Alaska Airlines News

Sam Kemmis, Kevin BerryAug 27, 2020
Alaska Airlines News

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On March 31, Alaska Airlines joined the Oneworld Alliance — the alliance that American Airlines helped found in 1999. Now that Alaska is part of Oneworld, American and Alaska elite members are guaranteed elite benefits when flying on any airline.

However, and expanded elite benefits beyond the minimum required by the alliance. In November 2020, the two airlines teased that . Now, the two airlines surprised travelers by adding these perks at the end of March.

about the reciprocal elite upgrade and seat benefits for Alaska and American elites.

The new will allow Alaska Airlines passengers flying to the Aloha state to get a pre-screening on the West Coast, instead of waiting in long lines upon arrival for officials to check if travelers meet the state's COVID-19 testing requirements. Alaska passengers will receive an email to upload their COVID-19 test results and fill out the health questionnaire in order to qualify for the pre-screening. Then cleared passengers will get a wristband at check-in or at the gate, so they'll be able to skip the screening upon arriving at a Hawaii airport. The program rolls out to all Alaska flights to Oahu and the Big Island starting Dec. 14, 2020. Currently, Alaska flights to Kauai are suspended because the island has pulled out of the pre-travel testing program and requires a 14-day quarantine for arriving travelers.

With Alaska Airlines set to join the Oneworld alliance on March 31, 2021, elite status holders have been waiting for formal announcements on what sort of benefits they can expect from the transition. how its elite levels will status match to . They are as follows:

Alaska MVP = Oneworld Ruby

Alaska MVP Gold = Oneworld Sapphire

Alaska MVP 75K = Oneworld Emerald

Benefits such as priority check-in, lounge access, preferred boarding, special security lines and baggage benefits will automatically become available to on March 31 on alliance airlines.

In a policy change that everyone saw coming, based on United, Delta and American's moves earlier in the week, Alaska Airlines has now also announced . The new policy is pretty simple: Through Dec. 31, 2020, all flights are covered through Alaska's peace of mind waiver related to COVID-19 and already have no change fees. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, change fees will be eliminated on Main and First Class tickets (Saver tickets are not eligible), for all flights (including international ones). Details on refunds or credits if you change to a cheaper flight will not be immediately available; we will update when more information is released.

Adding to five previously announced new locations earlier this year, Alaska announced today seven new routes allowing Southern California (LAX airport) customers access to new locations by the end of 2020:

Fares start as low as $39 one way, and you can get more details about routes and timing at

Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines.

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