A Proud Tradition: SkyMiles Again Named Second Best Frequent Flyer Program. Congratulations, Delta?

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A Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300 with the registration N808NW takes off from Amsterdam Airport (AMS) in the Netherlands on April 21, 2015. Delta is one of the three major American legacy carriers with its headquarters in Atlanta. (Photo: ©iStock.com/Boarding1Now)

U.S. News & World Report crowned Delta SkyMiles the first runner-up in the Best Airlines Rewards Programs survey — for the third consecutive year.

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Alaska Airlines Responds to Delta’s Seattle Seahawks Promotion and Offers Its Own Free Miles Promotion

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Sunday, October 9, 2016 – A Guest Post by John @laptoptravel

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Battle in Seattle Continues…

I recently wrote about Delta Air Lines’ new promotion, “12Status,” which is just another jab in the continuing saga of the ‘Battle in Seattle’ between Alaska Airlines and Delta.  It is a ‘turf war,’ with Delta being the newcomer.

For years Alaska Airlines has been the ‘hometown’ airline to Seattle and has a loyal following. Alaska also boasts an all-Boeing (Seattle-based manufacturer) aircraft fleet.  Alaska Airlines even signed the NFL Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson as their CFO (Chief Football Officer.) This flies in the face of Delta’s ‘12Status’ NFL promotion for SkyMiles members to earn free SkyMiles.

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Not to be outdone by Delta’s free giveaway, Alaska has come up with their own free miles giveaway promotion; Fantasy Bonus Miles. Qualification is limited to those Alaska MileagePlan members who live in one of five states; Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.  Alaska even made up an illustrative promotional video, featuring the Seahawks’ quarterback to launch and explain the promotion. You can see the full video here

A Significant Difference Between the Two Promotions

The one significant difference between the two promotions is that Delta gives away free miles to all eligible SkyMiles members who show up while Alaska is picking three winners from a pool of eligible entries. Alaska is touting the possibility of earning 400,000 redeemable miles in this program!

The tag line goes like this – This season, we’re converting our Chief Football Officer’s performance on the field into miles in the sky. Enter for your chance to win at http://fantasybonusmiles.com  You Must Register to Win   Enjoy discounts on travel to away game destinations.  Alaska also features discount fares to the Seahawks’ away games on this website.
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We know the importance of having supportive fans in the stands, both at home and on the road. To help Russell’s fans support him all season long, we are offering a 12% discount on air travel to most away games if you are traveling from WA, OR, ID, MT, AK, or British Columbia.  Alaska Airlines also has a promotion to allow fans to win free flights to cities where the Seahawks are playing.

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Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Follow Russell on The Road Sweepstakes starts 8/22/16 at 12:00 p.m. PT and ends 12/16/16 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Open only to eligible legal residents of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington who are at least 18 years old. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including eligibility requirements, entry periods, entry instructions, odds of winning a prize, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void elsewhere & where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Alaska Airlines, Inc. Not affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook, NFL or any NFL team.

Also, if you’re on an Alaska flight departing Seattle (to any destination) this football season, you can board early if you wear Russell’s #3 jersey. If you have travelled with Alaska, or been near one of their gates during boarding, in an airport in one of these states you have likely heard the agent announcement offering early boarding when wearing a Russell Wilson jersey.

 Final Thoughts

So, while it is a bit comical to sit on the sidelines (pun intended) and watch the battle ensue, it can be rewarding as you can pick up free SkyMiles and MileagePlan miles while letting every play be for your benefit. I have already picked up more than 2,000 SkyMiles and the season has just begun! With a potential to earn say 400,000 Alaska Airlines’ MileagePlan Miles I am sitting pretty in the Pacific Northwest!

What do you think of Alaska’s latest response to Delta’s 12Status promotion?  Have you signed up for either one (or both) of these giveaway promotions?  Please let us know in the comments.  Thank you & safe travels! We’ll see you ‘up there’ – John of laptoptravel

 

 

 

An Insight into Alaska Airlines’ Mindset Going Forward with Virgin America Merger

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 A Guest Post by John @laptoptravel

Alaska Airlines Virgin America Merger laptoptravel Website Banner

The Merger is Expected to Be Completed in 2018

Alaska Airlines Virgin America Merger laptoptravel

I am very excited, as so many are, and intrigued by the merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. For myself, as an MVP 75K member, it opens up new opportunities, increased capacity and more choices (especially along the West Coast.)

First Class Alaska Airlines

First Class breakfast aboard Alaska’s B737-800 (enroute between SEA & LAX)

Alaska has a team dedicated to the transition and we are anxious to hear exactly how they plan to integrate Virgin’s fleet and operational uniqueness into the Alaska system. There is a lot of speculation of what Alaska will or won’t do when it comes to absorbing Virgin America’s ‘hip peculiarities’; Boeing versus Airbus, Hip versus Conservative, Routes, Interiors, Perks and an endless myriad of policies.  How will they do it?  What are they thinking?

Thankfully, this week, we got another peek into the mindset of Alaska regarding some of those issues. Here are some highlights from a recent presentation by Scott Habberstad, Director of Sales and Community Marketing for Alaska Airlines.

A recent report by KRBD, a Ketchikan, Alaska radio station and news organization, offers some insights into Alaska Airlines’ thinking going forward with the Virgin American merger. Habberstad stated that the airline sees no reason why the merger would not get approved by the government. He also addresses the culture of Virgin America and how that might translate, in some form, through to Alaska Airlines’ operations:

“Virgin is different. It’s an experience. You board listening to Beyoncé,” he said. “It’s got purple mood lighting in the airplanes. It’s a different experience, but it’s a good experience. It’s fresher, it’s new. While I don’t think you’ll board to Beyoncé on us in the future, there might be a little bit of an uptick: A little fresher brand coming from us.”

He also said that Alaska will ‘try out’ the Airbus aircraft which are currently mostly leased on Virgin’s fleet.

Habberstad also mentioned Alaska Airlines’ relationship with Delta. He said “Delta is a good partner and a good competitor.” He also remarked that in spite of the fierce competition with Delta in the Seattle market that the Virgin America merger will allow Alaska to strengthen that position.

 

Synergy RouteMap Alaska Airlines Virgin America Merger

Current Map of Both Airlines’ Routes

I take that statement (about Delta being a good partner) with a grain of salt.  Surely, with a written partnership agreement between the two airlines negative statements are going to come forth with minimal frequency.  The two airlines still work together and Alaska even offers bonus EQM’s for its Alaska frequent flyer program, MileagePlan for members who fly Delta’s premium fares and credit them back to their Alaska account.

Habberstad added that the company will be concentrating on expanding its international partnerships in the future as well.

This is an absolute necessity; since Alaska’s international reach is limited to Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico. As the SeaTac (Seattle/Tacoma) Airport continues with its new international terminal it’s in Alaska’s best interest to get some ancillary revenue through that with increased international flights and partnerships.  After all, Alaska is going to pay its share for that terminal, based on passenger traffic whether they like it or not; a fact that Delta will surely reap the benefits of as it ramps up its Seattle hub for future international destinations and increased routes.  Delta’s goal is to increase its flights five-fold over summer of 2014’s traffic.

Alaska has a lot on their plate, and as oil prices (and jet fuel costs) rise, the costs of the merger, paying for the new SeaTac international terminal and competition with Delta make its burden heavy-laden, so no missteps can be afforded.

What do you think of the Alaska/Virgin merger?  Do you think this will help Alaska in their battle with their ‘frenemy’ Delta Air Lines? Have Fun ‘Up there!’ – John @ laptoptravel