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Can You Transfer Delta SkyMiles To Alaska Miles?

by on March 2, 2014 · 5 comments

in Alaska, Delta, Points Guy Pointers, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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It was a big week in airline news with Delta’s announcement that they’re going to fundamentally change the way that flyers earn SkyMiles and, potentially, the way that we redeem them. I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about Delta and its alliance with Alaska.

TPG Reader Josh asked on Twitter:

@thepointsguy Question – how does Alaska Airlines make money if I fly AA, DL and BA, then credit my miles to them and redeem with them?”

And TPG reader Ashker asked on Facebook:

“I am a Delta Platinum Medallion and currently earn 2X miles the distance flown. After today’s announcement from Delta, I’m thinking about depositing my miles into Alaska MileagePlan instead, where I don’t have any status. So, would I be earning 1X mile there or 2X miles?

Also, is it possible to earn Qualifying miles in one airlines (e.g Delta) and redeemable miles in another partner (e.g. Alaska)?”

With all the negative news from Delta lately, including award chart devaluations, hacking away at elite benefits, and more restrictive lounge access policies, one of the pieces of advice I’ve shared a lot lately is that you can still fly Delta but bank your miles to its partner, Alaska Airlines.

So first to answer Josh’s question. When you pay one airline for your ticket but bank the miles to a partner, the airline you actually pay/fly must pay their partner for the miles you bank. Alaska members will redeem for Delta flights, Delta members redeem for Alaska, and at the end of the year, if there’s a disproportionate balance there’s a cash settlement between the two airlines. However, the price they pay for miles is not remotely the same price we pay for miles. Airlines mutually agree upon a price so that each partner is making money when the other is banking miles, and vice versa.

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Bank your Delta miles to Alaska.

As for whether or not you can transfer your Delta SkyMiles into Alaska miles, the simple answer is no. Generally, you can’t transfer your existing miles with one program into another mileage or point currency without doing so at a horrible transfer rate. They’ll certainly allow you to switch, but you’ll get nailed on the conversions. This is why you need to be informed about different mileage programs, and carefully consider which program will give you the most value when deciding where to bank your miles.

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on FacebookTweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Ben Price

    Only negative of banking miles to AS: you can’t see your upcoming trips on DL.com

  • James

    Also, miles flown on American or Delta and credited to Alaska do not qualify for million mile status on any airlines. Alaska only counts miles flown on its planes for MM status. This may not matter to most people.

  • Julia

    If you don’t want to lose your Delta Sky Miles, maybe try this platform:
    giift.com – great to exchange miles

  • todddoubleu

    Thanks for the excellent coverage here. So if I botch the reservation step (and put Delta number down when I had wanted the credit of that flight to go to Alaska,) I’m stuck … unless I want to wade through the transfer hurdles?

  • kelsey

    What does it mean to bank your miles with Alaska? I am about to make an overseas flight on Delta but would love to get Alaska miles for another trip within the States. How do I do this?

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