Alaska Airlines is the US’ largest carrier in the West Coast. The airline operates a solid network in that region, but it does not have a strong presence in the Midwest or the East Coast. The same issue applies to international service. In order to compensate for their limited network, Alaska has some of the most eclectic codeshare partners in the US. They partner with airlines from every alliance, and some that are unaffiliated. Recently, they maintained a codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines that was to expire when Virgin America’s Elevate folded. They also partner with American Airlines, Air France and Emirates, among many others.
A key former partner is Delta Airlines. They used to have a very strong partnership, until Delta made Seattle their Pacific gateway. After this breakup, Alaska maintained relationships with American in the US, and with Aeromexico. Aeromexico is part owned by Delta. It seems that Delta has had their say in the ending of this relationship.
Alaska, Aeromexico Part Ways
The two airlines will be ending their codeshare agreement and frequent flyer partnership as of January 1, 2018. After this date, it will not be possible to earn or redeem miles of each carrier on the opposite. This will mainly impact people who credit Aeromexico flights to Alaska, given how lucrative the Alaska Mileage Plan program is. The decision by both carriers to end their partnership seems to be strongly influenced by Delta. They have been aggressively growing in Seattle, slowly trying to become the dominant carrier there. Delta has gone as far as opening what could be their best SkyClub there.
It is a very sad development to see Mileage Plan start to lose value so quickly. The airline will curtail their partnership with American at the same date the Aeromexico contract ends. It will be much more expensive to book American awards, and there will be changes in mileage earning and benefits. I am a big fan of Alaska Airlines, and their frequent flyer program is (in my opinion) the most generous in the US. Over the next few years we will see how the airline manages their merger with Virgin America.
I suspect that the next major airline merger in the US will involve Alaska (aside from their Virgin America merger). I would love to see them partner (not necessarily merge) with airlines like jetBlue and Hawaiian. This could give them the scope they all need nationally. The airlines offer very competitive products, and have solid frequent flyer programs. IF they collaborate, they could compete better with the big legacy US carriers. This is only a speculation, but it would be advantageous for the consumer. Only time will tell.
What do you think? Did Delta (indirectly) pull the plug on the Aeromexico Alaska partnership? What will happen to Air France/KLM who also partner with them? Let us know!
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H/T: One Mile at a Time
Images from: Wikimedia