Happy 2017 everyone! With the new year comes a new elite status qualification year. While I love my award travel, I also tend to do a good bit of paid travel throughout the year. Although I am no road warrior, by strategically mapping out where I credit my paid flights, I have been able to maintain mid-tier status with multiple airlines the past few years. One of my favorites is to credit my Delta flights to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. However, the Mileage Plan program has a unique quirk when it comes to crediting Delta Comfort+ flights to the program. And here’s how to figure out what you will earn for those flights!
I am a pretty big fan of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. Not only do I enjoy the reciprocal benefits with both American Airlines and Delta, but I also find their miles to be extremely valuable based on my travel needs. And that is why I always credit my Delta flights to my Mileage Plan program account.
Seeing as I am 6’5″, I very highly value my leg room on flights. For that reason, I tend to be willing to pay a few dollars extra for the Comfort+ seats on Delta flights as they offer a few inches of extra leg room. Delta books the Comfort+ tickets into the ‘W’ fare class.
However, when you look at the Mileage Plan earning chart for flights operated by Delta, you will note something peculiar – it states that the W fare class earns “based on original booking class.”
Huh?! But W is the original booking class so what is the deal? Well, as it turns out, Delta created a new fare class for their Comfort+ tickets, but still assign their tickets an Economy fare class for purposes of crediting to Alaska Airlines. So how in the world are you supposed to figure out what your “original booking class” is so you know how many miles will be credited to your Mileage Plan account? Thankfully, that is actually pretty easy.
After selecting your flights on the Delta website, you will be taken to the trip booking page which looks like this:
If you scroll down to the bottom of that page, you will find a dark blue box titled “Terms and Conditions.” From there you either want to click on “Fare Rules” or “Fare Rules, Change & Cancellation Policies.”
Clicking on either of those options will bring up a pop-up page that offers up the fare code for your particular ticket in the upper right hand corner.
The letter that is most important in the fare code is the first letter as that is the “original booking class” for purposes of crediting your Delta flight to the Mileage Plan program. In our example, the original booking class of our Comfort+ seat is actually ‘V’. Taking a look at the Mileage Plan partner accrual chart, we can see that a V class fare actually earns us only 50% of miles flown.
I spent about 2 hours searching through various routes for upcoming flights I need to take and found that in every instance, the Comfort+ seats booked in either the ‘X’ or the ‘V’ fare class – both of which earn only 50% of miles flown. I would guess that it largely depends on the route you are flying and the available fare buckets, so make sure you check the fare class before booking your Comfort+ seats if you are only doing so in hopes of earning additional elite miles with Alaska Airlines.
While crediting your Delta flights to Alaska Airlines is only going to be an option for a few more months (the partnership ends in May of 2017), if you are like me and have become a free agent with no allegiances anywhere, you can make a pretty solid dent in your MVP status requirements by crediting your Delta flights to the Mileage Plan program. Although most airlines offer at least 100% of miles flown (plus usually a small bonus) for premium economy travels, it seems that Alaska takes the opposite approach. As such, unless you really value the extra legroom, early boarding and other little perks that Delta’s Comfort+ seats offer, I would not go out of my way to purchase these tickets solely in hopes of securing a better earning rate for your Mileage Plan account.
Where do you usually credit your Delta miles?