Well I’m not Superbowl or World Series MVP, so let me clarify. I’m an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold. What does that mean, well it means I have mid-level status with them. They have three levels of status MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K.
As it may seem I tend to obsess about status. I’m not really one to try and achieve every airline and hotel status, but this has been an interesting year so far. After my decision last year to give up on having top tier status on two airlines (United and American) I had some decisions to make. Ever since I become executive platinum on American I had taken a small amount of Alaska flights. Alaska is the great free agent of the airline industry they are partners with airlines in two of the three major airline alliances so that means I could put my miles to good use in requalifying with American. Plus I also would get free checked bags and priority boarding. In my line of work and play when I usually fly 150-200,000 miles per year these little perks are very welcoming. Imagine if you always used Wi-Fi and now you had to use wired internet. Think how that would hinder your opportunities to read my blog at the beach or at a baseball game. Well that’s what it’s like when you travel a lot and then loose a really good perk.
So how did I become an MVP and why. Well that’s an interesting story. I was perfectly happy earning miles on Alaska and crediting to AA, I mean I need to keep that status, it’s way too valuable. But back in late December there was this incredible mistake fare and when I say incredible I really mean it. Delta for some reason had dropped a zero on their tickets, or the fuel surcharge or something like that on all domestic flights in the US. It was only alive for about 2 hours, but during this time think about paying $75 for a roundtrip ticket to Hawaii from the west coast or $50 for a roundtrip to Florida again from the west coast. I had no choice but to book both vacations for my family for later this year.
The rub was that it was on Delta and as you can guess none of my family has status with them. Now under normal circumstances I would not care, but when traveling with three people including a kid, you’re just going to need to check luggage, and this could easily cost us $200 per trip. There is no way in hell I’m paying to check bags. So now I had some decisions to make, how do I get better seats and free baggage. The only option was to do a status match to Delta or to Alaska since they are a Delta partner too. Both options would get me both perks. But since a status match is usually a once in a lifetime opportunity, I had to be wise in this decision. For those of you not familiar with a status match here’s a great write up on it from one of my favorite bloggers.
Since Delta is basically useless to me living in Northern California, since the closest hubs are Los Angeles and “Seattle”, it really made no sense, plus I never fly them except for these two trips. In the past 3 years I’ve flown them once, and it was this past January. Alaska on the other hand has been good, the staff are friendly and even though they don’t have a hub in the Bay Area they fly out of all three airports. Because of this they have oodles of options and also cover the west coast and Hawaii really really well.
So my decision turned out to be an easy one, and painless too. All I had to do was sign up for a free MVP account email firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of my driver’s license and copy of my status with united or American. Within a day I had a response back that they would look into consideration of my application and in less than a week I was approved. It was great.
Since I had done this back in late December, it also provided me with this status for the entire 2014 calendar year. With this status I also got four confirmable upgrades at time of booking, space available and unlimited complimentary upgrades that can clear as soon as 72 hours before departure. Additionally they have a feature for MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K called travel bank which lets you cancel a ticket at any time and store the entire value for a new flight up to a year. Very similar to southwest Which is a great peek since most carriers charge $150-300 to cancel a ticket.
Since January I have flown 11 segments on Alaska all short haul but I’m 6 for 6 on upgrades. Which is pretty darn good since I’m only middle tier in their program. For example since I’m now middle tier on united this year I’m 0-6 on upgrades. When back in the heyday circa 2012 I was like 50-60 yearly.
Now all I have to do is keep the status by flying them this year. Oh the vicious cycle.