JUST IN: Alaska Airlines Announces Elite Leave

Alaska Airlines continues to go above and beyond for families. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

This morning Alaska Airlines, the preferred air carrier for legions of flying families, announced an innovative program to help new parents preserve their valuable air miles and thus a sense of calm during the wild and wonderful adventure of raising kids. 

In a statement from the company as the plan was released this morning, the company confirmed their commitment to families, and values the efforts of working parents to preserve their mileage plan status for future trips — not just for work– but for pleasure, as well. It’s a solid idea that makes those moms and dads welcoming new members of the family a bit more confident in their ability to travel in the future without losing status. Nice. 

Called a “Status Hold,” this new plan lets you keep the elite status Mileage Plan™ benefits you’ve earned for another year, even after your little one arrives, be it through birth or adoption. The process is a simple one (any new parent knows simplicity is everything): 

“Congratulations, and welcome to your new little traveler. We understand – you’re ecstatic and very, very, tired all at once. We’ll keep it simple: Apply now, and we’ll help you keep your elite status for another year during your pregnancy or parental leave. That’s more time to stay focused on raising your little one, without losing all the Mileage Plan elite status travel benefits you’ve grown to love.” 

How does it work?

Here are the 1,2,3’s of the Status Hold program: 
1. Email your full name, date of birth, and Mileage Plan number to Alaska Airlines at elite.flyer@alaskaair.com.

2. Provide proof of parental leave lasting 3 weeks or more – a note from your doctor or employer will do.

3. Alaska Airlines will verify that eligiblity and register you for the Status Hold for new parents.**

Folks, that is IT. My suggestion to families, as I shared this morning on KTVA 11 Daybreakis to take a look at your mileage plan well ahead of time, because it will take up to 4 weeks for verification and approval. Talk with your employer and/or doctor and let him or her know you will need a confirmation note. And remember, any leave under 3 weeks will not qualify. The Elite Status Hold means moms and dads are eligible, because family leave is just that. 

A secondary message from Alaska Airlines? 

“This is one of those things that is a very simple change, but that we as working parents knew had the potential to make a huge impact,” says Natalie Bowman, Aalska’s managing director of brand marketing and a parent of three. “In this case, it just took one person asking the right question to inspire a whole new policy. It’s a great reminder that your voice does matter – you have the power to make a difference when you speak up.”
 Of course, there are terms and conditions, so read carefully the fine print from Alaska Airlines. But I’m pleased to see an airline like Alaska taking the lead on policies that make parenthood, work, and travel just a little bit easier. 

**Terms and conditions

Mileage Plan™ elite status (MVP®, MVP® Gold and MVP® Gold 75K) members who go on parental leave at any time starting in 2017 are eligible for a Status Hold: eligible members will be presumed to qualify for their current status in the year in which their parental leave ends, to apply for the following year. As an example, a current (2017) MVP® member who takes parental leave which ends in 2018 will receive MVP® status through 2019. Only elite members who earned their current status through qualifying travel in the previous calendar year are eligible for a Status Hold. Status granted complimentarily, including gifted and matched status, is not eligible for a Status Hold. Members who receive MVP® Gold 75K status as part of this Status Hold offer are not eligible for the 50,000 bonus miles associated with qualifying for MVP Gold 75K status. Qualifying types of parental leave include maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. Member must contact Alaska Airlines at alaskaair.com/StatusHold after completion of parental leave and submit evidence in order to qualify for a Status Hold. Please allow up to 4 weeks for verification and approval. Following approval, status will be reflected in My Account on www.alaskaair.com. Offer valid only for legal residents of the United States and Canada. All terms and conditions of the Mileage Plan™ program apply.

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