I consider Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to be among the most valuable rewards currencies, since in addition to Alaska's own flights, they can be redeemed on a range of airline partners, including both American Airlines and Delta Airlines. Alaska has access to American's MileSAAver award space and "low-level" Delta award space. You can view all their airline partners here.
Alaska miles just got even more valuable. On August 14th, Delta announced they were increasing the cost of low-level BusinessElite awards from the United States to Europe, Australia, Asia, South Africa and South America for awards beginning on or after June 1, 2014. Here, Frequent Miler shares his thoughts on "tricking" the devaluation by adding a domestic one-way before June 1.
Alaska's award chart hasn't changed. It's long been a curious fact about the Mileage Plan program that BusinessElite redemptions on Delta to Europe cost just 90,000 Mileage Plan miles, while the same ticket would cost 100,000 Skymiles. Here's a chart showing the Delta devaluation and the cost of the same flights in Alaska miles:
Here's a sample flight I found on Delta from Los Angeles to Sydney on June 5, 2014, after the devaluation has gone into effect. You can see the price is showing correctly at 160,000 Skymiles:
And here's the same flight, on the same day, but booked using Alaska Mileage Plan miles. It costs just 105,000 Mileage Plan miles:
What does this mean for you? I've long said that if you don't have or want elite status on Delta or American, you should be crediting your flights on those airlines to Alaska. That's now even more true if you plan on using your miles for premium international awards. Additionally, if your paid flights are primarily international, so you don't have to worry about missing domestic upgrades, you may want to think about getting elite status with Alaska, which comes with 50% and 100% bonus miles on paid flights, free checked bags, and other benefits.
Additionally, Mileage Plan is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest, and you'll earn 25% bonus miles when you transfer 20,000, 40,000, or 60,00 Starpoints into your Mileage Plan account. The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card currently has a signup bonus of 30,000 Starpoints.