Alaska Lowers Flight Award Prices before Breking up with Delta
Alaska Airlines frequent flyers can now say that the airline offers some of the lowest mileage awards for flying in the USA, thanks to the airline’s “Gamechanger.” In a press release, the Seattle-based carrier announced the reduction of some Mileage Plan miles required for awards, while increasing the number of miles earned while flying on Alaska and Virgin America.
The announcement comes as the airline prepares to part ways with long-time partner Delta and days after the U.S. DOJ approved the merger between Alaska and Virgin America. The Alaska-Delta partnership will end on April 30, 2017. However, the airlines will maintain an interline agreement, allowing flyers to interchange between the two carriers seamlessly.
“While many other airlines are heading in a different direction and simply looking at how much people spend, we’re focused on rewarding people across the board for how much they fly,” Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer at Alaska Airlines, said in a statement. “Our combination with Virgin America, our portfolio of global partners and these enhancements to our award-winning Mileage Plan demonstrate our commitment to creating the most generous loyalty program for our customers.”
Under the new Mileage Plan economy award chart, flyers can travel for as little as 5,000 Mileage Plan miles one way on flights up to 700 miles in distance. Flights up to 1,400 miles in distance will start at 7,500 Mileage Plan miles one way, while flights up to 2,100 miles will now start at 10,000 Mileage Plan miles one way. Anything longer will cost the customary starting price of 12,500 Mileage Plan miles.
In addition, flyers can now earn Mileage Plan miles while flying aboard Virgin America. Under the new plan, flyers in most classes of service will earn full credit for their miles flown, with bonuses given to higher paying customers. Those who pay for business or first class aboard an Alaska partner, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas can also earn bonus points when crediting to Mileage Plan.