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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.
That’s where things stood until today, when Alaska revealed that it will be launching yet more Salt Lake City flights and including them in the double-mile promotion.
The new flights will connect Salt Lake City to Boise, Idaho, and Las Vegas from June 16, and Salt Lake City to San Francisco from June 18. The bonus miles will remain in effect through August 1, 2014. Registration is required, and must be completed by June 15, 2014.
So far, there’s been no response from Delta to Alaska’s upcoming incursions into Salt Lake City. But given the increasingly contentious relationship between the two carriers, there’s bound to be one. If consumers are lucky, it will be a disproportionate response, triggering yet another competitive reaction from Alaska. And so on.
The bloodier the battle, the more miles for flyers.
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