Earn Double Miles for Delta, Northwest Flights

Double frequent flyer miles on all flights, on all routes, for all fares. That's the kind of generous travel stimulus package that's called for in these tough economic times.

And finally, travelers are on the receiving end of just such an offer: double miles for all Delta and Northwest flights completed between April 15 and June 15. No niggling restrictions to esoteric routes or expensive fares—the offer is all-inclusive.

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But there's something distinctly odd about this promotion: It's being offered to members of Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan, not to members of the programs of Delta or Northwest. There is a parallel offer for members of Delta and Northwest's programs, but in those cases the double miles are only awarded for tickets that combine a Delta or Northwest flight with an Alaska flight.

So anyone who wants to earn double miles for simply flying Delta or Northwest, without an Alaska connecting flight, will have to do it as a member of Alaska's Mileage Plan.

Huh?

If I were a member of Delta's program, or Northwest's, I would be perplexed and irritated by this offer. I would wonder, "I have to check in using an Alaska membership number—foregoing miles in my SkyMiles account—in order to earn double miles when flying on my preferred carrier? Shouldn't Delta and Northwest reward members of their own programs first, before members of partner programs?"

I assume there is some arcane logic behind this weird constellation of more and less generous offers, related somehow to costs and marketing objectives. But it still breaks one of the cardinal rules of loyalty marketing: To your best customers should go the best rewards.

Do you earn miles in the programs of Delta or Northwest? If so, please take a moment to share your response to this offer in the reader comments section below.

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