Alaska Mileage Plan Partner Award Issues Persist

Filed Under: Alaska, Alaska Mileage Plan

There are so many things to love about the Alaska Mileage Plan program. All things considered, I think the program is more customer-focused than any other airline loyalty program out there.

Mileage Plan continues to award miles based on distance flown rather than dollars spent, they have generous elite benefits, and I love the ability to earn and redeem Mileage Plan miles at lucrative rates on a variety of airline partners.

Mileage Plan is awesome, but…

When it comes to redeeming Mileage Plan miles, I love that:

  • Stopovers are allowed, even on one-way awards
  • The mileage redemption rates are mostly among the lowest of any programs out there
  • They have unique airline partners that few other airlines have

Now, some value in Mileage Plan miles has been lost the past couple of years, and for the most part I don’t think it’s Alaska’s fault, but rather it came at the prompting of their partners. Alaska was forced to increase redemption rates on Emirates, they ended their partnership with Delta, they scaled back their partnership with American, they were forced to cut ties with Aeromexico, and more.

In all cases I think these decisions were made by their partners rather than by Alaska directly. However, this also means that Alaska needs to be performing at 110% otherwise in order to maintain the value proposition of their program.

The good news is that there continue to be some great redemption values. For example, you can redeem:

  • 70,000 miles for Cathay Pacific first class between the US and Asia
  • 60,000 miles for Japan Airlines first class between the US and Japan
  • 55,000 miles for Qantas business class between the US and Australia
  • 50,000 miles for Cathay Pacific business class between the US and Asia

But this brings me to a serious issue I have with Alaska Mileage Plan. This has been ongoing for years, and it seems like no one at Alaska wants to fix it.

Alaska’s consistent partner award issues

The last three times I’ve wanted to redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for travel on partner airlines, I haven’t been able to, even though the availability was there.

Generally speaking all airlines get access to the same partner award inventory, but Alaska seems to consistently have issues with certain partners.

This is particularly problematic with Emirates, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific. Let me give a few examples.

I tried to redeem Alaska miles for an Emirates business class award ticket from Fort Lauderdale to Dubai. The flight showed as having award seats on ExpertFlyer.

However, for many routes there’s a glitch where Alaska’s website only shows economy and first awards on Emirates, and not business awards. The business class column doesn’t even show up.

I figured this was just a website issue, but when I called, Alaska agents had exactly the same issue. Even when trying to direct sell it, they couldn’t find the seats.

The same is true for a recent redemption I tried to make on Qantas. ExpertFlyer showed Qantas award availability in business class from San Francisco to Sydney.

Alaska’s website didn’t show the space. I figured it was an IT issue, but the phone agents had the same problem. Even when trying to direct sell, they couldn’t see the space.

Now, American’s website didn’t show the space either, but American’s website consistently shows incorrect Qantas award space. When I called American, however, they were able to book it without issue. American is always able to book the same Qantas award availability that shows on ExpertFlyer.

Then there’s the biggest issue of all, which is travel on Cathay Pacific. Probably the best use of Alaska miles is for travel in Cathay Pacific premium cabins. Sadly Alaska pretty consistently sees one less award seat in first class than other partners, while they often see two fewer business class award seats.

Again, there doesn’t seem to be a workaround here.

Bottom line

There are many things to love about Alaska Mileage Plan. One of the reasons I consider Alaska miles to be among the most valuable single mileage currencies is because of the excellent niche redemptions that are possible. However, when there are only a few good redemption options, it’s absolutely vital that they be bookable correctly.

I’m not comfortable concluding whether or not this blocking is intentional, or just something that they haven’t gotten around to resolving. But personally I think it’s time that they fix this no matter what the cause is, since it’s really threatening the value of Mileage Plan miles. Like I said, I’ve had three redemptions in a row now where I wanted to redeem Alaska miles but couldn’t.

Have you faced this partner award blocking issue with Alaska?

