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 Iberia, Qatar 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
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.
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)