Sunday Reader Post – Is this How the West Will Be Won or Lost?

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In early June Delta released a PR statement telling us “SkyTeam Records Growth in Member Collaboration”. They went on to brag about things like SkyTransfer, SkyPriority& SkyPort. That is a lot of “SkyStuff”. But what about the continued deterioration of the partnership with Delta’s Western Partner – Alaska?

Continuing my Sunday reader input and posts, I have asked reader Randy to share what he has been seeing as a “boots on the ground” flyer with Alaska. I think you will find it an interesting experience. Take it away Randy!

Mug Shot RW cropped

Delta is doing a great job of giving high status members reasons to defect to other airlines, especially for international flying. As far as I am concerned, they no longer have a SkyTeam Alliance. They have taken away so many benefits with partner airlines except for regular miles. I really miss the bonus points that are now gone as well.

I have been a loyal Diamond Medallion for a number of years. I am currently working on a project in Vietnam. For 7 trips this year, I flew Delta connecting with Korean Air to Seoul and then on to Da Nang. I received full benefits, bonus miles, MQMs, etc. On our last trip we couldn’t even do a single ticket for MCI to LAX on Delta and connecting with Korean, even though Korean accepts Delta frequent flyer numbers for their flights (and I believe they are a founding member of Skyteam). The Diamond desk couldn’t do it for me and couldn’t even explain why. I ended up having to have two separate tickets.

I have been flying MCI-SEA for several years on direct Alaskan Airlines MCI-SEA, bookings on Delta to get benefits, upgrades, Pre-Check etc. In June I went to book the same flight for later that month. Flight didn’t come up on so I called Diamond desk for help. They said they still code-share with Alaska, but they couldn’t find flights on their system, so I asked them to find out why. After waiting a few minutes an agent came back saying they couldn’t find the reason as they had no bulletins about it. I insisted he find the reason. After a few more minutes wait he came back to say they had discontinued code-share as of June 1 with direct Alaskan flights from cities they planned to start Delta directs from. However, Delta hadn’t started those flights yet. So since Delta couldn’t give me a direct, I had to book on Alaskan as a non-status customer and get stuck in a middle seat. Thanks Delta for “having my back”!

I think someone at Delta needs their head examined. They can shuttle Diamonds in a Porsche at airports but they can’t give you advance notice of changes? They no longer have the international alliance relationship they once had and they leave their customers high and dry when they discontinue direct code-shares for future flights they haven’t yet started!

Rene I think you are right, there will be major defections in 2015. I’m Platinum on American. Thinking about switching more of my loyalty there.

Thanks Randy for your thoughts!  In May reader Dean shared his frustrations with the partnership situation by just moving to Alaska over Delta. This situation is as bad as the JFK-SFO/SEA/LAX situation with many elite flyers jumping over to other cheaper and perhaps better products due to Delta yanking away the complimentary medallion upgrades on these routes. I see partner experiences like you describe are one more issue that must be fixed and as soon as possible. – René
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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  1. I hope that Alaska withstands delta’s thug tactics since it is the best airline left in the US in terms of respecting its customers. We (flyers) need the competition it provides.

  2. That’s a bad situation. I’m no expert but if MCI-SEA was my need and I had to fly on Alaska metal I would leverage a status match with Alaska as a Delta Diamond. At least get some elite benefits on the Alaska flights and PreCheck. Not sure about how to bank the miles earned but consider banking all Alaska and Delta miles to Alaska? Some interesting transfer partners with Alaska like Qantas, Cathay and Fiji.

  3. You can book on, enter your DL frequent flyer number and can receive the exact same benefits. Well, almost. You don’t get the MQDs. You can still upgrade (if available), choose seats for elites, and use elite lines and get the free checked bag. I book direct on all the time. I have to sometimes since my wife and I get two free companion certs per year with our Alaska Visa cards.

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