The Guide to Alaska 100K, Its Top Elite Status Tier
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Alaska Airlines historically offered just three elite status tiers. That changed in 2021 with the introduction of Alaska MVP 100K — which now serves as the Seattle-based airline's top elite status tier.
From first-class upgrades on Alaska and American Airlines to free checked bags and lounge passes, Alaska 100K elite status comes packed with perks. Add in that Alaska doesn't have a spending requirement for elite status, and Alaska MVP elite status is quite appealing for many frequent fliers. Here's our full guide to Alaska's top-tier MVP Gold 100K elite status.
Changes to 100K status in 2023
New this year is the 100K Choice Benefit for members at the airline's top tier level.
Once this status level is earned in 2023, members are given four choices: 50,000 bonus miles, complimentary Alaska Lounge+ membership, the ability to gift MVP Gold status to a friend or family member or complimentary Wi-Fi for the year.
Note that current 100K elites had to make their choice selection for the year by Jan. 31, 2023.
Alaska 100K perks
Anytime a loyalty program is bold enough to add a new top-tier elite status, it needs to justify making travelers fly extra to earn it. And that's arguably what Alaska did with its Alaska 100K perks. Here's an overview of the numerous benefits of Alaska MVP Gold 100K elite status:
Accelerated mileage earning rates
150% mileage bonus: Earn 2.5x the base mileage earnings when flying Alaska or its partners.
Upgrades and seat perks
First-class upgrades on Alaska Airlines: Get upgraded to first class at booking any time you book Y, B, H, K or M fares. Clear upgrades as far out as 120 hours on all other fares — except for "saver" basic economy fares.
Extra-legroom seats on Alaska: Get an instant upgrade to Premium Class extra-legroom seats at booking — except on "saver" basic economy fares.
Companion upgrades: Get upgrades to first class or extra-legroom seats for up to one companion flying with you.
First class guest upgrades: Gift up to four first-class upgrades to travelers who aren't flying with you.
First-class upgrades on American Airlines: Get complimentary upgrades on domestic and short-haul international flights, prioritized after American Airlines Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro elites.
Extra-legroom seats on American: Select American Airlines Main Cabin Extra extra-legroom seats for free starting at booking.
International upgrades on American: Each April, receive two systemwide upgrades for flights anywhere American Airlines flies.
Priority check-in and boarding when flying Alaska or its Oneworld partners.
Free checked bags: Check up to three bags for free on Alaska flights and get extra baggage allowance on Oneworld airlines.
Four free Alaska Lounge day passes: Use or gift up to four Alaska Lounge day passes.
Express security lines available at select airports.
Standby and wait list on full flights.
Complimentary premium beverage in main cabin: Upgrade didn't clear? Get a free premium beverage on most flights over 350 miles.
Complimentary snack or meal in main cabin: Likewise, you can get a free snack or meal on flights over 790 miles. Note that fresh meals are only available by pre-order.
Other Alaska 100K perks
Alaska Lounge membership discount: Receive a $100 discount on Alaska Lounge and Lounge+ memberships.
Complimentary same-day flight changes.
Priority customer service call routing.
Elite leave for new parents: A new addition to the family can put a halt to travel plans. If that’s the case, you won’t need to worry about losing your hard-earned status. Elite leave lets you keep the elite status benefits you've already earned for another year.
New in 2023: Alaska 100K Choice Benefit
The newest perk of Alaska 100K elite status rolled out in January 2023, called the 100K Choice Benefit. This new benefit gives Alaska MVP Gold 100K elites a choice of four options:
50,000 bonus miles: NerdWallet values 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles at $600.
Complimentary Alaska Lounge+ membership: Typically costs $550 for Mileage Plan elites.
Gifting MVP Gold status: NerdWallet values MVP Gold Status at $2,160.
Complimentary Wi-Fi: A monthly Wi-Fi pass is about $50, so complimentary Wi-Fi for a year would save $600.
Members who qualified for MVP Gold 100K status for the 2023 program year had to make their selection by January 31, 2023.
» Learn more: How much are my Alaska Airlines miles worth?
How to earn Alaska 100K elite status
Unlike airlines that have pivoted to point-based systems, Alaska Mileage Plan still rewards travelers who are actually frequent flyers. To earn Alaska MVP Gold 100K elite status, Mileage Plan members must meet either a flight mileage or segment requirement:
100,000 elite-qualifying miles.
140 elite-qualifying segments.
All flights operated by Alaska Airlines earn (at least) 100% of flight miles as qualifying miles. That means you're sure to earn at least 100,000 elite-qualifying miles if you fly 100,000 miles on Alaska Airlines. However, earning rates vary when you fly on other airlines. For example, cheap flights on American Airlines only earn elite qualifying miles at one-quarter of the miles flown.
To ensure that flyers are loyal to Alaska Airlines, Mileage Plan members must fly a minimum number of Alaska Airlines flights to earn MVP status. Flyers must log a minimum of 24 qualifying segments on flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines — including its Horizon Air and SkyWest regional partners.
How much is Alaska 100K elite status worth?
In a recent analysis, NerdWallet found that Alaska MVP Gold 100K elite provides around $8,300 in value for travelers that fly enough to earn it.
In fact, NerdWallet considers the Alaska 100K elite status tier to be the most-valuable among all the ultra-tier elite statuses of all major U.S.-based airlines (well, it ties with one other, United Premier 1K).
How's that possible? Well, Alaska MVP elite status provides a huge return on your travel spending. Alaska elite status doesn't require that travelers meet a spending requirement, but we estimate travelers need to spend around $12,000 to reach Alaska 100K elite status. And the perks of this status are around $8,300. That's a return of around 69% of your travel spending.
Given the high value of not just Alaska 100K but even other Alaska tiers like Alaska MVP Gold 75K (which won in NerdWallet's ranking of best high-level elite status tiers), Alaska Airlines took the top prize as NerdWallet's best overall elite status program
» Learn more: What is Alaska elite status worth?
What else you need to know about Alaska 100K
Get perks on a dozen other airlines through Oneworld
Alaska Airlines joined the Oneworld alliance in 2021. That means Alaska elite members get elite perks on airlines ranging from American Airlines to SriLankan Airlines. Alaska MVP Gold 100K elite members get Oneworld Emerald status — granting access to first-class lounges, first-class check-in, fast-track security and preferred seats.
No credit card shortcut to elite status
The recently refreshed Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card offers some elite-like perks — such as a free checked bag and priority boarding — plus valuable perks like a Companion Fare.
However, loyal Mileage Plan members can't use this card to shortcut their way to Alaska 100K elite status.
And don’t forget about the sign-up bonus: Get a $100 statement credit, 50,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
You can't status match to Alaska 100K
Travelers can take advantage of a once-per-lifetime Alaska status match. However, status matches to Alaska 100K aren't possible. Alaska MVP Gold 75K is the highest tier available for an Alaska status match.
No Alaska 100K lifetime status
Alaska Mileage Plan members earn lifetime Alaska MVP Gold 75K after earning two million eligible flight miles in the program. However, that's it. Alaska doesn't currently offer lifetime Alaska 100K.
Alaska 100K elite status: why it's so good
Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 100K top-tier elite status comes with a slew of valuable benefits — both on Alaska Airlines and its partners. And Alaska 100K is arguably the most valuable top-tier elite status for frequent flyers, especially for travelers who can't meet expensive spending requirements on other airlines.
However, travelers actually need to be loyal to Alaska to earn 100K elite status, flying at least 24 flight segments on Alaska-operated flights. That will make earning Alaska 100K status challenging for travelers who don't frequently fly on routes operated by Alaska Airlines.
(Top photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card