A Lifeline For Delta Frequent Flyers: Alaska Airlines Offer One Level Higher Than Current Status

After Delta Air Lines announced it was going all Keyser Söze on its elite frequent flyers, and acting like the master manipulator who leaves no loose ends, even if it means betraying those who trust him, there’s a clear opening for competing airlines.

  • Delta is taking away unlimited club access from a majority of customers who pay for the airline’s premium co-brand lounge access credit card.

  • And they’re making it much harder than before to earn status, with a qualifying dollars target of $35,000 for Diamond status.

Delta’s best customers are some of the airline industry’s most prized customers, and Delta’s best customers with their premium $550 annual free credit card are even taking it on the chin.

Alaska Airlines is first into the fray offering them a lifeline. And you might think that’s too niche except perhaps in Seattle where both airlines have a hub, but Alaska Airlines is a member of the oneworld alliance, has global partnerships outside of that alliance, and has a deeper partnership with American Airlines that means getting treated as an equivalent tier AAdvantage elite when flying that airline.

What’s amazing is that Alaska is offering to match status for all of next year, and they’re offering to match not just equivalent status but one level higher than current status. They dangle this carrot as encouragement for matched Delta elite customers to take the Alaska Airlines credit card. Brilliant.

According to Alaska’s VP of Loyalty,

We’ve always believed that loyalty is about more than just revenue and that earning elite status shouldn’t require a second mortgage. We’ve designed Mileage Plan to reward loyalty in its many forms which is why we offer guests the fastest track to elite status with no spend requirements.

You get a better match if you’ve already qualified for next year’s status than if your status ends with the end of this year. And either way, you do better if you get the Alaska card by the end of 2023.

If the combination of Alaska Airlines and American Airlines works for you, and you’ve already earned 2024 Delta Diamond status, get this match and get the Alaska card and you’ll be given Alaska Airlines 100K status through end of 2024 no challenge or other activity required.

Amazing. Delta Diamonds should do this. There’s never been a more generous offer. The only caveat is that they won’t let you do a status match again later, or do this if you’ve had one before.

Alaska’s miles are generally worth more than competitor miles, and a lot more than SkyMiles. MVP Gold 75K and 100K are both oneworld emerald, which gets you into the international first class lounges of partners like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Qantas regardless of class of service flown. And Alaska Airlines can often match Delta both with friendly service and reliability.

American, United, and JetBlue should be jumping on the opportunity to attract disaffected SkyMiles members, right now as they’re unhappy with what’s being done to them in Atlanta.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — And let’s not forget that Alaska offers actual meals in F (plus the basket of junk!) and 41″ inches of pitch in F (versus DL’s tiny 37″). These two things make for a vasty improved F flying experience.

  2. Gary, do you have a link for the Alaska credit card that helps you out, or a recommendation for the best sign-up offer available? This deal is a no-brainer for me and I’d like to help you out if I can.

    I cancelled an Alaska card earlier this year. Any suggestions that might help me get the sign-up bonus?


  3. Wow. This is an incredible offer. Not sure how I’d feel about it, if I were an Alaska elite who earned my status. Especially if I was just short of that higher tier. But the numbers are probably too potentially lucrative for Alaska not to go after.

  4. Gary as an alaska elite who flies 200k plus miles this is a disgrace. Management has said several times on elite calls that THEY WILL NOT MATCH TO 100k. While it probably is a smart move it’s a total slap in the face to us. Just a ln about face and frankly disingenuous move

  5. As an AS elite, I think this move could put me further down the upgrade list.

    That said, I think this is a genius move to poach good customers. In 2017 or so, when AA changed their elite qualification rules, I switched to AS (matched to 75k) and they’ve kept me. I benefited from pretty much the same offer that AS is giving to DL Diamonds (there was no 100k back then).

    There are AS ads right now on Seattle radio mentioning that they’re not all about spend, as some others are. They see a market opportunity – and they’re acting quickly. Kudos to AS.

  6. Delta is happy to ship their no-spend Lounge card customers to Alaska.

    Alaska may also actually make money by flying planes.so may also be happy to have them.

  7. @ Christoper Raehl — Delta shouldn’t be requiring any credit card spend of elite customers who pay an annual fee of $550 for their crappy credit card that earns their nearly worthless SkyMiles.

  8. What am I missing? If I have already qualified for Delta Diamond 2024 and will receive all benefits through that time, why do I need this for 2024? It seems it would be more tempting if it was for 2025.

  9. Certainly doesn’t hurt. But if you fly mostly first/business class anyways, there’s really no point to chase any airlines’ silly status. Be free and fly the most sensical flight for your trip, and charge your them to one of the many wonderful cards that give you many choices in how you redeem your points.

  10. I know nothing about Alaska, but Alaska here I come!
    After being Diamond ever since the tier was introduced and a 2MM and mostly travel internationally (prem or D1), the idea of accessing Oneworld 1st class lounges is very appealing!!

  11. If I am already AA EXP and split my time between ORD and FLL is there any benefit for me to grab this status match?

  12. Used to be an Alaska elite up to several years ago until I moved away from CA then took my business to Delta where I’ve been diamond for a few years. Still have some use for Alaska though with frequent trips to SFO so I’m contemplating making the elite switch back. I’m anti-AAL and will never fly with American so I don’t get much benefit there, but I also generally like international OW Airlines so AS might be the solution to the loyalty question I’ve had since Delta announced their changes. Lots to think through

  13. Still, Delta is the BEST U.S. airline and its ratings consistently prove that. I guess it is becoming less elite friendly and more $$$ focused. Money talks, so they say but a great flight speaks for itself.

  14. Irritating as an Alaska 100K. Alaska keeps doing things to add more higher elites who did not actually fly on Alaska.which dilutes upgrades.

  15. I have seen this but didn’t think it meant much to me, but as a Diamond living in Boston I didn’t think Alaska was a decent option, but with the One World option, that opens up that AA which flies out of Logan. Am I correct in thinking that I can use this promotion to be an elite with AA?

  16. Good, the faux DL loyalists can shift over to an inferior airline and OneWorld alliance and free up the Sky Lounges and open up upgrades to the true DL loyalists. DL forever!

  17. I’m a Boston based millionmiler like @Paul_Go_Dolphins and this looks to have answered my question on the best way to work One World, as I do lots of Boston – Heathrow on BA

    Next question is I wont grab Dekta Gold until November, should I wait until then???

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