Delta Air Lines vs Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines (IATA Airline Code – AS) started sending emails to its Mileage Plan members on the upcoming changes to the program for Delta Air Lines (DL). The changes have been published online.
Most of the cheaper fares on DL is of the V fare variety. On first glance, given the reduction of status mile earning, it may not be as worthwhile for DL members to move over to the AS program ahead of the changes to the SkyMiles program in 2015.
However, on closer inspection, depending different scenarios, it might still be more beneficial for frequent flyers to deposit miles to the AS program from DL flight.
Below is the new DL earning formula for 2015:
We will analyze 4 scenarios of different fares for the frequent flyer:
In this scenario, the flyer is better off banking to DL if they need Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM) and/or a General or Silver Elite Member. In other cases, it is more beneficial to deposit into AS.
On a higher fare, in all cases, it is more beneficial for the flyer to deposit into the DL program.
For international flights, the outcome is different as DL’s Platinum and Diamond elite members would not earn more redeemable miles than AS’s MVP Gold member but would earn higher MQMs.
Given DL rewards higher spending flyers going forward, similar or more elite qualification or redeemable miles would be given to Medallion members. Though interestingly, AS MVP Gold member would earn slightly more redeemable miles (by 1,650) than the DL Medallion Gold Elite member.
It is advisable that flyers perform some calculations before deciding to deposit flights between DL and AS in 2015. Generally, the higher the fare, the more likely the flyer should deposit into DL. Note that there is a cap of 75,000 redeemable miles to be earned for all tickets in the SkyMiles program.
For Alaska Airlines, the program changes may be made in reaction to the new system introduced by Delta Air Lines. In some cases noted above, flyers may actually be better off depositing miles into the AS Mileage Plan program (even on higher fare amounts). At a minimum, AS could used as a marketing tool for the airline as it continues to battle DL on its home turf in Seattle (SEA).
For Delta Air Lines, 2015 will be a year of significant changes to its frequent flyer program. Although the changes were not positive for lower spending flyers, the airline had the benchmark early and likely to monitor progress and made modifications along the way through bonus elite qualification or bonus redeemable miles as required in different markets.
2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year for both airlines and their customers. We will continue coverage as changes as announced.