While Alaska Airlines doesn’t belong to any alliance, they do have a variety of airline partners, including major alliance carriers as well as some other independent carriers.
One of the downsides of Alaska not being in an alliance is that you don’t receive reciprocal elite benefits on most partner airlines. There are some exceptions, like American and Delta, though for the most part there aren’t reciprocal benefits.
It looks like Alaska is slowly starting to improve in that regard, as Alaska elite members can receive elite benefits on British Airways for a limited time.
Between April 1 and September 30, 2016, Alaska MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K elite members will receive the following perks on British Airways:
- Club World priority check-in and boarding at Seattle (SEA) and London-Heathrow (LHR) airports
- Fast Track security access at London-Heathrow (LHR) airport
- Access to the Terminal 5 Galleries lounge at London-Heathrow (LHR) airport
On top of that, Mileage Plan members can earn double redeemable miles when they fly British Airways between Seattle and London through September 30, 2016 (registration is required). British Airways is offering up to two flights per day in the market through the end of the summer, so I guess this bonus is to further encourage people to take that flight.
Alaska’s elite program is pretty compelling for those traveling Alaska, and it’s also compelling in terms of the variety of partners they have. It’s great to be able to pool miles flown with both American AAdvantage and Delta SkyMiles to a single mileage account. However, getting benefits on partners is rather tough with Alaska, given that they have to negotiate each of these contracts separately. It’s not like an alliance airline, where the perks between airlines are standardized.
It’s clear that Alaska is trying to improve reciprocal elite benefits with their partners. In addition to reciprocal benefits with American and Delta, they also offer reciprocal benefits with their partner Icelandair, and have announced reciprocal benefits with Emirates at a later date. It’s interesting to see this trial with British Airways as well.
At the same time, it’s rather disappointing that these perks are limited exclusively to Seattle and London, which means Alaska elites traveling in other markets won’t benefit from this promotion.