Alaska Airlines isn’t part of a traditional airline alliance. Their Mileage Plan loyalty program was once loosely aligned with SkyTeam and Oneworld, then became closer to Oneworld after Delta started competing on their turf. But through it all it’s never been official. Alaska picks and chooses its partners largely to expand the value of its program beyond its own domestic routes. This is often spurred on by new airlines starting service to cities it already serves.
So in that sense it’s not surprising that EL AL, the national airline of Israel, is the newest Alaska partner. The news comes on the same day that EL AL began service to San Francisco, and Alaska is making a big push to win over the California market since it acquired Virgin America. Similar partnerships with JAL and Singapore Airlines began after those carriers expanded service to the West Coast.
You’ll be able to earn Alaska miles for travel on EL AL for flights on or after July 1, 2019, according to the following chart:
Other details of the loyalty program partnership, such as how to redeem miles, have not yet been released. However there was this nugget from the press release:
Both airlines will offer the opportunity for their members to earn miles while flying with the partner airline. Base miles flown on EL AL will also count toward elite status in Alaska’s Mileage Plan program. Additionally, EL AL travelers will be able to redeem their EL AL Matmid miles to book on Alaska flights in the future.
It’s worth noting that EL AL is a parter with American Express Membership Rewards, even though Alaska is not. (Other carriers like Singapore and Cathay are also partners with various transferable points programs.) This could offer a new way to book awards on Alaska Airlines, but we’ll have to wait for the award chart first!