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Alaska Mileage Plan elites won’t receive American Airlines systemwide upgrade certificates in 2025

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Attention, Alaska Airlines elite members: If you are an MVP Gold 75K or 100K elite member, check your email inbox for your systemwide American Airlines upgrade vouchers.

Unfortunately, with the good news comes some bad.

Alaska announced this is the last time it will give elite upgrades on American Airlines flights. Therefore, Alaska will no longer offer these vouchers to MVP Gold 75K or 100K elite members in 2025.

Keep reading to find out more — including the reason behind Alaska’s decision to terminate this elite status benefit.

Alaska ends American Airlines upgrade certificates perk

This week, Mileage Plan elite members who earned status in 2023 for the 2024 year were emailed the following:

  • MVP Gold 75K members received one international upgrade certificate for one-way travel on American Airlines and
  • MVP Gold 100K members received two international upgrade certificates for one-way travel on American Airlines
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Alaska has advised MileagePlan elite members that this will be the final time they will receive these certificates; the carrier announced the benefit will not continue in 2025, with the following message:

“We’re committed to continually improving your experience. Based on guest feedback, we’ll be sunsetting American Airlines systemwide upgrade vouchers beginning in 2025, while we continue to invest in other ways to provide improved access to and utility of your Alaska Air upgrade benefits. You’ll also continue to enjoy eligibility for unlimited complimentary upgrades on American Airlines in North America (based on availability) – no upgrade certificates required.”

Related: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: How to earn and redeem miles

While Alaska quotes “guest feedback” as the reason it is removing a valuable perk for members, it is likely due to the shrinking presence of fellow OneWorld member American Airlines at Alaska Airlines’ hub in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). In other words, the two airlines may have agreed that upgrades on American are not as important as they used to be since there are fewer convenient flights for Alaska loyalists in the northwest to redeem them on.

The existing certificates can be redeemed by phone with American Airlines by providing the code on the certificate (and the member’s Mileage Plan number). Travelers must request and confirm them by Dec. 31, though they don’t have to complete the travel before the expiration date.

Flights must be operated by American Airlines for a maximum of three segments. So, codeshare flights operated by partner airlines, such as British Airways, are ineligible, as are basic economy or tickets booked with any points or miles.

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The certificates can be used to upgrade from most economy or premium economy fares to business class and from most business-class fares to first class. All routes are eligible, including premium transcontinental and long-haul international flights.

Related: 6 great benefits I received as an American Airlines elite flying Alaska Airlines

Bottom line

It’s never great news when an elite status perk is removed. However, this decision likely follows the reality that Alaska and American no longer plan to work as closely together as they have in the past.

It’s great that elite members are receiving their systemwide upgrade certificates in 2024, though this will be the last time they receive such certificates. So, eligible members should ensure they request and confirm their upgrades by Dec. 31.

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