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Major news - Alaska Airlines to acquire Hawaiian Airlines

Major news - Alaska Airlines to acquire Hawaiian Airlines

Alaska Airlines announced yesterday that it will acquire Hawaiian Airlines.  The surprise move, which is subject to regulatory approvals, would vault Alaska into international expansion with a fleet including long-haul widebody jets flying across the Pacific Ocean to destinations in Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.  Honolulu will become a major hub for the combined airline.

Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci said in an interview. “We become a bigger competitor against the big four airlines, United, Delta, American and Southwest.”

The acquisition appears to be a good cultural fit, as Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are both known to have a deep commitment to caring for their employees, guests and communities.

The deal will also open up new opportunities for Alaska, through Hawaiian's membership of the Oneworld alliance.

More details are yet to be announced, but I would expect Alaska's loyalty program to remain intact, with that of Hawaiian being absorbed into it somehow.

This is exciting news for travellers located in east Asia and the Pacific regions. 

Are you one of the many flyers disappointed by Delta's recent SkyMiles changes?  Maybe Alaska would be better for you.

Are you one of the many flyers disappointed by Delta's recent SkyMiles changes? Maybe Alaska would be better for you.

Fed up with the recent changes to Delta SkyMiles?

For a limited time, Alaska Airlines is offering a promo for any Delta elite who’d like to transfer their membership ( and tier status) to Alaska!

For more details click this link - Alaska Airlines: Status Match into Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines launched its latest innovation on 16 February 2022 - a subscription model for people who fly regularly (not necessarily frequently).

By committing to one year of a monthly subscription, passengers will get credits to put toward roundtrip flights on eligible daily routes within the selected west coast region, which includes California airports in Sacramento, Sonoma,  San Francisco, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Burbank, Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, and San Diego.  There are also flights to nearby Reno, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

Under the program savings average approx 20% to 30% across the 100 daily flights between the 16 airports.

The way it works is that travellers who agree to pay a monthly fee will receive credits to fly a fixed number of round-trips through the subscription year. A basic subscription starts at $49 a month and requires booking tickets at least two weeks before travel. A more flexible subscription starts at $199 a month and allows booking up to two hours before flight departure time. Both plans allow flight selection as early as 90 days ahead of the travel date. Once travellers have selected a plan, they can choose their volume of flights, such as six, 12, or 24 a year. A basic plan with six flights typically costs $763 a year — after taxes and fees.

Two caveats are that:
(1) you can only subscribe through the Alaska Airlines website and
(2) that the booking credits do expire and must be booked for a flight within 90 days before the next set of credits will be deposited. If the credits haven't been used at the time the next credits are added, then they’ll be forfeited.

Once the booking process is complete, Flight Pass passengers will receive the same class of service Alaska Airlines normally provides, including main cabin seat selection, no change fees, and earned miles on every flight.

To ensure passenger safety, the airline continues to enact its Next-Level Care program, that includes 100 pandemic-era health and safety checks, including a hospital-grade air filters and a partnership with Clorox.

I am sure we will see many more post-covid era changes to the ways we travel.

Alaska Airlines has extended the status of its elite tier members. Current tier status will now expire on 30 April 2022 (rather than tomorrow) - a 4 month extension.

Not as good as the 12 month extension given by some other airlines, but there is also a status challenge to help elite tier members re-qualify for their current tier (nb you can't move up tiers).

If you earn the following amounts of base miles between January 1 and April 30, 2022, you will retain your 2021 status through the end of 2022:

  • MVP members: 5,000 miles
  • MVP Gold members: 10,000 miles
  • MVP Gold 75K members: 20,000 miles
These amounts are roughly 25% of what you would normally need, meaning you must earn 1/4 of the usual requirements in 1/3 of a year.  

On the face of it, this looks to be a more relaxed pace than usual. It is if your flying patterns are spread evenly through a year, but if it is concentrated in say the summer months, you may miss out.

T&C's apply.  The next 4 months are ok, but beyond then you may need to plan ahead.

Alaska adds Awards Table for Iberia

Alaska adds Awards Table for Iberia

Alaska is slowly further integrating with its Oneworld partners.

Following the increase in code-shared routes with Iberia announced in early October, Alaska has now released its Partner Awards Table for Iberia.

At first glance it doesn't offer the exceptional value obtainable with other partners (especially for business and first class).

Alaska seems to be retaining individual tables for its partners rather than a single unified table for all partners.  So the program may continue to offer gems of redemptions.

There are still a few Oneworld partners that do not have tables in place, so keep watching this space.

  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines

Buy Alaska miles with up to 50% discount

Buy Alaska miles with up to 50% discount

Alaska has an offer for Mileage Plan members to purchase miles with up to 50% bonus miles. This 50% bonus offer runs until 23 December, 2021.

This is one of the better buy miles deals comes that Alaska Airlines has offered. 

We don't recommend speculatively buying miles, but it can make sense if:

  • you need to top off your balance to complete a specific redemption. 
  • the cost is considerably cheaper than paying for the product you want outright and you will make your reservation fairly soon, even if the flight is further down the track.
Alaska mileage sales have been known to be targeted, so different members may see different bonus levels. You will need to login to your account to see what applies to yourself.

