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Last week I received an email from Alaska Airlines detailing a status challenge offer to earn MVP or MVP Gold status. If you’re not familiar with Alaska’s elite status levels, MVP is the lowest level, typically requiring either 20,000 qualifying miles on Alaska Airlines or 25,000 with Alaska and partner airlines. MVP Gold is the second tier. With this offer, you can fast track either elite status.
Alaska MVP challenge details
The Alaska MVP status challenge details appear to make it seem like it is being offered to residents of California. However, the promotion is available to residents of New York, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, North Carolina and Florida. I’m not surprised that Oregon and Washington didn’t make the list, as these states are Alaska strongholds. The status challenge offer will earn you elite status through the remainder of 2019, not through 2020, so keep that in mind.
To earn MVP status, you must first register for the promotion using the link in the email or here. You need to use your name and the email and account number from your Mileage Plan account.
Then you must fly two coast-to-coast round-trips (really, four qualifying one-ways) between March 6, 2019 and May 31, 2019. The nonstop flights that qualify are between Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose to a number of cities on the east coast. The east coast airports include New York (EWR/JFK), Baltimore-Washington, Boston Logan, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh, and Washington (IAD/DCA).
To earn Alaska MVP Gold, you must fly a total of four round-trip (eight nonstop one-ways) coast-to-coast flights. This would almost certainly qualify you for MVP on its own (through 2020), so getting a boost to MVP Gold is certainly nice.
What benefits does Alaska MVP give you?
The Alaska MVP benefits at their base tier are decent, including 50% more award miles earned on paid flights, two free checked bags, and upgrade eligibility for Premium and First class as early as 48 hours before departure. You can also enjoy priority check-in and boarding, and preferred seating. Overall, pretty typical for the first elite tier among U.S. airlines.
Alaska MVP Gold is where things really start to shine if you plan to fly Alaska a lot. You will enjoy a 100% bonus to the miles you earn through flying, waived flight change fees, and complimentary premium beverages in Main Cabin. You’ll also be more likely to be upgraded to Premium or First, and upgrades can clear as early as 72 hours before departure. One companion will also be upgrade eligible, and you will receive four companion upgrade certificates as well.
Is MVP status worth the challenge?
If you’re flying just to meet the challenge (i.e. a form of mileage running), I would say unequivocally “no”. The only way I could see it being worth it is if you have a trip coming up where you will make up most or all of the cost of the flight with bag fees for a family. However, there are easier ways to obtain free checked bags, such as signing up for the co-branded Alaska credit card issued by Bank of America. I don’t think the benefits stack up well enough to make it worth it, unless you’re only short one segment.
If you have the ability to leverage work travel, however, or already have travel planned on qualifying flights in that window, that changes the equation a bit. To jump from no status to MVP Gold after four round trips is pretty sweet.