Alaska MVP Benefits: Ultimate Guide [2020]

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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has a pretty solid loyalty program for frequent fliers, even at its lowest level of MVP. In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the Alaska MVP elite status level.

I’ll cover all of the benefits and how things work like the upgrades to first class and premium class.

What is Alaska MVP?

Alaska MVP is the bottom level elite status offered by Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

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How to earn Alaska MVP

You can earn Alaska MVP status by flying 20,000 miles on Alaska or 25,000 miles on partners or by flying 30 qualifying segments.

Here is how the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite levels stack up against each other:

Elite LevelAlaska MilesPartner MilesSegments
Alaska MVP20,000 miles25,000 miles30
MVP Gold40,000 miles50,000 miles60
MVP Gold 75K75,000 miles90,000 miles90
Alaska elite status level requirements.

Members who fly 1,000,000 on Alaska are granted MVP Gold status for life.

You will earn one mile per mile flown plus if you are flying on a qualifying fare, you will also earn bonus points.

For example, if you are flying in first class in F, P, or I, you will earn an additional 75% bonus on your miles.

In order to earn qualifying miles, flights must be:

  • Marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines, or marketed by Alaska Airlines and operated by the airlines noted below
  • Flight numbers must be in the range of eligible flight numbers listed below

Here are the qualifying partners and flight numbers:

  • 1-1999 (Alaska)
  • 2000-2999 (operated by Horizon Air)
  • 3300-3499 (operated by SkyWest)
  • 4000-4799, 6000-6999, 8001 – 8100 (operated by American Airlines)
  • 5000-5499 (operated by Qantas)

Travel on regional partners PenAir and Ravn does not count toward elite status qualification.

Flights shorter than 500 miles, will always earn a minimum of 500 miles.

You can read more about the earning requirements here.

Alaska MVP status match

You can also earn Alaska MVP status via a status match. Here are all of the different elite levels that you can match to MVP:

In order to qualify for a status match, you will have to show proof that you earned elite status through the published requirements and not through something like a promotion.

To process the status match, visit the online status match page and submit a screenshot of your online account showing your name, status, and your miles flown. You will also need to provide your Mileage Plan number.

If your status match is approved, you will receive a confirmation email and your new status will be good for 90 days.

You can keep your status match by meeting a certain requirement of flights during those 90 days:

  • MVP status – fly 5,000 miles
  • MVP Gold status – fly 10,000 miles
  • MVP Gold 75K status – fly 20,000 miles

If you start your status match by the end of June, you will keep your status through the end of the calendar year. But if you start your status match between July and December, you will keep the status through the end of next year.

Tip: It’s good to know that a member may only receive one status match for the lifetime of their account.

What are the Alaska MVP benefits?

  • 50% bonus on base miles 
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Two free checked bags
  • Discounted Alaska Lounge membership
  • Access to preferred seating
  • First Class upgrades
  • Premium Class upgrades
  • Dedicated phone lines
  • Elite Leave for new parents

50% bonus on base miles

On Alaska, you’ll earn one mile per actual mile flown. And as an MVP member, you will receive a 50% bonus on base miles. So if you fly 500 miles, you will earn 500 base miles plus 250 bonus miles.

This is different from a lot of other airlines that have switched to different types of earning structures based on your spend. This means that Alaska Airlines is one of the few airlines where it’s still possible to do a good old-fashioned mileage run.

If you want to earn even more miles, keep in mind that you can earn 3X Alaska miles on all your Alaska purchases with the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card.

Tip: If you’re looking for the best ways to use your Alaska miles be sure to check out our 20 best uses of Alaska Airline Miles article.

Priority check-in and boarding

When you arrive at the airport, you can head over to a dedicated check-in area and avoid the sometimes long lines at the standard check-in.

In addition, you will also get priority boarding. As an MVP member, you will be boarding in “Group B.”

Here’s a look at the Alaska Airlines boarding order:

  • Pre-boarding (Military, disabilities, unaccompanied minors, etc.)
  • First class
  • Group A (MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K)
  • Group B (MVP members and guests in Premium Class seats)
  • Group C (Main cabin in the back)
  • Group D (Main cabin in the front)
  • Group E (Saver)

So as you can see, with MVP status you will be boarding before main cabin which should allow you to easily find overhead storage bin space.

Two free checked bags

On Alaska Airlines, checked baggage will cost you $30 for your first bag and $40 for your second bag. But with MVP status, you won’t have to pay for your first two free checked bags so you can look at savings of up to $70 per flight!

You can also get free checked bags for companions in the same reservation. So that’s potentially a lot of savings just on checked baggage alone.

Discounted Alaska Lounge membership

An annual price for an Alaska Lounge membership is typically $450. However, if you have elite status with Alaska you will receive a discount according to the chart below:

Elite LevelPriceSavings
MVP$400$50
MVP Gold$350$100
MVP Gold 75K$300$150
Alaska Lounges elite membership prices.

So as an Alaska MVP member your savings for an annual lounge membership will be $50.

First Class upgrades, when available

With MVP status, you will be eligible for First Class upgrades at the time of booking. You will only be able to get these instant upgrades with booking: Y, S, or Z fares.

These are the most expensive fares that don’t require you to pay a cancellation fee if you need to make changes.

