Generally speaking I think Alaska Mileage Plan is one of the most compelling loyalty programs. They continue to award miles based on distance flown, do everything they can to avoid devaluing their award charts, and just generally are good at making their elite members feel valued.
Alaska’s top tier status is MVP Gold 75K and it requires flying either 75,000 miles exclusively on Alaska Airlines, or 90,000 miles on Alaska Airlines and their partners. The benefits of MVP Gold 75K over MVP Gold status are as follows:
- You receive 50,000 bonus redeemable miles for earning the status
- You receive a 125% mileage bonus (rather than a 100% bonus)
- You have higher priority for upgrades, standby, etc.
- You can nominate someone to MVP status
- You receive four Alaska Lounge passes per year
- You receive complimentary inflight entertainment players when in economy on longer flights
In general I think Alaska does a good job differentiating the two elite tiers, especially given that I value the 50,000 bonus miles you get for earning the status at nearly $1,000.
Well, it looks like Alaska has quietly devalued one of their MVP Gold 75K perks. The four Alaska Lounge passes that MVP Gold 75K members receive are now only redeemable for the member and those traveling with the member.
It used to be that you could gift these to someone else, but that’s no longer possible.
For many that’s a frustrating development. A lot of MVP Gold 75K members pay for a lounge membership, so the only value they got from the passes was being able to gift them to friends and family not traveling with them.
You’d also think this would be a great way to not only reward MVP Gold 75K members, but also to introduce others to the value of lounge access, who may not otherwise have access.
So this is no doubt a negative development. My guess is that this change was made due to people likely selling these passes, which violated the rules. But when you’re able to gift them to anyone, there’s not a whole lot the airline can do to prevent people from buying and selling them.
So I wouldn’t consider this to be that huge of a deal, but it is something to be aware of, if you’re an MVP Gold 75K member who was used to gifting these to other people.