I’m often called a Delta apologist when commenters are extra kind. I’m called other words too. And to answer one question from comments last week, no, I am not on Delta’s payroll. If you have really read what I have said, the gist of it comes down to this – Delta Air Lines is an enterprise that is free to make business decisions it sees fit to make. Likewise, travelers are free to make their own business decisions which very well may include flying another airline or at least crediting the Delta flights you do take to a partner program.

I once asked if Alaska’s Mileage Plan was the silver widget everyone always wanted? Of course, that was before the advent of SkyMiles 2015 and a change in the way Mileage Plan rewards for Delta flights.

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There are still instances when it might make sense for a Delta flier to move their loyalty focus to Mileage Plan. If you live on the west coast and like to take advantage of Alaska’s network up and down the coast, then I think you should move to Mileage Plan. You can also credit American Airlines flights to your Mileage Plan account so depending on where you live and what your travel patterns are, as I’ve said before, Mileage Plan could be a real sweet spot. If you’re a person who buys premium cabin seats, crediting your Delta flights to Mileage Plan can still net you up to 100% bonus miles. Something to think about.

No one knows how much longer the partnership with Delta and Alaska will last. I think it’s safe to assume that it won’t be around for the long term. Even still, it might make sense to take the miles you can get while you can. Relatively speaking I’d rather have a stash of Mileage Plan miles in my pocket than SkyMiles in many circumstances.

For those of us that live in Atlanta (and every other Delta hub and large market) the math is different, and varies based on your individual circumstances. A loyalty program is not my primary purchase motivator, it’s around number 3 or 4 on my list. It may be first on yours, and that’s OK. The decision is yours. October is less than 3 months away, and status matches with Alaska made from October on are good for 2016 too. Just sayin’. While I would wait until October to request a match, here’s what you need to do.

Send an email to elite.flyer@alaskaair.com, and include following information.

  • A copy of the front and back of your elite membership card.
  • A copy of your current e-statement indicating your status.
  • A copy of your driver’s license.

And to reiterate, if you request the match now, it’s only good through 12/31/15. If you wait until October, it will be good through 2016.

That’s one way to deal with SkyMiles’ changes. Then again, can a 30 minute flight to Charlotte just be a cost of doing business? More on that later. And a bit about Southwest too.

-MJ, July 20, 2015