I love my complimentary Medallion upgrades as much as the next Delta flyer, but back in August of last year I threw together a quick explanation for why you and everyone you know should be crediting your paid Delta flights to Alaska's Mileage Plan, rather than to Delta Skymiles. Namely, the same Delta flights, on the same Delta aircraft, on the same Delta days, in many cases cost fewer Mileage Plan miles than Skymiles.
Of course, the changes to Skymiles earning rates coming in 2015 make the point even more convincingly than I ever could.
Still, I want to point out one additional wrinkle that I came across the other day: Alaska doesn't know or care that BusinessElite exists.
In case you, like Alaska, have never heard of BusinessElite, it's Delta's long-haul preimum international and transcontinental product. It features a curated wine list, lie-flat seats, and some other features you're more than capable of reading about on Delta's website.
Most importantly, redeeming Skymiles for BusinessElite seats on transcontinental routes costs more than redeeming them for domestic First Class.
A non-stop round-trip itinerary from New York's JFK airport to Los Angeles in BusinessElite costs 65,000 Skymiles:
The same trip in domestic First (without the fancy wine or lay-flat seats) with a layover in Detroit or Salt Lake City costs just 50,000 Skymiles. But both trips cost 50,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles:
I don't consider redeeming miles for domestic first class a great deal under most circumstances.
But if it's ever a great deal, it's a great deal for premium transcontinental service.