Alaska is buying Hawaii (the airlines, not the states)

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✈️ Welp…Thanksgiving travel does it again. The Sunday after the holiday was recorded as TSA’s busiest day in history with almost three million travelers. Read more here.

Buenos días amigos y bienvenidos a Daily Drop, el mejor newsletter de viajes bilingüe en todo el mundo.

Before I attempt to write the entire newsletter in Spanish, let’s get into the travel hacks:

  • 😮 Alaska is buying Hawaiian (the airlines, not the states)

  • 🇲🇽 Where in the World Wednesday: Mexico City

  • ✈️ Sponsored by Indus Travel

😮 Alaska is buying Hawaiian (the airlines, not the states)

In case you haven’t heard yet, Alaska Airlines announced earlier this week that it’s hoping to acquire Hawaiian Airlines… for a big boi cash price.

To be clear, this hasn’t gone through yet, so nothing is official. But if it does happen, here’s what that could mean for all of us travelers.

1. Oneworld alliance perks

Alaska has stated that though it wants to keep Hawaiian’s brand separate from its own, it does want to integrate the HawaiianMiles loyalty program with Alaska’s Mileage Plan… essentially creating one supercharged frequent flyer program.

This is where it gets interesting. Because with this merger, Hawaiian would become a OneWorld alliance partner 👀 

To date, Hawaiian has notoriously not been part of any major alliance, but instead, has randomly partnered with single airlines.

This merge means:

  • Hawaiian’s elite members would be matched to an equivalent tier in the combined Alaska/Hawaiian program (according to Alaska’s press release)

  • Not only will Hawaiian flyers receive those perks with the new program, but they’ll get access to perks and benefits when flying on 13 other Oneworld partner airlines

  • Alaska (and other Oneworld) frequent flyers will be able to earn and redeem miles with Hawaiian (and should, hopefully, get more access to Hawaiian award seats with this merge and alliance membership)

Essentially, Hawaiian miles will become way more valuable—especially since its current transfer partners only include MR points, Bilt Rewards, and Marriott points.

Plus, frequent American Airlines flyers should also get excited since AA already allows you to book certain Hawaiian-operated flights with AA miles (though this excludes flights between Hawaii and the continental U.S.).

I assume with this merge, that exclusion will be dropped, which would be awesome… but only time will tell 🤔

The only possible negative I can see from this is for Hawaiian locals who might exclusively use Hawaiian Airlines and hold elite status.

It’s far easier to reach Hawaiian Pualani Platinum elite status (compared to Alaska’s MVP Gold 100k status).

So I imagine if/when the two programs merge (and so do elite groups), those who were used to getting frequent upgrades and other perks with Hawaiian may now find those perks harder to come by… assuming the elite pool will be much bigger once combined.

2. Global network expansion

You can see by the route map above, just how much more of a global reach Alaska will have if they acquire Hawaiian…

Fo real, they’ll be gaining access for routes to Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other locations in the South Pacific.

The dopest thing about this, is Alaska still awards redeemable and elite-qualifying miles based on distance (which is rare these days among U.S. airlines who usually award miles based on $$$ spent).

Basically, if you fly 1,000 miles, you’ll earn 1,000 base miles. You’ll also earn some tasty bonus miles based on the fare class you book and the elite status you hold with Alaska.

So… acquiring new long-haul flights that were previously Hawaiian’s could potentially bring significant value when it comes to racking up Alaskan miles.

For example, flying from Seattle to Sydney, Australia, via Honolulu has a distance of around 7,750 physical miles.

If that becomes a native Alaskan flight, and for example, you hold Alaska’s middle-tier status, MVP Gold (which gets 100% bonus miles), and you book in standard economy (for 50% bonus miles), you could earn a WHOPPING 19,375 miles just from the distance flown (not accounting for any miles earned from using a credit card!).

Breaking it down, it looks like this:

  • 7,750 miles + 100% MVP Gold bonus = 15,500 miles

  • 7,750 miles + 50% standard economy bonus = 3,875 miles

  • 3,875 + 15,500 miles = 19,375 total miles


I can only imagine how much more this would boost their appeal to flyers who may have not considered them before.

