Alaska Airlines has announced they will be severing ties with partner Icelandair effective June 1, 2013. The two will have a "phased" winding down of relations following that date per an email sent to Mileage Plan members this week:
Alaska Airlines is announcing a change in its Mileage Plan airline partnership with Icelandair, which is scheduled to conclude June 1, 2013. In an effort to minimize impact on our customers, we will phase the relationship out over eleven months. To learn the details of this phased approach, please visit alaskaair.com. We know many customers have found value in our partnership with Icelandair and apologize for any inconvenience that this change may cause.
The phased approach is actually reasonably generous, based on the purchase date of the ticket as defining the earning rules. Here’s what their website shows:
Effective June 1, 2013, Icelandair will no longer be a Mileage Plan™ partner.Tickets purchased on or after June 1, 2013, will not earn Mileage Plan™ Miles. Tickets purchased on or before May 31, 2013, will continue to earn miles for travel through February 28, 2014.
Existing award travel, and award travel booked by May 31, 2013, will be honored for travel through February 28, 2014. Award travel on Icelandair cannot be booked or changed after May 31, 2013.
That said, the inability to change an award after the cutoff date isn’t so great.
It is not entirely clear why this change came about, though the launch of service by Icelandair from Anchorage to Iceland is one possible reason. Ditto the rather crazed flood of award bookings a few months back when Icelandair was selling miles cheap and they could be used to book first class awards to Hawaii at bargain rates. Whatever the reasons, the relationship is ending and that’s a shame. Fewer partners is rarely a good thing.