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For several years, Delta coexisted more than peacefully with Alaska Airlines in Seattle, which is both hub and headquarters for Alaska. In fact, the two airlines were close marketing partners, linked by code-share flights and reciprocal frequent flyer program participation.
Although the code-share and loyalty-program links remain in place, for now, the relationship between the two airlines has turned nastily adversarial.
The tensions began with Delta’s loading up on new service to and from Seattle, and tipped into battle mode in October when Delta launched a double-mile promotion for flights between Seattle and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
Alaska responded with a more robust offer, including more routes to and from Seattle, and adding elite-qualifying miles to the bonus mix.
Delta countered by adding elite miles to its promotion, and expanding the offer to even more routes.
At that point, Alaska went on the offensive, announcing that it would be adding flights at a key Delta hub, Salt Lake City, and offering double award and elite miles on the routes. Alaska followed up by announcing yet more Salt Lake City flights and including them in the double-mile promotion.
The ante was upped again today with Delta’s announcement that all Seattle non-stops will earn both double award miles and double elite-qualifying miles through the end of this year.
Through December 31, 2014, eligible SkyMiles members can earn double award miles and double elite-qualifying miles for every Delta non-stop flight to or from Seattle.
To earn the bonus miles, traveler must have a Washington state address on file in his SkyMiles account.
Registration is required.
Deal or No Deal
Double award and elite miles, for all non-stop flights, through the end of the year. That makes for a pretty compelling promotion. Eligible SkyMiles members should register immediately if there’s even a remote chance they’ll be flying through Seattle this year.
But no one should assume that Delta’s offer will remain the most generous available. Given the to-and-fro to date, it’s a safe bet that Alaska will respond with a counter-offer that matches Delta’s, and possibly surpasses it (hint: by removing the restriction to Washington residents).
The free market at its best: When two carriers compete, consumers earn more miles.
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