlines (where 100,000 elite qualifying miles are needed for top-tier status), it was only a matter of time before Alaska Airlines started announcing serious changes to its loyalty program.
In an email sent out to Mileage Plan members today, Alaska Airlines had this to say [HT: OMAAT]:
For members who fly 100,000 miles per year, we’re also introducing a new tier starting in 2022. This will recognize our absolute top echelon road warriors and offer perks such as increased bonus miles, top upgrade priority on Alaska flights, lounge benefits, and more. Look for more details later in 2021.
That’s not exactly a lot of information to go on so it’s hard to say just how much things will change but it’s probably fair to assume that we’re about to see Mileage Plan elite status levels align a lot more closely with what American’s AAdvantage Program’s elite status levels look like.
If that turns out to be true (I’m speculating right now), we could also see the number of elite qualifying miles required to earn MVP and MVP Gold status increased. The new elite status requirement could look something like this:
Considering that November 2020 saw Alaska Airlines and American Airlines announce that they plan to offer reciprocal upgrades, it would seem to make a lot of sense for Alaska Airlines to align its elite status tiers with those of American Airlines – it would definitely make it easier for the airlines to work out who gets upgrade priority.
It also wouldn’t surprise me to see the elite tiers renamed. If Alaska was to following the current naming system, its new top-tier elite status level would have to be called MVP 100K and at that point that’s just too many “MVPs”.
Based on an extract from an email sent out to Mileage Plan members today, the airline will be introducing a new top-tier elite status level in 2022 that will require flyers to earn 100,000 elite qualifying miles. While Alaska Airlines has yet to make any further comment, it’s probably safe to assume that the requirement to earn 100,000 miles for top-tier status will not kick-in until the 2022 qualification year.