Alaska Airlines has announced changes to their Mileage Plan — just a week after the merger between the airline and Virgin America was announced. The changes include booking one-way travel for fewer miles, earning more miles on international travel, and First Class Upgrade eligibility for elite members. Alaska Airlines members will also now be able to earn miles on Virgin America flights.

“At Alaska Airlines, we remain committed to our miles-based program. While many other airlines are heading in a different direction and simply looking at how much people spend, we’re focused on rewarding people across the board for how much they fly,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “Our combination with Virgin America, our portfolio of global partners and these enhancements to our award-winning Mileage Plan demonstrate our commitment to creating the most generous loyalty program for our customers.”

According to Alaska Airlines, Mileage Plan enhancements include:

  • “Mileage Plan members can book award travel within the continental United States and Canada starting at 5,000 miles each way plus taxes and fees* for trips less than 700 miles. This is 30 percent fewer miles than what Mileage Plan members used to spend on the same award. For example, this includes trips between Seattle and San Francisco, San Francisco and Palm Springs, San Jose and Orange County and Seattle to Portland. Starting award prices for longer trips also have been reduced.
  • “Earning miles on Alaska Global Partners is now easier. Mileage Plan members can earn up to 80 percent more miles when flying Business or First Class with select global partners including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Hainan Airlines, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, LATAM Airlines and Qantas. Members also can now earn on more global partner Economy Fare classes than ever before with Icelandair, Fiji Airways, Hainan Airlines, Japan Airlines and LATAM Airlines. These improvements are effective immediately. Additionally, Mileage Plan members now can earn miles when flying on Virgin America.
  • “Mileage Plan elite members now are eligible for complimentary upgrades on award travel on Alaska-operated flights. This includes immediate, at-booking upgrades when available for refundable main cabin awards. All other award fares are eligible for upgrade within the normal upgrade window for the member’s status level.”

The merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America will make the combined airline the fifth largest in the United States. The merger also means that Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines will end their partnership on April 30, 2017.

“Together with regional partners, Alaska Airlines serves 118 cities across North America and Central America and soon Cuba,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement. “Alaska Airlines is now the largest airline on the West Coast and offers more daily flights (1,200) to and from the West Coast than any other airline.”

To learn more about these Mileage Plan enhancements, visit this site.