WOW: Alaska Airlines Joining Oneworld Alliance

Filed Under: Alaska, oneworld

This is huge news. In many ways it feels like the “global alliances” have been dying a little bit, as airlines have instead focused on codeshare agreements and joint ventures as they make sense.

That’s not the case across the board, though, as the oneworld alliance just gained an awesome member.

Alaska Airlines joining oneworld

It has been announced today that Alaska Airlines will be joining the oneworld alliance by the summer of 2021. In late 2018 the airline was considering joining as a “oneworld connect” member, but it appears that they’re now joining as a full member.

This is huge news, and follows Royal Air Maroc joining the oneworld alliance this spring. At the same time, oneworld is losing LATAM as of this spring as well, so it’s not all good news for the alliance.

Alaska Airlines is joining oneworld

What this means for earning & redeeming Alaska miles

With Alaska Airlines joining oneworld, you can expect that Mileage Plan miles can be earned and redeemed for all oneworld flights by 2021. This is awesome news, given that Mileage Plan is a great frequent flyer program.

In fairness, Alaska already partners with many oneworld airlines, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, and Qantas. They also have a limited partnership with American, which has been scaled back in the past couple of years.

You can already earn Alaska miles for travel on Cathay Pacific

You’ll once again be able to earn Alaska miles on all American flights (and vice versa)

In many ways this goes without saying, but with Alaska joining oneworld, you’ll once again be able to earn and redeem Alaska Airlines miles for travel on all American Airlines flights.

That’s how it used to be back in the day, but:

With this it’ll be back to the glory days of reciprocal mileage earning between the two airlines.

You’ll once again be able to earn Alaska miles for all American flights

My big concern with Alaska mileage redemptions

Here’s my huge concern. Alaska has some of the best mileage redemption rates in the industry, though they also take an unconventional approach to award pricing.

They have a different award chart for every partner airline, and you can’t mix airlines on an award. In theory I suspect we’ll see them eventually come up with an award chart for all on all oneworld airlines (where you can mix partners), but I almost certainly think this won’t be good news:

  • I can’t imagine they’ll continue to allow stopovers on one-way awards
  • I can’t imagine they’ll maintain the same good prices they currently have

I hope I’m wrong, but I’m quite worried about this…

Will we see Alaska redemption rates on Cathay Pacific increase?

What does this mean for Alaska’s partnerships with non-oneworld airlines?

While this is exciting on the surface, my one concern is what this means for Alaska’s partnerships with airlines that belong to other alliances, like Singapore Airlines.

Hopefully these partnerships can continue independently, but I could also see airlines being pressured to discontinue these partnerships for competitive reasons. It’s one thing to have widespread partnerships with non-alliance airlines, while many seem to feel more threatened when an airline belongs to a global alliance.

Hopefully Alaska’s partnership with Singapore Airlines continues

We’ll see how Mileage Plan status maps into oneworld

We don’t yet know how Alaska Mileage Plan status will translate into oneworld status, though I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. I would guess:

However, with Alaska joining oneworld, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them adjust status requirements a bit.

Could MVP Gold 75K members soon be oneworld Emeralds?

Is this American & Alaska responding to Delta’s dominance?

Alaska Airlines used to more or less dominate the Seattle market, though over the past few years Delta has grown their presence there significantly. This has put a lot of pressure on Alaska.

While Delta seems to be pretty anti-alliance nowadays, instead focusing on their joint ventures, I suspect this is at least partly a response to Delta’s continued growth in Seattle.

While American and Alaska have tried to scale back their partnership, it seems they both realized that they’re better off working together against Delta.

Delta has a gorgeous SkyClub in Seattle

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines joining oneworld comes as part of an expanded partnership with American and Alaska, where American will be adding flights from Seattle to Bangalore and London.

On the surface I’m excited about Alaska joining oneworld, though I hope this doesn’t lead to Alaska ruining the competitive advantage they have with Mileage Plan.

In many ways Alaska has tried harder than other airlines because they haven’t been in one global alliance, and I hope that effort continues.

What do you make of Alaska Airlines joining oneworld?

  1. I’d expect Mileage Plan to go down the tubes. And some of their other unique partnerships will certainly go away. Anything AA touches seems to suffer.

  2. @ben

    I don’t know if I’m excited about this or not. On the one hand it means you can earn Alaska miles when flying all OneWorld airlines. Then again Alaska independently partners with several major OneWorld airlines already, like CX/JL/BA/QF/AA, and the rest are just icing on the cake. Of course Alaska elites can take advantage of OneWorld benefits which is nice.