Alaska makes it really easy to find the prices for these fares when booking. Simply navigate to the main booking page and then look on the right hand side for the drop-down menu under “Upgrade type.”

You will then select your elite level status which in this case would be MVP and that will allow you to see the available fares for instant upgrades.

Screenshot of Alaska website showing how to select upgrade.
You can view upgrade fares by selecting your elite status and booking.

If you were looking for available upgrades, the dark “F” icon shown below indicates available upgrades.

And the “First Class Upgrade” fare will show you the price.

Screenshot of Alaska website showing upgrade prices.
First class upgrade prices may be higher than standard first class tickets.

You will notice that the price of the upgrade may be higher than the price of a first class ticket. That is just a matter of the different types of fares available.

If you are searching for a refundable fare, it would be more likely that you find a first class upgrade price cheaper than a business class ticket though it all just depends on what inventory is currently available.

If you have purchased the qualifying fare for your elite level, and upgrade space is available on your flight, you will be upgraded immediately.

If there are no upgrades available for your flight, you will be placed on the upgrade waitlist, and cleared in the order placed on the upgrade waitlist as upgrade space becomes available.

If you purchase a fare that does not qualify for instant upgrades the process works differently.

In that case, you will be placed in a queue until your upgrade window begins. In the case of an MVP member, your upgrade window will not open until 48 hours prior to departure.

At that point, the upgrades will clear in the order of fare class booked. If there are no upgrades available for your flight, you will be placed on the upgrade waitlist in order of fare class booked.

The fare class order for MVP is the following: B, M, H, Q, L, V, N, K, G, T, R, W.

Once your upgrade window opens, if there is an upgrade available on your flight you’ll be upgraded immediately. But if there currently are no upgrades available, you will simply remain on the waitlist.

Once check-in begins, the waitlist is available to view either via the mobile app, the gate information display, or on alaskaair.com.

The waitlist will only display those passengers who have already checked in. So if you checked in before other passengers that were higher up on the waitlist, it’s possible that when they check-in you will move down on the list.

Alaska will continue to look for available upgrades in process them until about one hour prior to departure.

Saver fares (booked in X class of service) are not eligible for elite upgrades.

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Premium Class upgrades

Premium class seating will get you a little bit of extra legroom (about 4 inches), complimentary drinks (where beverage service is normally served), and priority boarding.

These are seats in the front row (bulkhead) of the main cabin section and also in the emergency exit rows.

You can get instantly upgraded to a premium class ticket if you purchase one of the following fares: Y, Z, S, or B fares. Again, you can search for these fares in the same way you can for the first class upgrades shown above.

If you book an eligible fare for a premium class upgrade but there are no upgrades available, you will be put on a waitlist.

And you should note that for MVP members, the premium class upgrade is only available for themselves.

If you purchased an eligible discounted fares that does not qualify for an immediate upgrade, you will be placed on the upgrade waitlist at the upgrade window which is 48 hours for MVP.

Upgrades will then be processed by fare class and then order of purchase. The order of the fare class processing is: M, H, Q, N, L, V, K, G, T, R, or W fares.

Saver fares (booked in X class of service) are not eligible for complimentary upgrades.

When premium class is not available, you may just be offered a seat with more legroom. Seats with more legroom are complimentary for Alaska Mileage Plan elite members.

If you receive a complementary upgrade to a suite with more legroom, you can also bring one companion traveling with you on the same reservation.

Dedicated phone lines for reservations and customer service

As an MVP member, you can take advantage of a special phone line for your reservations and customer service issues.

Elite Leave for new parents

Alaska Airlines will allow you to keep your elite status when you are on parental leave or while pregnant for up to an extra year.

Once you’re back from parental leave, email Alaska at elite.flyer@alaskaair.com with your:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Mileage Plan number
  • Proof of pregnancy or parental leave

They will then make a determination on whether or not to extend your status an additional year.

Alaska MVP FAQ

What are the Alaska MVP benefits?

50% bonus on base miles 
Priority check-in and boarding
Two free checked bags
Discounted Alaska Lounge membership
Access to preferred seating
First Class upgrades, when available
Premium Class upgrades, when available
Dedicated phone line
Elite Leave for new parents

What kind of upgrades can I get with Alaska MVP?

As an MVP member, you are eligible for upgrades to first class and to premium class. Depending on the fare you purchase, you may be upgraded immediately or you may be placed on the waitlist.

What type of priority boarding do I get?

As an MVP member, you will board with “Group B.”

Can I status match to Alaska MVP?

Yes, you can status match one time to Alaska MVP. The following elite levels will match you to MVP:

Aeromexico Gold
Air Canada Altitude 25K (Prestige) and 35K
American Airlines AAdvantage Gold
Delta Silver Medallion
Frontier Elite 20K
Hawaiian Pualani Gold
JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic
Southwest A List
United Premier Silver and Premier Associate

Do I get free checked baggage with Alaska MVP?

Yes, you will get up to two free checked bags for you and for companions on your reservation.

Do I get lounge access with Alaska MVP?

No, you do not get lounge access but you do receive a $50 discount on an annual lounge membership.

Final word

Alaska MVP status is a pretty solid lower tier elite status. I like how simple the upgrade system is and how easy it is to confirm instant upgrades by purchasing the right fare. There also are some nice perks like free checked baggage and a discount on lounge access.

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