Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is fantastic because of its diverse partnerships. They are partners with many of the airlines both in the SkyTeam and oneworld alliances (and even some airlines like Emirates and Hainan Airlines that are in neither).
In the U.S. that means they’re partners with both American Airlines and with Delta, although with Delta they’re frenemies at best given the efforts Delta has made at building its own hub in Alaska’s home base of Seattle.
It used to be that the infrequent traveler could pool their American and Delta flights into a single account with Alaska. That would mean earning awards faster. And in the case of American, where miles expire after 18 months of inactivity, a greater chance of keeping miles active (because of more earning opportunities from flying Delta, and because Alaska miles only expire after 24 months).
Similarly there have always been a few who hoped that as an airline went revenue-based in its frequent flyer program, crediting miles to Alaska — which has indicated that it isn’t going revenue-based any time soon — would be a way to continue to earn full miles flown for paid flights (the way that nearly all United fares earn 100% of flown miles in the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program).
So it was certainly expected, and no surprise, that about five weeks before American’s program starts awarding miles for American flights based on the cost of a ticket for travel beginning August 1, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan earning for American flights is being reduced as well. (HT: Single Flyer)
The miles you earn crediting an American flight to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan now is really simple. You earn 1 mile per mile flown, plus bonus miles for paid business and first class tickets.
For flights taken August 1 and beyond earning on most fares will be lower, a percentage of the miles flown:
The interesting thing, though, is that it isn’t just full fare tickets continuing to earn full mileage based on distance.
- On super long flights, mid-priced and even cheap tickets may still do better with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan than with AAdvantage.
- They’re increasing the bonuses for paid business and first class tickets compared to the current chart.
It’s going to be advisable going forward — especially for people without AAdvantage elite status — to compare the miles earned crediting to the AAdvantage program versus crediting to Alaska (and also what those miles get you, because devaluation of Alaska’s Emirates awards notwithstanding, I valued an Alaska mile more than an American mile even before American increased the prices of many awards March 22.
It’s also worth noting that Alaska Airlines codeshares on American Airlines flights will continue to earn miles based on Alaska’s own accrual system so if you buy an Alaska Airlines codeshare for travel on American you’ll still earn at least 1 mile per mile flown no matter how cheap the ticket.