Delta and Alaska Air customers only have until spring of next year to cash in on codeshare miles.
After expanding operations in the Pacific Northwest region, regional U.S. airline Delta has announced it will end its codeshare agreement with Alaska Air Group starting on May 1, 2017. This will put an end to Delta customers’ ability to earn and redeem Delta miles on flights operated by Alaska and vice versa.
Earlier in 2016, Delta put its code on some 78,000 scheduled Alaska Airlines flights, while Alaska Airlines placed its code on 60,660 of Delta’s flights. Delta’s growth in Seattle has reduced the need for the two to share codes, Delta has said.
Bob Mann, an airline industry analyst at R.W. Mann & Co., was quoted as saying, “I don’t think it will be a terrible surprise here because the relationship had become increasingly strained. They stopped relying on Alaska codesharing.”
Mann further noted that Delta Air Lines’ growing presence in Seattle had cut down on Alaska’s revenue from the partnership.
Additionally, Alaska Air recently closed its $2.6 billion acquisition of Virgin America, becoming the fifth largest carrier in the U.S. and the largest carrier on the West Coast following approval by the Department of Justice earlier in December.
The deal received U.S. antitrust approval on the condition that Alaska’s codesharing with American Airlines be scaled back to prevent codesharing on routes where Virgin and American Airlines aren’t in competition. At one point, Alaska’s combined codesharing agreements with Delta and American Airlines netted the carrier an estimated $350 million annual revenue.
Codesharing is also banned for future routes that Alaska Air might fly that would put it into direct competition with American. The settlement does not require that Alaska Airlines shut down any gates or divest itself of any assets.