This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.