Alaska Airlines will be merging with Virgin America this year, as well as ending a relationship with Delta Airlines. But they are confident it is for the best, and are revamping their mileage structure.

“At Alaska Airlines, we’re doubling down and remaining committed to our miles-based program,” said Ryan Butz, managing director of loyalty marketing. “We’re focused on rewarding people across the board for how much they fly.”

According to Butz, the changes will include:

  • A lowering of their lowest award tier so Mileage Plan members can now book award travel on Alaska Airlines flights using as few as 5,000 miles.
  • Bumping up mileage earnings on flights in business or first class on 10 global partners by up to 80 percent.
  • Elite members now are eligible for complimentary upgrades on award travel on Alaska-operated flights when they book main cabin tickets.

Flyers on Virgin American can now earn elite-qualifying Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

“Nothing has changed with how you book award travel on We’ve just lowered our award tier pricing so that you can book award travel using fewer miles on Alaska Airlines flights,” Butz explained. “As with flights purchased with cash, there are a limited number of seats available at each price or mileage point. If you search and don’t see a flight available at the lowest level, it simply means that those seats have already sold out for that route.”

For additional details about enhancements to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, visit this site.