Even if you’re an occasional flyer, knowing how Alaska Airlines upgrade works is probably high on your list. This blog focuses on everything you need to know about upgrading to a Premier or First Class seat on Alaska Airlines—including what types of upgrades are available, the hierarchy of upgrades on Elite status, and how to upgrade with cash or miles. 

Types of Alaska Airlines Upgrades

Alaska Airlines offers several types of upgrades. Although most upgrades are limited to travelers with elite status, non-elite travelers can also upgrade their seats by purchasing an upgrade starting 24 hours before departure. 

A few clarifications about Alaska Air seat upgrades:

  • Alaska Airlines Premium Class seats are defined as those seats that are located in the front of the main cabin. They offer additional legroom (4in), early boarding, and complimentary alcoholic beverages.
  • Elite status members are passengers who have attained elite status in Alaska Airlines frequent flyer program, Mileage Plan. 

Alaska Airlines Seat Upgrades 

Alaska Airlines offers the following types of seat upgrades:

  • Complimentary upgrades
  • Paid upgrades

Alaska Airlines Complimentary Upgrades

  • First Class Upgrades. Elite status members are entitled to unlimited free upgrades to first class based on the order of elite status.
  • Premium Class Upgrades. Elite status members are entitled to unlimited free upgrades to Premium Class based on the order of elite status.
  • Fare Class Upgrades. Elite status members are entitled to immediate upgrades to Premium Class on qualifying fares, subject to space availability.
  • Companion Upgrades. Some elite status members are entitled to upgrade 1 companion who is traveling with them.
  • Guest Upgrades. Certain elite status members are eligible for guest upgrade certificates every year. These certificates can be used even when the guest is not traveling with the elite status member.

Paid Seat Upgrades

  • Paid First Class Upgrades. Any passenger can purchase a First Class upgrade starting 24 hours before departure (at check-in), subject to availability. Paid upgrades can be purchased online, at a kiosk, or airport counter. 
  • Paid Premium Class Upgrades. Passengers can purchase a Premium Class upgrade from right after booking till check-in, incl. when changing or selecting seats, subject to availability.

Alaska Air Upgrade with Miles

  • Miles First Class Upgrades. All passengers can purchase a First Class upgrade with miles when purchasing their ticket or on an existing reservation, subject to availability.
  • Miles Premium Class Upgrades. All passengers can purchase a Premium Class upgrade when they purchase their ticket or on an existing booking, subject to the availability of seats.

Elite Status Importance on Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines offers complimentary upgrades in the order of elite status, ranging in priority from the highest to the lowest. The airline has the following 4 elite status levels in its frequent flyer program, Mileage Plan:

  1. MVP Gold 100K
  2. MVP Gold 75K
  3. MVP Gold
  4. MVP

The table below shows the hierarchy of upgrades among elite-status members.

Upgrade TypeMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K/MVP Gold 100K
First Class upgrades at the time of bookingY, B faresY, B, H, or K faresY, B, H, K, or M fares
Premium Class upgrades at the time of bookingY, B, or H faresY, B, H, K, M, L, V, S or N faresAll fares except Saver fares
First and Premium Class upgrades on discounted fares, except Saver fares48 hours before departure72 hours prior to departure120 hours before departure, with MVP Gold 100K having the highest waitlist priority*
First Class Companion upgradesNAYesYes
Premium Class Companion upgradesNAYesYes
Up to 4 one-way First Class Guest upgradesNAYesYes
International Upgrade Certificates on American AirlinesNANAMVP Gold 75K: 1 one-way/year
MVP Gold 100K: 2 one-way/year
If an elite status member’s complimentary upgrade does not immediately get cleared, they will be waitlisted and then cleared based on status level, fare class, and the time when they were waitlisted. 

* Alaska Airlines upgrade waitlist prioritizes passengers based on their frequent flyer status, fare class, and other factors. While there is no guarantee of an upgrade, the upgrade waitlist gives passengers the chance to enjoy a more comfortable and luxurious travel experience without having to pay the full price for a premium seat.

Companion Upgrades for Elite Status Members

Aside from receiving complimentary upgrades, elite status members (MVP Gold, Gold 75K, and Gold 100K) are entitled to:

  • A complimentary upgrade for one travel companion. If a travel companion is not on the same booking, the elite Gold status members must call the customer service of Mileage Plan for upgrading the companion.
  • 4 one-way first class upgrade certificates each year for guests not flying with the elite member. These certificates can be redeemed online at the time of ticket purchase by choosing the MVP Gold Guest appearing under the Upgrade fare type, or within an existing booking by choosing MVP Gold guest upgrade appearing next to the flight confirmation code.

