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Since Alaska’s purchase of Virgin America closed earlier this month, we’ve heard quite a bit of speculation on the effects this might have on Alaska’s existing partnerships, especially with American Airlines and Delta. Not surprisingly, it was confirmed that the partnership between Alaska and Delta would end next year.

Alaska Airlines 737

What Are the Details of the Breakup?

As of May 1, 2017, Delta and Alaska will be completely separate. This means that as of that date:

  • You’ll no longer be able to earn Mileage Plan miles on Delta flights, or vice versa. (For flights booked before 12/19/2016 but operating after May 1, 2017, you'll need to request credit)
  • Booking Delta award flights using Mileage Plan miles, or vice versa, will no longer be possible.
  • Codesharing between the two airlines will cease.

As far as we can tell, all that’s staying the same is the interline agreement between the two airlines, which means that transfers (of passengers and baggage) will be easier than it would if this agreement were to cease as well.

Along with this announcement, Alaska has made some other changes (and enhancements) to its Mileage Plan program, which we’re covering in a separate post.

What This Means for Your Miles and Benefits

Through April 30, 2017, you can continue as normal. For travel booked and completed by that date, you can redeem (and earn) SkyMiles and Mileage Plan miles for the partner airline’s flights.

Things get a little more complicated when you’re booking flights for travel that will take place after the partnership ends on May 1. You can still redeem your miles to book partner flights, as long as you make the booking before May 1. However, you will not earn miles through the partnership if the flights are completed later, regardless of when you make the booking.

If you’re a Delta SkyMiles Medallion Member, your benefits with Alaska Airlines will continue through April 30. Like most features associated with the partnership, however, they will cease on May 1 when the end of the partnership is official.

Is This a Big Deal?

The biggest impact is to two groups:

  1. Elites within each program that take flights on the other airline that help earn that status
  2. Casual travelers that redeem miles on one another

We hate the idea of fewer options when it comes to earning and redeeming, but the fact that this relationship lasted as long as it did surprises all of us. Full details are available with Delta's press release and Alaska's website.

How will the breakup impact your travel plans?

Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines Are (Finally) Splitting Up
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Comments

  • Better get my Hawaii flights booked in for this summer. We will use delta miles and American miles for Alaska flights to Hawaii. Will miss that option to use delta miles on Alaska to hawaii

  • I am going to miss this option to use delta miles for Alaska to Hawaii. Since we need 3 tickets we use both American and Delta.

  • Not surprised. So who will Alaska codeshare after the acquisition is complete?

  • Where’s good place to credit Delta flight miles now?

  • While optionality is a good thing, this split between Alaska and Delta is yet another reason not to fly Delta nor count on Delta’s Skypesos for any value. Delta’s repeated devaluing of the Skyruble resulted in me voting with my feet (and wallet) for any other competing airline.

  • Just don’t see myself flying AS anytime soon after the split..

  • Alaska is better off without Delta anyway. With Delta trying to cannibalize Alaska’s market on the West coast, this was only a matter of time. Personally, I’d like to see Alaska expand their partnership with AA.

  • DOJ made them split with AA and now DL splits with them.

  • Bye Delta.

  • The return-only rewards on DL never really worked for me, but it’s still sad to see the option to redeem on DL disappear. (naturally I would never dream of earning Skypesos and can easily avoid paid flights on DL)

  • This is actually really sad to see 🙁

  • Bill from Maine says:

    This was long overdue and expected. I accumulate AS miles from credit card usage to have other options while traveling. I use AS miles to fly from PQI to BOS for 15K and $38.00 round trip saving me 6 hours of driving(especially valuable during the winter). Otherwise, I use BGR or PWM and still have AA as an option.
    I have plenty of DL points in my portfolio and still find them valuable, especially if I have flexibility in my dates (but that’s also true for other programs). Losing DL as an option, while disappointing, isn’t a deal breaker for me not to accumulate AS miles.

  • Never actually used this. When I fly Delta I just credit miles to Virgin Atlantic and then when I have enough I just transfer over to Hilton. (Delta is not one of my main airline programs currently)

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