Alaska Airlines will be joining the oneworld alliance as of March 31, 2021. Ahead of that, the airline has announced adjustments to mileage earning and fare classes.
While the airline hinted a few weeks back that these changes were coming, Alaska Airlines has now published its new mileage earning chart. This is in addition to Alaska Airlines recently announcing changes to how status is earned in 2021, along with the introduction of a new 100K elite tier.
Alaska Airlines realigning fare classes
Mileage Plan will be changing mileage earning rates for flights on Alaska Airlines as of March 31, 2021. For now only mileage earning rates for travel on Alaska Airlines are changing, and not for travel on any partner airlines.
So, what all is changing? Here’s the Alaska Mileage Plan mileage earning chart for flights through March 30, 2021:
And here’s the Alaska Mileage Plan mileage earning chart for flights as of March 31, 2021:
As you can see, it’s hard to do a side-by-side comparison, given that fare classes are changing as well. A few things do stand out:
- These changes kick in for flights as of March 31, even if they were purchased prior to this change, which is pretty bad form (though I recognize the complexity of making these changes otherwise)
- On the plus side, all economy fares continue to earn at least 100% miles, and the program isn’t going revenue based, all of which is fantastic compared to the competition
- Full fare first class tickets (now marketed as business class) go from earning 175% miles to earning 200% miles, while discounted first class fares go from earning 175% miles to earning 150% miles
Alaska Airlines is adjusting first class mileage earning rates
Why are Alaska Airlines fare classes changing?
Clearly these changes are being done for Alaska Airlines to better align with American Airlines and the oneworld alliance overall. It’s much easier for airlines to sell tickets together when fare classes are aligned, especially when you consider the level of cooperation being planned between American and Alaska.
The changes reflect Alaska moving closer to American’s fare class structure, which makes a lot of sense. For example, American’s domestic first class fare classes align with business class, while Alaska’s domestic first class fare classes align with first class.
One positive aspect of these changes is that Alaska Airlines first class award tickets will become significantly cheaper when redeeming British Airways Avios. You’ll no longer have to redeem the first class mileage amounts, but rather can redeem the business class mileage amounts.
For example, a one-way Seattle to Los Angeles Alaska Airlines first class award will go from costing 30,000 Avios, to costing 15,000 Avios.
These changes are good for those redeeming Avios on Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines will be changing some fare classes and mileage earning rates as of March 31, 2021, coinciding with the airline joining the oneworld alliance.
Fare classes are being aligned with American Airlines, which makes sense given the amount of codesharing and cooperation we’ll see between the airlines. Most of the changes here are with mileage earning for first class fares, with discounted first class seeing reduced mileage earning.
On the plus side, at least Alaska Mileage Plan isn’t moving revenue based, and the program will also continue to award at least 100% miles for discounted economy tickets, so things could be much worse.
What do you make of these changes to Alaska Airlines’ fare classes and mileage earning?