Alaska Airlines is using its frequent flier program to reward its most loyal customers for flying Alaska on some of its busiest routes.
The SeaTac-based airline is awarding its frequent fliers who fly between Sea-Tac and eight cities in the West double frequent flier miles through Dec. 31. To earn those miles, Alaska Mileage Plan members must register for double miles on the airline's web site.
Those miles are available from June 1 through Dec. 31 on Alaska (not code-share) non-stop flights between Sea-Tac and Anchorage, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Diego, Oakland and San Jose.
The double miles deal is a response to new competition particularly from Delta Air Lines on some of those routes. Delta is adding dozens of new domestic flights to its Sea-Tac route structure this year.
Part of the reason for beefing up its domestic routes from Sea-Tac is to feed Delta's growing repertoire of international flights from Sea-Tac. By mid-summer, Delta will offer non-stop flights from Sea-Tac to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo's two airports, Haneda and Narita in Asia. In Europe, Delta flies to Sea-Tac from Amsterdam, Paris and London.
Along with its international passengers, Delta is likely to pick up new domestic-only traffic between its new Western destinations from Sea-Tac including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Vancouver and Anchorage.
Alaska is offering double miles on British Airways flights from Sea-Tac to London. British competes with Delta's new London non-stop from Sea-Tac.
Double and even triple miles were a frequently used weapon in market share competitions between airlines in the '80s. In recent years, airlines have used double miles promotions rarely, usually on new routes for the first month or two, but rarely on a large scale.
Likewise airlines have raised the number of frequent flier miles needed to earn free trips and some carriers have begun awarding miles not on the basis of miles flown but on the basis of money spent on tickets.