Alaska Adds Awards On Malaysia Airlines, And It’s A Comically Bad Value

Alaska Adds Awards On Malaysia Airlines, And It’s A Comically Bad Value

48

While Alaska Airlines joined the oneworld alliance as of March 2021, the airline hasn’t yet rolled out award redemptions on all oneworld partners. For now the airline is maintaining separate award charts for each airline partner, and redemptions are slowly being added.

In recent months we’ve seen Alaska add awards on IberiaQatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, and Royal Jordanian. Mileage Plan has just rolled out its newest redemption partner — Malaysia Airlines — and I can’t help but wonder what’s going on anymore. The value is so bad that I almost feel like Alaska must have hired some people from Delta SkyMiles, or something?

Mileage Plan redemption rates on Malaysia Airlines

Alaska Mileage Plan has just added Malaysia Airlines as an award redemption partner. For those not familiar, Malaysia Airlines has a fleet of roughly 80 aircraft, including everything from Boeing 737s to Airbus A350s. The airline flies within Asia, and to Australia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Here are the Alaska Mileage Plan saver level one-way award costs for travel on Malaysia Airlines in eligible regions (and make sure you’re sitting down):

  • Asia to Asia costs 25,000 miles in economy, 65,000 miles in business class
  • Asia to South Pacific costs 40,000 miles in economy, 120,000 miles in business class
  • Asia to Middle East costs 40,000 miles in economy, 120,000 miles in business class
  • Asia to Europe costs 50,000 miles in economy, 175,000 miles in business class

A couple of further things to note:

  • When traveling long haul between regions, stopovers in Kuala Lumpur are allowed
  • There are no fuel surcharges on Malaysia Airlines award redemptions
Malaysia Airlines A350 business class

I’m in shock by how bad this award pricing is

Historically Alaska Mileage Plan has been my favorite individual airline mileage currency, because you can’t beat the value of redemption rates on airlines like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Qantas, especially with a free stopover. Of course those redemptions haven’t been very useful for the past two years, with Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia mostly being closed to foreigners.

As Mileage Plan has added more partner redemptions, the pricing hasn’t been nearly as good as what we were used to. But these latest redemption values are so shockingly bad that I can’t help but wonder what’s going on at Alaska Mileage Plan. 65,000 miles for a one-way intra-Asia business class ticket that would cost 22,500 miles with American AAdvantage? Really?

Or 120,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket from Asia to Australia that would cost 40,000 miles with American AAdvantage?

Or 175,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket from Asia to Europe that would cost 75,000 miles with American AAdvantage?

Comparing these rates to Alaska Mileage Plan’s previous award redemption rates, the program charges 70,000 miles for a one-way first class ticket from Asia to Europe on Cathay Pacific. So you’ll pay 2.5x as much for a Malaysia Airlines business class ticket as you’ll pay for a Cathay Pacific first class ticket.

I don’t even know how to process these redemption rates anymore. While I can appreciate that Mileage Plan clearly doesn’t plan to offer as much value as in the past, these redemption rates are quite literally among the worst in the industry, and there are some really bad frequent flyer programs out there.

Malaysia Airlines Lounge Kuala Lumpur (KUL)

Bottom line

Alaska Mileage Plan is continuing to roll out redemptions on oneworld partners, and the latest airline to be added is Malaysia Airlines. While more ways to redeem miles is a good thing in theory, the value here is unbelievably bad. 65,000 miles for a one-way short haul business class ticket, or 175,000 miles for a one-way long haul business class ticket, is unlike anything we’ve seen before from the program.

What a sad direction for a once great frequent flyer program to take…

What do you make of these Alaska Mileage Plan redemption rates on Malaysia Airlines?

(Tip of the hat to Mainly Miles)

Conversations (48)
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  1. Dave in BC Guest

    Don’t forget how dismal Alaska business class redemption is on Aer Lingus: 280K one way!

  2. EinDC Guest

    It appears that you can no longer use BA or Qantas website to find Alaska Airline’s award seat availability of Cathay seats (since you cant search Alaska and have to call. For a series of dates Im seeing business class seats on BA and Qantas’s website but the Alaska phone agent is not seeing them.

    How do you recommend I proceed?

  3. Edger Proton Guest

    If I can avoid flying Malaysian Airlines I will. Their business class is one of the worst within the group, and 120,000 miles is certainly not worth it in this economic climate.

  4. OzTraveller Guest

    Alaska Mileage Plan used to be my favourite travel awards , mainly due to the great value Cathay Pacific awards from Australia to Asia and Europe or America and the JAL awards from America to Asia. But now that Cathay is basically out of business, the new Oneworld awards are shocking prices, so I can only see myself booking a couple last awards, and then dropping Alaska, unless they miraculously see sense.

