Intriguing: Alaska Airlines Launches $5 Monthly Subscription

Intriguing: Alaska Airlines Launches $5 Monthly Subscription

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Alaska Airlines has just unveiled a monthly subscription service, and I’m not sure what exactly to make of it.

The basics of $5 monthly Alaska Access subscription

Alaska Access is the name of Alaska Airlines’ new monthly subscription program, which it describes as being ideal for savvy, price-conscious customers. Starting today, travelers can sign-up for Alaska Access at the cost of $5 per month (with a 12-month commitment), offering exclusive savings on flights and Wi-Fi.

With Alaska Access, you receive:

  • A monthly inflight Wi-Fi voucher, offering you complimentary Wi-Fi on a single Alaska flight (this would ordinarily cost $8 per flight); each voucher is only valid for one calendar month, and has to be used by the subscriber
  • Early access to fare sales, whereby you’ll receive access to flight sales a night before they’re made open to the public, with the option of booking immediately; this will be through the Alaska Airlines app
  • A personalized fare page, whereby you’ll be able to view the lowest fares using money or miles to more than 500 global destinations, taking the guesswork and time out of finding the best value flights
The value proposition of Alaska Access

Here’s how Shane Jones, Alaska Airlines’ VP of Business Development, describes this new service:

“We know time is valuable for our guests who are busy balancing a lot in their lives and we kept that in mind when we developed Alaska Access. Alaska Access is part of our commitment to make travel more affordable and convenient for everyone – whether planning for your dream vacation or returning home from college. Our new subscription service allows you to discover some of our best deals of the year right at your fingertips, in just minutes.” 

My take on the Alaska Access subscription service

It’s unusual to see an airline ask you to pay to essentially receive access to fare sales. However, I think this is kind of smart, or at a minimum, it’s something worth experimenting with.

The price is low enough so that many people will probably subscribe without thinking twice. Then as I view it, the core value proposition is that you’re getting access to discounted Wi-Fi:

  • If you fly Alaska once per month and would use Wi-Fi, you’re already saving $3 per month compared to just buying a Wi-Fi pass for $8
  • If you fly Alaska at least once in eight different months, you’d come out ahead compared to buying Wi-Fi each time

Furthermore, having these Wi-Fi vouchers may encourage some people to choose to book Alaska over another airline. Then again, Alaska’s biggest competitor is Delta, and the airline offers free Wi-Fi to all SkyMiles members on most aircraft.

As far as the early access to fare sales go, I couldn’t imagine actually paying for access to airline fare sales:

  • Airline fare sales are rarely anything to get excited about, but rather are mostly about marketing
  • Fare sales tend to not book out that quickly, since they’re usually not such great deals
  • The calendar feature doesn’t necessarily sound all that different than what you’d have access to if using a website like Google Flights

This isn’t the first time that Alaska has experimented with a subscription concept, as the airline previously sold a flight subscription pass.

I’m curious how successful this concept is

Bottom line

Alaska Access is a new subscription service from Alaska Airlines. It costs $5 per month, and gives you early access to fare sales, which seems like an odd value proposition. However, what could quickly make this worthwhile is that you get a free Wi-Fi voucher every month, offering instant savings for frequent Alaska flyers who don’t have a Wi-Fi subscription.

I’d only take advantage of this if you value the Wi-Fi perk. While I don’t think the value is huge beyond that, I do think this is a pretty smart marketing tool on Alaska’s part, as it won’t just generate revenue, but will also make people more engaged in the airline.

What do you make of Alaska Access?

Conversations (16)
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  1. W Gold

    Definetly a smart and unique concept by Alaska. I look forward to seeing if it works out.

  2. iamhere Guest

    It would be worth paying the $5 per month for unlimited WIFI on Alaska depending how often you fly. Would have to be on average once a month though...

  3. NedsKid Diamond

    So I just got the email inviting me (as a MVP 75k) to sign up. It is $5 per month... but you must sign up for a minimum of one year. It's a one year commitment, billed monthly. So at $60 it's roughly comparable to Spirit's $9 Fare Club (or Saver Club or whatever it is, which actually has saved me over $200 in the last year).