How to Purchase Alaska Airlines First Class Upgrade?

How does Alaska upgrade to First Class work?

You can upgrade to First Class on Alaska Airlines by: 

  • Purchasing an upgrade, or 
  • Using your miles to upgrade 

How to upgrade to First Class on Alaska Airlines?

  • Paid Upgrades. You can purchase an upgrade on an existing Alaska or SkyWest booking (on behalf of Alaska Airlines) starting 24 hours before flight departure via online check-in. The price of a one-way upgrade to First Class starts from USD 23, depending on the flight distance. You can also purchase a First Class upgrade on the day of your flight at a self-service kiosk, airport counter, or departure gate. All upgrades are subject to availability.
  • Mileage Plan Miles Upgrades. You can use your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to upgrade your ticket at the time of booking your flight. Eligible flights include those operated by Alaska Airlines and SkyWest flights on behalf of Alaska Airlines. To upgrade with miles, go to AlaskaAir.com, and provide the required details in the Book section. After the flights show up on the screen, select Mileage from Upgrade fare type. Only fares with an F in a blue box are eligible for an upgrade. A one-way first class upgrade typically starts at 15,000 Mileage Plan miles.

If you want to book a First Class upgrade with miles on an existing reservation, you will have to call Alaska Airlines Reservations. The upgrade cost will be the same (15,000 Mileage Plan miles) to make a one-way upgrade, incl. connecting flights.

Note. Currently, you cannot upgrade on partner airlines with Mileage Plan miles.

How to upgrade to First Class on Alaska App?

To upgrade to First Class on the Alaska app, you will need to log in to your account and navigate to the My Trips section. Select the flight for which you want to upgrade and scroll down to the Upgrade Options section. Here, you’ll be able to view available upgrades and their respective prices. Simply select the upgrade that best suits your needs and proceed with the checkout process. If there are no available upgrades at the time of booking, be sure to check back closer to your travel date as availability may change. 

Alaska Upgrade to First Class for Advantage Elites on American Airlines

Passengers having Executive Platinum or Platinum Pro elite membership status on American Airlines AAdvantage are entitled to complimentary reciprocal upgrades to Premium and First Class upgrades Alaska Airlines. Upgrades can be confirmed starting 120 hours before departure after MVP Gold (100K and 75K) upgrades have been cleared. Remember, Saver fares on Alaska Airlines cannot be upgraded. 

Alaska Airlines Upgrade Cost

How much does Alaska Airlines upgrade to First Class cost?

The cost of a one-way upgrade to First Class is distance-based, starting at USD 23. The seat space for upgrades is released for sale starting 24 hours prior to departure after complimentary elite upgrades have been cleared, meaning that availability for paid upgrades is limited. 

If you’re upgrading with miles, a First Class upgrade can cost you 15,000 miles per flight.

Alaska Airlines Upgrade to Premium Class

If you’re looking to upgrade to Alaska Airlines Premium Class, there are a few options available to you. The first is to simply purchase a Premium Class ticket when booking your flight. This will ensure that you have access to all the amenities and benefits of Premium Class, including extra legroom, priority boarding, and complimentary food and beverages.

Another option is to use your Alaska Airlines miles to upgrade to Premium Class. If you’re an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member, you can use your miles to upgrade to Premium Class on eligible flights. Keep in mind that the number of miles required for an upgrade varies based on factors such as route, time of year, and availability.

Finally, if you have elite status with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program, you may be eligible for complimentary upgrades to Premium Class. Elite members receive priority on the upgrade list and are more likely to receive an upgrade if seats are available.

Frequently Asked Questions on Alaska Airlines Upgrade 

If you’re a frequent flyer with Alaska Airlines, you know how important it is to have all the information you need about upgrading your flight. This section on Alaska Airlines upgrades answers all the questions you may have about upgrading your seat at Alaska Airlines. From understanding the upgrade process to learning about eligibility requirements and fees, we’ve got you covered.

Can I upgrade an Alaska Saver fare?

No, you can’t. Alaska Saver fares are a budget-friendly option for travelers looking to save on their flights. The major drawback with Saver fares is that they cannot be upgraded to Premium or First Class. If you are interested in upgrading your seat, you should purchase a different fare type at the time of booking or contact Alaska Airlines directly to inquire about your options.

How do I make an upgrade request on Alaska Airlines?

If you’re looking to upgrade your flight experience with Alaska Airlines, there are a few ways to request an upgrade. First, you can check if you’re eligible for an upgrade through the airline’s website or mobile app. If eligible, you can request an upgrade using your Mileage Plan miles or by paying for the upgrade with a credit card. Another option is to inquire about available upgrades at the airport check-in counter on the day of your flight. Keep in mind that upgrades are subject to availability and may not always be possible

What is Alaska Air First Class upgrade cost?

