Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
How to upgrade on Alaska Airlines
Enjoy first class cabins without using money.
Loyal Alaska Airlines customers are often first on the list to get complimentary upgrades. However, even if you only occasionally fly Alaska Airlines, you can still get an upgrade using miles.
How can I get an upgrade?
To move up to Alaska Airlines first class without using money, you need to join Alaska Airlines’s Mileage Plan frequent flyer program. Then you’ll start earning miles every time you fly. Earn even more miles by spending with the airline using an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card.
Also, frequent flyers who earn elite status get a complimentary upgrade to first class. They also get to earn more miles on their Alaska flights, which can be redeemed for award flights.
Alaska Airlines upgrade with miles
To get an upgrade on Alaska Airlines using miles, your ticket must be booked in a certain fare category. Typically, these fares are Y, S, B, M and H.
There’s also the option to check whether you can upgrade your fare at alaskaair.com. On the website, select Mileage from the Upgrades box and the fares that qualify for an upgrade will appear with a U next to the fare.
Whichever option you choose, it’ll cost you 15,000 miles to upgrade.
Alaska Airlines upgrade with cash
If you want to upgrade without joining the Mileage Plan program, you can upgrade using money. The price of your upgrade depends on the miles you’ll fly.
|First class upgrade on a one-way trip||Cost|
|2,101 miles and more||$199|
Data obtained April 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
How to use a credit card to get an Alaska Airlines upgrade
Getting an Alaska Airlines credit card won’t get you an upgrade directly. However, you can use your card to purchase airfare and earn accelerated miles. You can then use these miles to move up to first class, or you can redeem miles for an award flight.
You’ll also get a chance to earn an Alaska Airlines companion certificate every year on your card anniversary. If you often fly with the airline, this could be a useful perk to have.
Consider a card from another airline
United℠ Explorer CardRead more
Compare credit cards that can help earn an upgrade
Compare airline credit cards
You might not be able to earn an upgrade on Alaska Airlines with these cards, but there’s a wide selection of airline credit cards with similar perks to choose from.
How to upgrade with an elite tier status
Alaska Airlines has three elite status tiers for the most loyal flyers — MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K. You can earn any of these tiers by flying Alaska or any of their partners. Once you reach the status, you can use it to get complimentary upgrades.
However, there are some limitations to which fares you can upgrade and how long before departure. Check out the table below for details.
|MVP||MVP Gold||MVP Gold 75K|
|First Class upgrades at the time of booking||Y, S or Z fares||Y, S, B, M or Z fares||Y, S, B, M, H or Z fares|
|Premium Class upgrades at the time of booking||Y, S, B or Z fares||Y, S, B, M, H, Q, L, V, N, K or Z fares||All fares except Saver fares|
|First and Premium Class upgrades on Alaska non-qualifying fares||48 hours before departure||72 hours before departure||120 hours before departure|
MVP Gold guest upgrade certificates
If you have MVP Gold elite tier status, you can upgrade the seats of your friends and family members who are traveling with you.
There are two ways to use the MVP Gold upgrade, if you already bought the tickets or if you’re looking to buy.
If you already bought the tickets
Here’s how to upgrade:
- Log in to your Alaska Airlines online account.
- Select the link of your confirmation code, next to MVP Gold guest upgrade
- Use the upgrade code if you’re eligible.
Note: You can also call 1-800-252-7522 to remove yourself from the waitlist.
If you are looking to buy the ticket
In this case, here’s what to do:
- When searching for a flight, choose MVP® Gold guest upgrade from the upgrade type section.
- Choose a flight with available upgrade. It should say F Available.
- As an alternative, select I want to apply an MVP® Gold guest upgrade code to one or more of my flights during booking.
- From your confirmed reservation page, select the MVP® Gold guest upgrades link and apply the code.
How to use miles to upgrade on an Alaska Airlines partner flight
Unfortunately, you can’t get an upgrade on Alaska Airlines partners. But you can get an award flight using miles on these airlines:
- Aer Lingus
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Latam Airlines
- Ravn Alaska
- Singapore Airlines
Who gets upgraded?
Alaska Airlines’s upgrade wait list is simple: Mileage Plan elite tiers get the upgrade priority, while everyone else can get an upgrade after the elite members.
Read more about upgrading your flights
Getting an upgrade on Alaska Airlines is easy. If you’re a member of the Mileage Plan reward program, you can upgrade without using money. Otherwise, you can purchase your upgrade out of pocket. Only the Mileage Plan elite tiers get a complimentary upgrade to first class.
If you fly infrequently with Alaska Airlines, check out other airline credit cards and compare your options.
Frequently asked questions
More guides on Finder
Here’s when your American Airlines miles will expire
Learn when your American Airlines points will expire.
How to get your money back for travel during the coronavirus
Refund or credit your trip’s costs even if your travel insurance is restricting coverage.
How to recover miles and points if you cancel your trip
Need to cancel a rewards trip? Here’s how to retrieve your points
How to donate airline miles to charity
Your miles about to expire? Donate them to charity.
Cruise lines from Tampa
We found the best value cruises from Tampa for your money.
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card review
A no-annual-fee card with attractive rewards on IHG spending.
Best cruise lines from Tokyo
Make your dream cruise from Tokyo a reality with the best cruise lines and deals.
Malaysia Airlines deals
Get cheap flights across the Atlantic and over the Pacific.
Priority Pass Boston lounge locations
Enjoy a respite at your choice of three lounges, or enjoy a discounted fare.
Etihad promo codes
Access flights from major US hubs and land in dream destinations worldwide for less.
Ask an Expert