All I can say is… this is pretty exciting stuff. And even though we don’t know all the details yet (or if it will actually go through), there are a lot of benefits to be had for frequent flyers of both programs.

🇲🇽 Where in the World Wednesday: Mexico City

If you like warm, sunny beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and comfortable, quiet getaways… you’re going to HATE this place.

Mexico City is nothing like the Mexico that most Americans know and love.

It is a weird mix of European and colonial vibes, AMAZING street food, historical sites, bustling markets, and exciting nightlife. 

And it is my favorite city in the world.

Let me tell you some of my favorite things about this magical place.

First of all, it is HUGE. In the months I’ve spent here, I still feel like I have a totally new experience every time.

Still, I have my happy spots that I love checking out, like Chapultepec - a MASSIVE park complex.

El Castillo de Chapultepec

I spend hours walking through the forests here, hiking up to the famous Castillo de Chapultepec, visiting the Museo Nacional de Antropología, and watching the street performers perform death-defying stunts.

I try to spend at least a couple of hours a day here, and it never gets old.

El bosque de Chapultepec

If you enjoy traveling Europe, you’ll be pleased to know that you can get a nice little whiff of Europe in the historic center of Mexico City.

The Zócalo (or main square) is surrounded by stunning architecture that will make you feel more like you’re in Spain than Mexico.


The cobblestone streets are filled with markets, shops, restaurants, and street food. This is another part of the city that feels super unique and is easy to spend hours or days exploring.

It’s also a great place to catch a glimpse of traditional performances, including some… scary… but super cool ones.

Me with some weird street performers circa 2018

But if you’re more of a history kind of person, Mexico City also happens to be just a short drive away from one of the great wonders of the world: the ancient city of Teotihuacán.

If you think the pyramids of Giza are impressive, then you’ll be blown away by Teotihuacán…

These pyramids are actually larger and more impressive than those in Egypt.

Me and my best friend sitting on the Pyramid of the Moon

With a one-hour bus ride and roughly $6 entry fee, you can spend hours roaming this ancient city, climbing pyramids, buying trinkets, and getting a glimpse into an incredibly rich piece of world history.

I try to come to Teotihuacán every time I visit Mexico City. Honestly, it never gets old.

Speaking of cheap activities…

Mexico City is SO DAMN CHEAP. It’s definitely gotten a bit more expensive over the years, but it’s still easy to have a fun day of exploring, food, and activities for around $20 or $30 a day.

A street taco (which is easy to find and rarely disappoints) will run you around 10-15 pesos, or about $0.50-$0.80…

Mmmmmm…. Tacos….

A beer on the patio in a hip neighborhood like Zone Rosa (where I enjoy hanging out) will only run you about 25 pesos, or about $1.45.

And if you have more fancy tastes, that’s also okay.

There are some SUPER posh areas of the city (like Condesa, Polanco, and Roma Norte) with high-end hotels and restaurants where you can enjoy a world-class meal for a fraction of the price of similar establishments in the U.S.

Polanco, one of the fancy parts of the city

The weather here is also pretty much perfect year-round. Right now, the temperature goes down to about 50 degrees in the middle of the night and sits around 70-75 during the day.

Being high up in the mountains, Mexico City has a much more mild and comfortable climate than places like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta.

Even if you’re into serious hiking trips, you can find tons of amazing mountains and volcanos in the area.

Mexico City has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve made good friends here, fallen in love here, eaten some of the best food of my life here, and had countless memorable travel adventures.

In fact, as I write this to you, I’m sitting in the very seat in the very cafe I was in when I first submitted my application for this job as the Head Writer of Daily Drop.

Who knew that 16 months later, I’d be back here writing to almost one million of you? ❤️

I hope you learned something new about this amazing city, and I HIGHLY recommend you check it out on a future trip.

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That’s all for today, folks!! I don’t know about you, but I could see myself being much more invested in Alaska Airlines if this merger goes through.

Having another solid airline and loyalty program that connects the U.S. with Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Alaska, Hawaii, and more is super exciting to think about.

But for now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of your day.

See you tomorrow ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

19.4326° N, 99.1332° W

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