  1. Alaska has become terrible to redeem for domestic flights out of Seattle. Early morning and early evening flights are consistently at 20 k miles one way even for short hops. If you want cheaper flights, you are required to connect through Portland, spending a night there.

    For the same times and routes Delta offers flights for 10 K non stop one way.

    Alaska’s value proposition has become, if you want to redeem at the lowest rate, be willing to pay through long and odd connections.

    Delta on the other hand has become a superior alternative to Alaska out of Seattle.

  2. In regards to Qantas I think it’s intentional, either by Qantas or Alaska. I made a couple nice redemptions on Qantas F on the LAX-MEL-LAX route next February. Half the award I needed to overpay with AA miles, the other half I was able to use Alaska miles. In regards to Qantas in order to redeem on Alaska, space needs to be visable online with Alaska; otherwise you won’t be able to redeem and calling in to Alaska is not effective.

  3. Yes I’ve had issues. They stink. Their plan is good but it’s very stressful waiting till the last minute and sometimes missing out altogether after working so hard to check avail month after month using a variety of methods. I used Marriott TP to get a load of MP miles. But I’ve got to the point where once I unload this last bit I’m distancing myself from the program until it’s fixed.

  4. When trying to book Emirates flights on Alaska, I was told by both Alaska, and Emirates that there is only “saver” level availability…on Emirates own site there was tons of business class available, but on Alaska, very limited.

  5. It’s a huge problem. Hate the issues with Cathay the most. You make a good point that since there are limited options for value they definitely need to have those options working and available. Others should pick on them and call them out for it. Not good business for them not to reward loyalty.

  6. Similar issues redeeming Alaska miles on AA. Tried to redeem a business class round trip MIA GRU. showed availability through DFW all in Business. However on the Alaska website the DFW-GRU leg was in coach. Called them up and they saw the same as online. Finally a direct leg opened up and I was able to book but I lost a lot of faith in their program. I had accumulated almost 600k miles between crediting flights to them and buying miles but this last promotion I was targeted for the 50% Offer and I passed. First time in years. What’s the point if you can’t redeem the miles?

  7. It did take me quite a while to find availability online to redeem Alaska miles for a Cathay Pacific business/first flight from Asia to the US next year. I would find availability online and call Alaska and they couldn’t find it in their system. The reps were, sadly, well aware of the issue and had no trouble at all letting me know that it happens often and that Alaska “gets different availability than Qantas and British Airways”.

    I don’t think it’s an accident, I think they get different availability because they have different mileage redemption rules. Look for an Alaska airlines mileage re-valuation soon. Earn and burn, folks.

  8. So true, sadly. I tried in vain to get our trip to HKG on Cathay booked with Alaska miles and ended up just booking with BA because with the transfer bonus it was just a lot less hassle than trying to call Alaska and sort everything out.

  9. I had no issue booking a HKG-JFK first class ticket on Cathay for 70k miles recently. Called and it was super easy, huge fan of the Alaska MP.

  10. The bigger issue with Cathay redemptions is AS hiding the inventory via you having to call them by phone to redeem it. This is ridiculous. If you’re going to offer a benefit, offer it cleanly and openly, not under the table so only those in the know can redeem it.

  11. I had no problem booking a BA CW award ticket through Alaska MP

    And the good news was that I got credit from BA for the flight as if it were a cash fare.

  12. My experience and supposition is that Cathay has one availability for Oneworld partners and another for other partners like Alaska. And usually Oneworld gets more availability. But I’ve also booked Cathay F when AA could see zip, BA and Qantas websites showed zip. So it all depends.

    I also think Alaska has better availability in advance. Last minute Alaska doesn’t see the same seats that Oneworld sees. At least that’s my observation over the past couple of years. If Cathay makes F seats available one by one and someone is snatching them last minute, Alaska just doesn’t see it.

    I just booked Cathay F roundtrip to India on Alaska 6 months out… it matched what I saw on BA. I also booked Cathay F to SE Asia next summer 11 months out and Alaska had exactly what BA had.

