Alaska Breaks Up With Delta, Lowers Award Rates; Transfer 20K Starpoints Into 32.5K Alaska Miles, 40K For Cathay Business Class To Israel!

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The Alaska-Virgin America merger is complete and there’s lots of news.

1. The Alaska-Delta partnership will end effective 5/1/17.

You can still earn Alaska miles on Delta flights and vice versa until 4/30. If you purchased a ticket before today then you can earn miles on each other’s flights regardless of when the date of travel is.

You can book Delta awards with Alaska miles and Alaska awards with Delta miles until 4/30 for travel at any time, but no changes will be allowed after 4/30.

2. Alaska is also switching to a distance based domestic award chart effective today that will lower the cost of many awards for Alaska flights. Domestic awards will now cost 5K, 7.5K, 10K, or 12.5K miles based on the distance of the domestic flight.

3. You can now earn Alaska miles for Virgin America flights or Virgin America miles for Alaska flights.

4. Effective 1/9 you can transfer Virgin America miles into Alaska at a 1:1.3 ratio.

You can transfer 20K Starpoints into 25K Virgin America miles now. Then you can transfer those 25K Virgin America miles into 32.5K Alaska miles on 1/9.

Alaska has incredible award charts for travel on airlines like American and Cathay Pacific.

For example one-way flights to Europe or South America on American are just 20K coach off-peak, 30K coach peak, 50K business, or 62.5K first with no fuel surcharges.

One-way Flights to Asia on award-winning Cathay Pacific are just 30K coach, 35K premium economy, 50K business, or 70K first with no fuel surcharges.

One-way Flights to Israel on Cathay Pacific are 50K coach, 55K premium economy, 62.5K business, or 70K first with no fuel surcharges and a free stopover in Hong Kong if you want one.

Cathay starts flying to Israel on March 26.

You must call Alaska to book travel on Cathay Pacific.

You’ll effectively get 1.625 Alaska miles for each Starpoints, so just divide Alaska’s award rates by 1.625 to see how many effective Starpoints those routes will cost.

In other words a one-way business class flight to Israel would cost 62,500/1.625=about 38,461 Starpoints thanks to the 25% transfer bonus from Starwood to Virgin America and 30% transfer bonus from Virgin America to Alaska! A 40K Starpoints transfer would net 65K Alaska miles via Virgin America, more than enough for that award.

Alaska even allows for a free stopover on one-way awards!

It’s worth noting however that Alaska used to have amazing rates for Emirates suites, but they raised the rates without warning.

5. Virgin elites will be matched to Alaska status on 1/9.

6. You’ll be able to redeem Alaska miles for Virgin flights and vice versa on 1/9.

7. You can now earn more Alaska miles by crediting partner flights to Alaska.

American Express is a advertiser.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $3,000 in 3 months.

-The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 25K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.

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46 Comments On "Alaska Breaks Up With Delta, Lowers Award Rates; Transfer 20K Starpoints Into 32.5K Alaska Miles, 40K For Cathay Business Class To Israel!"

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Is this better transfer than transferring SPG to Marriott for the vacation package?


Is the distance based award just for travel on Alaska or w delta (until may), AA and virgin as well? Is it total combined distance or per segment (like Avios)??


So what can I do with my million Delta miles? 🙁


what is the routing flying Cathay to Israel?


Depends on what you want to redeem for.

Seems like just on Alaska.
Total combined distance.

That should be enough for 1 round-trip to TLV 😉

via Hong Kong.


that would be JFK Hong Kong Israel?


I traveled delta 2 weeks i gave my delta skymiles account number at time of reservation. Did i made a mistake? Did it rather payed to put it to alaska?



Lets say you wanted to redeem Alaska miles for LAX-BKK (via Cathay Pacific) First Class as an example? With the Marriott package you’d get a 7 night stay as well – how would you value that?


Virgin Elevate points will still be redeemable on Virgin flights at 2.2-2.4 cents per point?


Anyone else transfer to Alaska, other than Starwood?

Cdn guy

Am i able to use alaskan miles to fly from Toronto or Montreal to Israel?


JFK-HKG (stop for 4 days)-TLV

would be considered 1 stop and would fall under 65k for business???

Joe S

Will the price of domestic awards to Hawaii change, or just Continental US?


When is the switch to a distance based domestic award chart going into effect?


something doesn’t make sense PHX to SAN 12.5K ? It is less than 700 miles


As low as 5K flying on Alaska directly or as well on AA partner.?

High end hobo

What will the prices be when using AS miles for VX metal?


How do you book a cathy pacific JFK-TLV via hong kong on alaska website? They don’t seem to offer the cathy option?


Thanks Dan, this is amazing info! I’ve been saving SPG points to transfer to Alaska for some Cathay Pacific flights to TLV. I was going to most likely do a Marriott Vacation package and end up topping up some points later to get it to a Cat 8 Marriott 2BRm timeshare…it seems like in that scenario now I’d be better off using WAY less valuable SPG points (only 193k for 5 J flights) and forgoing the Marriott cert. What do you think?



