Yes, I know. I hem…I haw….I hem….I haw….. I procrastinate. I pontificate. After months of dithering about what I was going to do about losing Delta Platinum Medallion following a 2015 dip in travel, I did the unthinkable. I folded like a cheap suit. On December 31, 2015, I sent the materials needed to request a status match to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan MVP 75K status. I won’t pretend that the constant internet beatings about being a Delta apologist didn’t have an impact, but in truth what I really wanted to do was test the possibilities of being a partner elite flyer in Delta’s biggest hub. What Happened?

alaska airlines, delta air lines, partnership

Image courtesy of Alaska Airlines

The Match

When I finally decided to go for the status with Alaska, what did I do? Requesting a match with Alaska Mileage Plan is pretty straightforward. I made .pdf copies of my Delta Platinum Medallion materials as well as a copy of my driver’s license. Here’s the quick digits on status matching to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

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

  • A copy of the front and back of your elite membership card. (I actually sent the digital card available on YMMV.)
  • A copy of your current e-statement indicating your status.
  • A copy of your driver’s license.

If you request the match now, it’s only good through 12/31/16. If you wait until October, it will be good through 2017, but do confirm that with Alaska Airlines. As I noted, I submitted my match request on December 31. On January 17, 2016, the status appeared on my Alaska Mileage Plan account, and the next day I received an email letting me know I’d been approved. Alaska highlighted some of the benefits I’d receive in the email.

  • Top Priority for Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades
  • Top priority on standby and waitlists on full flights
  • Chance to nominate someone to MVP status
  • Quick onboard access with Priority Check-In
  • 4 Day Passes to our Board Room airport lounges
  • 125% Bonus Miles on actual or minimum miles flown

My MVP 75K kit ultimately arrived in the mail. It included a membership card, two baggage tags, and four Board Room passes.


The First Flight

My first flight as an MVP Gold 75K was actually on Delta. I know, fitting. It was an FCM itinerary from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta booked into A class. I’d flown from Atlanta to Miami days before. While could have credited that itinerary to Mileage Plan, I thought it might make for an interesting comparison with the flight from Fort Lauderdale as the flights were of similar mileage.

On the surface, the only differences I noted with the flight were a reduction in complimentary checked baggage allowance from 3 pieces as a Medallion member with Delta Amex to 2 pieces as a mere mortal MVP 75K. Other than that, airport check in was pleasant, as was my visit to the Sky Club at Fort Lauderdale by virtue of my Amex Platinum card. Inflight service was as impeccable as I usually expect from Delta. I did not detect any kind of service difference being an Alaska elite on Delta metal.

The Mileage Difference

What I’m sure you may be most interested in is the difference in miles earned between SkyMiles and Mileage Plan. The numbers weren’t that far off, but I earned more with Mileage Plan than I did with SkyMiles. In the interest of fairness, I plugged the numbers into the SkyMiles mileage calculator on for my then current Platinum Medallion status as well as the Silver status I currently hold. Granted, this ignores MQM bonuses I could have obtained with Delta, and are rough estimates based on the fare paid. Here are the results.

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For the purposes of our discussion here, the numbers on the right are the only ones that matter as they reflect the SkyMiles 2015 revenue-based earnings. As a Platinum Medallion, I would have earned 1,413 miles. As a newly minted Silver Medallion, just 1,099 miles.

However, as a Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K member, I earned 1,743 Alaska Airlines miles.

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Life changing? Hardly. An interesting look at the differences between the programs? Sure.

Conclusion – None Yet

I have a lot of research to do here, and I am by no means convinced that every Delta flight I take this year is going to get credited to Mileage Plan. One flight is not a verdict, and to be sure, there are disadvantages to accruing miles with a partner program when you primarily fly another carrier. I will cover some of those in a separate blog post. That said, I’ve only just begun. We have some American experiments to accomplish, and no doubt, more with Delta too, including a #TeamBoardLast opportunity. All this, and I haven’t even gotten to the benefits of MVP 75K status on Alaska metal yet. More soon.

-MJ, February 19, 2016