How You Might Have 10,000 Free Alaska Miles (Worth ~£200) Without Even Knowing It!

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We have written quite a bit recently about the Alaska Airlines takeover of Virgin America and the great value Points/Miles redemption opportunities it has created for savvy travellers. Unless you read the American travel blogs though, you might not be aware that you could have 10,000 completely free Alaska Miles waiting for you as a result!

Alaska Mileage Plan

One of the core pieces of advice we give at InsideFlyer UK is to sign up for everything and never miss out on free Miles (so long as it only takes a minute of your time, of course!) – even if it’s a small amount, or you don’t have an obvious immediate use for them.

That’s why we constantly flagged the opportunities for free Virgin America Elevate Points last year. Anyone who followed that advice and opened a Virgin America Elevate account has now hit the jackpot!

Virgin America Elevate

As part of the takeover, Alaska Mileage Plan is giving everyone who had a Virgin Elevate account before 5th December 2016 10,000 free Alaska Miles (or $100 flight credit, if you prefer).

This an incredibly generous move by Alaska, and they deserve a lot of credit – I also happen to think it’s pretty smart business too for an airline that doesn’t have the same reach as the US airline giants,  American, United and Delta. It’s bound to generate a lot of headlines and goodwill.

When you factor in the 1 Elevate Point = 1.3 Alaska Miles transfer ratio too, if you collected all the free Virgin Elevate Points we posted about, you should now end up with at least another 3,500 Miles – so 13,500 free Alaska Miles in total. Not bad for a bit of clicking last year!

cathay_pacific_first_class_boeing_77745
I imagine you can get through a lot of caviar in 29 hours, if so inclined.

I value Alaska Miles extremely highly (~2p each), because of incredible value awards like 29 hours in Cathay Pacific First Class for 70,000 Miles, with no surcharges.

The offer

Personalised emails are being sent out to everyone who had a Virgin Elevate account before 5th December, but don’t have an Alaska Mileage Plan account. If you already have both accounts, Alaska will try to match the details and place 10,000 Miles in your Mileage Plan account automatically (get in touch with them in a few days if you don’t receive anything).

You have until 31st January 2017 to claim your free Miles.

This is the text from the email a family member received and you should get your own very soon if you haven’t already, so check your emails:

“Your Virgin America Elevate membership is paying off with Alaska Airlines.

You’re now a member of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™, one of the most generous travel rewards programs out there. Your benefits begin with your choice of 10,000 bonus miles or $100 off any Alaska-operated flight when you activate your account. With round-trip flights starting at 10,000 miles, plus taxes and fees*, you’ll have enough to start traveling right away.”

alaska free miles 2

“Already a Mileage Plan member? No need to activate a new Mileage Plan account if you already have one. Just let us know your existing account number here. We’ll automatically deposit 10,000 bonus miles in your account.”

Once you follow the personalised link, you get to choose whether you want the Miles or the cash discount (I would strongly recommend the Miles!)

Alaska free miles 3

and that’s it:

alaska free miles 4

In this case the 10,000 Miles posted immediately, but I’ve heard that there have been delays for others.

alaska free miles 6

Bottom line

This is an unexpected and very welcome bonus. At a time when most airlines seem fixated on reducing the value of their loyalty programmes, Alaska Mileage Plan is doing something a bit different. That’s brave, and deserves recognition.

My colleague Craig (who, contrary to rumours, is not actually a flying pig) recently wrote a great article on why you might want to start thinking about crediting BA flights to Alaska Mileage Plan from now on – there’s never been a better time to check it out!

 

Terms:

Choice of 10,000 bonus miles or $100 discount is valid only for active members of Virgin America Elevate as of December 5, 2016 who were not members of Alaska Mileage Plan. Only one offer can be selected, and choice of offer cannot be changed after account activation. Qualifying members will have through January 31, 2017 to make their selection. Any individual may receive a maximum of one offer, even if they hold multiple separate Elevate accounts. Your welcome offer will be deposited in your account within 24 hours of activation.