You can call to change it.

For the time being.


@Cdn guy:
US only I believe.t


@Joe S:


The discount is for Alaska saver flights.

Seems like Alaska only.

@High end hobo:

Call Alaska.


@Dan – is there a limit on how many miles one can transfer from Virgin America to Alaska Air? And how long will this 30% promotion run?


@Sam: Dan says in his post to call Alaska.


@Ralph: Should be no limit as it is the same company. Not a promo, just the valuation given VA miles by Alaska.


What about using Chase UR points for Alaska flights? Do we now also gain access to fly on Virgin? This may be another game changer for flights to Hawaii from US West Coast, as previously it was limited to only AA.


Does Alaska charge close in fees?

If not, isn’t this like another avios concept type of points?


Hi Dan,

I am currently sitting in a lounge in JFK with my Chase Reserve and Amex Platinum thanks to you. I was just bumped to take a later flight and was given a $1300 reward. Which is the best to choose? The Amex card $1300 expires in 6 months. Do i want that? I can get 1300 in either Amazon, Amex, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Delta, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Marriott, Royal Caribbean, or Target. Amex is the only one that expires.
I need some direction!



Dan does it pay to change?


Cathay Pacific
47 hours JFK-HKG-TLV
30 hours back
Almost as long the namesake of their frequent flier club’s expeditions.

Buenas Nachos

@Dan –

What are best websites to check award space on Cathay besides their own – still BA or Quantas?

I’m with Reb Yid on this one, that’s a LOT of transit time.

Deal Guy

I just booked a virgin America flight last week for January. I don’t have a ff account with either Virgin America or Alaska,but i do have with Delta. Will I be able to earn miles on Delta for this flight, (or any other airlines) ?



For starters, even though the AMEX expires, you can use that to buy pretty much everything where Amex is accepted.

If you wanted Amazon for example, you could always buy one down the road with the Amex card.

I’d go with the Amex card.

Btw, how long were you bumped for and did you offer or were they looking for volunteers?

Also, where were you going?


is there a way to use delta points to book on cathy pacific through its relationship with alaska?


I guess they haven’t updated their award calendar yet? Tried booking LAX-SFO one way, and it shows 12,500 miles for the entire month of March.


Never mind, Alaska doesn’t fly their own metal between LAX-SFO, it’s on AA.


Do you think Alaska would have the option to be transferable into Virgin at all?


Does Alaska consider Israel Europe or Middle East? And can I book a ticket using Delta points for one of these partners until they separate?


I understand moving points/miles from amex or starwood to alaska. I also know you can book partner airlines such as iberia on the american site. i never heard that you can actually move miles from one airline to another as you are saying from virgin to alaska. Why would an airline allow you to move out miles to another airline thereby the airline loses out on the reservation and potential incomes.


@Anonymous: I was bumped from a 920am flight, to a 5pm flight. I offered to volunteer and they told me they’d let me know if they needed me. They needed 4 volunteers in the end and gave each of us $1300!


I just wanted to say you run a great website. I’ve been reading for a few months and it’s amazing what great content you put out.

One other interesting tidbit is that if you have Virgin elite status, it gets extended for an additional year and eventually converted to Alaska elite status. Virgin Gold status is supposed to be converted into MVP Gold 75K.

Toronto Guy

Living in Toronto, Canada I checked Alaska Airlines mileage chart for partner flights (ie, AA) from Toronto to New York (JFK). The Alaska website is finding the flights but they cost 12.5K points each way! That is the same number of points for a flight from Toronto to LAX – and the distance is not the same! Please explain why a short-haul flight from Toronto to JFK is the same number of Alaska miles from Toronto to LAX?

Also, as I primarily transfer my SPG points into BA Avios points to book AA partner flights, is the new Alaskan / Virgin Air point offering better now than the British Avious points for AA partner flights.

Thanks and keep up the great work!! Happy Chanukah 🙂


Great site! Love it! Thanks for all you do.

Question: how do you book Alaska awards with Delta miles? New to the miles game & haven’t figured out how to do this one yet. Thanks


i am trying to transfer SPG to Virgin America. Spg said its not a partner . Should i transfer to Virgin and then to alaska or is it specifically virgin america. please send a link


I’m new here. I just attempted to transfer Starwood points to Alaska points both via SPG website and over the phone and the ratio is only 1:1. What do I need to do to get the special promo of 1:1.62?


Read the post.

“You can transfer 20K Starpoints into 25K Virgin America miles now. Then you can transfer those 25K Virgin America miles into 32.5K Alaska miles on 1/9.”


@dan – if I’m understanding correctly, any time I’m going to book a virgin America flight with points, I should transfer my elevate points to Alaska first and then use Alaska points to book virgin flight?


Hi Dan. What about transfering Chase UR points to Virgin? Why do you only mention Amex.