    Btw I’m MVP Gold 75k this year (thanks to CX error fares in 2019) but I doubt I can requalify especially with coronavirus halting many flights to China (I’m booked on some cheap Hainan flights which I ended up having to cancel). At the most I’d qualify for MVP. Do you know if Alaska gives you a soft landing i.e. down to MVP Gold if you don’t requalify, or they’ll just give you whatever status you actually earned?

  3. “Anything AA touches seems to suffer.” LOL @raksiam.. more accurately “Anything AA touches seems like a curse”.. Earning chart will likely be revenue based and the redemption rate will likely align with AA’s rate.. It’s inevitable unfortunately..

  4. I do worry about what this means for Mileage Plan and the cool partner redemptions.

    And will my AA platinum get me Board Room access?

  5. From 2021 I’ll credit all my oneworld flights to Alaska and get OW emerald with them. AA just lost an EXP for the last 5 years ✌

  6. AA has declared war against DL!! With massive feed from AS…its on! Watch for more international routes coming.

    DL will watch Latam drag its yields down (MIA will be a disaster for DL) and Breeze will chip away at DL in SLC.

  7. @ Marc — Well let’s hope the value proposition with Alaska Mileage Plan stays the same. Frankly I think American may somewhat control Mileage Plan earning rates for travel on American to avoid too much of an arbitrage opportunity.

  8. @ jfhscott — It should if you’re on an international itinerary. And yes, I share your concern regarding the future of partner redemptions.

  9. I was going to say the same thing but many readers (raksiam, John..) stated already.

    My only hope is this is the case of SWISS joining oneworld.

  10. @ Glenn — I don’t think they formally have a soft landing, though I think they do sometimes give fast tracks to elites who are losing status.

  11. @ Ex- United Flyer — Unfortunately I think there’s literally a 0% chance of that happening. They’re part of Lufthansa Group, one of the founding members of Star Alliance, and part of the Star Alliance transatlantic joint venture.

  12. AA loses to DL on transatlantic and South America routes, UA on transpacific routes, and WN on domestic routes.
    Basically AA is tossed.

  13. Wow. How long do you think Alaska will last as an independent airline? It seems historically that there has been only one US airline in the big 3 alliances. Confidential merged worn United and US Airways with AA. I worry that this is an initial step to more consolidation. Either Alaska merging with AA or Alaska eventually merging with JetBlue

  14. @Ben (Lucky): Let me clarify. I hope this news is like SWISS first intended to join oneworld many years ago, then never happened. I pray God for Alaska never joins oneworld.

  15. @Ex- United Flyer: over Lufthansa’s dead body, lol.

    This came as a genuine surprise. Who could’ve seen it coming?

  16. This is excellent news and totally unexpected.

    Now, only the South American issue needs to be resolved. The likely candidate is GOL, who was dumped by DL when they purchased their share in LA.

  17. I’m guessing at some point before end 2021, AS will start introducing the equivalent of tier points/status miles, and/or otherwise drastically cut mileage earn rates. They’d also have to cut many non-OW partners, e.g. EK. Otherwise, they’d be swamped with elites (and pay for their OW privileges), and have loads of members sitting on too many points (and as a result, will probably be facing even greater limits on award flight availability). I can’t really think of a OW member that allows tier qualification with a non-OW flight–perhaps that’s an alliance rule?

  18. Re: AA Flagship lounge access, qualifying for emerald on AS might let you squeeze into flagship lounges on purely domestic itineraries (which are presently excluded for AA emeralds)?

  19. @ Zeno — I think it’s virtually certain that Alaska elites would also be excluded on domestic itineraries.

  20. The vast majority of my spend is on Alaska, in part because I’m flying to Seattle several times a year but also because their excellent Mileage Plan program and customer service. I’m cautiously optimistic on what this holds. Alaska is facing a lot of pressure from Delta in its main Seattle hub, so the really can’t tick off their most loyal customers by making drastic changes to their fares, and their mileage-based loyalty program.

    On the other hand, AA needs to have some assurances that their savvy customers won’t all run to Alaska’s better loyalty program. I suspect there will be some additional news to come but it will be fairly measured.

