I never thought I would actually be saying this, but… I’m considering switching from United Airlines to Alaska Airlines on flights within the United States.
Look, I love United and I think United is awesome and far better than Delta or American.. but since I live in Seattle, fares on Alaska Airlines are almost always substantially lower and the flights are usually direct. Plus, I can redeem Avios on short-medium haul flights and save money and other valuable miles.
I think the only reason I’m loyal-ish to United on flights with the U.S. and North America, is because of my Star Alliance Gold status with Lufthansa. I won’t be giving up my valuable Lufthansa elite status anytime, like ever, so I will still fly with United.. but only when it makes sense.
This year so far, it hasn’t made sense to fly with United for me at all… other than a few mileage runs to re-qualify for Star Gold. The fares are constantly higher than Alaska’s and usually United’s cheap fares only earn me 25% of the miles flown at most… whereas I would be earning 100% with Alaska.
I’m not going to abandon United Airlines completely… but I think from now on, I will only fly with them when it makes sense and when they have a reasonably good price that will gain me enough miles to be happy with the ticket… otherwise, I think I will stick with Alaska and qualify for MVP… plus I hear the upgrade lists are way shorter than United’s.
I also think Alaska Airlines has an amazing mileage programme and their miles are really valuable and still can take me around the world to many places – sure Alaska’s miles don’t have the global reach of United’s, but are still very valuable.
To summarise the above, I will split my United States domestic travel between United Airlines and Alaska Airlines. I will continue to credit United flights to Lufthansa to maintain my Star Gold status, and as for Alaska flights that aren’t purchased with Avios, I will simply credit them to Mileage Plan and with Alaska’s good fares, I should qualify for MVP Elite status soon.