Discount: Valid for one discount of $100 off base fare levels published at alaskaair.com. Fare basis code information can be found in the section entitled “View Fare and Baggage Rule” on the Itinerary and Price Summary page. Fare types that are ineligible for this discount may be lower than other fares with discount code applied. One discount allowed per reservation. Discount not valid on all fares, including but not limited to Mileage Plan Award Reservations, Alaska Airlines Vacation packages, tour or contract fares, most discounted first class fares and many privately filed fares. Any Discount Code value remaining after purchase is forfeited.

Reservations & Ticketing: Valid for new ticket purchases only at alaskaair.com. Discount Code cannot be applied to tickets that have already been purchased and issued. Discount Code is relinquished at time of ticketing and void for future purchases. Credit card required for purchase.

Flights: Valid only on flights operated by Alaska Airlines, and flights operated on behalf of Alaska Airlines by Horizon Air, Sky West and Pen Air. Not valid on codeshare flights.

Passengers: Up to 1 person per Discount Code, traveling together and booked and ticketed at the same time in the same reservation and at the same fare.

Routes: Discount valid systemwide (excluding Prudhoe Bay). Based on published fare routings and some cities may not be available. Advance Purchase: Per applicable fare rules. Purchase By: October 31, 2017. Travel Valid From: January 9, 2017. Travel Complete: October 31, 2017. Blackout Dates: per fare rules Minimum & Maximum Stay: Per applicable fare rules. Taxes, Fees and Surcharges: Passenger is responsible for all applicable taxes, fees, and surcharges, including checked baggage fees. Combinability: Not valid with any other discounts, including Discount Codes, coupons, discount programs, MyAccount online discount, or other arrangements. Changes and Refunds: Changes and refunds are allowed per the applicable fare rule and will result in the forfeiture of the Discount Code in cases where the modified itinerary does not qualify for the discount. Once issued, tickets are not transferable. Mileage Plan: Mileage Plan credit applies and upgrades are allowed. Transferability: Discount Codes may not be sold, bought, bartered, auctioned or collected in bulk. Any deemed by Alaska to have been distributed or acquired improperly will not be honored and traveler will be responsible for payment of full fare. Additional Terms: All rules of alaskaair.com and the applicable published fare not mentioned within these terms and conditions apply. Other: Discount Codes have no cash value and are not valid for travel. Lost or stolen Discount Codes cannot be replaced. Alaska has the final authority regarding Discount Code redemption. Travel is subject to Alaska’s contract of carriage. Terms and conditions as written herein are final and cannot be changed by any statement or representation of any unauthorized person, including employees of Alaska/Horizon or issuing organization. Other restrictions may apply and Alaska reserves the right to suspend or change this offer without notice.

Comments

  1. Andrew H says

    I have a bit of extra info about this. I set up an Alaska Mileage Plan account last year but have never used it. Then I got the email above a few days ago. Just be aware that if you click the big green ‘ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT’ button in the email, I think it tries to set you up a brand new account, which is not what you want. Further down the email, it says:

    “Already a Mileage Plan member?
    No need to activate a new Mileage Plan account if you already have one. Just let us know your existing account number here. We’ll automatically deposit 10,000 bonus miles in your account.”

    Click the link and it should take you to a page to link your accounts.

    I successfully loaded the page but on trying to connect the accounts I kept getting an error message:

    “We’re experiencing a problem and didn’t receive your information. Please resubmit it now”

    I kept trying repeatedly to no avail. In the end I sent @AlaskaAir a tweet about it. This afternoon they got back to me to say:

    “Hi Andrew, I fixed the issue. You should see your VX acocunt linked, as well as the 10k bonus, in about 24 hours.”

    So there you go, if anyone has the same problem. I’ll let you know if I get the 10k points tomorrow.

  2. 7Wood says

    After the disappointing avios boost this worked last le a charm!
    Don’t suppose they convert to avios or hotel points?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Certainly not to Avios , and not to hotel points either to the best of my knowledge.

      They are really useful in themselves though and don’t expire as long as you earn at least 1 mile every 2 years. You can transfer from SPG (so also Amex MR) and they have an estore, you can credit hotel stays , credit flights from a whole bunch of different airlines etc, even buy Miles if you’re really desperate, so are easy to keep alive.

  3. Andrew H says

    Got my 10k points!

    10k points from Alaska for nothing. 5k points from Virgin America for nothing. 7k points from Marriott for nothing. Ridiculous.