  21. I wonder how much longer Alaska will be able to maintain Mileage Plan with earning/spending based on miles flown vs. going revenue based. At first, reading the headline I thought it was amazing since it’s a lot easier to earn Alaska Miles but on second thought it seems like more bad news than good news. We shall see, but I’d definitely take advantage of the Alaska earn/spend sweet spots before the join OW.

  22. As someone who lives in a city not served by Alaska, I hope this will help me out. Presently I have to buy a positioning flight to an international gateway (or a city served by AS) if I’m using AS miles on a foreign airline to fly overseas. Hopefully after this I’ll be able to position on a combination of AA/AS flights while using my AS miles.

  23. AS gains a lot, AA gains not so much. The PNW route network is a good grab for AA via codeshare. AS will need to raise the bar on status as One World Emerald is too easy to attain that route. I could see AA EXPs credit to Alaska to hit top tier status without a spend requirement and for less miles flown.

    Remains to be seen if AS starts charging more miles for redemptions but we can only assume that happens with time.

  24. ALASKA……Please go with JETBLUE …. not American

    American will destroy the …Free one way and Cathay will cost 70,000 in business instead of 50,000

  25. Let’s remember that the DOJ required AA and AS to dramatically cut back their relationship as part of the AA/US merger because of AA’s national dominance. It is far from clear that the DOJ will decide that conditions have changed to reverse that decision.

    Second, AA can only codeshare with AS because the US does not allow joint ventures between two US airlines. AA at best will be a competitor against AS and DL in a market where AA has pulled back as a result of DL’s growth.

    Third, AA execs recently said they are contemplating leaving the LAX-China market. DL applied to the DOT to start LAX-PEK service and then AA jumped in and said they wanted to do the same which forced a route case. The DOT awarded LAX-PEK to AA and there were no further route authorities to also award the route to DL. AA has lost hundreds of millions of dollars flying to Asia with LAX having lower average fares to China than from Chicago, a market they completely exited.
    The lack of rational business sense that AA is exhibiting in its route planning cannot be overlooked.

    Fourth, American has 10% higher consolidated unit costs (CASM) than Delta. It shouldn’t take too long to figure out who is going to lose boatloads of money.

  26. As someone who flies AS a decent amount, I’m concerned that this will lead to (some of which Lucky mentions):

    – Alaska increasing requirements for AS status
    – Increased crowding in the already crowded AS lounges
    – More pressure on AS award pricing, with OW members being able to redeem on the AS (relatively) limited route structure
    – Devaluation or elimination of some current AS airline partners
    – Continuing the trend we’re seeing across the industry – many more miles chasing fewer available seats.

  27. WOW. I am AS 75k… that does not get me access to Alaska lounges… but someday it could make me Emerald and I can go to the American Flagship Lounge? Something there has to change, among many other things.

    Lucky, You should do a series on the alliance statuses, I know little about it, and does not seem like something you have done a comprehensive report on.

  28. Damn… didn’t see this one coming, especially given the conscious uncoupling that has been playing out between AK and AA over the last few years. Fingers crossed that this doesn’t mean that AK Mileage Plan rates and policies are required to align with OneWorld “standards”, and that AK is allowed to retain partnerships with non-alliance carriers (Singapore, Emirates), but given the overall trends in the industry, I’m not optimistic.

  29. I do wish for non stops between SFO to BOM. As with the SFO DEL non stops there is a lot of traffic but possibly the planes don’t have the range.

  30. @ DaKine — Will work on it, thanks! 🙂 Generally lounge access only applies on international itineraries, though, so don’t get too excited.

  31. So the AA requirement of non-AA Oneworld Emeralds gaining access to Flagship lounges even on domestic flights could work through Alaska now (at least until AA adjusts the policy)?

  32. As someone who highly values AS miles, I’m not too thrilled about this. AS already partners with many of the Oneworld alliance members. Additional benefits of AS in the alliance are few, and I’m certain they won’t compensate for the potential significant devaluation that’s likely to be one of the outcomes.

  33. Interesting… are there any countries that have two airlines that belong to the same alliance (of the big 3)?

  34. @ Ben Holz — Star Alliance has Air China and Shenzhen Airlines. SkyTeam has China Eastern and Xiamen Air. But that’s it, as far as I know.

  35. I was super excited for 20 seconds as MVPG75K and then it dawned on me: why be excited when the exact value of AS is gonna disappear. Now I am a sad igloo.

  36. For AA elites, like me, this is good news. For Alaska elites this is the end of their reign in (what was?) a great program.

