My Super Simple Road of Hacking & Stacking Alaska Airlines MVP Status

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Alaska Airlines MVP Status Travel Hacking

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.

Alaska Airlines MVP Status Travel Hacking

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. 

Alaska Airlines MVP Status Travel Hacking
San Francisco, CA

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.

AA Executive Platinum status will be nice in 2020! Delta Silver will hopefully come in handy as well. 

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!

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. @DEP —> As I understand it, your companion on the same reservation will also receive the upgrade.


    @Shawn —> I originally earned MVP Gold (mid-tier) status through my status as Virgin America Elevate Gold (their top tier), then earned it in 2018 for this year. In 2020, however, I’ll be MVP (low-tier) as I barely flew over the 20k min. required in 2019. (Serious travel cutbacks for work.) I am hoping to return to MVP Gold status for 2021.

  2. How does Alaska MVP status work for a traveling companion in terms of upgrades? I actually have frontier status that expires Jan 1 and I’m thinking I’ll match to Alaska since I’m flying them from EWR to OGG to visit my brother who just moved to Maui. If I visit once more and maybe catch a good mistake fair who knows maybe I even go up a level above that!


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