Alaska Airlines recently joined the oneworld alliance. At the same time, Alaska Mileage Plan and American AAdvantage introduced limited mutual upgrades for elite members. Well, this has now been taken to the next level, with a temporary benefit for prime Alaska Airlines flyers.
Alaska MVP Gold 75K members receive international upgrades
Alaska Airlines just sent an email to MVP Gold 75K members offering them a limited time international upgrade opportunity to celebrate the new partnership.
This gives MVP Gold 75K members of the Alaska Mileage Plan two one-way business class upgrades on select American Airlines international routes. Instead of offering system-wide upgrades, the airline offers upgrades specifically for non-stop travel between the following city pairs:
- Los Angeles (LAX) and London (LHR)
- Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney (SYD)
- Los Angeles (LAX) and Tokyo (HND)
- Seattle (SEA) and Bangalore (BLR)
- Seattle (SEA) and London (LHR)
- Seattle (SEA) and Shanghai (PVG)
To use this, eligible Alaska Mileage Plan members must book by September 30, 2021 and travel by December 31, 2021.
These upgrades can be confirmed if there is a confirmable upgrade space (in tariff class “C”), or they can be put on a waiting list in some other way. Eligible members will receive an upgrade code and will be asked to contact American Airlines to apply the upgrade.
Alaskan elites are eligible for upgrades on select American routes
The plan is for senior elite members of the Alaska Mileage Plan to receive system-wide upgrades in the coming year that can be used with American Airlines. This is expected to be a permanent benefit, and its introduction will likely coincide with the introduction of a new MVP Gold 100K tier.
That being said, I find the execution of this temporary benefit absolutely bizarre:
- All of these destinations are subject to significant travel restrictions, with Australia, China, India, and Japan being rightly closed to tourists, and I would expect that to be the case for all of 2021
- A quarantine requirement still exists in London but it may be lifted this summer. I think this is the only route this could possibly work on
I’m sure American AAdvantage Executive Platinum members won’t be too happy about this:
- Executive Platinum members have not yet extended their system-wide upgrades beyond mid-summer
- Unless Executive Platinum members have re-qualified for status, they will not have any international upgrades available for travel this fall
- In other words, Alaskan top tier elites have a huge advantage over some international upgrades this year over American top tier elites
American did not extend system-wide upgrades beyond July
As a special treat, Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members receive two free upgrades on select American international routes. What a fantastic time to plan a Shanghai, Sydney or Tokyo vacation?
I mean, I think we shouldn’t be putting a gift horse in our mouths here as this is just a perk being introduced on top of the permanent perk that will be introduced soon. But is this benefit still well thought out? And this seems like a slap in the face even to America’s loyal flyers, as Americans have continued to refuse to extend system-wide upgrades beyond July.
What do you think of this international upgrade benefit for Alaskan elites?