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American who? Delta what? Beginning 2017, I’m exclusively flying and crediting everything to Alaska or Southwest.
If I have to fly American, that’ll be credited to Alaska. Thanks to Alaska’s merger with Virgin America, I might not see the inside of DFW much next year. DAL is gonna become my new jam – and it’s only 10 minutes up the street.
I’m also going to transfer 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott to get:
- 120,000 Southwest points
- Companion Pass for nearly 2 full years
- 7 nights at a Marriott Category 5 hotel
I easily value that at least $5,000.
In This Post
Bring on the Alaska and Southwest “Love”
I for one have been looking forward to the Alaska-Virgin America merger for a long time.
Because Virgin America has a hub at DAL, which means I can get more places without the help of American or Delta. Which is awesome because Alaska Mileage Plan is the last remaining good mileage-based program.
I currently have 3 companion fares and at $50 flight voucher I need to use. And don’t want those to go to waste.
- Link: Marriott Hotel + Air package (login required)
I have also been deliberating whether or not to get the Southwest Companion Pass via 90,000 Starwood points.
Because 90,000 Starwood points are worth a lot. But so is the Companion Pass. It’ll be good for the remainder of 2017 and all of 2018 – nearly 2 full years of flying free with a mate. That’s incredible if you put it to frequent use.
120,000 Southwest points are worth at least $1,716 toward Southwest flights. But if I bring someone along, that doubles to $3,432 in paid airfare saved out-of-pocket.
It’s reasonable to value 7 free nights at Marriott Category 5 hotels at $1,000 (at $143 per night). But I’m gonna round right up and call it $5,000 because the Companion Pass is good through the end of 2018.
And 120,000 Southwest points alone are good for nearly 6 free round-trip flights at a cost of $300 each – with a companion for the cost of taxes and fees – which is incredible.
90,000 Starwood points can be worth much more in hotel award stays, or a First Class international flight. It’s going to sting to lose that many in one fell swoop.
But I feel like the lasting value of the Companion Pass, spread out over 2 years, will ultimately be worth much more than a few nights in a hotel, or a couple of flights.
After much back and forth, I’ll pull the trigger on January 3rd and make the required transfers and calls. Plus, I’ll still have some Starwood points left over because I got both credit cards earlier this year. And rocked an awesome Plastiq promotion for 3X Starwood points.
Putting them together
Simply, I’ll still shop based on price and schedule. But I’ll factor in whether or not I want to bring someone along. And decide between Alaska or Southwest case-by-case.
If American is unavoidable because they have the best price or route, I’ll credit the flights to Alaska. And try to avoid Delta altogether.
Because Alaska and Southwest have plenty of non-stop flights from DAL, so between the two, I should be covered.
I’m thrilled about this arrangement because DAL is so close to me. I’ll think nothing of taking a quick weekend trip. The psychological freedom of having all those points in the mileage bank and earning status with a program I like is invaluable – it’s actually worth a lot more than I anticipated. That feeling alone is worth it.
It also seems good to split the difference between 2 programs so all my eggs aren’t in one (airline) basket. Because Alaska could change their tune (although I oddly trust them). And Southwest could devalue their points or program without warning (which they’ve done before). So this seems like the best hedge, all things considered.
I’m thrilled about the Alaska-Virgin America merger. It really opens Dallas up to the Alaska Mileage Plan program in a way that wasn’t as accessible before.
And I’m finally going to jump on the Southwest bandwagon with two feet first – Companion Pass and all.
Airline loyalty these days is a weird topic that requires many mental leaps and connections. But the arrangement of sticking to Alaska or Southwest for all things flight-related seems to be the simplest solution. And I love the Mileage Plan program! Alaska miles are extremely valuable and versatile. I’m already eyeing a trip South Africa in Cathay Pacific First and Business, with a stopover in Hong Kong for next year.
I’m also just done being on the American/Delta treadmill. It’s tiring keeping up with all the requirements. #goodbyetoallthat
Could you replicate this arrangement? Sure, Alaska and Southwest have prominence in many cities.
Unless you are extremely hub captive (ATL, SLC, or a small regional airport [like CMH]), it might be worth ditching American, Delta, United, and their revenue-based requirements for a year or two. Of course, this isn’t always possible because of price, schedules, connections, etc. But it looks like I’m striking out in Dallas – another reason I’m so glad I moved here!
Are you assessing your loyalty choices this week? Will you make a move to another airline in 2017? I’d love hear about which one and why!
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