  13. Yes, this has been a problem for a long time and folks at AS that I have been able to reach have no idea how the system works and so do not believe it to be a problem. In some cases the problem is so egregious and broad (no economy space on QF for months when every other partner shows space almost every day) that I believe it to be an IT problem but others I suspect AS is intentionally blocking.

    Qantas availability far out has been a joke. There were months at the end of schedule recently that was not showing economy awards any day of the month when other programs showed economy QF awards available almost every day of the month. I filed a feedback form on that and they did fix it — for the one month I cited as a definite problem in my report. Another time I filed a feedback complaint I got a response a couple of weeks later to say that if I had problems booking on the website to call in and speak to one of their “reservation specialists” (aka clueless agents) who could “assist” me.

    It is clear to me AS IT is either incompetent or understaffed. AS management is also incompetent or ignorant of IT issues. I have a feeling AS is also intentionally blocking some space but it is harder to make a firm determination on that when their IT is so incompetent that is may be masking blocking issues.

    There needs to be a channel whereby award IT issues can be reported and resolved and if AS is intentionally blocking they need to come clean and admit it. AS should acknowledge the issues and keep us updated on solutions.

  14. Been trying to find Cathay first from North America to Hong Kong for months now. Tried looking through months of dates with nothing. 🙁

  15. I think Alaska policy is not fair. They only have routes between dull cities and let earn 450x bonus that obviously people redeem in nice Airlines and destinations…
    For sure they shouldnt have access to others’ inventories.

  16. Because the problems have existed for so long, like 2 or more years, just getting worse and worse to the point that demonstrates to even the most clueless folks that AS miles are NOT as nice as what the charts look – if you cannot find any award seats, just how a good “value” chart would help you?!

    Basically I see this is AS tactic to avoid an official devaluation of the charts but in essence the AS miles started its devaluation since it overnight doubled the cost of EK awards. CX awards have been extremely hard to find regardless which routes you look at long before June 22nd AsiaMiles restructure. That just adds to the already persistent AS problem.

    QF awards are complete wheel of fortune type of redemption. Forget about the business class but the F sears could pop up between 6 to 7 months before travel. Often is the MEL-LAX route, but NOT the other way round. Occasionally you can see BNE-LAX J but by far the MEL-LAX F is the most “available” of QF award seats shown on AS site.

    Not to mention that for many people, a position flight is needed on both end of an international partner award. This added cost would negate the AS chart saving.
    For example, from Europe to Asia, only CX is available and that ends at HKG, or only origin at HKG.
    AA miles or UA miles let you connect in both EU and in Asia.

    I have not known anyone being able to redeem Fiji business class award using AS miles to Fiji and Australia.

    2 years have gone by, SQ still is NOT a full partner that one can use AS miles on it.
    The program has gone from one of the best domestic program to an also ran program to now hard to use program in just 3 years. Right now it seems to be a race to the bottom to see if it would catch up with the Big US3.

    Essentially I truly feel bad for those who bought AS miles on its extremely frequent “promo” of 50% discount, due to the award chats and the bloggers touts. They will then come to face the harsh reality that it is near impossible to find what they set out for, even they have lots of flexibility.
    Even look away from partner redemption, AS has NEVER release any premium cabin seats on its Transcon whether the old SEA-FLL/MIA routes or the Virgin America routes. NEVER.

  17. I just booked award seats with AS Miles on Fiji. Expert Flier showed 4 seats avail in U class (FJ Biz award) but Alaska website and phone agents could only see 2. I booked those two and there are still 2 U class avail on FJ but zero if you ask Alaska.

    At least for FJ, Alaska only shows award seats when 3 or more are available. AA can see them all, though.

  18. I’ve worked directly with Alaska IT at the enterprise level (in their TUK – Tukwilla – data center). Worked with the load balancer guys, web guys, database, etc.

    They were uniformly comfortable and coasting. Very little sense of urgency. Very little concept of being in a competitive market. A very strong sense of “so? we are still selling tickets, what’s the big deal?”

