Alaska Mileage Plan is increasing some award redemption rates for first class travel on Alaska Airlines. Personally I don’t view this being as a huge deal, though others feel differently.
Alaska first class award prices increasing March 2022
The Alaska Mileage Plan award chart has been updated to reflect higher award costs for select first class flights. Here are the changes, which kick in as of March 1, 2022:
- For one-way flights of 1,401 to 2,100 miles within the continental United States, first class currently costs 25,000-60,000 miles, while it will soon cost 25,000 to 70,000 miles
- For one-way flights of 2,101 or more miles within the continental United States, first class currently costs 30,000-70,000 miles, while it will soon cost 30,000 to 95,000 miles
- For one-way flights between the continental United States and Hawaii, first class currently costs 40,000 to 80,000 miles, while it will soon cost 40,000 to 95,000 miles
Below is the Mileage Plan award chart for travel within the continental United States.
Below is the Mileage Plan award chart for travel between the continental United States and Hawaii.
Just to emphasize a few points:
- This only impacts flights on Alaska Airlines metal, and not flights on partner airlines
- This only impacts flights of 1,401+ miles
- This only applies in situations where there’s not saver level award availability, as the maximum amount of miles charged for non-saver awards will be increasing
I don’t view this as being a huge deal
For those looking to maximize miles, I don’t consider this devaluation to be that significant:
- Redeeming miles for non-saver level awards on Alaska Airlines rarely represents a good deal, compared to the ways to use Mileage Plan miles on partner airlines
- Personally I’m much more concerned about the new redemption partners that Alaska Mileage Plan is adding (including Royal Air Maroc and Royal Jordanian), which have frustratingly high redemption rates compared to previous partners, and that makes me concerned about the future of the program
View from the Wing is frustrated that Alaska didn’t provide 90 days notice of the change, as the airline did indicate that it hopes to provide 90 days of notice for award chart devaluations, after the no-notice Emirates devaluation back in 2016. I see where Gary is coming from, but personally I think that frustration is more on principle than practical:
- Alaska is providing nearly a month of advance notice about this change
- At least Alaska has a published award chart, and provides advance notice of changes, unlike other airlines
- This isn’t the same as a partner award chart devaluation; realistically if you’re booking travel on Alaska many months out, you shouldn’t be paying the highest published award costs
I view this as being different than if Alaska devalued partner awards with little notice. The issue with devaluing awards with little notice is that members collect miles in good faith, and perhaps they have a particular redemption in mind, and they continue to earn toward that. I don’t think many people are earning miles with the specific long-term goal of redeeming in Alaska first class at the highest possible award cost.
Alaska Mileage Plan is increasing the cost of some first class awards as of March 1, 2022. Specifically, the cap on award costs for first class on Alaska’s longest flights will be going up. Partner award costs, saver first class award costs, and economy award costs, aren’t changing.
While no one likes award prices going up, I’m at least happy it’s a non-optimal redemption that’s getting devalued, rather than one of the program’s best redemption options. Then again, with Alaska’s award pricing on new partner airlines, the future of partner awards isn’t looking too bright either.
What do you make of this Mileage Plan devaluation?