Gosh I love Alaska airlines. I love it that they are doing such a “knock down drag out fight” with their “partner” (well sorta partner anyway) Delta Air Lines. Delta clearly is doing everything they can to expand Seattle as a major hub as quickly as possible, offering those who live there elite status via double elite miles and so much more!
Airlines are truly in a world of their own right now. We see United, who seems to think their customers are their major problem, and Delta who seems to think about cutting every elite benefit possible and treating everyone but those who spend the most amout of money with the airline as second-class citizens is the best way to earn your loyalty!
I have often blogged about how crushing SkyMiles 2015 will be next year for the bulk of flyers. Delta has taken the stand that the only way to offer a few more low level seats is to greatly reduce the amount of SkyMiles in circulation. This may be a winning scenario on paper for bean counters, but I’m not sure how an unrewarding rewards program is a way to entice flyers to pick your airline.
Now today we have the announcement from Alaska that rather than awarding less miles next year, and going revenue based like DL & UA, they are staying distance-based and awarding the same or even MORE miles to flyers next year. How is that as an “in your face” directly at Delta, their partner (who will get less miles depending on fare class).
Interestingly, Alaska also partners with American Airlines that also has decided not to go revenue based for 2015. So we have United, one of the worst airlines in the USA that has simply carbon copied everything Delta has done with their program (and worse), and Delta who is trying the grand experiment to un-reward most customers for flying their airline next year.
Those of us who are points enthusiasts are really going to have some interesting choices next year. Where we decide to buy our tickets and who we decide to fly (i.e. think CODE SHARE a bunch) and if we shift away from one airline to another airline or even one type of reward card to another reward card that more closely aligns with our travel goals. I find all this so fascinating because for years, with the current Delta program, it was a simple choice and many people, as I talked about this morning, just poured all their eggs into one “points” basket, that is they saved everything toward Delta as far as rewards, flights, credit cards, you name it, was all Delta because there was value in SkyMiles. Next year it is not at all as clear cut a choice and the declining value of Skymiles with the end of stopovers and more. Plus, all those who were hoping to just fly Delta and credit to Alaska are not going to be able to eke by under the new award chart from Alaska.
This also touches on what I spoke about this past Sunday. I am never trying to alienate any readers ever but there are many who do overspend for Delta tickets, both now, and will next year. This may be necessary due to their travels or being required to buy last minute tickets plus all the other airlines may have equally inflated prices for these last minute tickets. This does not change the fact that overpriced tickets are overpriced tickets. It is nice that Delta is rewarding you for overpaying, but you are still overpaying compared to many others flying with you on the same jet. The most important point of the story is if Delta keeps cutting the perks and benefits and value of SkyMiles even those overpaying and getting boatloads of SkyMiles will see lower rewards for all of us.
Once again, I love you, Alaska. The company is making lots of money (even lots for investors). It is a well run airline. They are PROVING you can make money and still be a distance based airline rewards program and you cannot say it is just because they are small because American is doing it too. I also still just love the fact that I can apply every few months over and over and over for AS BofA travel cards and get free points to fly AS or DL or even AA. Good times!
If you are still reading all this – what do you think? Happy? Sad? Indifferent? Let me know! – René
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