When it comes to airline elite status, the best option out there might be with Alaska Airlines.
According to a study conducted by the website The Points Guy, customers prefer Alaska Airlines elite status program more than any other. The program took top honors in part because it is the only major carrier that allows fliers to get top status based on their flying alone, without a requirement to spend a specific amount of money of the course of the year as well.
The airline also gives its lowest tier of elite customers a 50% bonus on miles. That will equal a 12,500-mile bonus for customers that fly 25,000 miles in a year. In contrast, American and Delta only give their lowest tier of flier an extra two miles per dollar spent, so they’re only walking away with an extra 6,000 miles for spending $3000, the amount of money needed to reach elite status.
Alaska also wins for middle-tier elite customers. Those customers get a 100% bonus in miles, and Alaska waives all their change and cancellation fees. They also get four one-way upgrades from economy to first-class seats.
“As great as it feels to be upgraded to first class for free, some of the more intangible elite status perks can be even more rewarding,” said Nick Ewen, an analyst at ThePointsGuy.com in a statement. “For example, airlines often move their most loyal customers to the front of the standby list. That could make the difference between getting home to your family versus spending the night stranded in the airport.”
Here’s how all the major carriers stacked up:
1. Alaska Airlines
2. United Airlines
3. Delta Air Lines
4. American Airlines
5. JetBlue Airways
6. Southwest Airlines