Alaska & Amex Business Platinum

This is a follow up to my examination of what it would take to get Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75k status. In that post, I was using cash to buy all of the tickets. In this post, I want to look at it from a slightly different angle. I want to assume you have picked Alaska Airlines as your airline of choice with the Amex Business Platinum card. This allows you to redeem your MR points at 2 cents each when buying an Alaska Airlines economy ticket. The way it works is that you first buy the ticket at a value of 1 cent per MR point, and then you get 50% of your points back.

For example, a $300 ticket would cost you 30,000 MR points and then after you made the purchase, you would receive a rebate for 15,000 MR points. This effectively makes the $300 cost only 15,000 MR points, which gives the 2 cents per MR point valuation. 

San Diego as a Home Base

In this example, I will pretend that San Diego is my home airport. This seems to be a great airport to manufacture Alaska Airlines elite status. There are two important routes Alaska Airlines has from San Diego: San Diego to Boston and San Diego to New York. Both of these routes are about 2,500 miles one-way, 5,000 miles round-trip. The best part is that these round-trip fares can usually be found for under $350. The second best part is that you can fly out of and then back to San Diego on the same day.

Cost in MR Points

I will use $350 in this example because it is a round number. It will take you 15 round-trips to hit Alaska MVP Gold status. Let’s pay for these flights using MR points.

$350 x 15 = $5250 = 525000 MR Points

Then, because of the benefit of the Business Platinum, we will get 50% of those points back.

525,000 MR Points x .5 = 262,500 MR Points

But it has been shown (starting at the end of March) that you will also get 4x MR points when making these airline “ticket” purchases.

$5250 x 4 = 21,000 MR Points

Let’s subtract this number from the MR points we would spend to find the real cost in MR points.

Total Cost in MR Points: 262,500 – 21,000 = 241,500 MR Points

How Many Alaska Miles Will You Earn?

Awesome, now we know exactly how many MR points are needed to effectively buy Alaska MVP Gold 75k status. However, the real cost will be much lower because you will be earning a ton of Alaska Airlines miles by doing all of these flights. I will do these calculations using the San Diego to Boston route (5175 miles).

Alaska Member

For the first 4 round-trip flights, you will just be an Alaska member and will earn 1 miles for every mile flown.

5,175 miles x 4 x 1 = 20,700 Alaska Miles

Alaska MVP Member

For the next 4 round-trip flights, you will be an Alaska MVP member and receive 1.25 miles for every mile flown.

5,175 miles x 4 x 1.25 = 25,875 Alaska Miles

Alaska MVP Gold Member

For the next 7 round-trip flights, you will be an Alaska MVP Gold member and receive 2 miles for every mile flown.

5,175 miles x 7 x 2 = 72,450 Alaska Miles

Alaska MVP Gold 75k Member

Congratulations – you are now an Alaska MVP Gold 75K member. Alaska loves you so much at this point that they give you a free 50,000 Alaska miles. Now let’s add it all up to see how many miles you would earn.

20,700 + 25,875 + 72,450 + 50,000 = 169,025 Alaska Miles

Adding It All Up

You could spend 241,500 MR points and receive Alaska MVP Gold 75K status and 169,025 Alaska miles. I value MR points and Alaska miles similarly so let’s assume they are equal in value. That would mean it would only cost you 72,450 MR Points to earn top-tier Alaska status.

If I lived in San Diego, I would 100% take advantage of this opportunity. However, I am sure there are many more places that are an Alaska hub where you could do something similar. You could do these flights on free weekends and leave in the morning and then get back to San Diego at night. It couldn’t be easier – you wouldn’t ever need to get hotel rooms at random airports throughout the country to do your mileage runs.

Are you as impressed with Alaska and the Amex Business Platinum as I am?

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