Alaska Airlines is quickly changing the landscape of domestic US air travel. After acquiring Virgin America, the Alaska route network is now robust across all US regions, and with the insights of a beloved flying brand within their wings, the “traditional” flying experience may never be the same. Alaska and Virgin America have further integrated their loyalty programs, creating one powerful frequent flyer proposition. There’s never been a better time to join Alaska’s elite ranks…

Alaska Status Match

Alaska Airlines offers an ongoing public status match opportunity to flyers who currently hold elite status with a competitor. The match information can be found here. Even if your airline is not listed, the airline may consider you for a match, as I found out last year using British Airways Gold Executive Club status. All US domestic airlines should absolutely work toward this match. This is a tremendous (free) opportunity to get a taste of what elite life is like with Alaska Airlines, without forgoing any current status you hold. You only gain, there’s no subtraction.

Serious Elite Benefits

As of yesterday, elite Alaska MileagePlan members are eligible for first class upgrades on Virgin America. These seats will be highly contentious, but the possibility of a complimentary upgrade to a great first class experience on an expanded network of direct flights is extremely lucrative. We’ve done a deep dive into the benefits of Alaska MVP 75K status before, which is absolutely worth a read. It’s important to note that aside from excellent domestic travel options and benefits, Alaska’s network of international mileage earning partners, combined with their lucrative chart for using miles on top airlines like Cathay, Qantas, Japan Airlines and more make this a juicy combo. Earning at elite flyer rates, versus standard member rates takes this to an entirely new level. It’s almost bonkers how many points you can earn on a huge network of airlines.

An Upgrade Suspicion

Alaska MVP program members will soon be eligible for complimentary first class upgrades on Virgin America by default. We can’t help but assume Alaska MVP 75K members, with “guest” upgrade certificates will soon be able to cash in these certificates for instant upgrades to first class on Virgin America flights. There are likely tech issues to work out, and with just eight first class seats on Virgin America, supply is limited – but this could be a significant coup for Alaska loyalists. Status matches grant a complimentary year of status, and scoring four (4) upgrade certificates if matched to Alaska MVP 75K could present seriously increased perks in the near future.

Are you going to check out Alaska’s elite frequent flyer offering?