Skip to content

Delta makes big play for Alaska, adds several new routes amid pandemic pivot

March 12, 2021
4 min read
Delta makes big play for Alaska, adds several new routes amid pandemic pivot
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Delta is gearing up to fly pandemic-weary travelers to an outdoor adventure of a lifetime.

The Atlanta-based carrier is out with a slew of new and expanded routes to Alaska, perfectly timed for those planning a domestic summer vacation.

Delta is boosting flights to Anchorage (ANC), Fairbanks (FAI), Juneau (JNU), Ketchikan (KTN) and Sitka (SIT) from a variety of hubs across the lower 48.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

The carrier will serve ANC from seven points in the mainland, including the airport's longest regularly scheduled nonstop route, to Atlanta (ATL), beginning with daily service on May 5 and continuing into the fall with three-times-weekly flights. Clocking in at 3,416 miles and over seven hours, Delta will fly the route with a Boeing 767-300, equipped with lie-flat business-class pods.

Delta will also add or boost flights to Anchorage (ANC) from its other hubs, as follows:

  • Detroit (DTW), Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) — new weekend service launching on May 28
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) — Third daily flight for the summer, beginning on May 5
  • Salt Lake City (SLC) — One year-round nonstop; second summer seasonal route beginning June 19
  • Seattle (SEA) — Up to seven daily flights starting June 19

Fairbanks (FAI) will also see a significant service boost, jumping to six nonstop flights from across the Delta network, as follows:

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) — Going double-daily with a second flight beginning June 19
  • Salt Lake City (SLC) — New daily nonstop flight launching May 5
  • Seattle (SEA) — Adding a third frequency beginning June 19

Finally, Delta will fly daily seasonal flights from Seattle (SEA) to Juneau (JNU), Ketchikan (KTN) and Sitka (SIT) beginning on Memorial Day weekend through the end of September.

For Delta, it's not just about the new routes. The carrier is also upgauging equipment as part of its Alaska expansion.

In addition to wide-body Boeing 767 service from Atlanta, all flights will be flown by either a Boeing 737-800, -900 or 757-200. The only exceptions are the two routes to KTN and SIT, which will be flown by Delta Connection partner SkyWest Airlines on an Embraer 175.

More: Delta cuts 9 routes, adds 7 others in sweeping route-map shakeup

Friday's announcement marks one of Delta's first major pandemic-era network expansions. All U.S. carriers have been shifting focus from business- to leisure-oriented routes, including multiple new point-to-point flights that bypass hubs.

This strategy shift has largely focused on points in Florida, South Carolina, Texas and other states that offer a host of outdoor activities with relaxed COVID-19 restrictions. Delta charged into such leisure markets with a sweeping schedule update back in late January.

But Friday's Alaska expansion is seemingly far more comprehensive — and opportunistic.

Delta and Alaska Airlines are fighting for ground in Seattle (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

For one, with Canada banning cruise ships through the end of the year, the Alaska cruise season is effectively over before it even began. With cruising out of the cards, travelers looking for an outdoor-friendly vacation might instead fly to the Last Frontier.

Plus, with President Biden promising access to a vaccine by the end of May, domestic travel is poised to have a meaningful rebound this summer. And Alaska definitely fits the bill for a far-flung domestic escape.

Related: A history of Delta in Seattle

Delta's latest expansion also reenergizes some of the competition with its partner-turned-enemy Alaska Airlines. Pre-pandemic, Delta was growing aggressively in Seattle, and the new Alaska routes pit Delta squarely against Alaska Airlines, which has historically offered a robust route network from Seattle to Alaska.

Since breaking up with Delta, Alaska Airlines has turned to American Airlines to fuel its growth ambitions. The two new partners launched a new partnership, and Alaska is on the cusp of joining the Oneworld alliance later this month.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/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.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
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.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees