Alaska raises their Air France award redemption rates starting June 11, 2013, and no one should care

About two weeks ago Air France announced a major devaluation of their Flying Blue program, at least for non-coach redemptions. While the fuel surcharges on coach redemptions went down, the redemption rates for premium cabin awards went way up.

Alaska partners with Air France (and for that matter just about any airline with the word “air” in their name), and interestingly announced an increase in their redemption rates for travel on Air France starting June 11, 2013. Basically redemption rates to Europe are going up by 25,000 miles in business class, the same amount Air France is increasing redemption rates through their program:

And the cost of redemptions to Africa, the Middle East, and India, are also going up by 20,000 miles in business class:

First of all, I don’t really care about this devaluation, because the best use of Alaska miles has never been for travel on Air France. And actually Air France is kind of a pointless partner anyway, since last year they started releasing only a sub set of their award inventory to partner airlines, and that means award space is almost impossible to find nowadays for most of the year if not booking directly through Flying Blue.

But more than anything else I’m kind of fascinated by the decision to change these particular redemptions. Partner airlines have different redemption rates than the “native” airlines all the time, so why did this devaluation happen? Did Air France decide they don’t want their partners “under pricing” them? If so, is a Delta devaluation next?

And if this is just a random devaluation, of all the rates they could devalue, why this one? Oddly they leave their Cathay Pacific redemption rates to South Africa, India, and the Middle East intact (at 140,000 miles for roundtrip first class), their American rates to Japan intact (at 100,000 miles for roundtrip business class), their Korean Air rates to much of Asia intact (at 105,000 miles for roundtrip business class), and their Qantas rates to Australia intact (at 110,000 miles for roundtrip business class).

So I guess what I’m trying to say in a really backwards way is… thanks Alaska!

(Tip of the hat to Gary)

Filed Under: Alaska, Awards
  1. Well, it makes more sense — relative to other programs like DL, AA, UA, etc. — for Alaska to change the rates in this case, because they publish different mileage rates for each airline partner, unlike most other airlines, which publish rates based on zones or distances (not airlines). DL would really have no reason to change their charts based on AF’s change, because DL flies to (many) of the same cities as AF, as does KLM, Alitalia, Korean, etc.

    You are no doubt correct that “no one should care,” though. If people are using Alaska miles to fly AF they’re making a huge mistake.

  2. @Matt, I am new to this blog but I agree to you. Alaska is virtualy a non-alliance carrier and they have to price their partner rates based on each airline agreement and their mile cost,, etc. I just feel its not easy to earn an extra of 25,000 miles from them given they dont have many long haul options for us to earn.. That being said, I am flying them tomorrow to Seattle and they have better food for sale menu.
    @Ben, any airline has OK food for sale domestic US?

  3. @ Matt @ flyingforfun — Agree, I guess what I wonder (and will never know) is how exactly this devaluation came to be.

    Did Alaska notice that Air France raised their costs and decided to match, did Air France ask Alaska to match, or did Air France increase the cost to other airlines for mileage redemptions in their cabins, so it was simply a reaction to that? Would be most interesting if it’s that last scenario.

    @ flyingforfun — Alaska does indeed have among the best buy on board with their reasonably priced hot options in coach. Food in coach is actually usually better than the food up front.

  4. @Ben, I pay for the food, so I have some little expectation on its quality and will verify this agian tomorrow. Tks for confirming it from your expertise! fff

  5. I’m guessing the contract was renegotiated in part of Alaska’s plan to offer one way awards. I would not be surprised if the next carrier to be added will be AF/KLM.

    I don’t think its any loss. I don’t have any plans to use my AS miles on any skyteam carriers. Living on east coast i’d rather just fly revenue Y to europe.

  6. As much as I agree with your headline, I think it would be better to feign outrage lest Alaska take it as a cue to inflate one of those awards you do care about (especially the one I’m saving for!).

  7. One ways are also now available on airlines most people dont care about outside of the state of Alaksa. PenAir and Era Aviation.

    BTW The on AF/KLM award price change has been delayed. It wont be implemented until one way awards go live

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