So, to recap, Alaska just opened up full-credit mileage on all Virgin America flights. That means Mileage Plan members can fly either of the two most tolerable large airlines, all over the country, and get credit for the miles they actually fly. Then they can redeem fewer miles to get the rewards. Sounds unbelievable, but maybe this is how the new kids keep the heat on the legacy carriers.
Even if you don't live in Seattle, or ever plan to go there, sign up for an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account. That is, if you're sick of bigger airlines treating you like cargo with a pulse and want to exercise your option to vote with your wallet. Loyalty has to be a two-way street, even in the sky. Maybe, just maybe, they'll learn from Alaska and Virgin's example.
*Yes, cult-of-Southwest, before you jump down to the comments and say how great SWA's rewards program is, and how it doesn't charge to check bags, and how it invented penicillin and gives 90% of its profits to starving orphans, I know. Southwest is the great asterisk in any conversation about "the airlines," so let's just leave it at that.