It’s no surprise that Alaska Airlines has raised the award rates for many Delta-operated flights — by an average of 26% for those routes affected. Delta has indicated in changes to its own loyalty program that it is making many awards more expensive (a new calculation for awarding miles, and a new five-tier award chart). Furthermore, Delta and Alaska are not exactly friendly right now so it would not surprise me to see Delta raise its demands for reimbursement. (HT to One Mile at a Time)
I’ve summarized all the changes to the award chart below. New prices will go into effect for awards booked on or after May 6, and old prices are good for award booked on or before May 5.
The only change for domestic awards is that Alaska is creating a new category for Delta’s premium transcontinental routes between JFK and Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Many of these routes (not all) are operated with Delta’s BusinessElite product and include lie-flat seats. Furthermore, these premium routes are excluded from all other First/Business and BusinessElite awards (you can still book them for coach awards).
The changes are painful, but they aren’t awards I expect most people to book anyway. You can probably get better value saving and redeeming your Alaska miles for travel on Alaska and many other partners, including Emirates. Keep in mind that Alaska has separate award charts for each of its partners, and those partners are not affected by these changes. Also keep in mind that the award prices above are for round-trip travel only. Delta does not permit one-way awards at this time, so if you only need to go in one direction you will still pay the round-trip price.