Don’t panic. No, Alaska Mileage Plan isn’t increasing award costs for travel in Cathay Pacific first class or Japan Airlines first class. Instead they’re just making some (mostly minor) adjustments to their award chart for travel on their own flights.
Yesterday Alaska Airlines announced some negative changes, including increasing change and cancelation fees, same day confirmed change fees, and more. Now there’s more news.
Alaska Mileage Plan will be making some minor award chart adjustments for tickets booked as of June 25, 2018. There are some positive and negative changes, depending on the type of ticket you’re looking for. In describing these changes, Alaska focuses on the following:
- Reduced lowest award level on short-distance First Class flights
- Reduced refundable award level pricing on First Class flights shorter than 1,400 miles within the contiguous US and Alaska, and on First Class flights shorter than 2,100 miles from the US to Mexico
- A new lowest award level of just 10,000 miles on Main Cabin flights from California to select destinations in Mexico (flights shorter than 1,400 miles)
- Hawaii awards starting as low as 15,000 miles one-way
They do mention that in addition to those lower award levels, “some market adjustments will be made to peak award pricing on longer flights within the US, from the contiguous US to Mexico, and on flights from the contiguous US to Hawaii.”
Here’s a comparison of the old and new award chart:
As you can see, it’s tough to draw too many conclusions here, given the huge variance in award pricing within each range, based on whether or not there’s any saver level award availability.
Here are the changes that stand out most to me when it comes to one-way saver level award pricing:
- The cost of first class awards on flights under 700 miles is decreasing in cost from 25,000 miles to 15,000 miles (within the contiguous US & Alaska)
- The cost of first class awards on flights over 2,100 miles is increasing in cost from 25,000 miles to 30,000 miles (within the contiguous US & Alaska)
- The cost of economy class awards on flights of 701-1,400 miles is decreasing in cost from 15,000 miles to 10,000 miles (between the US & Mexico)
- The cost of economy awards on flights between the contiguous US/Alaska & Hawaii is decreasing from 17,500 miles to 15,000 miles
The worst news is that we’re seeing a big increase in the range of pricing for some markets, so when there’s not saver level award availability, you can expect to pay significantly more in some cases.
These Alaska Mileage Plan changes are a mixed bag. We’re seeing some reductions to the cost of shorthaul awards, while we’re seeing some increases to the cost of longhaul awards. The great news is that this only impacts travel on Alaska Airlines, and the cost of travel on partner airlines remains unchanged, which is where the real value in the program is, in my opinion.
Will you be impacted by any of these Alaska Mileage Plan changes?