Alaska Airlines’ Baggage Perk Aims to Alert Frequent Flyers to Program Benefits

alaska airlines loyalty program

Alaska Airlines has been long-recognized as a leader in traveler customer experience, and aims to show off why with a recently announced promotion.

To encourage frequent-flyer program membership—both new and continued—Alaska Airlines is offering an early 2015 perk. For the month of January, Alaska is waiving its extra-bag fee (for one bag) for Mileage Plus members—a savings of $25.

The principle is simple enough. Invite new members in, let them enjoy the invitational benefit and experience the other benefits, as well. And for current members, refresh their memory of existing benefits.

Among those benefits is one that’s been recently added, and is designed in contrast to the recent changes in earning structures from airlines like Delta and United. Announcement of the free-bag month comes shortly after a revised miles-earning structure—featuring bonuses in certain instances—was put into place.

Now Mileage Plan members can earn bonus miles for certain types of flights—up to 75 percent bonus miles starting Jan. 1 when they purchase first-class, refundable coach, and many business fares. Elite members at the MVP Gold 75K tier earn a bonus of 125%.

Items of note here:

  1. Alaska Airlines uses a clearly understandable perk to help open customers’ eyes to the recent change that’s more substantial.
  2. Signup is easy, and beneficial at the moment it can be used: online prior to their January flight, or right at the airport before bag check-in.
  3. Alaska Airlines makes the offer to both new and existing members. Current members don’t wonder, “Hey, what about me and my previous patronage?”
  4. Alaska decided to not only retain earning based on miles flown (with Mileage Plus as the program name, it can be argued that straying away from miles as rewards would have caused something of a disconnect), but also pump up the earnings. As Delta, United, Southwest, JetBlue and others switch to points based on the cost of fares purchased, the move to improving what their best customers are presumably comfortable with makes Alaska something of a differentiator.

The perk applies to travel on lines marketed by Alaska Airlines and operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, SkyWest or PenAir between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2015.

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