  37. So does this mean we will see even MORE dreaded first class domestic / coach international award offers to international destinations on AS mileage redemption?

  38. I agree with CJ: Alaska’s great redemption rates with Cathay are likely to vanish. Also likely to go are their periodic “double mile” earning specials with partners, e.g. with Qantas, Too bad.

  39. Lucky or others who may know,
    Please answer!

    Is Alaska loyalty program as easy to join as Delta for those from Europe but frequent visitors to America and using US airlines?

    As it would be much better value than Delta and United currently (I now just use my Flyingblue and Virgin for accrediting on Delta Flights).

    Sometimes I have had issues where they want an American Address and Zipcode to join the loyalty scheme.

    Thanks for your response,

  40. Reply to Gman

    Emirates badly needs to join an alliance!
    And improve the non a380 business class product, like Lufthansa they seem to get a much less critical valuation than Air France or British Airways

  41. @Lumma – there used to be three Chinese airlines in SkyTeam, but with China Southern’s departure there’s now only two full members – China Eastern and Xiamen. Shanghai Airlines, though technically an affiliate member, is basically just an extension of China Eastern and, from a flyer’s point of view, not really a distinct operation. China Airlines is based in Taiwan.

  42. AS product isn’t that great, it’s been the FF program that has set them apart. Now this alliance membership will most likely start undo-ing some of those great benefits. I wonder why AS felt like this was their best option since it will undermine a lot of the good customer facing benefits they’ve worked so hard to build.

  43. This is great news generally. Selfishly, as someone in the US mid Atlantic who flies AA regional jets far too much, often at egregious prices ($1000 RT) for destinations under 1,000 miles… I’m very curious if AS goes revenue based. I’d like to not pick and choose based on each flight where to bank my miles.

  44. I was afraid that this would happen one day. You just know that the Mileage Plan is going to get a revamp and not for the better, I don’t see how they can maintain the same award chart now with the global partners once they’ve joined the alliance. i only hope that they can maintin the one free stopover benefit. Terrible news.

  45. What happens at JFK? Seems pretty dumb to have oneworld split across T7 and T8 especially if Alaska is in the mix.

  46. @Noah

    They’ll most likely move in with AA once the redevelopment is done with the upgrades and expansion for BA.

  47. Lowest common denominator – here we come! I was thinking about it, but I am not sure I want to get the Alaska Air Miles credit card any more.

  48. Wasn’t sure if this was ever going to happen but never say never. One of the main concerns as a Gold 75K AS flyer is how will this affect the upgrades for Mileage Plan members?
    With a pile of added clients at Elite status will the AA Elites get the upgrade before an AS Mileage Elite?
    I am pretty simple in my travel needs for work. Based in Seattle I couldn’t be happier because AS files non-stop to everywhere I need to go for my work travel. I was an SPG Elite and am now a Titanium Elite with Marriott and a lifetime Platinum.
    All that being said…… Lucky I can’t see any significant reason to change airlines at this time but, do I need to reevaluate my hotel choice?
    There is a Marriott in every city I travel to so staying loyal isn’t an issue. The devaluation of points are an issue though. Should I change to Hyatt? With the build of Hyatt Place and Hyatt House and other branded Hyatt hotels does it make sense to make a switch?
    I am a religious user of the Alaska Visa card and AMEX Bonvoy cards. I have a Hyatt card gathering dust and wanted to know your thoughts.

  49. Ben,
    When flying American should or would it be better to credit the miles to Alaska Mileage Plan vs American AAdvantage?

  50. RIP Priority Pass lounge. Not that AS lounge is way too overcrowded already.

    Mileage structure will be all messed up. (Take the recent 10k minimum earning as the big hint for soft landing)
    Burn all those AS miles. Award chart devalue coming soon.
    Goodbye AS B6 merger.
    Hello crediting 0% to AS flying AA.
    Hello MVP 100k (or harder to get 75k)

  51. @AI

    In my opinion this is the best time to get the BofA card. While I don’t think the card perks will change much (since AS isn’t going away), the value of AS miles would. The floodgates from AA will come and OW alignment will hurt. But hey AS got devalued recently after some folks game the stopover.

  52. Fascinating step in the larger battle.

    There are a couple of interesting undercurrents here:

    1. Delta plays the long game; American is reacting like a spoiled child: re-investing in Boston, courting Alaska (which it spurned only a few years ago due to VA merger). My bet is on Delta (better product, better service, financially stronger, etc). Both Miami and Seattle are large enough markets to support two network carriers.