    So it's $5 but it's really $60.

  4. Mike Guest

    Looks like a terrible value for most travelers.
    They will cancel it eventually.

  5. destruya Member

    Really not liking the implications here. Maybe this is why you can't find Partner Business and First rewards anymore, because they're going to be "gated" by this subscription model. Sure, it's $5 NOW, but then the $5/month becomes the "basic" level, followed by $10, $20, and $50+ levels.

    Alaska's starting to get delusions of grandeur. They're not American, Delta, or United. Acquiring Hawaiian and getting some widebodies and Pacific international slots doesn't put them in...

    Really not liking the implications here. Maybe this is why you can't find Partner Business and First rewards anymore, because they're going to be "gated" by this subscription model. Sure, it's $5 NOW, but then the $5/month becomes the "basic" level, followed by $10, $20, and $50+ levels.

    Alaska's starting to get delusions of grandeur. They're not American, Delta, or United. Acquiring Hawaiian and getting some widebodies and Pacific international slots doesn't put them in the same class to start pulling crap like this.

    1. Sam Guest

      I disagree. I don't find new ideas like this synically. Just like I like EWR-RAK. New ideas gain traction in spite of old fist pointing tables.

  6. Randy Diamond

    Companies like subscriptions - provides a constant revenue stream (like Microsoft Office 365, Amazon PRIME, etc.). Maybe airlines will start charging a monthly fee for a frequent flyer account??

  7. eaci Guest

    I bet the raison d'etre for this service is to offer it as a freebie at one of the lower elite tier levels when AS introduces choice benefits in 2025.

    1. eaci Guest

      After more thought, I think I'm wrong, and the actual raison d'etre is early access to the AS discounted mileage awards (hopefully still offered as a choice perk).

      I might be wrong and I admit I'm speculating, but I'm trying to make the value proposition make sense, and that would do it if true.

  8. Joe Guest

    Weird.... how much revenue can this possibly actually drive?

  9. Steve Estes Guest

    I buy WiFi with my Alaska Visa, I get a $1.60 (20%) discount for inflight purchases.
    So I usually pay only $6.40 for WiFi.

    It makes the subscription less attractive.

  10. Sam Guest

    For someone who knows what they're doing & flys AS, it's discounted WiFi. For everyone else that flys AS but doesn't care about the Avgeek hobby, the early sale/access may bring additional value. I'm curious if this supposed new calander feature coincides with the new ability to book multiple oneworld award partners since it says you can view by cash or miles. Maybe a way for AS to recoup some IT costs.

  11. rww Guest

    Curious if this would code and count towards the Amex Platinum card $200 airline credit.

  12. derek Guest

    This is not bad itself but a bad sign of Alaska becoming cheapskate.

    A better product to sell might be concierge check in where an agent meets you either at the light rail station or where the terminal drop off begins. An agent then accompanies you to check in, print boarding pass, and hangs around with you until boarding. When boarding, they either have you board first or board last, while saving overhead space...

    This is not bad itself but a bad sign of Alaska becoming cheapskate.

    A better product to sell might be concierge check in where an agent meets you either at the light rail station or where the terminal drop off begins. An agent then accompanies you to check in, print boarding pass, and hangs around with you until boarding. When boarding, they either have you board first or board last, while saving overhead space for you. The cost would be $2500 per year. That is $25 per flight if you fly once a week and $100 per flight if you fly once a month.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      LOL if you think something like that could be done profitably at $2500/year.

  13. Redacted Guest

    Honestly if I didn’t have T-mobile I’d strongly consider signing up…

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Never In Doubt Guest

LOL if you think something like that could be done profitably at $2500/year.

3
Redacted Guest

Honestly if I didn’t have T-mobile I’d strongly consider signing up…

2
NedsKid Diamond

So I just got the email inviting me (as a MVP 75k) to sign up. It is $5 per month... but you must sign up for a minimum of one year. It's a one year commitment, billed monthly. So at $60 it's roughly comparable to Spirit's $9 Fare Club (or Saver Club or whatever it is, which actually has saved me over $200 in the last year). So it's $5 but it's really $60.

1
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