  5. Chris M Guest

    I completely stopped counting, collecting or banking miles from any frequent flier program in May 2019.
    The value of miles has been relentlessly devalued so much that it's simply not worth my time.
    I also used to be a big contributor to the Flyer Talk Forum. Now I see the silliness of it all.
    The required program manipulation and never-ending status maintenance one is forced to do is too stressful.
    I just shop for the lowest price now.

    1. Dave Guest

      I couldn't agree more. The only ones that are even remotely valuable are credit card points...and even those I'm now just using as statement credits. They're killing off their cash cow by making the points system only attractive to those willing to commit to it as if it were a part time job. I've saved time, money, and sanity by ignoring miles and loyalty status. I fly the best value/price international business/domestic first itinerary and call it good.

  6. Nor Guest

    "Take Malaysian, & disappear!" That's how bad Alaska's program has become. Sad....

  7. Jamie Guest

    Girl!

    Has anyone noticed a new term appearing on their award chart? Starting at "X" miles? check out Aer Lingus from SFO->DUB redemptions on AS.. J tix at 560k miles? da fuq out!

    But yeah Alaska value prop is evaporating. I mean Cathay Pacific probably aint coming back either. Welp

  8. Willmo Guest

    If you think this is bad value, you haven’t tried to book a Royal Air Maroc award with Finnair plus….

    500k rountrip biz Europe to North America, no option to book one way

  9. Ed Guest

    Rumor has it that a massive devaluation of CX and JL awards are forthcoming... Buyer beware!

  10. Azamaraal Guest

    These rates are consistent with their rates on Qatar. I'm paying 70,000 on AA to fly SEA-MLE while AS would have charged in the mid 150,000 range.

    DUH

    I'm stuck with a couple hundred thousand points that I bought fur future travel when they were joining OW. I was afraid of this devaluation and it has now become a fact not a fear.

  11. glenn t Diamond

    All I can think is that Alaska MP has someone spectacularly inept at negotiating rates with OW partner airlines.
    I also wonder exactly why AS decided to join OW. It is no longer delivering value to members/customers of its FF program; in fact it is strangling it to death.
    Lastly, read reviews of Malaysian (on ground and in-air) to be really put off considering an award flight with them.

  12. Edward Guest

    Well, expensive or not hardly matters when your request to use miles to book a flight on Malaysia Airlines goes completely unanswered! I have Qatar miles and need to fly between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and booked a week ago. I got a message saying it would take 2 days to confirm. I have not received a confirmation.

  13. DENDAVE Member

    I had plans to redeem on CX until, you know, the pandemic. Since that dream is dead for a while, and Japan still closed, what would be the best use of Alaska points for the foreseeable future? Emirates business class?

    1. glenn t Diamond

      haha! Once the outlier of MilegePlan, Emirates value is now looking 'normal'.
      How sad is that?

  14. Beachcomber Guest

    I've been planning a trip using both AS and AA miles...trying to circumvent the globe on a bucket list trip. The redemption levels on AA for flying MH are SO much lower than this! Feels like using AS miles to go anywhere except on FI or JL is pretty much pointless. For everyone else the charge is sky high between either miles or (looking at you, BA) service charge,

    1. Steve Guest

      Sorry, my friend. No amount of FF miles is gonna allow you to circumvent the globe. It’s here to stay.

  15. Sam Guest

    Devaluation coming?? This is a devaluation.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Strictly speaking. You can't devalue something new, since it has no value to devalue yet.

      But we all get what you're trying to say.

  16. pdxparse Guest

    This makes me sad. AS has long been my favorite airline and their FF program in the past has given them a big competitive advantage. A shame to see this trend continue.

  17. magice Member

    I think there is another probability: AS is planning for a multi-partner OW chart that is OK-but-not-too-bad.

    We see this before in halo products: the brand would have a few ridiculously expensive products, top-of-the-line, halo products. The prices there would be literally eye-watering (as in, you eyes water when you see them due to the shock value). Then, they would have regular lines that are slightly-expensive-but-you-can-still-afford-it. The top-of-the-line ridiculousness makes the regular lines look decidedly...

    I think there is another probability: AS is planning for a multi-partner OW chart that is OK-but-not-too-bad.

    We see this before in halo products: the brand would have a few ridiculously expensive products, top-of-the-line, halo products. The prices there would be literally eye-watering (as in, you eyes water when you see them due to the shock value). Then, they would have regular lines that are slightly-expensive-but-you-can-still-afford-it. The top-of-the-line ridiculousness makes the regular lines look decidedly tame.

    If AS is planning for a chart that maybe a tiny bit below AA or BA, they might preface it with some spectacularly bad charts. Then, when they come out with the industry-regular chart, they would then drive the conversation to the direction of "you see *those* charts? It could have been worse. Be glad."

