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First, let me get this out of the way, I’m a big fan of Alaska Airlines. They remain the only airline that rewards its loyalists with at least one award mile for every mile flown AND the possibility of redeeming those miles on aspirational business/first class products. Can we say Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Singapore, FinnAir, the list goes on and on. That’s a big deal, and greatly appreciated. It’s also what they’ve noted to be a big profit driver for their business – hey Big 3, wanna take notice? Alaska also rewards its loyalists with outstandingly generous earn rates when you fly in a premium cabin on a partner airline. I’ve earned 50k Alaska miles on a paid roundtrip flight out of Europe that cost me just $1500. How’s that for unreal earn rates. The latest partner promo for Alaska Airlines will earn you a minimum of 10k miles when you fly from/to North America to a destination outside North America on a partner. Sounds amazing, but let’s take a look deeper at this Alaska 10k promo
Here’s the Alaska Promo
- Starts March 1, 2020
- Fly on an Alaska partner and earn a minimum of 10k miles roundtrip
- Must be between North America and a non-North America destination
Why it isn’t engineered for those in biz/first or MVP Gold or G75k
If you’re in a premium cabin or an elite member of Alaska you’re going to earn that many miles anyway ( certainly for MVP G and G75s) unless you’re in the cheapest of Economy tickets. Let’s do the math on a cheap ticket from Boston to London on BA
Alaska has revamped their BA earn chart and it a bit cleaner. We can use the data from milecalc.com to find flight distance, but you can see that some Elites will earn more than the 10k minimum on full fare econ, but certainly as soon as you bump into a W fare bucket, Premium Economy, seat you’re earning more than the minimum so the promo is essentially moot.
- Boston to London total flight distance 6530
- Elites earn bonus miles
- MVP = 50%
- MVPG = 100%
- G75 = 125%
- Earning with Promo in economy
- Non-elite in Lowest Econ = promo max 10k miles
- Non-elite in mid econ = promo max 10k miles
- Non -elite in full fare econ = promo max 10k miles
- MVP in Lowest Econ = promo max 10k miles
- MVP in mid econ = promo max 10k miles
- MVP in full fare econ = promo max 10k miles
- MVPG in Lowest Econ = promo max 10k miles
- MVPG in mid econ = promo max 10k miles
- MVPG in full fare econ = 13060
- G75 in Lowest Econ = promo max 10k miles
- G75 in mid econ = promo max 10k miles
- G75 in full fare econ = 14,692
- Earning with Promo in Premium Economy – each fare would be W, I’m not sure as to why there is a difference in earning
- Non-Elite will earn 50% bonus = Promo max 10k miles
- MVP = (6530 * 1.5 ) + 3265 = 13060
- MVPG = 16326
- G75 = 17958
Why I think Alaska is doing it.
It’s a great promo if you’re looking to make a quick hop out of North America and fly in the some of most popular discounted economy cabins, regardless of status – not even top tier MVPG75s will earn more. I used an example featuring BA, but it certainly favors those who will be flying as non-elites in lower cabins. I think it’s a great way to attract many people who may take advantage of cheap airfare to Europe…there are a ton of dates with r/t airfare under $400 across the US and Canada. You wouldn’t earn many miles on any program with rates that low, but with Alaska incentivizing those passengers to credit to them and earn 10k miles, it may also entice them to fly Alaska, sign up for an Alaska credit card, or seek other means of shoring up their accounts in the future.
There have been so many devaluations across the Big 3 that have significantly de-prioritized the budget and occasional traveler and I think it’s a pretty fantastic strategy Alaska is implementing to pull over some of the forgotten with some very valuable miles.
Now…if they’d just sweeten this deal for Elites and say you can earn 5k each way extra…everyone would be quite happy.
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