Big Announcements: Fly for Fewer Alaska Miles and More!

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

There are lots of big announcements today coming out of the Alaska Mileage Plan program, and a decent portion of it is actually pretty good news. We learned some important points about how the Alaska and Virgin ‘marriage’ will work last week, but we now know even more both about the transfer ratio for those programs and some other things Alaska is doing to really beef up their program.


Delta and Alaska Calling it Quits Effective May 1, 2017

To get the bad news for today out of the way first, Alaska and Delta will be ending their codeshare partnership effective May 1, 2017. You will no longer be able to earn and redeem Delta miles or Mileage Plan miles on flights operated by the other carrier at that time.

For tickets purchased prior to today, you can still earn Alaska miles on your Delta tickets for any ticketed travel date. For tickets purchased today (12/19/16) through 4/30/17 you can also choose to Alaska miles on your Delta tickets (or vice versa) as long as the flight occurs by 4/30/17.  You can also continue to book award travel on Delta flights using your Alaska miles through April 30, 2017, but changes will not be allowed on or after May 1, 2017.

The carriers will retain an interline agreement, allowing them to continue offering customers ticketing and baggage connectivity.

Transfer Virgin Elevate Points to Alaska Miles

We always knew that a 1:1 transfer ratio from Virgin American’s Elevate program to Alaska’s Mileage Plan program probably didn’t make sense as Virgin America points are generally regarded as more valuable, but we didn’t know what the transfer ratio would be until now.

We now know that beginning January 9, 2017, you will be able to convert existing Virgin America Elevate points into Mileage Plan miles at a rate of 1.3 Mileage Plan miles per 1 Elevate point. You will not be able to transfer from Alaska to Virgin America.

Earn Alaska Miles on Virgin America Flights

You can now earn Alaska miles based on the distance flown on your Virgin America operated flights. You can view the chart and the associated fare class bonuses here. Remember that earning a 100% of the base miles flown on a low economy fare is actually almost unique these days, so this is really good news.


Fly for Fewer Alaska Miles via Distance Based Chart

You will be able to book one-way non-refundable award travel within the continental US and Canada on Alaska operated flights starting at just 5,000 Mileage Plan miles plus taxes and fees for flights under 700 miles.

  • Flights of 700 miles or fewer from 5,000 miles
  • Flights of 701 – 1,400 miles from 7,500 miles
  • Flights of 1,401 – 2,100 miles from 10,000 miles
  • Flights of 2,101 or more miles from 12,500 miles


Being able to fly as far as from Seattle to San Francisco for just 5,000 Alaska miles is pretty great – that is especially great when you factor in that Alaska elites can now get space available complimentary upgrades on award travel.

Earn More Alaska Miles via Partners

When you fly on one of Alaska’s partners like British Airways, Qantas, Emirates, and many more you can now potentially earn even more redeemable miles when you credit the flights to your Alaska Mileage Plan account.

Summary of Today’s Big Alaska Announcements

For occasional Alaska travelers who use miles they earn primarily from rewards credit cards, online shopping sites, etc. important takeaways from today are the newly announced transfer ratio of 1.3 Mileage Plan miles per 1 Elevate point, that Alaska has a new distance based chart for their own operated flights in the Continental US and Canada that will start at just 5,000 miles, and the no-surprise end to the Delta and Alaska codeshare partnership effective May 1, 2017.

What do you think of today’s Alaska Mileage Plan announcements?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. […] This morning, the news broke that Alaska was making some fairly drastic changes to their Alaska Airlines MileagePlan program.  Many of these updates were related to changes precipitated by Alaska’s recently concluded merger with Virgin America.  You may have already seen some coverage of the Alaska changes by View from the Wing, One Mile at a Time, Travel Codex, Travel with Grant, and Mommy Points. […]


  1. So last week I used your link to apply for JB+ card and was denied 🙁 but today I decided to call recon line to see what’s up, as with 800+ fico I haven’t been declined for a cc in decades! After providing additional info, was approved with $10K credit line. There’s no substitute for human contact! Thx for your blog 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  2. Boo!!! Lots of negatives in my book. No transfer to Virgin is one. How is the Virgin program changing? Is it going away completely?

  3. Do you know if the mileage award distance based numbers are for the total itinerary or does it accumulate per segment like BA does? If it’s for the itinerary, including connecting flight, that’s great. If it’s just per leg, then for me it’s not going to be very important.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *