Starting Jan. 15, 2014, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members will be able to earn elite qualifying miles on all 12 of the carrier’s international partners, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Fiji Airways, Korean Air and Qantas. Mileage Plan members already earn elite qualifying miles on AeroMexico, Air France, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, KLM and LAN.
Alaska has really been stepping up. A year ago I had them on a watch list to devalue their program in a big way, and of course they still could, but the huge competitive pressure that erstwhile partner Delta is putting on them by building up a significant Seattle presence seems to put off the possibility at least and light a fire under their competitive offerings.
Not only has Alaska added Emirates as a partner, they’ve introduced true one way awards with stopover on most partners and put most partner award booking online. There have been a few givebacks along the way, like an inability to book partner awards farther out than Alaska’s own schedule (so no more booking Qantas awards 355 days ahead) but all in all the program has improved, the limited ‘devaluations’ have been very modest changes to the price of award travel on their own flights. And they’ve been full of promotions to goose flying in competition with Delta’s new flights.
The ability to credit miles flown on a variety of airlines that are a part of both Skyteam and oneworld alliances (in addition to redeeming on those airlines, and in addition to crediting American and Delta flights) is a real benefit — not just for Alaska Airlines flyers who can earn status more quickly but for United and other Star Alliance flyers who must occasionally take a flight on an airline in another alliance. Crediting miles from so many airlines into a single Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account means building up a critical mass of points for award travel more quickly than would otherwise be possible… and fewer orphaned miles.
(HT: dgreene12 on Milepoint)