The news that Delta Air Lines will implement a revenue requirement in addition to normal mileage and segment requirements next year to qualify for Medallion status has created quite a stir across the interweb. Message boards, blogs, and the Twitterverse are buzzing with spirited discussions back and forth on this change. Some love it, some hate, and others are indifferent. One thing is certain, it is a change that will lead some Delta elites to look elsewhere. You know how I feel about this. I am not personally troubled by the thought of a revenue requirement for elite status, and I am not changing my flying patterns or mileage earning preferences because of it. However, that does not mean that I am unsympathetic to those who are concerned about it. I think the first program that any chagrined Delta flier should think about is Alaska Mileage Plan.

Alaska partners with an impressive number of airlines, including Delta, and earning Alaska miles on your Delta flights is as simple as entering your Mileage Plan number in your reservation. Most Delta fares are eligible for Alaska mileage credit, and you can even qualify for Alaska’s elite MVP status with your Delta flights. And yes, you can take advantage of those elite benefits when flying Delta.

Now, if all the other airlines rush to follow Delta on this, Mileage Plan might be less of an option for former Delta fliers. If the other airlines don’t follow Delta, I don’t think there is any guarantee that Delta changes its mind on its new revenue-based elite qualification requirements. In fact, I would bet a bottle of very good wine that Delta presses ahead with Medallion Qualification Dollars no matter what. In other words, if you’ve decided to dump Sky Miles, you don’t have anything to lose by taking a close look at Mileage Plan. You may have a lot to gain on the redemption side of things too. No matter what happens, 2013 may be the most interesting year we’ve had in miles and points for a while.

-MJ, January 28, 2013