Alaska Airlines First Class upgrade cost for a one-way flight will depend on your flight distance and starts from USD 23 if you’re paying by card and 15,000 miles if you’re using your miles to upgrade.

How does the Alaska Air Gold guest upgrade work? 

Alaska Air Gold guest upgrade allows you to upgrade a traveling companion’s ticket. If you’re an MVP Gold or elite member and are traveling with a companion on the same reservation, you can use your Gold Guest Upgrade certificates to request an upgrade for your companion. 

The number of certificates required for an upgrade will depend on the flight and availability of seats. You can request an upgrade at the time of booking or up until departure, subject to availability. The program is a great way for frequent travelers to enjoy the perks of first class travel while also sharing the experience with a friend or family member.

How does Alaska Air Mileage upgrade work?

Alaska Air Mileage upgrade works by allowing you to use your airline miles to upgrade your seat on a flight. The number of miles required for an upgrade varies depending on the route, time of year, and availability. To qualify for an upgrade, you must have enough Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles in your account and there must be available upgrade space on your flight.

The process of upgrading is relatively straightforward. Once you have booked your ticket, you can log into your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account and search for available upgrades on your flight. If there is a seat available, you can pay the required number of miles and enjoy a more comfortable flight experience.

Keep in mind that upgrades are not guaranteed, and availability can vary depending on demand. It’s always best to check early and often if you’re hoping to use Alaska Air Mileage for an upgrade.

How does Alaska Air’s Premium Class upgrade work?

Alaska Air’s Premium Class upgrade offers extra legroom, early boarding, and complimentary drinks and snacks. The process for upgrading to Premium Class is quite simple. You can choose to upgrade at the time of booking or starting 24 hours before your flight’s departure. You can also upgrade at the airport kiosk, ticket counter, or gate depending on availability. 

Upgrading to Premium Class requires an additional fee that varies depending on the length of the flight and other factors. Once upgraded, you will enjoy all the benefits of Premium Class for the duration of your flight, making your journey more comfortable and enjoyable.

How do Alaska Airlines free upgrades work?

Alaska Airlines offers free upgrades to its elite frequent flyer members based on availability and their elite status. Elite members are automatically added to the upgrade list when they book a flight, and the airline prioritizes upgrades based on a member’s tier level and fare class. 

Upgrades can be confirmed as early as 120 hours before departure or as late as at the gate. The airline also offers complimentary upgrades for full-fare economy tickets if space is available. However, upgrades are not guaranteed, and the number of seats available for upgrades varies depending on the route and time of day. So, it’s always best to check with the airline or your travel agent for specific details about Alaska Airlines free upgrade policies.

What is Alaska Airlines upgrade policy?

Alaska Airlines offers a variety of upgrade options for its passengers. It offers complimentary upgrades to elite Mileage Plan members based on availability and the member’s status. Passengers can also purchase upgrades using miles or cash through Alaska Airlines’ online booking system or by calling the airline’s reservation center. 

It is important to note that not all seats are eligible for upgrades and availability may vary depending on the flight and route. Also, passengers may be able to upgrade at the airport counter or gate on the day of departure if there are available seats in a higher class.

Can you upgrade to First Class on Alaska Airlines? 

Yes, you can upgrade to First Class on Alaska Airlines. There are a few different ways to do this, including using miles or paying for an upgrade at check-in or the gate. However, the availability of upgrades will depend on many factors, such as the route, time of day, and how many seats are available in First Class. 

It’s also worth noting that upgrades may be more difficult to obtain during peak travel times or if there are a lot of frequent fliers on the flight. If you’re interested in upgrading to First Class on Alaska Airlines, it’s best to check with the airline directly for more information on availability and pricing.

Can you use Miles to upgrade on Alaska Airlines?

Yes, you can use miles to upgrade on Alaska Airlines. Upgrades can be made on eligible flights based on availability and the number of miles required will vary depending on the route and fare class. It’s important to note that upgrades are not guaranteed. To take advantage of this feature, simply log into your Mileage Plan account and follow the prompts to request an upgrade using your miles.

How many Alaska Miles to upgrade to First Class?

The number of Alaska Miles required to upgrade to First Class varies depending on the flight and availability. Generally, the cost for upgrading to First Class starts at 15,000 Alaska miles one-way for a domestic flight within the United States. However, for longer international flights or flights with higher demand, the number of miles required for an upgrade may be significantly higher. It is important to check with Alaska Airlines directly or refer to the website for specific pricing and availability information before booking your flight if you are considering upgrading to First Class using Alaska Miles.

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