Points, miles, and snide remarks.


Alaska Announces 2024 Program Updates, New Partnership with Porter

Alaska Airlines is shaking things up in the Mileage Plan program for 2024, and it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s in store. But before we dive into the details, let’s not forget that Alaska recently made headlines with its ambitious plan to acquire Hawaiian Airlines in a whopping $1.9 billion deal, adding the airline to the Oneworld Alliance.

Now, back to the Mileage Plan changes. The elite status adjustments for 2024 come with a mix of positive shifts and a few headscratchers. The simplified process of earning elite status based solely on elite qualifying miles (EQMs) is a notable shift. Whether you’re eyeing MVP, MVP Gold, or the prestigious MVP Gold 100K status, it all boils down to your EQMs. Importantly, there are no changes to the EQM thresholds required for status.

This kind of change seems to be a trend in the airline industry as a whole. American did this the right way with its Loyalty Points scheme. Delta got it very wrong and later backtracked. United seems to be on the way to a Loyalty Points-like scheme, which makes sense because CEO Scott Kirby trained under Doug Parker at American, so we’d expect United and American to closely follow each other while Delta does its own thing.

The elimination of segment-based qualification might raise an eyebrow for some, but it’s balanced by the freedom to earn Mileage Plan status solely through travel on partner airlines. This is great news, as Alaska’s reach is largely west coast-focused. Alaska is also sweetening the deal for Mileage Plan members who wield the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card. In 2024, for every $10,000 spent on the card, members will rake in 4,000 EQMs, with a cap of 20,000 EQMs per year after $50,000 in eligible credit card spending. It’s a move reminiscent of recent trends in the airline industry, where credit card spending becomes a key player in elite status attainment.

MVP Gold 100K members get an exclusive treat with the introduction of limited-time rollover miles. Any EQMs beyond 100,000 in 2023 will carry over to the 2024 program year, a one-time offer that could be a game-changer for the most dedicated Mileage Plan members.

Looking ahead to late 2024, Alaska Mileage Plan promises a buffet of “choice rewards.” While details are scarce, the plan is to empower members to cherry-pick the perks that matter most to them. From bonus miles and status accelerators to day-of-travel perks and experiences, it’s a tantalizing menu that could add a new layer of personalization to the loyalty program.

Now, for the less savory news. In 2025, Alaska Mileage Plan will be downsizing elite mileage bonuses for three out of four elite tiers. MVP members, MVP Gold members, and MVP Gold 75K members will experience reductions ranging from 25% to 50%. At least Alaska gave a full year of advance notice here, and it aligns with the airline’s investment in new choice rewards.

Buried under the news about Alaska’s loyalty program updates, it’s worth noting that Alaska is expanding options for its members by adding Porter Airlines as its 30th global airline partner and the first Canadian airline partner. This news should please AvGeeks, as Porter seems all-in on the comfortable Embraer E195 E2, a rare find within North America.

Alaska’s 2024 program updates signal a positive shift overall. The streamlined elite status qualification and the added perks for credit card holders are steps in the right direction. However, the reduction in elite mileage bonuses come 2025 might be a bitter pill for some loyalists to swallow. Yet, as we navigate these changes, it’s clear that Alaska Airlines is charting a course towards a more straightforward program as it looks to acquire Hawaiian.