A few years ago, Midwest was the leading carrier in my home airport, General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee. I never flew with them regularly, but it was a nice backup option if I was dealing with limited time flexibility, since I could catch one of their non stops to east coast business destinations. I was also rerouted on Midwest several times when irregular operations caused me to misconnect, usually due to issues at O’Hare.
More recently, Republic Airways bought Midwest and Frontier, and re branded the new airline Frontier. In this same time frame, Airtran has built up operations in Milwaukee and Southwest began limited service to Milwaukee. Clearly the now combined Southwest/AirTran won the battle for Milwaukee, as there are now 15 nonstop destinations on Southwest/AirTran.
With Republic, the service has changed from mostly 717 services as recently as 2008 with Midwest to a mix of the legacy Frontier Airbus fleet with a growing fleet of Republic Embraer planes. In the past year or so, Milwaukee flights have been cut further, and as of June 1 2012, there is only minimal service. Frontier service has dwindled to 7 flights a day from Milwaukee. This includes 4 Airbus flights to Denver, one flight per day to Washingon National and Orlando on EMB-190, and an Essential Air Service flight to Rhinelander, Wisconsin on an ERJ135 . The once famous Midwest Airlines cookie is nothing but a faint memory.
More history of Midwest can be seen here.
For my travel in the last year or so, and especially more recently, Frontier has been nothing but an afterthought. I have about 30,000 miles in my Frontier Early Returns account, most of those came from my time with Midwest. I didn’t really have any plans to use them on anything in particular, they were essentially orphaned. Given the major cutbacks, I really didn’t expect to have much opportunity to use them at all.
I received an email offering a transfer to these miles to Delta at a 1 to 1 conversion. I am not a big fan of Delta Skymiles, but I have had some good redemptions with my Skymiles and I certainly value them much more than Frontier miles, so I’m quite pleased with this generous offer. I still have a fair amount of Delta miles, and this will give my account a nice bump. Maybe a Korean Airlines reward for Business Class on a A380?
Gary has discussed this situation with Frontier on his blog. I agree with his assessment of the value of this unique opportunity, and will be transferring my miles to Delta immediately.
Here is a link to the FAQ for the exchange of miles. Below is a copy of the email I received from Frontier:
As you know, in recent months Frontier has announced significant reductions to its Milwaukee flight schedule as part of a companywide effort to return to profitability. We realize that the reductions may inconvenience you and make it difficult for you to earn and use the FrontierEarlyReturns miles you already have.
Therefore, as a courtesy, we are offering you the one-time opportunity to convert your Frontier EarlyReturns miles into Delta miles. Delta Air Lines is growing its presence in Milwaukee, and by July, expects to have 31 nonstop flights each weekday from Milwaukee to Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York Kennedy and New York LaGuardia. Delta and Delta Connection® carriers serve more than 340 destinations worldwide — offering you nearly unlimited travel opportunities from Milwaukee.
Mile conversions will be done on an even basis — for example, 1,000 EarlyReturns miles will equal 1,000 Delta miles. To convert your miles from Frontier to Delta, please register by 8/31/12. Please allow up to 8 weeks for the miles to appear in your Delta SkyMiles account.
Per Marjorie’s request: Here is a link to register for the mileage conversion.