Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program will be introducing more flexible rewards on American Airlines, and I’d say that’s probably going to be good news.
Alaska Mileage Plan changing American awards
While details are limited as of now, Alaska Mileage Plan has updated its award chart to add the following:
American Airlines awards update: Effective March 1, 2022, while the current award prices will continue to be available, note that award pricing on American Airlines flights in the US and Canada may vary depending on demand.
As you can see, as of March 1, 2022, Alaska Mileage Plan award pricing on American Airlines will have more “variability.” We don’t have any details yet on what these changes will look like, but rather just have a heads up that this is changing.
Why this change isn’t bad news
I see some people suggesting that this change is bad news or should be concerning, but that’s not at all my read on the situation:
- Current award pricing will continue to be available, presumably continuing to use American’s typical “fare buckets” for awards
- The reality is that there are several “levels” of award availability through American AAdvantage, and it sounds like Alaska will also have access to some of that space going forward; to me this reflects the closeness of the partnership between American and Alaska
- I don’t see this immediately foreshadowing any changes at American AAdvantage, because if American wanted to change award pricing even more, that wouldn’t start with Alaska Mileage Plan
- It’s possible that this could even be positive, as American has “Web Special” awards, where awards are cheaper than the regular saver award prices, even though the saver award buckets aren’t available; however, I’m not convinced Alaska will have access to this space
- Alaska already has this “dynamic” award pricing on other airline partners, where Alaska has the regular published award chart for when a partner airline has award availability, and then much higher pricing for other flights that don’t have award availability
Like I said, the details are limited as of now, though logically I wouldn’t consider this to be a negative development. Now, this probably isn’t how I’d want to redeem my Mileage Plan miles, but more options are a good thing, assuming nothing is being taken away.
As of March 1, 2022, Alaska Mileage Plan will introduce variable award pricing on American Airlines. Mileage Plan should continue to have the same award pricing when American has saver level award availability, but now members will also be able to redeem for travel on American on other flights as well.
While this is unlikely to represent some amazing deal for the average member, more ways to redeem miles are typically a good thing, assuming nothing is being taken away (and there’s no reason to believe anything is being taken away).
What do you make of Mileage Plan’s variable award pricing on American?