    2. Alaska has squandered its Virgin America investment, which was designed to transform it from a regional, one-market player to national player. In the past two years it has withdrawn from nearly every post-merger market it added and many VA had developed. It is retrenching to its home base; it didn’t need VA to achieve this. It also cannot compete with WN to Hawaii: this augurs the further demise of its LA and SF bases. Alaska will end up being acquired by AA or (now less likeky) JetBlue (previously a promising bi-coastal combination). Alaska is signaling its weaknesses, on the defensive.

    3. What does this mean for LA and SF? AS is a big (2nd) in SF, but shrinking, and 5th? in LA. Lots of overlap in LA, little in SF.
    Who would have guessed that after 40 years of deregulation the outcome would be 3-4 network carriers competing in every large market (consolidation had suggested monopolies, such as in Europe).

    Dallas and Atlanta appear to be the largest markets with single network carrier hubs. Delta had a DFW hub. Could it react with a DFW focus city? Unlikely; DL is more rational about this. My takeaway is that DL is winning everywhere and American is scared shishirtless. And furious.

    Absolutely fascinating to watch this play out.

  53. A sad day. Although I knew MVP Gold 75k was too good to be true. 2.25 miles earned on every mile flown, near endless upgrades. I fly DAL-PDX every 2 weeks. AA will screw things up so they don’t compete on most routes. They will have to go to an AA style dollars based earning system otherwise all the AAdvantage members will simply switch to AS and arbitrage.

    Mileage flights to somewhere like Bangkok or India could go either direction via Helsinki and London or Tokyo.

    Oneworld will kill this once great plan. The only hope is AA and their perennially disgruntled employees don’t sleep over to AS. AS has great employees and a great corporate culture.

    Bad news. The party is over

  54. @ Ex-United Flyer:

    Don’t forget that at the time, Swissair was run by an ex-AA Imbecile. That was the end of Qualiflyer and eventually the end of Swissair.
    Things have changed. Now the imbecile is not EX-AA.


    I am afraid you are right. I Give Alsaka 3 years to go the way of Virgin America. In Nature’s law it’s called “Big fish eats small fish”. Now if Alaska’s management took over the “New AA” the way US Airways’ took over AA’s, it might become interesting . Conditions, though, are not the same. It may happen with individuals, not with the whole structure.

  55. @Steven: Not sure what you are talking about with MIA being large enough to support carriers? If you mean the ‘DL hub @ Miami’ – not sure how I can console you. Believe it or not, the only thing that’s happening there is that LA reduces its presence in MIA year over year and will become just another Avianca.

  56. Bummer. I fly Alaska and Delta. Too bad they don’t get along. If it came down to not traveling vs. flying on American, I would not travel. I still plan to fly Alaska but now the ante is higher and likely I would just pick Delta. American Airlines, the whole of the Airline, has some growing up to do before I would ever consider spending my hard earned money on one of their flights. Customer service DOES matter. Delta has it dialed in. American does not.

  57. WTF… American doesn’t deserve even one OK airline? Now I’m glad I just burnt 180k as for my Asia tour.
    I guess I need to burn more this year.

  58. That’s brilliant..Right on Delta face ..Excited to see how its gonna develop. Thrilled about Banglore and London route from Seattle . Well done AA

  59. @KS
    you might want to know that Delta and Latam already carry about 20% of the domestic revenue (that is DL’s part) and 20% of the total available seat miles that AA has – and neither operate a true hub there – or fly scores of markets that American flies – but could easily support Delta or Latam service (depending on whether it is in Latin America or the US).

    Add in Delta’s other joint venture partners in Miami – Air France/KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico… and Delta is already in a formidable position in Miami.

    Steven got it right.
    American has sat on the sidelines and allowed its costs to become the industry’s highest just six years after leaving bankruptcy. They have retreated from scores of routes while Delta has jumped in. Delta’s focus city and new hub strategy has allowed it to add new routes to American hubs from Boston, New York, Raleigh, Chicago and Los Angeles. The reason why AA is reacting is because they sat back while Delta has built its network – not focused on adding routes into another carrier’s hubs but because Delta built new hubs and focus cities, strategies that neither American or United have bothered to pursue.

    Now, in response to American losing Latam to Delta and the likely reality that Delta will build a focus city the size of Raleigh or a mini-hub like Boston in Miami, American decides they want to set up a hub in Seattle, a market where AA has significantly reduced its presence while Delta grew its hub.
    AS has failed strategically at growing much beyond its original network despite the Virgin America merger.

