BREAKING: Alaska & Delta Are Cutting Ties As Of May 1, 2017

With Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America having just closed, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some partnerships at Alaska may be changing, given how the “new Alaska” is competing in some markets that they hadn’t competed before. This change shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but Alaska & Delta have just announced that they’re discontinuing their partnership as of May 1, 2017:

Effective May 1, 2017, Delta and Alaska will no longer have a codeshare agreement, and sales of flights under DL- and AS-coded flight numbers flown on Alaska and Delta aircraft respectively will cease. Additionally, customers of each airline will no longer be able to earn and redeem Delta miles or Mileage Plan miles on flights operated by the other carrier. The carriers will retain an interline agreement, allowing them to continue offering customers ticketing and baggage connectivity. Delta and Alaska today codeshare on only a small number of flights as Delta’s growth in Seattle has reduced the need for codeshare flying.

As you can see, they’re discontinuing their partnership full stop. They won’t codeshare, provide reciprocal benefits, or even let members earn and redeem miles for travel on the other airline. Alaska and Delta have been partners for years, even though they’ve been feuding as part of their “battle in Seattle.”

Members can continue to earn and redeem miles on both airlines for travel through April 30, 2017. Assuming travel was booked prior to December 19, 2016, members can continue to earn miles for travel May 1 through December 17, 2017. However, travel booked as of today for travel on May 1, 2017, or later, will no longer be eligible for mileage accrual.

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As of May 1 the enhanced partnership will end, though, meaning that members won’t receive priority benefits when traveling on the other carrier, like priority boarding, space available upgrades, etc.

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With Delta’s presence constantly increasing in Seattle, and with Virgin America competing head-to-head on many Delta routes, it’s no surprise that this partnership is ending.

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One of the unique things about Alaska Mileage Plan has long been that they’ve partnered with both American and Delta, meaning that they were a great program to credit miles to if your travel was mixed between the two airlines. Going forward Alaska will continue to partner with a nice variety of airlines, including several in the oneworld alliance, SkyTeam alliance, and other independent airlines.

Are you surprised to see Alaska & Delta finally cut ties?

Comments

  1. Knew this day was coming, now gonna have to decide between American or Delta. Either want to show the Alaska Golds with an easy status challenge? 🙂

  2. So I take it we can now say there will be a 0% chance of booking award tickets on Virgin Australia or Virgin Atlantic on the merged Alaska/Virgin America mileage program?

  3. Wonder how long before they cut relationship with other Skyteam partners Air France, KLM, China Southern and AeroMexico

  4. I’m surprised it never happened soon.

    Here’s an off topic question I’ve always wondered about….why has Alaska never started (non-N. America) international service? With all their partners, I’ve always wondered why they didn’t start some of the routes that Delta has now started. I guess they’d be competing with their Itnl partners, but I think with as loyal a base as they have, a few key routes like SEA-TYO, SEA-HKG, or SEA-LHR would make sense. Even if it overlapped their partners, they could go the joint-venture route which is all the rage these days.

  5. one of the worst kept secrets around. Frankly it has not be overly beneficial for international travel for a long.

    As far as KLM goes that has been in the toilet almost as long as AF/KLM have

    So what’s next with Alaska I think there is something a foot.

  6. I guess my flights on Delta onSaturday were the end of an era! I really prefer the onboard experience on Delta over AA such a shame!

  7. I really think Alaska should partner or merge with Hawaiian Airlines next to get a small international footprint and to increase yields in the Hawaiian market that Alaska/Hawaiian both fly. The battle for the west is far from over in my opinion and Alaska needs to make some more moves.

  8. @Rick:

    The VX-VS partnership is already dead. AS is going to pick BA/QF, to absolutely no-one’s surprise.

    @shaun

    Unless you are buying beater old planes that come with high maintenance needs (that would present reliability problems(, wide bodies that could fly TATL/TPAC from Seattle are MUCH more expensive than narrow bodies. It is expensive to run a wide bodybfleet. That is why many airlines do not do it.

    @John:

    Maybe they might finish their VX merger successfully first? United could tell you about botched mergers where they didn’t pay attention…

  9. @eponymous coward I would think the B787 or A350 coming to the mkt would have made International travel more appealing to AS. They are geared for the longer, thinner routes at a more efficient cost to operate. I would think if an airline like Hawaiian can make long haul fleet work based on mostly leisure travel, Alaska could make it work too.

    But since they’ve never started International travel, i’d wager you are probably right! 🙂

  10. @Lucky – So will AS still be cutting their codeshares with AA then? Or did they rethink that and end up only cutting DL instead.

    @shaun – AS only operates one type (737s) now. Now they could operate some TATL routes from JFK with a 737 MAX, or the A321LR if they choose to be a two-type with VX’s fleet. A lesser possibility still, they could wait for Boeing’s Middle-of-Market plane.

  11. I was planning to use AS miles to book a DL/AS redemption for Feb 2018. Just so I can stop breathing into a paper bag, I’ll still be able to make that redemption right up until April 30, right?

  12. @Andrew B – AS will still have to go through with the previously announced reductions to the AA codeshare, as they were a condition of the Justice Dept. signing off on the Virgin America purchase. Possible they could petition DOJ for reconsideration given this, but DOJ seemed to be focused on hub competition, so I doubt it would make much difference.

    As for AS acquiring widebodies to fly to Asia, that’d be a huge capital commitment, not sure if that’d be the best use of their money. They don’t have the option that JetBlue has on the East Coast of going with the A321LR for flights to Europe.

    And I don’t see AS starting up TATL with 737 MAX or A321LR – lots of competition already, Alaska’s not that well known on the East Coast, and where would they get the slots at JFK? BOS is possible, bu there’s a general expectation that JetBlue will eventually introduce TATL, and a move by AS could just force them to accelerate their plans, and with their superior Boston and NYC market they’d wipe the floor with AS.

  13. Although disappointing, keep in mind that DL inherited this longstanding partnership by acquiring NW. It made perfect sense for NW, which had no western hubs and steered clear of point-to-point flights. They needed help feeding their west-coast-based international flights with traffic from that region. I’d love to hear more from those who were involved with those airlines back then.

  14. This is a bummer for me. I have been flying Delta FC more and more recently as the schedules were better than AA. I have been putting miles towards Alaska and will once again be EXP on AA and 75K on AS.

    So where to put Delta flights after April??

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