Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up

By | January 13, 2016

If you read my website with any regularity, you know I am a fan of Alaska Airlines.  Their generous Price Guarantee has saved me some serious cash over the years.  Recently I ran into some problems with my Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up correctly on reservations I had made when I had a lower status.  Let me explain.

Alaska Airlines has three tiers of status in their Mileage Plan program:

  • MVP – attained after 20,000 Elite Qualifying Miles with Alaska, 25,000 EQM with Alaska or partner airlines, or 30 segments on Alaska flights
  • MVP Gold – attained after 40k/50k/60 segments
  • MVP Gold 75K – attained after 75k/90k/90 segments

Benefits of higher status include earning redeemable miles at a higher rate, upgrades to First Class, priority boarding, and inflight benefits like a free drink or inflight entertainment when in coach.

When it comes to upgrading to First Class, those with higher status clear first.  Therefore, if there is an empty seat or two in First Class, it will go to the MVP Gold 75K passenger before it goes to any MVP Gold or MVP passenger.

Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up

A problem I have found is that when moving up a tier level (example from MVP to MVP Gold), you’ll notice your new Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up on reservations made under your old status.

Example: I booked a flight to Las Vegas for this weekend back in November when I was an MVP Gold.  Just before 2015 ended I flew enough miles to bump me to MVP Gold 75K status (cue the trumpets!)

Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up

My online profile showed my correct status.  Huzzah!

However, when I flew this weekend, my online reservation and ticket showed me as MVP Gold.

Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up

On the outbound flight I was upgraded to First, so it didn’t really matter.  I did notice the flight attendant thanked me for being an MVP Gold (while he thanked my neighbor for being MVP Gold 75K.)  I know, this is like having your Mercedes mistaken for a BMW…. but it showed me that it wasn’t just a glitch on their website but more importantly my correct status was not showing up on their flight manifest and onboard system.

Consequences

Okay, so what consequences does my Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up have in real terms?

Upgrade: If you are an MVP Gold but in the system you show as an MVP, you are going to be at the bottom of the upgrade list.  All MVP Golds, and depending on your fare class, even some MVPs, will be upgraded before you.  On my way home from Vegas I was not upgraded to First Class (although I can’t confirm this was because my ticket didn’t show my correct status or just because it was a full flight).

Free Drink: If you are sitting in coach because your upgrade didn’t clear, you may not be getting your free alcoholic beverage (or chocolate) that is given out to MVP Gold passengers.  Likewise, if it is a longhaul flight and you are a 75K, you might not get your free inflight tablet.  In the past I have been able to pull out my MVP Gold card (or show my status on the app since I don’t usually carry my card), but this is a bit awkward and I can’t be sure it will work with every attendant.

Miles: The higher your status, the more miles you earn.  When the computer has your old status, it means you are missing out on earning more redeemable miles.

Fix

Luckily, there is a fix for this but it takes a bit of time:

  1. Contact Alaska and have them remove your Mileage Plan number from your reservation.  I did this via Twitter, but you can also call in and have them delete your number.  It can be a pain if you have multiple reservations.
  2. Log in to your account online and verify that your reservations do not have a Mileage Plan number listed.  Go to “My Trips” – “Purchased” in your account.  Click each reservation one at a time.
  3. Add your Mileage Plan number back to each reservation.  This should update the reservation with your correct status.
  4. If it doesn’t update, wait another week and try again.

Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up

 

 

Hopefully this will help.  If nothing else it may get you a well earned, much deserved glass of wine on your next flight without having to haggle with the flight attendant.

Alaska Mileage Plan status change not showing up

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