    AA still has an abysmal track record of pulling out of international markets that are competitive with DL and UA – in part because AA’s costs mean that it will always make less (or lose) money where DL and UA can make money. AA’s biggest problem is its costs.

    AA is indeed scared to death. And they are acting irrationally in moves that will only accelerate their own failure in their strongest markets. Pulling out of China to Asia and redeploying capacity to DL’s hub is not the way to make their network work and it won’t stop DL or UA from continuing to grow in AA’s top markets.

    And no one has yet answered how AS is going to address all of its codeshare partners that have helped fill its planes from SEA as those foreign airlines now are/will be competing with American and oneworld from Seattle.

  60. Alaska’s mileage plan was too good to last. Glad I took full advantage while I could. Alaska’s lounges except the new Seattle one cannot accommodate a new influx, I just cannot imagine lounge access in future by membership status, only for reciprocal first class and people paying the annual lounge membership fee …

  61. @Dan

    “Alaska is facing a lot of pressure from Delta in its main Seattle hub, so the really can’t tick off their most loyal customers by making drastic changes to their fares, and their mileage-based loyalty program.”

    You mean like introducing a “saver” fare and then upcharging for the main cabin? Any smart flyer (which should be anyone on this site) knows that was not for any customer benefit. Instead, it’s simply market segmentation with increased fares. They simply placed all their lowest main cabin fares into a bucket called “saver” with restrictions, while charging 10-25% more for the same fares without restrictions. It’s beyond me how a majority (not including folks like us) can’t see what really happened there. The fares did not get lower, quite the opposite.

    Or do you mean the continuous state of fake “flash sales” in which sale fares are not usually the lowest fare? Nearly every week Alaska claims a “flash sale” is taking place. Their advertisement for sales is becoming the epitome of fake news.

    It was good while it lasted, but I suspect Mileage Plan is a goner in the context of recent years overhauls plus joining oneworld. I don’t see any way around a devaluation with this news which makes me wonder why more than a few are celebratory about this. Not only will redemptions cost more, but it also dilutes the pool of awards available as MANY more will be able to redeem now. I highly suspect they’ll enter the revenue based status and mileage earnings train since they are the last hold out.

  62. Alaska will need to be very, very careful how it changes its Mileage Plan (as it will). It definitely has the edge on most others in the OW stable and will need to maintain that competitive advantage.
    I can see SQ getting forced out, and that giant dodo, Emirates, may as well exit too since the disasterous devaluation killed it stone dead in terms of MP awards.
    Also MP will need to spread its wings further and permit awards of routings of its current and new OW airlines which do not necessarily originate/end/transit the US. Would this be beyond the expertise and mindset of the current Alaska management?

  63. As an ongoing MVP75k, this is horrific news. The MP program that AS maintained will be butchered by joining the alliance.

    – Say goodbye to mileage-based qualifying,
    – Say goodbye to generous awards (great value per mile)
    – Say hello to the probable addition of a fourth elite tier

    And MM’s will be screwed hard. Ask AA Lifetime Plats.

    The quote from above says it all: “Anything AA touches seems to suffer”

    Sad day for Alaska enthusiasts.

  64. I’m a gold 75k member after 8- years with Delta. Part of me is happy but I’m concerned about them changing the criteria for gaining status. If they go the same way as Delta, I will be looking for a carrier again!

  65. @Tim Dunn: I must definitely praise your optimism for DL. Sorry to disappoint you, but AA in MIA and Latin america is a totally different beast. All the IFE and bistro meals are not going to pull passengers to DL. Give it two years- LA/DL will just be another UA/AV. No less no better. LA dug its own grave, it will be another AM and it will definitely manifest 🙂

  66. @vx_flyer is “spot on” imho. This 2M miler Lifetime AA Platinum felt screwd and shifted over to AS. I fully anticipate getting screwed again as the lowest common denominator will prevail. I just did a West Coast heavily discounted AS Hawaii r/t. Got 5k AS miles, on AA it might be 1k miles. AS ff tix were 12.5 ea way, on AA it was 30k ea way.

  67. AA is not going to buy AS mainly because of the difficulties flying in the state of Alaska itself. The environment in Alaska is very unique and would be difficult for AA to maneuver in. AS buying Jet Blue is more realistic.

