Alaska Airlines, Seattle’s Hometown Airline, has formally announced a few days ago their new partnership with Irish airline Aer Lingus. This should come as no surprise given that Aer Lingus is introducing flights to Seattle as of 18 May. The Irish airline also serves Los Angeles and San Francisco – Alaska’s gateway cities. In total, Aer Lingus serves 13 cities in North America from Dublin.
The new Alaska Airlines and Aer Lingus partnership will first feature interline availability in April – meaning passengers can check their bags through to the final destination. At a later date, Alaska Mileage Plan members will be able to earn and redeem miles on Aer Lingus and Aer Lingus AerClub members will be able to earn and redeem miles on Alaska Airlines.
This new partnership will allow Alaska frequent flyers more options and destinations when travelling to Europe. Aer Lingus passengers will benefit from Alaska’s extensive West Coast network and select routes to Hawaii. Alaska also partners with British Airways, however redeeming miles on BA isn’t often the best deal as you will end up paying a significant amount of taxes/fees in addition to the required miles. My hope is that Aer Lingus doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on Alaska award tickets – if this is the case, Alaska miles will be worth even more as the airline continues to add new partnerships.
My biggest hope for the future of Alaska’s frequent flyer programme is that they introduce the ability to mix airline partners on award tickets. Currently, you can only fly Alaska + 1 Airline Partner on an award ticket, which is a major limitation. Alaska miles would increase even more in value if the frequent flyer programme made a few more enhancements. All in all, this new partnership is a positive one and I’m happy to see Alaska add yet another European airline partner.
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