Alaska

How Much Money Will Alaska Lose Due To Cutting Ties With Delta?

Alaska-Seattle

On Monday we learned that Alaska and Delta are cutting ties as of May 1, 2017. The two airlines have been frenemies for years, as Delta’s presence in Seattle has continued to grow. Even so, they seemed better off together than separate.

However, Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America finally caused Alaska and Delta to cut ties, likely due to the increased number of routes on which the airlines overlap (Virgin America competes in many of the same transcon markets as Delta).

While this is bad news for frequent flyers, I have to commend Alaska for announcing several positive changes to help offset losing Delta as a partner. I’m feeling pretty great about Alaska Mileage Plan at the moment.

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Redeem 5,000 Miles For A One-Way Ticket With A Stopover!

Seattle-Skyline-Market

Yesterday Alaska announced some major changes to their Mileage Plan program, many of which were positive. Generally my preference is to redeem miles for premium cabin awards, though Alaska Mileage Plan has just made many domestic redemptions extremely lucrative with their recent changes.

Alaska’s new discounted shorthaul awards

One of the changes Alaska has made is that they’ve discounted shorthaul award ticket costs. Specifically:

— Tickets covering a distance of under 700 miles cost 5,000 miles
— Tickets covering a distance of 701-1,400 miles cost 7,500 miles
— Tickets covering a distance of 1,401-2,100 miles cost 10,000 miles

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Should You Transfer Starpoints To Alaska With A 62.5% Bonus?

Japan-Airlines-Business-Class-777 - 1

Yesterday was a big day for Alaska Mileage Plan — we learned that their partnership with Delta is ending, that they’re making some great changes to the program, and at what rate Virgin America points will convert into Alaska miles.

Since yesterday the question I’ve been asked most is whether it makes sense to transfer Starpoints to Virgin America, given the arbitrage opportunity available for now:

— Starpoints convert into Alaska Mileage Plan and Virgin America points at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred
— Virgin America points will convert into Alaska miles at a 1:1.3 ratio
— This means you can convert 20,000 Starpoints into 25,000 Virgin America Elevate points, and then convert those into 32,500 Alaska miles, which is a 62.5% bonus when converting Starpoints into Alaska miles

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There’s A Mileage Run Renaissance Thanks To Alaska Mileage Plan!

Emirates-Business-Class

Going back almost a decade I would have argued that mileage running (getting on the plane for the sole purpose of earning miles) could make sense. However, as we’ve seen a countless number of award chart devaluations, elite benefit cuts, mileage earning rate cuts, etc., it has become considerably more difficult to justify.

Earlier I wrote about the changes that Alaska is making to mileage earning rates, and I can’t get over just how generous the program has become. With these changes, Alaska is awarding up to 80% more redeemable miles than they did before. The new Alaska Mileage Plan is just like the “good old days,” and arguably even better. Let me explain.

Alaska’s top tier status is MVP Gold 75K, and earning that status requires flying either 75,000 miles on Alaska, or 90,000 miles on a combination of Alaska and any of their partners. There’s no requirement to even log a single mile on Alaska “metal.”

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Here’s The Rate At Which Virgin America Points Will Convert Into Alaska Miles

Alaska-Virgin-America

With Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America now complete, frequent flyers with both airlines have a lot of questions. While we don’t yet know at what point the Alaska and Virgin America frequent flyer programs will be merged, I think a lot of us are wondering at what rate Virgin America points will convert into Alaska miles.

A few days ago I wrote a post about this, and suggested that one Virgin America point should convert into somewhere between one and two Alaska miles. I suggested a 1:1.5 ratio, simply because that seemed well rounded. Well, the transfer ratio has now been confirmed.

Virgin America Elevate points will convert into Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1.3 ratio. Per Alaska’s website:

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Alaska Mileage Plan Makes Earning & Redeeming Miles Easier With Latest Changes

virgin-america-first-class

Earlier I wrote about Alaska and Delta cutting ties as of May 1, 2017, which will leave a lot of people very unhappy. On one hand I’m surprised to see them cut their relationship, since presumably this will cost Alaska a lot in revenue. At the same time, it seemed to be inevitable, given the number of routes on which Delta and the “new Alaska” overlap, which doesn’t make the partnership all that mutually beneficial anymore.

However, those are only some of the Mileage Plan changes that have been announced today. There’s some other stuff happening, and it’s mostly great news. Specifically:

As of today it’s possible to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles (both elite qualifying and redeemable) for travel on Virgin America. What makes this especially interesting is that Alaska has a distance based frequent flyer program, while Virgin America’s program is revenue based. However, as you’d expect, Alaska Mileage Plan will award miles based on distance flown rather than dollars spent.