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for Alaska IT to fix something.

  19. Lucky, have you escalated and asked to speak to higher levels at Alaska about this? That would be information we would truly want to know from journalists. (or assign one of your associates to work this?)

  20. I agree AS should address these issues. It’s either coming from the partner side or AS side. I just hope AS doesn’t significantly increase these redemptions like they did with EK F.

  21. It would be smart to get out of Alaska miles. They like issuing/selling them. They don’t particularly care about customers’ experience in using them.

  22. All valid points, Lucky. But you have missed what I think is the biggest issue.

    I have had Alaska award flights for 3 booked in Biz on both JAL and CX (SFO gateway) since the calendar opened ~T-330d. Not easy to get and came with quite a bit of hassle as described above…

    But… the big issue for me is that AS has not opened any saver awards from SFO to SEA in any class since. I have about 5mos to go but there has been 0 availability (first or Econ) for the domestic awards. They won’t even open up their own metal lately!

    As noted above, Ben… any chance you can follow up with them? What was once a great program has become mediocre at best.

  23. Yes, agree with David S. What happened to redemption options on Singapore Air with AS Miles? It has been a long time.

  24. My experience booking Emirates F w Alaska miles has been experflyer needs to show 2 seats for an Alaska Redeemer to redeem for one of the two.

  25. @miafll is spot-on about the 50% off AK miles promotions being a fool’s bet. After discount, people are paying just under two cents per AK Mile. Alaska’s domestic awards prices are dynamic and, in my experience, consistently worth a penny or less per Mile. And on the other end of the spectrum, Lucky, a guy with decades of experience booking premium flights with points, reports that he’s gone 0 for his last 3 attempts with Alaska Miles. Paying two cents each for Alaska Miles is rubbish and @Lucky should strongly consider no longer providing free publicity for points ‘sales’ to a company who prints points currency of questionable value. Statements about how purchasing Alaska miles at around two cents each could be ‘a potentially excellent deal’ are no longer appropriate because they are too close to misleading. Buying a Mega Millions ticket this afternoon ‘could be a potentially excellent deal’ for someone, but for almost everyone, it’s not.

  26. I just booked F class from Boston to Hong Kong on Cathay, with connecting leg in J to Australia with no issues. The leg to Australia didn’t show up on Qantas or BA but the agents were really helpful. I had no issues and was impressed with the customer service.

    They even waived the booking fee for over the phone off their own bat as I was unable to book Cathay on their website.

  27. Sadly, Alaska’s award program has been in precipitous decline for the past two years. It was once the best of the best.

  28. Here’s my recent experience trying to redeem miles on Cathay. My uncle passed away suddenly in Korea and tried to fly back from BOS HKG ICN. The first time I called they said they can’t book Cathay awards within 72 hours of departure. I called a few hours later and the next rep told me of a flight leaving 6 hours from when I called and that there was business class availability. On expert flyer it showed 2 first but no business. I’ve accrued over 500,000 miles for the sole purpose of flying Cathay F but if I can’t ever book their flights my miles are worthless.

  29. Booked 4 CX ticket in J last week, no problem with seeing the same spaces as in BA
    The issue I have is with the change fee for award ticket, used to be no fee outside of 60 days for any kind of change, now even date change only cost 125 which is free with AA

    Also this time I need to put up a big flight to get the phone fee waived.

  30. Had the same experience trying to book EK out of Toronto. Showed on website but wouldnt let me book it and call centre said no availability. Went back to website and lo and behold it was gone.

  31. In my experience the Alaska agents just don’t seem willing or able to book Cathay awards. I recently booked two Cathay F awards and the reservation agents were little help. I called the customer care number at 1-800-654-5669 (this is not the reservations number) and the person there offered to transfer me directly to a lead reservations agent. She warm transferred me and the guy was fantastic. He saw all the availability I saw on expertflyer and I had both tickets booked in a few minutes. There was no fee for booking over the phone.

    Maybe give this method a try next time because getting through to a lead agent who knew what they were doing was the only way I was able to get it done.

