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This last month hasn’t been one of the best ones in terms of air travel news, but there are a few exceptions to that trend; one is that a US frequent flyer program has finally come out with a formalized elite status extension program for parents welcoming new babies. It is no surprise that it is one of the very best airline frequent flyer programs that is leading this charge, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program.
Alaska totally gets the joy and exhaustion that comes with being a new parent (or an experienced parent welcoming a new human to the world), and they have made it very simple to extend your current elite status by a year if you provide your name, birth date, Mileage Plan number, and proof of the pregnancy or parental leave from your doctor or employer. Thankfully, they specifically call out that this extends not only to those having a baby the old fashioned way, but also to those adopting, and to both mothers and fathers (unlike Iberia which only offers this to mothers!).
If you qualify, simply send that required info to firstname.lastname@example.org after completion of your parental leave. This program is open to those residing in the US or Canada who earned their Alaska status with qualifying travel in the previous calendar year, as opposed to those who were gifted or matched to their status. Top tier MVP Gold 75K members will not get the 50,000 bonus miles that are associated with qualifying for that status for their extended year.
Alaska Mileage Plan joins British Airways, Qantas, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic, and others in having a formal system in place for parents to pause or extend their elite status when adjusting to life with a new baby, which is a very solid move since most parents do eventually resume their regularly scheduled travels, and elite status perks mean more than before once the whole family can benefit.
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