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

Alaska-737

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.”

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At What Rate Should Virgin America Points Convert Into Alaska Miles?

Alaska-Virgin-America

Yesterday Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America was finalized, and there are a lot of frequent flyers wondering what this means for the future of their points, status, etc.

As of now there are a lot more questions than answers, unfortunately. What we know is the following:

— Starting December 19, 2016, Virgin America tickets can be purchased on Alaska’s website, and the two airlines will offer reciprocal mileage earning, as well as priority check-in and boarding for elite members
— Starting January 9, 2017, Alaska will status match Virgin America elite members

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Earn 1,500 Bonus American Or Alaska Miles For Your Holiday Shopping

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Unless you’re some kind of super human, chances are that you still have some holiday shopping to do. If you’re anything like me (most people aren’t), you base a lot of your retail purchase decisions around bonuses being offered in various online shopping portals.

For those of you not familiar, online shopping portals can be a great way to pick up additional miles & points for purchases you’d make anyway. Just for following a specific link you can earn bonus points in addition to the ones you’d earn anyway for credit card spend.

At the moment we’re seeing two very nice bonus offers through the American AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan shopping portals. Specifically, for purchases through December 21, 2016, you can earn:

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What Alaska’s Takeover Of Virgin America Means For Customers

alaska-virgin

As I speculated earlier, Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America is finally closing today. This is the completion of a very long process, though really only the start of their integration, as they have a lot of work left ahead of them.

What I’ve been most curious about is what this means for their frequent flyer programs. Lately we’ve seen some loyalty programs provide reciprocal benefits starting day one. So, what’s Alaska offering?

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Could This 737’s Flight Hint At The Alaska Merger Closing Today?

Alaska-737

As most of you probably know, Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America has been delayed by a couple of months due to negotiations with the Department of Justice. Alaska has finally been given the green light to close their merger, and it looks like that will be happening shortly.

Rumor has it that the deal will close today, and it looks like we have another good reason to believe that. As I posted about in early November, Alaska has a special livery 737 to celebrate Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America. The problem is that they haven’t really been able to fly it due to the delay in the merger.

So this brand new 737 has been sitting on the ground for well over a month, which has to be rather costly.

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Rapper Misses Alaska Flight, Offers “Peasants” $15K To Quit Their Jobs

young-thug

Rapper Young Thug was scheduled to fly Alaska Airlines from Atlanta to Seattle last Thursday, though somehow missed his flight, which caused him to miss his show. Rather than taking responsibility for missing his flight, he blamed Alaska Airlines.

So he took out his anger on the Alaska Airlines employees at the check-in desk in Atlanta, and made them a “generous” offer. He took out a Bentley branded bag and offered them each $15,000 cash to quit their jobs. They refused and asked him to stop pointing the camera at them, at which point he insulted them for their “nappy hair,” called them “peasants” and “ants,” etc. Here’s the video:

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Alaska Settles Lawsuit, Takeover Of Virgin America To Close Shortly

Alaska-Virgin-America

On Tuesday we learned that Alaska finally gained antitrust approval from the U.S. Department of Justice to complete their takeover of Virgin America. While the merger was supposed to close in October, it has been pushed back significantly as the DOJ has been seeking concessions from the airline to ensure that sufficient competition remains.

To get the merger approved, Alaska is having to cut part of their codeshare agreement with American, at least on routes where they overlap. This shouldn’t impact the frequent flyer arrangement between the two airlines, but will mean that it won’t be possible to book codeshares on as many routes.

Even though the DOJ issue was settled, there was still one thing that had to be taken care of before the deal could close. As Alaska stated in their press release on Tuesday:

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Alaska Adds (Expensive) Awards To Australia & New Zealand

Park-Hyatt-Sydney-49

Yesterday Alaska published rates for Japan Airlines awards, which we’re pretty excited about. It looks like Alaska has been making other updates this week as well, which are pretty interesting.

As I mentioned yesterday, Alaska Mileage Plan is unique in that they have a separate award chart for each partner carrier. Both the origin and destination country have to be listed on the award chart for that specific carrier, otherwise it’s not a valid redemption. As of yesterday, for example, you couldn’t use Alaska miles for Emirates or American awards to/from Australia.

That appears to have changed overnight, as I’m now seeing redemption options on both carriers.

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