  32. I’ve had the same issue with using Alaska miles for AA. I need to book last minutes flights and wanted to avoid AA’s $75 late booking fee. Lots of first class saver fares showed up on AA, but hardly any on Alaska.

  33. AS consistently does not offer J seats on their own metal. Tried to book connecting flight SFO-SEA as part of a flight from JNB and AS would not show space almost a year out when the seat map showed all flights basically empty.
    Instead booked Qatar via SFO on AA points and they had lots of availability in AS J (for exactly the same flights date etc as AS refused to supply).
    So to get good awards on AS you have to book AA. Really Dumb and probably time to burn em.

  34. The CX issue might be fixed or intermittent as I was able to book a CX F flight ORD-HKG last week where AS availability matched BA (BA showed two seats avail and the AS agent confirmed that). So maybe they have last seat availability again.

    As far as EK goes, generally it matches but be aware that EF and QF engines show EK phantom space. The definite source is the EK site (you need to log in). If it’s not on the EK site, then JL etc won’t be able to book (and let’s not even get into the fact that JL engine only displays the earliest two flights in any cabin on any day forcing you to call and sit on hold if you want a later in the day flight).

  35. Qantas Business awards from the US to anywhere in Australia, and vice versa, simply do no exist on Alaska MP. Click on any day the Business column and you will get the ‘mixed cabin’ symbol, which invariable means that a connecting flight in Australia (about 10% of the total itinerary) will be Business, and the remaining 90% (the main event) will be in Coach!
    You may think this is a glitch, but it is very deliberate, to fool the inexperienced and frustrate the savvy. On a popular Qantas non-stop route, LAX-SYD, the site will route you LAX-BNE-SYD, or LAX-MEL-SYD, just so they can add in a tiny Business sector to justify calling the award Business. There are many, many, similar examples designed to fool you.
    As an aside, it is my understanding that MP employed a senior exec from Qantas Frequent Flyer program a while back. Qantas is known an the Queen of Mean and trickiness when it comes to redemptions, and it is apparent that Alaska MP has been infected by this person’s thinking, maybe intentionally. It’s time for this to change if MP is to remain relevant.

  36. Earlier this year I tried to book business on both Hainan and Emirates. I entered 2 persons in the search and the Alaska site indicated award space available on both airlines. Went through entire process up to paying, and then the site indicated it was not able to confirm award space with partners. Called AS award desk, and after they researched, learned that there was only ONE award space available on at least one segment. Very frustrating!! Ended up flying JAL business from BKK to PDX, however, there was a nine hour layover in KIX!!

  37. I have not had issues booking CX but I have been looking into next year for QF redemptions. I assumed QF flat out did not allow Alaska bookings in J, but release seats in other classes. QF in First corresponds whenever there is availability on BA. So I assume this is deliberate.

    Luckily I only use Alaska Miles for First Class bookings, and use AA for J.

  38. @lucky
    MH are flying the a350 from Syd-Kul for the Australian summer. Excellent award availability on it at the moment.
    You could do Mel-Syd-Kul-Nrt for 60K AA points in F

  39. I’ve tried to find HKG-MEL on CX, and Alaska told me NOTHING found for December/January. Not even in economy. You should mention that in your post.

  40. I’m not sure why people complain about buying AS miles: every responsible blogger recommends to not buy speculatively, but only with set plans and availability.
    I had some orphaned AS miles from Virgin acquisition, checked availability for CX First, bought miles & booked SFO-Asia – cheapest intercontinental First ticket in my life!
    Yes, there was a hickup with miles posting, but customer service fixed it after escalating it…
    Just like with any other redemption that’s too good to be true, there are limitations, but it can work out well if you are flexible, prepared and determined… If you are buying miles speculatively, you might get burned…

  41. Wow this article came at a perfect time, I just successfully booked a business class fight from Southeast Asia back to the US today with MP (my first time using MP)… I needed a flight from Ho Chi Minh city back to LAX.. checked and saw on BA that there’s 1 business class seat available with a connection in HKG, called Alaska airline to check if the seat was truly there and it was! I quickly booked and got a confirmation! 🙂 very excited to be flying business class for the first time!

