Followers of my blog will know that I focus my travel on American Airlines, and that last year I discussed my choice of Alaska as my choice of secondary frequent flyer program. One of the benefits of that arrangement is that I can maintain my status on Alaska Airlines each year by crediting flights from Alaska, American and Delta to my Alaska account, retaining MVP Gold status with 50,000 miles (or 60 segments). Obviously this comes with trade-offs, namely not crediting that mileage to my AAdvantage account and the flights/segments not counting towards status on American. The flip side, however, is that Delta recognizes Alaska Elites for things like early boarding, domestic upgrades and waived baggage fees (varying at each Alaska elite level), and that I can travel across three airlines to earn my Alaska MVP Gold status – greatly broadening my travel options and reducing the number of flights/miles I fly that don’t earn me usable credit (flying Southwest, Allegiant, Frontier, etc.) on American Airlines flights.
Fast-forward to today. One of the territories I cover for my full-time job is the southeastern US, essentially Tennessee to North Carolina and south from there. Getting to and from specific cities on American isn’t difficult – Austin through Dallas/Fort Worth to wherever is pretty much a given. Doing a regional tour in the southeast, however, often puts AA out of competition in terms of price. I needed to book a trip that left from Austin and spent a day in Nashville followed by one in Charlotte then back home to Austin. Delta, with hubs in Memphis, Atlanta, Cincinati and Detroit, had the price on this travel pattern set well below the competition; for work I’m generally required to take the most logical low priced fare, so travel on Delta it was.
I booked AUS-ATL-BNA, followed by BNA-CVG-CLT, them home on CLT-DTW-AUS. Note: AUS = Austin, ATL = Atlant, BNA = Nashville, CVG = Cincinnati, CLT = Charlotte, DTW = Detroit. The entire trip was under $600, right at about $200 per flight (not per segment), which isn’t bad for < 14 day reservations.
This will net 3,962 EQM towards Alaska status, 7,294 RDM to my Alaska Mileage Plan account, and 6 segments.
I’ll be on the upgrade list for the Delta flights, but since half of them are Canadair regional jets with no first class and the others are out of hubs, I’m not really expecting to get an upgrade. Alaska MVP Gold members are treated as Delta Gold Medallion members, except that upgrades for Alaska elites do not process until the flight transfers to airport control, so all Delta elites have a chance to clear first (which makes sense and is only fair – if I were a Delta traveler that got bumped by an Alaska elite, I’d be rather dissatisfied).
I’ll report back on my experiences, and I’ll add the airports I travel through to my Airport Perks thread as I find something unique in each to share. I’d love, however, to hear your experiences as an Alaska elite on Delta, or any tips and tricks for navigating the operational policies of Delta, especially as they relate to oversold flights (on the CLT-DTW flight I took the last economy seat that could be assigned, and the DTW-AUS looks rather full, too). Thoughts? Tips? Tricks?
Note: I thought about a Delta Status Match/Challenge, but I’m not likely to meet the requirements in 90 days, and I don’t want to credit my miles to Delta’s Skymiles program.