We like Alaska Mileage Plan for international travellers, due to the great redemptions under its Partners Awards rates. This may change to a unified awards table now they have joined Oneworld, but currently there are great redemptions for long-haul flights on Qantas and especially for business/first class fares with Cathay and Fiji Airways.

Historically, if you flew Qantas return Melbourne to London and assigned your points to Alaska, then redeemed Mileage Plan miles for a later Qantas flight to London, your spend to earn & redeem those miles was cut by around 40%. 

Should you buy Alaska miles using our link, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small remuneration.

Alaska Airlines eliminating plastic water bottles & cups from all flights

Alaska Airlines eliminating plastic water bottles & cups from all flights

Back in 2018, the airline eliminated both plastic straws and stir sticks. In a further step towards reducing plastic waste globally, Alaska Airlines announced this week that it is eliminating all plastic water bottles on board its aircraft and replacing them with boxed water.

In addition to serving the Boxed Water Is Better brand to customers, which is sealed with a plant-based cap, Alaska will switch to recyclable paper cups for water service. Combined, the switches will represent about 1.8 million pounds (!) of single-use plastics eliminated from flights over the next year.

While hydrating on a flight is always a good idea, it is not recommended to drink water that isn't in a container. For more on hydration and snacks while flying, see our 5 top tips for travellers' health.

Kudos to Alaska for this latest initiative.

Alaska Airlines & BA Expand Codeshare Routes

Alaska Airlines & BA Expand Codeshare Routes

Alaska Airlines continues to deepen its integration into the OneWorld network.  

Since joining the OneWorld alliance on March 31 this year , it has quickly moved to forge partnerships with fellow members Qatar Airways and Iberia Airlines.

It now has expanded its codeshare routes with long-term partner British Airways to 16 additional markets.  The new destinations connect its network beyond Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles to BA’s nonstop service from London Heathrow.

These BA codeshares combined with the new partnerships of Qatar Airways and Iberia Airlines together with the existing partnerships with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Finnair combined will offer 16 daily international flights to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles – enabling seamless connectivity to Alaska’s comprehensive network up and down the West Coast.  

Alaska and its regional partners offer overseas passengers more than 120 destinations across the United States and to Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica. So this development extends BA's reach into the Americas.

The ability to earn (and burn) miles with these partners provides great flexibility for Alaska Mileage members and a well connected network into Europe.

Alaska Airlines and Iberia launch new codeshare agreement

Alaska Airlines and Iberia launch new codeshare agreement

Alaska Airlines yesterday further cemented its place as a member of the OneWorld alliance. 

Following on from its codeshare agreement announced in July 2021 with Qatar Airlines, Alaska has further expanded its global reach with the announcement of a new codeshare agreement with Iberia Airlines, providing flyers with exciting and convenient travel options.

The agreement allows passengers on Iberia to book travel and easily connect to more than 40 routes throughout Alaska's network effective October 7, 2021. Iberia operates three weekly return flights between Madrid and Los Angeles, using Airbus A-330-200s (and a seasonal service between San Francisco and Barcelona).  Iberia passengers can now connect to more than 20 additional routes on the West Coast and Hawaii served by Alaska Airlines, including Anchorage, Fresno, Honolulu, Kona, Las Vegas, Portland, Reno-Tahoe, Seattle-Tacoma and Salt Lake City.

The partnership enables Alaska's Mileage Plan and Iberia Plus members to earn miles on each other's flights while enjoying reciprocal elite benefits, including preferred seat selection; priority check-in, security clearance and boarding; lounge access; and extra baggage allowance.

Alaska and Qatar code-sharing
Alaska Airlines and Qatar Airlines have applied to codeshare on a number of routes operating in the Americas. Under the proposal, most routes are out of Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles with direct flights from Doha into those 3 "hub" cities..  The code-sharing opens up routes for Qatar into Mexico and Hawaii.  For Alaska Airlines, it demonstrates its commitment as a new member of the OneWorld alliance and also provides a handy feeder into its US network.  For more details, use the link below.

Qatar offer discount to Alaska MP members
Qatar Airways has launched a new coupon discount offer for Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members.  You must book prior to 11 July 2021 and travel is to be completed by 11 July 2022. You can save $63 to $550 on ex-US itineraries depending on the class of service and whether a one-way or return.

  • The promo code ‘MPMEMBERS’ must be entered at the time of flight search.
  • The promo code is valid for bookings on all Qatar Airways operated itineraries worldwide originating from the United States only.
  • Promo code value on Economy Class tickets:
    •  $125 on return itineraries
    •  $63 on one-way itineraries
  • Promo code value on Business Class tickets:
    •  $550 on return itineraries
    •  $275 on one-way itineraries

Alaska Airlines Ceasing Emirates Partnership

Alaska Airlines Ceasing Emirates Partnership

Alaska Airlines is adjusting its partnerships as part of its intergration into the OneWorld Alliance.  As part of that, Alaska Airlines will cease its partnership with Emirates on July 31, 2021.  

Through 31 July 2021, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members flying on Emirates on a paid ticket, no matter the class, will receive lounge access at the Emirates Business Class flagship lounge in Dubai International Airport (DXB).

There remains a small window of opportunity.  Award redemptions on Emirates are available through July 31, 2021. For future travel, changes made to a booked award on Emirates on or after August 1, 2021, will require cancellation of the award and re-booking on a different Alaska Airlines partner.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given it is another OneWorld member, award bookings for Qatar will become available in August 2021.