  68. Good for flying with status, but on the balance have to agree that this almost certainly signals the end of those great partner award redemptions which are invariably worth more than the perks of OW Sapphire and above status. Went ahead this morning and just booked a return trip to / from Australia in Business for the end of year on Qantas just in case, especially as there may be little to no notice when the changes hit.

    Will be sad if those rates and generous stopovers end and I can’t see why they won’t… as part of a full alliance, Alaska won’t need to offer those generous redemptions as an incentive to woo people to their otherwise (and now no longer) inferior partner network, and certainly not at rates that in many cases are less than half of what those same partners charge for the same seats in their own programs.

    The bulk of my flying is to / from Australia and NZ for work and after 5 years MVP Gold or above with Alaska I had already given up on 2020 after AS cut not just earning for redeemable miles for Qantas flights (disappointing, but expected and ultimately in line with the market) but also elite qualification miles for Qantas flights (game changing, not expected and not market standard… even the cheapest QF fares still earn full EQMs on AA).

    I always knew deep down my 55K one way trips in J on Qantas back to Melbourne from the US with another domestic leg to Perth added at no cost in Business months later as a “stopover” wouldn’t last… but still sad to see the wait for the axe to fall seem more and more imminent.

  69. I think Delta is on the losing end. I am in the west coast. Both AA and AS already have very strong network and schedule here. DL is already pretty weak in comparison given SEA and LAX are not dominate hubs for DL. Instead of flying to SEA and LAX to catch DL TPAC or TATL flights, doing AS then AA makes a lot of sense. This is a GREAT strategic move for both AA and AS.

  70. AS not expanding further afield as a sign of VA merger failure is just wrong. AS has increased their frequencies at hubs and major cities. they do this with shorter flight that often cost less than transcon flights. they have increased their value proposition. this spring summer 4 daily non-stops SEA-BOS. AS strategy is not to cede ground. they still need more LAX flights. more planes more people. I agree with AS buys JB

  71. @Frederick

    It sure looks like Alaska Mileage Plan allows addresses from just about any country. Check it out at

    Crediting to Avios might make more sense for Europeans however as my understanding is that Alaska may not have as much award availability for its partner flights that don’t go to/from the USA

  72. @will
    you might want to know that, according to the US DOT, Delta is the second largest carrier on the west coast (CA,OR,WA) based on revenues and revenue passenger miles for passengers that begin or end their trips in one of those 3 west coast states.

    UA is first.

    Actual facts and data seem to contradict your “perceptions”

  73. Exciting news and interesting to see how this plays out. I see this as an opportunity for AA to develop Asia routes from LAX and SEA using AS as a feeder network. Between AA/AS strength in LAX and AS strength in SEA this benefits both airlines and puts pressure on Delta as their route network out of SEA isn’t nearly as robust as AS.

    I hope Alaska doesn’t change terminals in PHX as a result. I was looking forward to flying into terminal 3 on AS.

  74. Kudos to AA!
    I gotta say, all of my recent flights on AA have been ontime and I have had some great attendants. Great Live TV and movie and selections….even though I have to watch on my tablet. Actually, I am preferring watching things on my tablet as the announcements no longer interrupt my viewing. The AA/AS hook up seems like a well thought out, sustainable plan. Good for growing both airlines networks and brings new options to Seattle. I imagine Delta with feel a sting on their revenues and corporate accounts as this battle heats up. We will probably see some very competitive fares in the upcoming months.

  75. @Tim Dunn

    I don’t know what type of data you are pulling or how you set the data collection parameters. Southwest is by far the largest in California, it has most flights and seat capacity. In Washington, Alaska is still the leader and they would still hold for Oregon. For international gateways, the tier 1 includes LAX, SFO, and SEA. SFO is United’s fortress, LAX is a flight between AA and DL but domestic traffic is dominated by Southwest. There is no way Southwest and United can dip below Delta when it comes to domestic traffic when the west coast is their homebase.

    I am DL DM and my 10 top destinations leaving California would be dominated by AS, AA or AS connect AA. Depend on how AS continue or terminate it’s partnership, the combination of AA+AS+AS’ international partners would have far more flights than DL+ST partners.

  76. It is not a given that AS will dump EK. Qantas is a OW member with an extensive relationship with EK.

    It is also not a given that AS MP will go revenue based because many of the other OW airlines are still miles based.

    LATAM may still continue to be a AS Partner airline. The other OW airlines still have a limited partnership with LA which is similiar to what AS has now with LA.