    Otherwise, man these are bad rates.

  18. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Ben, I was going to get ready and roll my eyes when reading this post; but you’re right. These levels are out of wack when even compared to other high level Alaska partner awards. I wonder if something beyond (meaning Malaysian specific) normal devaluation is happening.

  19. STAKK Member

    Ludicrous. I've been trying to burn my AS miles as fast as possible. CX is for all purposes a non-partner right now due to the travel ban, so JL is about the only value you can get from them. Sad, it used to be one of my favorite programs.

  20. Bob Guest

    This was already embedded in their system when they did "dynamic" pricing for Aer Lingus J. In theory they have a competitive 60k saver rate but pragmatically it's always 280k miles now which is absurd.

  21. Art Guest

    It is comically bad. But also feels like something else is going on at Alaska. You don't go overnight from one of the better FF programs to one of the industry's worst accidentally. And this is way beyond just aligning redemption rates to other OW programs - this is dramatically worse than even other comparable OW programs! It's almost like they're taking Mileage Plan down market. Given that they broke their 90 day notice pledge...

    It is comically bad. But also feels like something else is going on at Alaska. You don't go overnight from one of the better FF programs to one of the industry's worst accidentally. And this is way beyond just aligning redemption rates to other OW programs - this is dramatically worse than even other comparable OW programs! It's almost like they're taking Mileage Plan down market. Given that they broke their 90 day notice pledge on devaluations, and in fact barely announced anything at all (one line in parentheses buried deep in their website does not count as notice) gives me serious pause about the program and makes me seriously wonder what else is going on. These are not the actions of a company proud of the decisions it's making.

    1. Brizone Gold

      Yeah, AS is quickly turning into a garbage airline. Obviously decided to respond to the pandemic fallout out of fear. They continue to fail on addressing operational problems (like their infamously-bad IT systems, and horrendous PHX call-center training) and now are stuck with management that's covering their a$$es. It's really sad to watch.

  22. chrisjrn Guest

    Well, that's one way to make it clear they still value their SQ partnership…

  23. Regis Guest

    You have to wonder why AS even bothered to release these award redemption rates. I mean, seriously, this is only for comedic value.

  24. Art_Czar Member

    I'd be content if adding new OW partner award redemptions with ridiculously poor value helps keep Alaska's original partner (JL, CX) award redemptions unchanged for the foreseeable future.

  25. Eskimo Guest

    Devaluation coming!!!!!

  26. Travel Dreamer Guest

    This is perhaps a warning sign sent out by Alaska to not fly on Malaysia, in case anyone has already forgot about MH370 and then MH17. The latter incident is particularly relevant given the current situation in eastern Ukraine. Thank you AS!

    1. Luis Guest

      You're giving AS waaaaaaayyyyy too much credit

  27. Steve Guest

    I'm thinking this is a sign of things to come with the Alaska Mileage Plan...just a matter of time before they throw a major devaluation our way.

  28. DavidB Guest

    Korean awards are crazy high as are Finnair and AerLingus. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason for this. One would hope for one consistency among OW partners as with AAdvantage but…

    1. Guy Guest

      I believe the prices shown for Korean Air are the round trip costs as one ways are not bookable.

      From their webpage "One-way Korean Air award bookings are charged the same number of miles as round-trip travel. Korean Air flights, when used one-way in combination with Alaska Airlines or another partner airline to create a round-trip itinerary (routing restrictions apply), will be charged half the applicable Korean Air round-trip miles. If any part of a...

      I believe the prices shown for Korean Air are the round trip costs as one ways are not bookable.

      From their webpage "One-way Korean Air award bookings are charged the same number of miles as round-trip travel. Korean Air flights, when used one-way in combination with Alaska Airlines or another partner airline to create a round-trip itinerary (routing restrictions apply), will be charged half the applicable Korean Air round-trip miles. If any part of a round-trip itinerary is flown on Korean Air, it becomes ineligible for any refund of the unflown portions."

    2. Guy Guest

      "as one ways are not bookable" ignore this part!

  29. David S Guest

    To be fair to AS, the awards are not any worse than what Malaysia Airlines charges their own frequent flyers. This must be a factor when figuring out what to charge, otherwise AS would end up poaching MH frequent flyers.

  30. Ralph4878 Guest

    These are, indeed, terrible.
    That said, earning rates with MileagePlan are amongst the highest out there. This does not necessarily substantiate these redemption rates, but if you are a high-level elite with AS flying in J or F on a paid partner ticket, it's easy to rack up tens of thousands of miles on one trip alone...those cheap F tickets on BA, for example, have bloated my MileagePlan account significantly.

