Delta Cuts Elite Benefits For Alaska Airlines MVP Members

That’s it, it’s really time for Bravo to start a show called “The Real Airlines of Seattle,” and it deserves a prime time slot. Or maybe I just need to start a second blog, since there’s no other way to keep up with this drama.

Alaska and Delta have been engaged in a massive battle in Seattle for the past year or so, all while still having a really close partnership. It’s ironic, because they’re doing everything they can to run one another out of business in Seattle, but they still offer reciprocal elite and mileage benefits for the most part.

I outlined the source of the saga last week:

It got serious in 2012 when Delta announced huge international expansion out of Seattle, which Alaska was justifiably excited about, since they were being tapped to provide the feed for that international service.

But it seems Delta had a bit of an epiphany, and said “hmm, why should we be outsourcing all this domestic flying to Alaska, when we could do it on our own?” So they’ve announced huge domestic expansion, and at this point are serving almost all of the major routes that Alaska does as well.

To get back at Delta a little bit, Alaska announced additional expansion in Salt Lake City, with additional nonstop service from Salt Lake City to four destinations, including Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose. Obviously they’re a much smaller airline so can’t “retaliate” nearly as much.

Meanwhile both airlines have been offering tons of promotions, and Delta is even offering Washington residents double redeemable and Medallion Qualifying Miles for flights out of Seattle for the remainder of the year.

Just a couple of days ago Alaska hilariously announced a promotion offering double miles for travel on British Airways between Seattle and London. This is the same week that Delta launched their nonstop service in the market, so clearly it was intended exclusively to piss off Delta.

As I said at the end of the post:

I think Alaska’s actions here can best be summed up by NeNe…

Nene

Your move, Delta!

And Delta has made their move. As of April 30, 2014, Delta will be greatly reducing elite benefits for MVP and MVP Gold members traveling on Delta.

Alaska-Delta-Partnership

MVP and MVP Gold 75K members will continue to receive the following benefits when traveling on Delta:

  • 100% Elite Bonus Miles
  • Zone 1 Priority Check-in and Boarding
  • Preferred Seating
  • Complimentary Upgrades within the United States (excluding Hawaii), Canada, Mexico, and select Caribbean destinations. Not available on nonstop flights between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle
  • Checked Baggage Fee Waiver for First 2 Bags
    (for tickets purchased on or before April 30, 2014)

Meanwhile the following benefits will be discontinued as of May 1, 2014:

MVP members will continue to receive the following benefits when traveling on Delta:

  • 50% Elite Bonus Miles
  • Zone 1 Priority Check-in and Boarding
  • Preferred Seating
  • Complimentary Upgrades within the United States (excluding Hawaii), Canada, Mexico, and select Caribbean destinations. Not available on nonstop flights between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle
  • Checked Baggage Fee Waiver for First Bag
    (for tickets purchased on or before April 30, 2014)

Meanwhile the following benefits will be discontinued as of May 1, 2014:

  • Checked Baggage Fee Waiver for First Bag
  • Priority Baggage Handling
  • 25% Discount on International Economy Comfort™ Seating

My understanding is that the Alaska and Delta partnership currently runs through 2015, and I think both carriers are too proud to end it. So it looks like we’ll get another year or so of complimentary entertainment out of this.

Your move, Alaska! 😉

BTW, anyone with some spare time want to make one of those animated YouTube videos summing up the saga between Alaska and Delta? Similar to the Gary vs. Lucky video that Delta Points made a couple of years ago? If anyone makes one I’ll be sure to post it!

Comments

  1. Delta is really mastering how to become the most customer unfriendly company not only in the airline industry but overall.

  2. Lucky, based on your understanding

    1) The Alaska partnership runs through 1/1/2015, 12/31/2015 or sometime in between

    2) What part of the partnership can’t change – for example, will fliers be able to earn Alaska miles on Delta flights through the end of the partnrship

    3) What about Sky Club access for Board Room members – this is an “iron clad” part of the partnership?

    Thanks

  3. It is really getting rather bizarre. Either they want to encourage each other’s travelers to book the other and to codeshare and share benefits, or they don’t. It’s just strange.

  4. As a DL Plat, this is good news. A few less people in my SkyPriority lines. Hey, I’ll take what I can get, considering how much is being taken away from me.

  5. I don’t have anything to say about Delta v Alaska, but WOW that Lucky v Gary video is funny stuff! Thanks for posting it for those of us who missed it the first time.

  6. Just got an email from Delta announcing a similar loss of benefits the other way – for Medallions flying Alaska.

  7. It’s too bad. I’m AS MVP and the free checked bag on Delta was a huge benefit to me especially on international flight for 2nd bag. Now there’s less motivation for me to fly Delta.

  8. This latest move by Helta is a major turning point in the Battle in Seattle, and a bad one at that. Up to this point both airlines have been offering airfare deals, special promotions, added benefits, anything they can think of in order to draw customers to their airline and away from their competitor. But this…this is basically Delta giving AS customers the finger and saying they are not interested in their business, kindly go somewhere else.

    I’m confused. Exactly what does Delta expect to accomplish by discouraging customers from using their products? It almost seems like this move is a knee jerk reaction based more on emotion than ‘rational’ thought, as if Delta yelled “well FINE!”, crossed its arms in defiance, and stormed off to the corner to pout. AS just shrugs its shoulders, responds with, “whatever, dude,” and goes about its business.

    Accusing Delta of giving AS customers the finger ‘may’ be an over reaction considering the majority of affected customers probably aren’t aware of the changes, but that just makes Delta’s policy change extra douchy. Bad move, Delta.

  9. Have no dog in this fight but I agree with Markiteight that this is the first negative action (and I guess AS responded in kind).

    But, but… That Gary vs Lucky video was hilarious! Is there a blog post that explains the story behind the video?

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