To switch to Alaska or not to switch to Alaska

Discussion in 'Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan' started by Juanefny, May 12, 2015.  |  Print Topic

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Should I switch

  1. No, AA is a better program for your travel patterns

    3 vote(s)
    75.0%
  2. Yes, Alaska is far better, MVP is better than AA Platinum, so switch now

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Alaska is better, but wait until October and then switch - MVP Gold for a year and two months...

    1 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    I figured I would come here and explain why I'm considering switching to Alaska and see what you all think.
    I'm currently Gold on AA but I should be Platinum with AA by the end of June, July at the latest. I've been having nothing but irrops and issues flying on AA lately and my upgrade percentages have gone down substantially. I've flown Alaska a couple of times in the past year and have been very impressed by the customer service and friendliness of the staff and it's pushed me to consider switching.

    I guess let me list the reasons why I think it would not be good to switch:
    1) I travel mostly to the east coast from ABQ and would lose ability to upgrade on AA and it sounds like DL upgrades are not very common.
    2) I would not mind flying to Seattle and then to the east coast by these flights are usually 2 times or so more than the flights on AA or DL. Additionally, since the flight out of ABQ is in the pm, it means that by the time I would get to Seattle I would have to spend the night.
    3) I would have to fly 50k miles between now and the end of the year to keep status.
    Reasons to switch:
    1) Better award availability?
    2) Much better service and ff program
    3) Ability to fly and earn miles on DL providing me with a choice over AA when flying to the east coast - different hubs seem to perform better depending on the season
    4) Free upgrades (instead of AA's sticker system)

    What are your thoughts? I may be missing some things and figured I would come here and ask the experts What do you all recommend :)
     
  2. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

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    Does Alaska require a minimum amount of flights on their own metal to maintain status? If you're going to be primarily a Delta flyer crediting to Alaska, that's one question I'd want an answer to before considering a switch. I've done a lot of Alaska flights to SEA, in my case crediting to AA, and have always been happy with them.
     
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  3. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Correct.

    Hotels would be adding an extra $100ish every time, then. I can't see how the cost-benefit makes what you propose to do worth it. Assume all these gyrations added $500 to your cost of flights, for 5 flights, for a total of $2500.

    $2500 would outright buy over 100k AS miles when they are on special (around 2 cents a mile).

    If you're departing out of a city that is not an AS hub and doesn't have international service, like ABQ, you would either be forced to AA or DL for awards or have to come up with positioning flights (your nearest hubs with significant AS partnerships are DFW or LAX).

    If you are not flying AS, you are almost never going to experience that service. AS's program has lots of overlap with AA, the major non-overlap points are AF/EK/KE/KL. EK is great but fantastically expensive to fly in F (90-100k one way) unless you are generating a ton of miles every year.

    Most discounted DL fares do not earn at 100% on AS. The ones that do are fairly expensive (though P fares, aka discounted first, are possible ways around that).

    http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/partners/delta.aspx
    You will never experience those unless you fly AS (except for the once in a blue moon DL upgrade).

    I would probably fly WN out of ABQ if I couldn't stand AA, and just manufacture spend on (insert credit card here) for my premium "whee, I'm going to pretend I'm a rich guy" travel, were I in your position. Flying an airline where you have to do overnights to the East Coast and pay extra is just not my style. I've flown enough domestic F to not think it worth that sort of trouble.

    No.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  4. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    Wow, I debated starting this thread these answers made it worth it. Thanks so much for all the insight, lots of info I didn't know.
     
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  5. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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  6. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    Wow, very good, thanks for all the input! I guess I'll stick to AA and work my way back up to Executive Plat. I had a couple of years of less flying but I now have a new position that will have me on the road again...
     
  7. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    I really love Alaska Airlines but since I'm not Seattle or Portland based the connections always seems to be bad. Like you said by the time I get to Seattle I have to spend the night for a connecting flight. I really wish AS could fix this issue. For example I like in Kansas City. If I want to go to Hawaii from here on AS the flights leave late enough that I get into Seattle too late to connect so I have to spend the night.
    If you do switch you can get Alaska to status match you with AA, etc. if you don't already have status with them.
     
  8. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    also...irops happen and airlines look after their elites first. If you weren't aa elite...things could have been worse. and they can move you to another airline if the situation dictates. Delta is operationally better but skymiles is skymiles. For now out of abq aa and us are my choices. Best flight options, schedule for me, and price.
     
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  9. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    How does that fix the problems you've been having with AA? Yeah, you'll have better status, but if the planes are late or have mechanicals, they're late for everyone.

    There's zero chance that AS is going to time their routes for customers based in MCI and connecting to westbound to Hawaii, and make them less convenient for customers originating in SEA/PDX/the Pacific Northwest, who represent the bulk of AS's customer base. They are based in SEA and that's where the customers are- a 10 pm or later departure time from SEA gets you into Hawaii stupid late, arguably ruining a day of vacation (as opposed to an earlier departure).

    If you want an airline with better timing because of the difficulty of going midcon to a Wet Coast hubs, AA (ORD, DFW) and UA (ORD, IAH, DEN) would probably work better (possibly even DL out of SLC).
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
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  10. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    I agree. MCI isn't the biggest market and I get that they cater to the core customers. All I'm saying is that the SEA-MCI daily leaves SEA at 10am and get to KC at about 3:30. They turn this plane and leave for SEA again at about 4:30pm so it arrives in SEA around 6:30pm just missing the 5pm or so connections to Hawaii to other West coast areas. If they could leave SEA a little earlier in the morning they could do this turn and get back to SEA before missing all those connections that would require an overnight in SEA. I know the hour would be late getting into Hawaii until 8 or 9pm'ish but it seems better to wake up in Hawaii instead of the airport hotel in SEA for the 9am flights to Hawaii the next day. You still lose the vacation time either way.
     
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    By moving the 10am departure earlier, they might lose traffic to MCI that connects in SEA.
     
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  12. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    Maybe some day they will have two flights... one that goes early in the morning and one that goes later in the day. The best of both worlds ;)
     
  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I wouldn't mind that, though I can think of a few places I would rather see getting (more) service.
     
  14. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    I can't imagine that SEA-MCI is going to get a 2x daily from AS anytime soon. Wayyyy too small a market. LAX-MCI gets 3x from two carriers (WN 2x, DL 1x), and LAX is a much larger market. SFO-MCI gets 2x, and is also a much larger market. 1x is about right.
     

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