  31. Ghostrider5408 Guest

    While some think Alaska's award chart is behind the times there are many of us long time AS FF's that have enjoyed one of if not the best chart for it's FF's additionally many of us were and still are against the jumping in bed with AA and OW. Yes the award chart is high and I submit will get higher all this caused by the OW membership. The old chart many of us dealt...

    While some think Alaska's award chart is behind the times there are many of us long time AS FF's that have enjoyed one of if not the best chart for it's FF's additionally many of us were and still are against the jumping in bed with AA and OW. Yes the award chart is high and I submit will get higher all this caused by the OW membership. The old chart many of us dealt with was perfectly fine the only thing I submit is not having to pay those ^%$$% seat selection fees on BA. For us on the west coast BA/EK was our best option and still is unless of course you want to fly AA coach. You have an new management team at AS I sincerely hope there isn't a merger somewhere in the next few years.

  32. STEFFL Member

    ALASKA Airlines is so far behind when it comes to MODERN AGE Rewards program, what you think is the simliest thing . . . it does NOT work with AS!
    Awards in the past with EMIRATES were a nightmare to get, other then calling in, unless you departed from the US.
    Same happens with there partner CONDOR, as just noted by Ben, they extend there US flights in the fastest way ever, but...

    ALASKA Airlines is so far behind when it comes to MODERN AGE Rewards program, what you think is the simliest thing . . . it does NOT work with AS!
    Awards in the past with EMIRATES were a nightmare to get, other then calling in, unless you departed from the US.
    Same happens with there partner CONDOR, as just noted by Ben, they extend there US flights in the fastest way ever, but there partner ALASKA Airlines is since YEARS!! so far behind on allowing to make ANY (online of by phone) on flights that do not touch the US. e.g. Frankfurt-Palma de Mallorca / Frankfurt-Gran Canaria / Munich-Fuerteventura all a NO GO, that Frankfurt-Havanna or Varadero (both Cuba) would not work does not surprise, but the rest of that network, is just NON existant for Alaska Airways.
    Same with some Oneworld Routes, that you can't find online even if the Oneworld Partner Airlines does have huge availability on there own website.
    So Alaska is so bad, that it's an airline when it comes to be modern . . . In my eyes, they're from before any war! AS being cheap to claim decent awards are over and that they ever be able to compete with UA, AA, DL . . . oh man! Forget it.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      Further to @STEFFLs musings, it is notable that Qantas only throws the occasional crumb Alaska's way these days with regard to higher than Economy awards. The days of picking up F awards for 70.000 miles Australia to US for example, are long gone, and even a Business flight is so rare you might think it is a mistake.
      Admittedly, Qantas (the Queen of Mean) is partly responsible, but the pushovers at Alaska have plainly...

      Further to @STEFFLs musings, it is notable that Qantas only throws the occasional crumb Alaska's way these days with regard to higher than Economy awards. The days of picking up F awards for 70.000 miles Australia to US for example, are long gone, and even a Business flight is so rare you might think it is a mistake.
      Admittedly, Qantas (the Queen of Mean) is partly responsible, but the pushovers at Alaska have plainly not resisted and ever so quietly caved in. Pathetic!

  33. Kumar Guest

    Alaska mileage plan has gone downhill a long time .With emirates not an option. And ridiculous redemption rates on qatar,there are no options left to redeem Alaska miles .
    You should revalue the cal ur big Alaska miles when pushing for the sake of Alaska miles

    1. Clem Diamond

      The redemptions to Asia on other airlines like JAL are still a ridiculously good deal (granted those countries need to reopen to foreigners). But... who knows how long it'll last, this is all indeed not a great omen.

    2. Ed Guest

      Rumor has it JAL will be devalued by 50% soon.

  34. Bgriff Guest

    Is Alaska ever going to introduce a simple oneworld award chart? As a full alliance member it seems like they must need to be able to offer the ability to mix and match carriers on an award, right?

    1. eponymous coward Guest

      “simple Oneworld award chart”

      Tell me you haven’t redeemed a CX Asiamiles award without telling me you haven’t redeemed an Asiamiles award…

    2. Brizone Gold

      That was supposed to be +1 to eponymous coward, but the way this comment section works leaves much to be desired...

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Guy Guest

I believe the prices shown for Korean Air are the round trip costs as one ways are not bookable. From their webpage "One-way Korean Air award bookings are charged the same number of miles as round-trip travel. Korean Air flights, when used one-way in combination with Alaska Airlines or another partner airline to create a round-trip itinerary (routing restrictions apply), will be charged half the applicable Korean Air round-trip miles. If any part of a round-trip itinerary is flown on Korean Air, it becomes ineligible for any refund of the unflown portions."

5
Regis Guest

You have to wonder why AS even bothered to release these award redemption rates. I mean, seriously, this is only for comedic value.

4
Sam Guest

Devaluation coming?? This is a devaluation.

2
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