  42. I had issues booking SFO to DPS. BA showed availability but AS agent couldn’t. I checked for months and finally used AA miles instead. I guess am not the only one having issues.

  43. @miafll @Ralf . I was able to book Fiji awards using AS, but I agree its maddening. Alaska can only see 2 less than what any other airline program can see. So, i was able to redeem 2 biz SFO-NAN, but since FIJI doesn’t seem to release more than 2 biz seats on most their connecting destinations on their 737, then Alaska gets nothing, except coach if there’s 3+ avail. So it seems Fiji releases 4 on some long-haul routes, but it’s rare. Likely to see 2 on ExpertFlyer, which means you can redeem using your AA miles since AS won’t have any avail. Doesn’t matter how great the award chart is if the award is a unicorn. #MakaAlaskaGreatAgain?

  44. I didn’t have any recently with bookings on CX with AS miles. The small hiccup was with the newly SEA->HKG route which the agent put my reservation on hold for more than a week before it was ticketed. I did that when CX first loaded the fares. I called in last week and added another flight leg from HKG to CNS without issue.

    From my experience in booking CX on both AS and AA miles, you get the best availability 7-9 month out range. I use avios tool to find space.

  45. @TrAAveller

    Thanks for sharing the experiences.
    You are right on about the main issue of AS program – it only looks good on the chart but in actual usage, many such “sweet spots” are really Unicorn.

    For example other posters have mentioned why there is never QF business class seats. You can find occasionally QF F seats by sheer luck or sometimes someone’s cancellation. However there seems never any QF long haul J seats released to AS. We of course dont know what is behind it but it is one of the frustrating sources of the AS program.

    I was referring to a friend’s experience trying to use Fiji to get to Australia for a family of 3. He started from the fabled 330 days out and finally gave up after a lot of frustration. He then turned to UA miles (flying AC) instead on the outbound with return on DL miles (flying KE) – true it was more expensive in the number of miles needed but he readily found availability on both directions from his PDX base. Flat beds all the way too versus Fiji is recliner only.

    To him it was just way too much involved to try to use his AS miles which he transferred from Marriott Travel Packages.
    Right now he is struggling to find a return from PVG back to PDX with AS miles. He does not even mind to start from HKG because AS cannot redeem KA flights and KA flights are 80% or more what Cathay now use to serve Mainland China.

    We are heading out on AS awards both direction – outbound JFK-HKG//HKG-MEL on CX J, inbound SYD-MEL-LAX//LAX-FLL on QF F. We were super lucky to get 2 coach seats on the LAX-FLL flight, using the AS agents words. Sure, we are waitlisted for F as the tickets were issued with F price. But I would not bet 2 cents on it that the waitlist would clear.

    One of the frustration for me is AS never ever release any premium seats for the Transcon. Even Coach seats are very hard to find. We used to use AA miles to bridge the gap and started / ended at LAX when AS did not even have coach seats available. In essence, this added extra mile cost to the “looks good” AS chart. The only advantage is the stopover at HKG but then if our destination is just HKG (families there), the stopover advantage is not applicable.

    Another friend lives in Delaware once commented that, it seems AS never release saver seats East of Mississippi River… He is right.

    Another thing worth to mention is, with AS devalued its change / cancellation rules, it makes optimization of a routing and travel dates much more costly.

  46. I can never find any Qantas first redemptions anywhere on Alaskans website. Lucky how do you find these? I agree Alaskan customers service is better than any other airline by far. Plus the JAL and Korean Air redemptions are very good and very available. I am hesitant to buy more miles at this time though..

  47. I just tired to book a JFK HKG J seat for the 9am end of Nov. I checked BA QF web open. Called AA they have the seat and bookable (no AA miles ) Then I used AS text service to check they said yes its open. Called 1 minute later the AS agent can’t find any space on that day. The flight is empty with only 4 booked in J. GRRRRRR! WTF AS!