  77. I remain cautiously optimistic that with AA’s recent change in strategy (this announcement, as well as their announcements around MIA, BOS, and AUS), that perhaps a bigger change is that AA realizes that changing AAdvantage to match DL was a poor idea, and it’s time to either roll back to the old mileage-based approach or perhaps switch to something like BA’s tier point based approach (which Lufthansa recently copied).

    The tier point approach doesn’t have a minimum spend but heavily favors those paying to travel in a premium cabin which is sort of like a minimum spend but doesn’t punish those who book tickets early.

    AA should also copy BA’s approach of guaranteeing at least 2 business class and 4 economy class award seats on every flight at saver level on the day the tickets for that flight go on sale. It’s a simple promise that provides availability that is predictable, but does not compete with last minute fare sales.

    AA needs to do something to give people a reason to prefer flying them over other airlines, and it’s clear it’s not going to be a better seat or inflight entertainment on domestic flights. They should really go back and determine that any expected improvements in their profit margin have been eroded by changes to AAdvantage that have discouraged flying AA.

  78. @Will

    As I noted, my statement is based on revenues and revenue passenger miles (a paying passenger flown one mile). Southwest does indeed carry more passengers than any other carrier on the west coast but they have to pay their bills with money, not a statistic about how many passengers they board.

    It is precisely because UA followed by DL have more extensive international and longhaul domestic operations on the west coast that they are the two largest in terms of revenue and revenue passenger miles.

    And those that have great expectations about what AA and AS can do as alliance partners might want to look back when there were still 6 plus domestic carriers and 2 or more US carriers in the same alliance.
    Domestic carriers cannot have joint ventures or share revenues and cannot jointly discuss routes or prices.

    They can have a simple codeshare and share mileage program benefits.

    it isn’t even certain how extensively AA and AS can codeshare; both were ordered to reduce the amount of codesharing after the AS/VX and AA/US mergers.

    If being able to put an AA code on some of AS’ flights and vice versa as well as frequent flyer reciprocity makes the difference for some customers, then there will clearly be some customers that will benefit.

    But let’s not kid ourselves that what AA and AS can legally offer comes close to what DL and UA already offer on their own on the west coast or that AA/AS is going to move the dial in terms of rankings on the west coast for either AA or AS.

  79. As a San Franciso based traveler, this is great news. When AS bought VX, they really didn’t understand the California markets. Their lack of a true international alliance has lead to multiple problems where United and their partners are truly seamless at Star Alliance. Alaska’s partnerships with BA, Aer LIngus and Finnair are very limited with little award availability or options. Without OneWorld, Alaska’s investment into Virgin America will go down the tubes frankly and they won’t be able to compete with United and Delta in mucher bigger markets than Seattle.

  80. Everyone has been expecting Alaska to transition to a revenue-based program for a couple years now, so my optimistic response to this is that the negative changes we will see were coming anyway regardless of Oneworld and AA. I have a vague memory of hearing an insider rumor that the new program was already being planned back in 2016 or 2017.

  81. @Tim Dunn

    This is the most silly thing I have ever heard about airline needs money to pay their bills – DOH! DL may derive more revenue from a trip leaving key airports on the west coast, as skewed by international routes costing way more, which AS and WN do not have. For domestic flights for equal route, WN is not much cheaper and actually more expensive in many cases, so more flights = more revenue should not be hard to believe or understand. You did exactly what I said of parameterize the data search to drive a specific narrative.

    I don’t know where you are based, but please look at comments from other flyers also based from the SF Bay Area or nearby cities. DL’s network and route schedule are very limited and often in very unfavorable hours. The combination of AS+AA does open a lot of opportunities and improve access to flights for west coast flyers.

    I assume such announcement of AS joining OW is not something they do lightly and that any regulatory obligations are already factored into consideration. AS doing codeshare with someone will happen as that’s the main reason of joining an alliance and I could see AS doing feeder/regional flights into AA hubs like LAX, PHX and DAL, or grow with non-US based OW partners out of AS’ key cities like SEA, SFO, LAX and PDX. All of which will have impact on DL. When better routing and better schedules become available coupled with competitive pricing, there is a good chance DL will lose some of their top west coast customers like me. I don’t think you realize the pain of flying international from the west coast with DL.

  82. Brilliant news if Alaska Airlines join oneworld – it’ll give BA Executive Club members another route to Hawaii whist earning tier points on the Seattle Hawaii sector.

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