The rift in relationship between Delta and Alaska is wider than the Grand Canyon and program members have been bearing the brunt for some time now. Early this summer, the industry was flush with members frustrated at not earning Alaska miles on Delta’s Comfort Plus class. Delta’s Comfort Plus ‘W’ class was conspicuously missing from Alaska’s earning chart. While the chart was recently updated, the ambiguity on earning miles in Alaska programs continued to be rife.
Earning Alaska miles on Delta’s Comfort Plus class
Below is a snapshot of the old Alaska chart that was missing the Delta comfort+ class from the listing.
Alaska replied to my early queries about the missing W class with an acknowledgement that they were working with Delta to fix the issue.
Come August, Alaska finally updated their earning chart with Delta ‘W’ class, but not without causing confusion among its members.
The terminology “Earning is based on original booking class” caught many off guard, including me, since Delta was now booking directly into ‘W’ class fare. Turns out, this is not true. Below is an example of how a booking in ‘W’ class in fact books into ‘V’ fare class (in this case).
I could see I was being booked into ‘W’ class but it was not easy to find the actual fare code for this booking. Clicking on the ‘Fare Rules‘ link at the bottom of the page, under T&C, I was able to confirm the fare code. The original booking class for my Comfort Plus booking was ‘V,’ which earns 50% miles on Alaska’s program.
There are two ways one could fly Delta’s Comfort+: Booking “directly into that fare” or by booking a regular economy ticket and then buying the up-sell/upgrade. In both cases it is important to check the actual fare code of the ticket (before you pay), to determine how many miles would credit for that trip.
In the example above, YYZ-ATL trip booked directly into ‘W’ class and would earn 100% Delta miles (MQM) or 50% Alaska miles based on the original ‘V’ class booking. That is a significant difference! If you are an Alaska elite member, that difference can be narrowed or eliminated with the 50%/100%/125% MVP bonus miles. Note that bonus miles don’t qualify as elite qualifying miles.
Alternatively, Delta’s ‘W’ class booking earns 125% in FlyingBlue program (Sky Team partner), 25% higher than Delta SkyMiles!
Delta is dictating (restricting) how their ‘W’ fares are credited in this transaction and Alaska has very little leverage. I do my best to not accrue sky pesos and fret over redemption, so Alaska miles (with MVP Gold bonus) is still be my preferred program to credit Delta flights. Make sure to check the fare code your Delta ticket is being booked into, before making final payment. I have two international trips booked on Delta Comfort+ and while I am not expecting much, it would be an experience which will dictate if I go down this path again.