I spent the first 5 years of my career working for Nike, INC at the World Head Quarter (WHQ) in Beaverton, OR. During my time there – I only got on an airplane for work a handful of times. Due to the infrequency of travel – it was always fun and something that I looked forward to.
I had mostly flown Alaska growing up, and personally was never very loyal – I would book on Kayak or other aggregator websites in order to find the best deals for vacations with my Wife, for races, and things like that.
When I started working for G5 in 2015, I assumed a technical role in Sales and the expectation was set that I would travel somewhere around 25% of the time. With that said, I knew that being loyal to an airline would be smart. I’d have the opportunity to earn miles, hopefully gain status, and make the most of time away from my family. My default selection was Alaska Airlines – largely due to the fact that they are the dominant force in the Pacific Northwest and the fact that I’m from Alaska!
My first year flying Alaska Airlines with a sense of loyalty was 2015 and I earned MVP Gold status by flying just over 40,000 miles in my first 8 months at G5 (I joined in April). Rolling into 2016, I carried the benefits of being Gold into the year and easily hit Gold again in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, I flew close to 90,000 miles (all domestic) and it was my first year achieving the pinnacle status with Alaska, MVP Gold 75k. The difference was surprisingly significant.
As an MVP Gold – I found myself taking advantage of some of my favorite benefits that all Gold members earn:
- MVP Gold Upgrades – you get 4 upgrades a year to guarantee yourself a 1st Class Seat assuming there is availability when you book.
- Priority Boarding – this is especially awesome when you travel with a carry-on and you want to guarantee that your bag is right above you in the overhead.
- Change Fees are waved – with business travel, even though my employer would cover the fee – it’s awesome to save money making last minute changes.
- Earning bonus miles – you earn extra miles for each trip just because you have status.
- Complimentary drinks.
- The list goes on!
As an MVP Gold 75k – the biggest difference has been that about 80% of the time I am upgraded to 1st class. I’m flying much more comfortably and super grateful to be able to sit up front with extra space, complimentary hot meals (that are high-quality), and to enjoy such stellar service. Finally, the bonus miles I am earning are an amazing side-effect that allow my wife and I to use miles for our personal travel.
The last thing I will say about Alaska is that their customer service is unmatched. I have flown every domestic airline you can imagine over the last 4 years – and nothing compares to Alaska. Even their Twitter team is amazing.