Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partners have been in flux over the last year with the airline adding new partners and losing current ones. Over the last year the Alaska Airlines has not only merged with Virgin America, but terminated key partnership along the way. The “most west coast” flights was too much for the government, and Alaska surrendered many codeshares with American Airlines.
In the process of the last 18 months Alaska has added new global partners. FinnAir, Singapore Airlines, Condor, and Japan Airlines are all new partners since mid-2016. Alaska Airlines’ growth has also brought the end to several partnerships. The list includes Delta, which has been attacking Alaska in Seattle for years, and every partner that Delta and Alaska share. Air France-KLM ends April, 2018 and Aeromexico already ended. Even American Airlines and Alaska Airlines eliminated earning capabilities on non-codeshares domestic flights and ended elite benefits.
As Mileage Plan has reshaped and mileage awards are harder to find due to partnership which allow earning of miles but not redeeming (Singapore Airlines and FinnAir). It now appears another change is looming. Alaska Airlines and Korean Air are likely to cut ties.
Based on History Alaska Airlines and Korean Air partnership is Doomed
Delta has it out for the little guy and is doing everything in their power to squash Alaska Airlines in their home city of Seattle. Over the last few years Delta has grown Seattle into a hub with 175 peak daily flights to 54 cities. Alaska is fighting back through a massive expansion in Seattle and the purchase of Virgin America. Yet despite Alaska’s fight, Delta has a lot of power over some of Alaska Airlines’ partners. Delta’s sway through joint ventures, partial ownership, and seats on foreign airline’s boards is evident.
Air France-KLM is terminating their codeshare and partnership with Alaska Airlines. This was announced just days after Air France announced new flights to Seattle. With both Delta and Alaska having a hub in Seattle, Air France doesn’t need Alaska. Not to mention a 10% ownership by Delta moves the needle as well.
Aeromexico and Delta have a joint venture and now Delta owns 49% of Aeromexico. A couple of months after the approval of the joint venture, Aeromexico and Alaska’s partnership ended. Surprise Surprise? Not at all!
If history is to repeat itself, Delta will soon force Korean Airlines to end their partnership with Alaska Airlines. The Korean Air – Delta joint venture was approved in November of 2017 and is expected to be implemented by June of 2018. The JV does limit Korean or Delta from being exclusive partners. Meaning Delta cannot force Korean to limit their partnership with Hawaiian. However, it does not say Delta cannot limit some partners. My guess is Alaska receives the boot.
Good Bye Korean Hello Others
If Korean Air dumps Alaska like all other Skyteam partners, no one will be surprise. Alaska has expanded their global partnerships over the years with other Asian carriers. Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Hainan, and Singapore Airlines are four solid partners. Maybe we will even get lucky and see another carrier join Alaska’s Global partners. I would not mind seeing Eva Air replace Korean Air’s partnership with Alaska!
What are your thoughts? Will Korean bow to Delta’s demand and wave farewell to Alaska Airlines?