  4. Brendan says

    Ive been a Virgin Elevate member for a couple of years but haven’t yet received an email from Alaska 🙁

    • Joe Deeney says

      Yep, Andrew is spot on – get in touch with Alaska (twitter can be surprisingly useful if you are on there).

      • Brendan says

        Got back to me quickly on twitter. Said you had to have been an Alaska member also to qualify 😭. No email = don’t qualify

        • Joe Deeney says

          Great they got back quickly but I’m 99% certain the info they’ve given you is wrong, so I’d query that further or send an email too.

          The plan was that everyone who had a Virgin Elevate account before 5th December 2016, but didn’t have an Alaska Mileage Plan account was to get the offer in an email. If you already had both accounts, Alaska would try to match the details and place 10,000 Miles in your Mileage Plan account automatically.

          I’m sure I’ve got a press statement about it somewhere and that’s how it has worked in practice for everyone so far, at least as far as I’ve heard too.

          • Brendan says

            They apologised for the confusion and said they would pass it on for review.

            Another example if it were needed how important it is to do your own research and not take what you are told for granted!

            Thanks guys, hopefully comes through – great bonus

          • Joe Deeney says

            Great point – far too many of the first points of contact in the travel industry (and other areas too tbh) aren’t particularly well trained or briefed. It’s not their fault usually (the companies normally deserve the blame, if anyone), but you’ve got to take whatever they say with a massive pinch of salt. I’ve become completely used to it now, but for people new to Points and Miles etc it’s a very important aspect to understand.

        • Brendan says

          Hit a brick wall with this unfortunately. They came back and said I wasn’t eligible as my account wasn’t active before 6th Dec. I then sent screenshot to prove it was (though zero points, some expired in August). They just said that when they asked Virgin my account wasn’t active so speak to them.

          Contacted Virgin and they just replied saying I’m not eligible as I have no flight activity on my account. Will have to give up on this one – win some, lose some!

          • Joe Deeney says

            I’m still sure this isn’t right – none of my family accounts had any flight activity and all got the email and Points. Sometimes it’s not worth chasing these things further of course, but given the value I place on Alaska Miles I think I personally probably would on this occasion.

  5. Tom says

    Cheers Joe, got the email, and linked now waiting for the points! Any idea of some good value redemptions as I see there is a 40% sale on at the moment with Alaska points?

    • Joe Deeney says

      42,500 Cathay Biz one-way to Hong Kong, 70k First Class for big round the world style trips on Cathay/JAL between USA and South Africa/India with a stopover for as long as you like in Hong Kong/Tokyo. Really good for US domestic trips too as you can get a free stopover.

      • Craig Sowerby says

        Stopovers are the key really. Perhaps even worthy of a full post. With these ridiculously low paid fares in Economy, PE and even Business, it’s hard to get plain vanilla value out of buying miles at 2+ cents and spending them on a simple return reward to the U.S.

        But if you want to fly to say New York, stopover for a few days, then continue to somewhere else, Alaska Mileage Plan is definitely the best frequent flyer programme for doing that cheaply.

        There are some really interesting tricks as well if you want to visit Seattle or any other Alaska hub…

        • Tom says

          Cheers guys much appreciated, I m going to be based in Calgary for a year with work and have to get to CPT for late November for a week and was looking to include some stopovers and was contemplating buying miles. I normally focus on Avios and have redeemed quite a few F and J flights with 241 and Lloyds upgrade, and thought this may also be a good option as obvs can’t use a 241 whilst living in Canada

          • Craig Sowerby says

            You definitely have some amazing options to go from North America to South Africa. Cathay with a stop in HKG. Emirates via Dubai. BA via London, although with surcharges. Air France – KLM as well, although I haven’t seen online availability in ages on AF.

            Sometimes I find myself in North America and decide to take the long way home via Asia. But I think next time I should do the very long way home on CX to JNB! Only 70K in First Class.

          • Tom says

            Thanks Craig, I had a look at the Alaska reward availability tool, searching NYC to CPT and only forums EK and BA awards but in the left hand column tee as no box for Cathy ? Am I right that I need to see availability on Alaska website? Or is there a different route that I need to book?

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