Alaska Airlines expands Wine Flies Free program along West Coast, offers free wine in celebration

Did you know that February 18th was National Drink Wine Day?

Alaska Airlines did and their celebration is epic. In addition to giving passengers flying today a free glass of wine, Alaska announced that it’s expanding its Wine Flies Free program to cover all flights in California, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Under Alaska’ Wine Flies Free program, which was started in 2007 to help passengers flying home from Napa/Sonoma, Mileage Plan members departing from eligible airports may check an entire case of wine for free.

See if your preferred airport is participating below!

Participating Wine Flies Free Cities:

* Indicates new cities being added to the program.

Alaska Airlines announces new daily service to Everett, Washington

Alaska Airlines announced today that it will begin non-stop service from Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport, located in Everett, Washington. The flights to Everett, which is just north of Seattle and in an area referred to locally as the North Sound, will increase the ease of travel for local residents, particularly those living in the northern suburbs, and provide an additional hub for those looking to explore northern Washington and southern British Columbia.

Although the number of flight frequencies in each market and the starting dates will be announced later, there will be daily flights from Paine Field to the following destinations:

  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Portland
  • Phoenix
  • Los Angeles
  • Orange County
  • Las Vegas

This announcement follows United’s announcement in August that it would begin daily, non-stop service between Paine Field and its San Francisco and Denver hubs.

Trip Deal: $79 round-trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles on United, Alaska/Virgin America

United Airlines and Alaska/Virgin America are putting flights between SFO and LAX on sale. Flights start at $79 after taxes, with dates found from through April.

With United, this fare is only for basic economy, costing between $19 and $38 more (depending on the flight) to get regular economy. Because of this, booking an Alaska/Virgin America flight is the better deal.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between SFO and LAX.

Alaska Airlines slashing elite status and earning benefits with American Airlines

Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines ended its partnership with Delta. Today, the airline announced that its partnership with American Airlines would be changed dramatically beginning January 1, 2018. A great guide to the change in benefits can be found here.

If you regularly read Josh Trips, you know that I’ve been trying to status on Alaska Airlines this year based on the merger with Virgin America and the partnership with American Airlines. In fact, I am currently an American Airlines elite Gold member, and I was working to trade that for Alaska elite membership this year.

The most striking change, for me, is that you will no longer receive elite benefits when traveling on American Airlines if you are an Alaska Airlines elite member – something I relied on while going for status with Alaska.

Some other bad news? Alaska is devaluing the value of its award miles. See below for an updated chart:

Alaska updated reward chart

Although some routes have the miles required dropping, most routes are going up (some, significantly).

I think it’s pretty shady for Alaska and American to be announcing this change in July, when over half the year has passed and customers have made flying decisions based on the partnership. I called Alaska to express my concern about this, and how I never would have flown Alaska (or, at least, would have credited those miles towards American) if I had known about this, and the customer service representative accused me of being “sneaky,” saying that’s never how they intended their elite program to be used. I found this comment to be pretty rude and offensive, and after a bunch of complaining, was credited with $75 miles towards a future flight.

I asked for help getting my Alaska flights this year credited to American instead, but was told it’s too late.

With this change, I am officially (and again) stopping my quest for status on Alaska and will end up without status on American next year as well.

Will the change in American and Alaska’s partnership effect you? Let me know in the comments!