Alaska Airlines MVP Status Travel Hacking
This year has been an interesting one with airline elite status. Truthfully I spent most of the year as a commoner just like the rest of you. We started the year out riding a mixture of premium cabin products using miles and budget carriers to hop around Asia and elsewhere.
As the year settled in, I found that low cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier were serving me best domestically. A little $19 insurance plus tons of direct routes out of my home airport of LAS meant I wasn’t setting foot on the big three. Well, that was until they all gave me status.
That’s right. Within the course of a couple of months I had gone from no elite status to holding status with all three major airlines in the U.S. It felt good, but none of it was earned. But there was still one status I was pursuing this year the “hard” way. Okay, it didn’t turn out to be so hard.
Qualifying for Alaska MVP Status
Alaska Airlines’ MVP status is their lowest tier elite status, but it comes with nice perks like first class upgrades, mileage earning bonuses & preferred seats. I have had MVP status before and found that upgrades cleared with surprising regularity. Being from Las Vegas I don’t have a ton of Alaska options, however I do enjoy the airline and their elite program.
Earlier this year I was able to fly from Vietnam to New York and back in Cathay Pacific First Class for about $1,200. That was a great deal, but it also had one side effect. Since I credited my flights to Alaska Airlines, not only did I earn 56, 470 redeemable miles, but I also earned about 24,200 elite qualifying miles.
So Close Yet So Far
In order to obtain Alaska Airlines MVP status one either needs 20K elite qualifying miles earned solely on Alaska Airlines flights or 25K elite qualifying miles earned on Alaska and its partners. My Cathay Pacific First class flight got me to within 800 miles of qualifying for MVP status, but I needed a bit more to get me over the top.
A San Francisco Treat
One of the coolest perks of the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite is the $100 companion airfare discount. This discount gives $100 off 2 or more domestic roundtrip tickets. If you can find cheap seats this can be an awesome discount. Unfortunately this perk is going away on December 31. 🙁
In order to qualify for MVP status my wife and I flew to San Francisco to get away for the weekend and also meetup with some friends. The flights to/from San Francisco each earn the minimum of 500 elite qualifying miles, meaning it was enough to get me over the top. Our two roundtrip LAS-SFO tickets on Alaska cost $193 each, but that came to only $93 after the discount or $46.50 for each roundtrip ticket.
It All Worked As Expected
Flying to/from San Francisco was fun, although Alaska not having a full beverage service on a 75 minute flight is kind of lame. That aside, our flights were uneventful and good, but most importantly they served their purpose. The morning after returning to Las Vegas, my account had updated. I was an Alaska Airlines MVP.
Elite Status Going Into 2020
A few months ago American Airlines gave me Platinum status. I did not meet the terms of that challenge and moved back to a “basic member”, however I just learned last week that I am going to be given their top-tier Executive Platinum status for 2020. You won’t see me complaining.
Around the same time United Airlines gave me Gold status. Again, I didn’t meet the terms of that challenge, but enjoyed the status for what it was. I also was able to match my statuses to Delta where I was given (and still have Platinum status). Originally I was going to fly Delta enough because of the Delta Vacations deal to get Gold status, however due to an illness and a cancelled trip I will only lock in Delta Silver status.
To sum it up, without much work I’ll have AA Executive Platinum, Alaska MVP and Delta Silver for 2020. Not terrible considering Alaska is the only one I earned the traditional way and even that was super easy.
Alaska Airlines MVP Status Travel Hacking – Bottom Line
Great deals, status matches and other voodoo can often result in having a lot more elite status than we have earned. I’m glad to have Alaska Airlines MVP status for 2020 along with my other statuses. I’ll be traveling a lot, so hopefully I can take advantage of some of the perks offered.
Were you able to qualify for Alaska status thanks to the Cathay fare? Have you gained status through a gift or challenge this year? Share you story below!