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Alaska Airlines targets Delta with lucrative status match offer

Alaska Airlines is out with a new status match and making no secret about who it targets.

Branding this as an opportunity “in the wake of recent loyalty changes at one of our competitors,” the Seattle-based carrier is making an overt attempt to lure Delta Air Lines loyalists disenchanted by the recent SkyMiles overhaul.

Between now and Oct. 31, Alaska is letting SkyMiles Medallion members match into elite status within the Mileage Plan program, including — for the first time ever — to Alaska’s top-tier MVP Gold 100K status. Historically, you haven’t been able to reach that top rung through a status match.

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There are a couple of other factors that make this status match opportunity particularly notable.

First, is not a status challenge. Lately, most status matches require some kind of flying or spending requirement. Not this one, which is a straight status match for those who have an active Alaska Airlines co-branded Visa credit card by the end of the year.

Additionally, SkyMiles members with Medallion status for 2024 can actually qualify one level higher than the ‘corresponding’ Mileage Plan tier if they have an active Alaska Airlines co-branded Visa — or secure one by Dec. 31.

alaska airlines
Alaska Airlines aircraft at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

In a pointed statement announcing the news, Alaska’s Mileage Plan chief seemed to clearly allude to Delta’s SkyMiles changes, which tie future elite status qualification solely to spending via (a lot of) Medallion Qualifying Dollars.

“We’ve always believed that loyalty is about more than just revenue and that earning elite status shouldn’t require a second mortgage,” Alaska Vice President of Loyalty, Alliances and Sales Brett Catlin said, noting the Mileage Plan program has “no spend requirements” for elite status qualification.

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How is this status match different?

Alaska offering a status match isn’t new. In fact, it has an ongoing match opportunity for Delta flyers and many other major North American airlines.

However, there are some limitations to the typical Alaska status match.

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In most cases, you can’t match into MVP Gold 100K status. And, to keep your Mileage Plan elite status beyond 90 days, you generally have to complete a status challenge, such as flying 5,000 miles on Alaska within a certain timeframe (with steeper requirements for higher status tiers).

Alaska Airlines plane

Alaska status match for Delta SkyMiles elite members

This olive branch Alaska is extending to SkyMiles elites is a little different, including:

How Delta SkyMiles members can get elite status on Alaska

The rules for this status match are as follows:

  • Apply by Oct. 31 to match your Delta Medallion status into the Alaska Mileage Plan program
  • If you have an active Alaska Visa credit card by Dec. 31, 2023, there’s no status challenge, and SkyMiles members with Medallion status for 2024 and an Alaska credit card can match as follows:
    • Medallion Silver = MVP Gold
    • Medallion Gold = MVP Gold 75K
    • Medallion Platinum and Diamond = MVP Gold 100K

Is the Alaska status match worth it?

The downside to shifting to flying Alaska from Delta is that Alaska doesn’t offer nearly the same network size, especially once you get outside the Pacific Northwest or beyond Alaska’s bases in California.

However, Alaska is a member of the Oneworld Alliance and, most notably, has a partnership with American Airlines that affords Mileage Plan elites a host of benefits when flying on American flights.

An American Airlines plane.

For instance, Mileage Plan elites can earn upgrades on American Airlines flights within/between the U.S. and Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Central America.

And MVP Gold 100K members get two one-way international upgrade certificates to use on American Airlines flights, which you could use for a lie-flat business class seat to Europe or elsewhere. MVP Gold 75K members get one international upgrade.

Plus, since there’s no status challenge attached to this Alaska Airlines match opportunity, it’s an easier path to Oneworld elite status than what American Airlines currently offers.

Related: How to maximize Alaska status on American and vice-versa

Oneworld elite status

By earning Mileage Plan elite status through this match opportunity, you’ll be able to enjoy Oneworld elite status perks when flying on alliance partners beyond American, including with British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Qatar and Qantas, among others.

This can earn you benefits like priority boarding, complimentary checked bags and (for some members) business lounge access when flying abroad.

Alaska Mileage Plan members earn Oneworld status as follows:

  • MVP = Oneworld Ruby
  • MVP Gold = Oneworld Sapphire
  • MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K = Oneworld Emerald
alaska airlines plane
Arriving into Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on March 26, 2022. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

Mileage Plan benefits

Key aspects of Alaska Airlines’ elite status include first-class upgrades on Alaska flights for all tiers, with priority, of course, going to higher-tier elite members.

All elite members get at least two free checked bags (three for the higher tiers) along with discounted lounge discounts and a handful of free day passes for MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K members.

Like top-tier Medallion members, Alaska MVP Gold 100K members can select a complimentary lounge membership as a choice perk of status.

  • Alaska Lounge+ membership
  • Gifting MVP status
  • Complimentary Clear membership
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on all flights

A full rundown of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status benefits can be found in our complete guide to Alaska status. You can also find a full list here on Alaska’s website.

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines’ newest status match opportunity is clearly geared toward Delta elites fed up with the recently announced SkyMiles changes.

Though Delta loyalists may not find the volume of flights on Alaska they need for all their travels, Alaska’s partnership with American Airlines and participation in the Oneworld Alliance provides members a pathway to an elite status experience on a wide range of domestic and international flights.

And, of course, even if you only fly Alaska a few times a year, doing it in comfort and style via an elite status match is a no-lose opportunity.

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