Alaska Mileage Plan Devalues Delta Award Chart

Alaska Mileage Plan Devalues Delta Award Chart

21

As I’ve said before, I might as well start a separate blog to cover the bloodbath between Alaska and Delta which I like to call the “battle for Seattle.” There seem to be updates to it just about every day. Initially they played nice, and then they just began trying to run one another out of business by undercutting fares and offering promotion after promotion after promotion.

They took it to the next level a couple of weeks ago when Delta cut elite benefits for Alaska Mileage Plan MVP members, and then shortly thereafter Alaska cut elite benefits for Delta SkyMiles members. The contract for their partnership runs through at least the end of the year, and they can’t seem to mutually agree that it just isn’t working out (or they just have a really twisted way of showing affection).

Anyway, Alaska Mileage Plan has just announced award rate increases for travel on Delta, for tickets issued on or after May 6, 2014. Interestingly this is the second time this year they’ve done this. Earlier in the year Alaska raised award redemption rates for travel on Delta to Europe, from 90,000 to 100,000 miles in business class.

Here are the current Alaska Mileage Plan award charts for travel on Delta:

Now this shouldn’t really matter, because no one in their right mind should be redeeming Alaska miles (possibly the most valuable mileage currency) for travel on Delta, given how many great uses there are of those miles. As a further reminder, keep in mind that unlike other airlines, Alaska’s award costs vary for travel on each partner, so this doesn’t impact redemption rates on any airline other than Delta.

So how bad are the changes? Well, what Alaska is doing here is basically aligning their redemption costs for travel on Delta to what Delta charges their own SkyMiles members (at the saver level)

For travel between the US & Canada or on US transcontinental routes, the cost of first/business class awards is increasing from 50,000 miles to 65,000 miles.

Delta-MileagePlan-1

For travel between the lower 48 US & Hawaii, the cost of economy class awards is increasing from 40,000 miles to 45,000 miles.

Delta-MileagePlan-2

For travel between the lower 48 US & India/the Middle East/Africa, the cost of economy class awards is increasing from 80,000 miles to 85,000 miles, and the cost of business class redemptions is increasing from 120,000 miles to 140,000 miles. Meanwhile for travel between the lower 48 US & South Africa, the cost of economy class awards is going to be 100,000 miles, while the cost of business class is going to be 160,000 miles.

Delta-MileagePlan-3

For travel between the lower 48 US & Asia, the cost of economy class awards is increasing from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles, and the cost of business class redemptions is increasing from 120,000 miles to 140,000 miles.

Delta-MileagePlan-4

For travel between the lower 48 US & Australia, the cost of economy class awards is increasing from 80,000 miles to 100,000 miles, and the cost of business class redemptions is increasing from 105,000 miles to 160,000 miles.

Delta-MileagePlan-5

For travel between the lower 48 US & Europe, the cost of business class awards is increasing from 100,000 miles to 125,000 miles.

Delta-MileagePlan-6

And lastly for travel to Central and South Africa, the costs are going up across the board.

Delta-MileagePlan-7

Bottom line

Alaska is giving advance notice on this, and while some of the increases are huge, my guess is that these changes are at least somewhat out of their control. I see this having played out one of three ways:

  • Alaska just wanted to piss off Delta by throwing off the “balance” of award reimbursements — it must feel good to get a check from Delta at whatever the end of the account period is
  • Delta has raised their reimbursement costs for awards booked through Alaska
  • More likely, Delta forced Alaska to raise redemption rates to “align” with their rates, in the hopes that frequent Delta passengers would begin crediting miles to Delta directly instead of to Alaska

What do you think about the changes, and who do you think was responsible?

(Tip of the hat to Laurel)

Conversations (21)
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  1. Brian Guest

    It seems like AS miles are decently hard to come by without flying a lot. What is the best way to pick up miles? All the CC's that transfer to AS only seem to accrue at 1x.

  2. Ivan Y Diamond

    Given that AA & US merged, I'd not put it past regulators to approve Delta+Alaska :(

  3. Delta Points New Member

    Well as a Diamond on Delta, if I can get a 25k RT Alaska FF ticket and fly Delta to say LAX etc, and upgrade, I do see that as value.

  4. WM Guest

    I think they should be commended for at least providing advanced notice!

  5. Storm Guest

    It is far more likely that Delta acquires or seeks to acquire Alaska (spinning off the intra-Alaska flying) than that they separate completely.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Storm -- Wouldn't be surprised if they ATTEMPT to, but in practice can't imagine that would be approved.

  6. Jeff Guest

    So I can fly to Asia on DL, CX or EK? Yeah, that's a tough choice.

  7. Gene Diamond

    @ Ben -- "Well, what Alaska is doing here is basically aligning their redemption costs for travel on Delta to what Delta charges their own SkyMiles members (at the saver level)."

    I think that is the reason, nothing more.

  8. Gene Diamond

    This seems unrelated to the "bloodbath." I think you are reading too much into this one.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Gene -- So what do you think caused it? Seems odd that this is the second time in a bit over two months that they're raising redemption costs on Delta.

  9. Matt Guest

    Lucky, DL Gold (seeking Plat this year) would the appropriate strategy be to apply all DL metal flights to Skymiles to maintain Plat for next year. Then next year with the new earning rates apply all DL metal flights to AlaskaAir (pending you still can)?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Matt -- Yes, if you're primarily flying Delta and can earn Platinum by crediting flights to them rather than to Alaska, I'd do that.

  10. Blandon Guest

    Blood, Bath, & Beyond! ;-)

  11. Lantean Diamond

    hopefully this is one step closer to complete separation. i don't want Delta fliers to collect super valuable Alaska miles and then compete for my awards!
    Stay with Delta suckers.

  12. DBest Guest

    Gave me a heart attack until I read the whole headline. Indeed, no one in their right mind would redeem AS miles for DL flights, except maybe Delta Points who advocated the idea last week. smh.

  13. Grant New Member

    It's only a matter of time before Alaska and Delta separate completely..

  14. choi Guest

    My dream aspiration, to redeem Delta on Alaska Miles,,, Nottttttttt, haha

  15. Sam Guest

    For SEA->TLV, who would you recommend booking on w/ Alaska miles given these changes?

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Sam -- So the thing about Alaska's award chart is that it's REALLY REALLY REALLY good for redemptions to certain regions, and just really crappy to others. For travel to Tel Aviv, unfortunately your only real options Air France or Delta.

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Alaska Airlines Raises Prices for Delta Awards - Hack My Trip Guest

[…] It’s no surprise that Alaska Airlines has raised the award rates for many Delta-operated flights — by an average of 26% for those routes affected. Delta has indicated in changes to its own loyalty program that it is making many awards more expensive (a new calculation for awarding miles, and a new five-tier award chart). Furthermore, Delta and Alaska are not exactly friendly right now so it would not surprise me to see Delta raise its demands for reimbursement. (HT to One Mile at a Time) […]

0
Brian Guest

It seems like AS miles are decently hard to come by without flying a lot. What is the best way to pick up miles? All the CC's that transfer to AS only seem to accrue at 1x.

0
Ivan Y Diamond

Given that AA & US merged, I'd not put it past regulators to approve Delta+Alaska :(

0
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