  48. Alaska’s program is perfect – for bloggers who make their money pimping Alaska’s credit card. For people who actually want to use Alaska miles, not so much. It’s just like other programs that sound great in the abstract, but are all but impossible to actually use in the real world. Yeah, they got some issues alright.

  49. @miafll . It’s worth saying that again: “AS devalued its change / cancellation rules” has really made this poor award availability even worse. I found my SFO-NAN (Fiji) business seats but no options for the domestic AS positioning flights at the time of booking. I setup an ExpertFlyer alert, but the Alaska change fee rules will cost more than just buying the tickets outright. So frustrating indeed.

    For my return I just redeemed AA miles instead for 2x Qantas First on the SYD-DFW unicorn. That opens up so rarely. But it was worth redeeming more on AA since Alaska couldn’t see it. Oh well, the AA premium in chart miles is easily made up for it’s ability to churn their currency quite easily.

  50. Don’t know why anyine thinks there will actually be space on Singapore Airlines when a chart is actually published. Just look at how much space they give to Star Alliance. Very little which is going to be the same with AS points. It doesn’t shock me that partners are withholding space, for example Wants which doesn’t open up to AS until about 300 days or less in advance. It’s pretty obvious Partners are getting tired of all the 50% mileage sales.

  51. I agree that there are more issues booking with Alaska lately. I book a lot of award travel at AwardCat, and the issues I have seen are as follows:

    1. Lack of connecting availability on Alaska metal. This used to be very generous. These days, it’s almost a unicorn. It can even be hard finding Y seats from MSP in the winter!

    2. Generous availability on second-tier carriers, such as Condor, Hainan and Icelandair, used to paper over the cracks because there was at least a way to “get there.” Lately, this has evaporated making it a mad scramble to book anything, anywhere.

    3. Phantom availability is still a massive problem. The seat that was showing available? Just kidding! It’s actually not. This is particularly fun after you transfer miles from another program to secure the space.

    4. The lack of change flexibility is all the more painful because of the above.

    5. Alaska, in my view, is throttling the chart rather than outright devaluing it. I think they’re hoping you give up on an aspirational award and instead book an overpriced one way coach seat to Honolulu at the 50k level.

  52. @TrAAveller @miaffl
    Two U seats just opened up and I called AS just in case they could see them. Sure enough, they could (and so could I on AS website while I was on the phone) and they confirmed me in Biz. This was about two months from date of travel. Thx expertflyer! No idea why AS could suddenly see AND book this inventory. Close-in window? FJ U visibility change for AS?

    55k Alaska Miles SYD-NAN(7-day layover)-SFO all confirmed Biz not a bad deal!

  53. I just checked US (LAX, SFO, JFK, ORD, SEA) to Australia and NZ, and there is ZERO availability in premium cabins on Qantas between now and March 2020. Forget the advertised 70K miles US to Australia on Qantas F published in the Alaska award charts. You’ll have to shell out at least 125K (and 225K in first) and fly EK or KE with long or awkward connections. Alaska award charts on QF = false advertising.

  54. Argh, we have 500,000 miles and want to go to SE Asia in september/october but can’t find any lay flat availability for any country. So bummed we have been intentionally racking up these miles for the past two years. On phone with Alaska rep– sounds like one year in advance is how to get the limited seats.

  55. I just tried to book 2 business class Cathay Pacific flights from LAX to SIN. I searched on the British Airways site and it said 2 award seats were available. When i called Alaska to book the agent said only one seat was available. The BA site now shows one business seat available. I’ll try back again in the morning to see if I have better luck.

    On a side note the Alaska Agent said there were 6 premium economy seat available which was far more than what the BA site showed. To me it looks like using the BA site is no longer a reliable option to fine alaska award space.

  56. OMG yes! So frustrating. Especially since they bill their mileage plan as a way to travel internationally. They do not seem to care at all.

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