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Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden to retire, Ben Minicucci named next leader

Nov. 09, 2020
3 min read
Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden to retire, Ben Minicucci named next leader
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Alaska Airlines president Ben Minicucci will be the airline's next leader once CEO Brad Tilden steps aside next March.

Tilden will continue to chair the Seattle-based carrier's board after he steps down as CEO on March 31, 2021, Alaska said Monday. He has led the airline since 2012 and worked at Alaska for 30 years.

The leadership transition is unlikely to have any immediate effect on Alaska travelers. Minicucci has worked as Tilden's deputy since 2016 and in various roles at the carrier since 2004.

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Alaska Airlines president and incoming CEO Ben Minicucci (left) and retiring CEO Brad Tilden (right). (Image courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

Recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be top of mind for Minicucci when he takes the reins at Alaska. Other on-going initiatives include navigating the airline's new Oneworld membership that will be complete the day he moves into the corner office. In addition, he will be tasked with implementing Alaska's new West Coast partnership with American Airlines and completing the retirement and replacement of the carrier's Airbus A320 fleet.

"The way in which our employees have navigated through challenges is truly inspiring – and the last nine months is no exception," Minicucci said in a statement. "I'm excited and optimistic about our future as we continue this journey together."

Alaska has yet to name a replacement for Minicucci as president.

Related: Why Alaska Airlines can’t retire its Airbus A320s all at once

Alaska grew by leaps and bounds under Tilden's leadership. The highlight is likely the 2016 acquisition of Virgin America that greatly expanded its presence in California and on U.S. transcontinental routes. Alaska grew more than 36% through the merger based on 2015 and 2017 schedules, according to Cirium data.

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Minicucci had an instrumental role in the deal. He oversaw the integration of Virgin America as the carrier's CEO after the acquisition closed in December 2016 until the airline was integrated into Alaska in 2018.

"Alaska is on a solid trajectory," Tilden said in a statement. "Now is the time to position Alaska for future growth... Ben has proven himself over a long career as a person who cares passionately about our people and our culture, as a leader who builds strong teams and produces results, and as a person who will work tirelessly to push this great company forward."

Related: Alaska Airlines sets new date for full Oneworld membership

Featured image by (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees