Alaska Airlines and Air France Announce Breakup Effective April 30, 2018

We know that Delta plays hardball. They moved to build a Seattle hub and long-time partners Alaska Airlines and Delta quickly became frenemies before finally severing their partnership. Aeromexico, 49% owned by Delta, broke up with Alaska as well.

Delta has a revenue-sharing joint venture with Air France KLM and recently took a 10% equity stake and board seat. Delta has a stake in China Eastern which also took a board seat. And Air France KLM took a stake in Virgin Atlantic, 49% owned by Delta, as well.

So it’s a surprise to absolutely no one that Alaska Airlines and Air France are ending their partnership. It was rumored to be announced this week and now that’s come to fruition.

Copyright: radututa / 123RF Stock Photo

Effective April 30th, 2018, the partnership between Air France and Alaska Airlines will end. Our other global partners serve all of the top destinations members have earned miles to in the past with Air France, but we recognize that this change leaves a gap in coverage to some small European destinations. Europe continues to be a key focus area, served by partners including British Airways, Icelandair, Condor, and Finnair, and we’ll continue to evaluate additional partnerships to serve your needs both to and within Europe.

Existing tickets can be credited to Mileage Plan. Otherwise only travel through April 30th will be able to be credited to an Alaska Airlines account.

In recent years Alaska has had largely the same limited inventory of Air France awards made available to other partners (so it’s about as bad as availability offered to SkyMiles members). British Airways is hardly a replacement partner, however, given the fuel surcharges imposed on BA awards. Still, Alaska continues to add partners while carriers like American only seem to lose them.

(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, 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. It is sad when there was real inventory on AF it was pretty good flying, especially the 380. While most FA’s were not totally “user” friendly to American’s never the less it was nice in biz.

    As for BA I hear you regarding the fuel surcharges or whatever spin they have these days and I avoided them for years now I have taken a second look and have booked several flights one next week on the 787-9 to London. I got FC and sure I paid some cash but availability was there and good seats. So in the world of maximizing points Cash + Points may not be so bad. After all life is not Free is it Gary?

  2. While it is a “shame” to lose AF/KLM, all is not lost in terms of flying to Europe . . .

    AS points are still valid for use on AA, BA, DE, EI, EK (though very costly!), FI, and IB . . . and, according to their website, “Award travel on Finnair [is] Coming this fall.” (Currently you can earn AS miles on AY, but not spend them — apparently that’s changing soon.) So while we are losing access to SkyTeam affiliates, AS still has a strong portfolio of OneWorld options *and* independents.

  3. @ Jason Brandt Lewis

    As far as the others, its not a pretty picture at all

    AA: very limited award availability
    BA: ridiculous surcharges, often more than economy cash prices, almost at sale business cash prices, horrible business cabin
    DE: ok for economy I guess, no real business class
    EK: as you say, very high award prices
    FI: surcharges and no real business class
    AY: who knows when awards will open up, I think we are well past fall, and availability is kind of terrible based on AA experience

    AS is in a tough spot given their overpay for VX and the pressure being applied by DL’s pushing AM/AF/KL out of Mileage Plan relationships. KE may be next if their JV with DL goes through, and their space already seems partially blocked vs that for Skyteam partners. Even AA removed domestic flight crediting and elite benefits. EK priced themselves out as far as redemptions, and then blocked most of their premium space anyway. HU has surcharges too. SQ will not add any premium space. CX limits space to AS even below their already reduced allocation to OW partners.

    For international premium redemption travelers, AS really only has 4.5 good partners: QF, JL, LA, FJ and CX (half due to the reduced space). Their award charts are relatively attractive. AS earning rates aren’t that much better than competing carriers. I would say AS is now just even with DL and AA’s programs, and worse than UA’s given much better Star Alliance global coverage and sort of reasonable J class awards.

    Any award chart devaluation would make the frequent flyer program uncompetitive. They really need to get that AY space opened, and add some Europe/Africa partners. EI and IB would be obvious candidates given the BA connection and their new SEA/LAX/SFO services. Getting JJ into the LA relationship would be a nice boost too. Thinking a bit aggressively, maybe see if QR wants to work something out with another 10% investment! Screw EK if they are upset, don’t get much from them anyway.

  4. I agree with jig
    Alaska has a big problem on their hand with their Int partners (whats left of them) though they have the best customer service and run a great program for earning miles
    Their partner relationships are in crisis across the board weaker award inventory and extreme limitations where the partners can take you
    BA offers no Inter European flights out of London onward
    I was shocked when I heard this

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