ASK LUCKY (and each other)


Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.

Anyone can post a question, but you'll get the most benefit from registering to join our forum. You'll be able to see when your question is answered, and like comments from other users.

This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so feel free to jump in and share tips!

Thanks for reading!

Best,
Ben

Award Redemption Best International Carrier to Open Account With for Delta/Alaska/Ultimate Rewards Combos

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Jeff S., May 21, 2018.

  1. Jeff S.

    Jeff S. Reader

    Hello,

    At the recommendation of this website, I recently opened a Chase Sapphire Preferred account and have earned the full sign-up bonus.

    Because of my travel patterns with my previous employer, I have 300,000+ Delta SkyMiles.

    The majority of my personal travel is to the Pacific Northwest. Because of a recent job change and move, Delta is no longer the best option for that trip. United and Alaska are now the two best airlines. Of those two, Alaska would be my preference.

    My problem is that Alaska is not a direct transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. But a few of Alaska’s partner airlines are Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. I’d like to open a frequent flier account with one international carrier to facilitate using my Ultimate Rewards points on Alaska. My preference would be a carrier with a strong European network, though that priority is second behind getting the most “efficient and effective” transfer of points.

    Which Ultimate Rewards and Alaska international partner airline would you recommend?
     
    #1
  2. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,104
    Likes Received:
    1,432
    Given your preference for a strong European network, BA seems to be the best choice - they have a distance based chart so real short flight's wont take too many Avois.

    For longer flights on AS, you can book with SQ or Korean Air, as it may be cheaper. Note that with Korean Air, round trip travel is required. There's no reason you cant open accounts with different airlines and pick the one that works best for a particular trip.
     
    #2
    JAS likes this.
  3. JAS

    JAS New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks David. I’m a little bit OCD, so I was hoping to limit the number of frequent flier accounts I have ;) For some reason I just don’t like having accounts with my information floating around out there if I rarely or never use them.

    I was hoping there would be a “silver bullet” arrangement that would allow me to choose one international airline that is a partner with both Alaska and Delta, and would:

    1) Allow me to use my Delta miles, through the international airline, to purchase Alaska tickets.

    2) Give me the most options for travel to Europe using my Delta miles.

    3) Allow me to use my Ultimate Rewards points to purchase either Delta or Alaska tickets through the international airline.

    I didn’t really clarify those things very well in my original post, but that’s what I’m ultimately trying to accomplish.

    It looks like I’ll have to sign up for a minimum of two international airline accounts. Aer Lingus and BA are the only two airlines common to Alaska and Ultimate Rewards, but they’re not part of Delta. Air France and Virgin Atlantic are common to Delta and Ultimate Rewards, but are not part of Alaska. Korean is common to all three, but doesn’t really help with our desire to travel to Europe using the miles.

    So I’m thinking I need a Korean Air account for travel on Alaska using both Delta and Ultimate Rewards, and either BA/Air France/Virgin Atlantic for travel to Europe using Delta and Ultimate Rewards.
     
    #3
  4. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,104
    Likes Received:
    1,432
    The biggest issue with what you want to do is that Alaska and Delta ended their partnership a couple of years ago - Delta wanted to build up Seattle as a hub instead of working with Alaska. In doing so, it seems Delta is also pressuring their partner airlines to end relationships with Alaska - AirFrance, KLM and AeroMexico have all ended their partnerships with AS in the last year or so. Considering Korean Air is now working more closely with Delta, it's just a matter of time before that ends as well.

    To address your questions:

    1 - Sounds like you want to transfer miles out of Delta to another airline that can book AS - not possible as no airline, including Delta, allows you to transfer miles out from their program to another airline.

    2 - Since your miles are with Delta, you have to book awards using Delta and their pricing scheme. Most of their partner airlines that have awards available will show up by searching on Delta's website. It's not a perfect though so you may want to also check for space using AirFrance/KLM's FlyingBlue search. If you find space there that doesnt show up on Delta, note the flights you want and call Delta to book.

    3 - UR points are transferable to many airlines, though not directly to DL or AS. You can transfer to Korean Air, which will give you access to award flights on Delta and Alaska Air (until further notice) as well as other SkyTeam airlines and KE's non-alliance partners. UR also transfers to British Airways, which is great for short haul awards on AS, as well as American Airlines.

    With UR, I do recommend you look into posts on here about sweet spots of the transfer partners and not limit yourself to AS or DL.
     
    #4
  5. JAS

    JAS New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks David. Very helpful!

    I should clarify: I know I can’t transfer miles from Delta into an airline that is a partner of AS. I was hoping that I could find the Korean Air code share flights that correspond to AS flights I might want to take, then call Delta and book those “Korean Air” flights using Delta miles. Thereby actually booking flights on AS airplanes, which are shown as Korean Air flights, using Delta miles. Does that make sense? Maybe that’s not possible? Wouldn’t surprise me if Delta makes sure you can’t book Korean Flights that are code shares of AS flights, given Delta’s fight with Alaska.
     
    #5
  6. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,104
    Likes Received:
    1,432
    Makes sense, but is not possible.

    Airlines dont release award seats on codeshare flights at all.
     
    #6
    rickyw likes this.
  7. JAS

    JAS New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah. I should’ve known my plan was too good to be true ;)

    Thanks again for the answers. I appreciate it!
     
    #7
  8. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,104
    Likes Received:
    1,432
    :) You're welcome!
     
    #8