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Alaska Awards: BA Phantom Space Update
I’m a regular reader of your blog and appreciate all the sound advice you give. I also really appreciate your perspective on the airline industry in general.
I am currently trying to book a roundtrip flight from LAX to SIN in July August 2020. My family of four is flying to SE Asia for a very good friends wedding. By the time we fly we will have a 5 year old and 2 year old with us and flying in a premium class would make the long trip much more pleasant. I’ve done everything right so far, I accrued Alaska miles overtime and bought a bunch too during the recent 50% bonus sale, I look for business class award space on the BA website, I called Alaska 330 days out from our flight to use the Alaska points, etc. Unfortunately the issue of phantom award space has come to haunt me. When i called Alaska to book the outbound flights the agent could find any Business Class space even when there were four seats on the BA website. Oddly enough there were four premium economy seat available on another date and the BA website didn’t show any availability at all. I’ve been reduced to finding award space and calling Alaska everyday to see what they say. It looks like the correlation between BA listing open premium space and the BA website listing it as available has been totally broken. Is this correct? Any advice to help me get my family to Singapore in business? (Note: the Alaska agents have been very helpful and my interactions have been good).
Thanks again for your writing,
Alex, it sounds like you’re doing everything right. AS often has access to fewer seats than you might otherwise see available but I haven’t heard of such a large discrepancy. I also haven’t heard of BA keeping space members only but it might be worth to do a search with AA or Qantas to see if the BA space shows up as available to other partners. All else failing I’d just keep checking.
Alex, you may also want to consider the option of flying as 2 and 2 (you and your spouse each taking 1 child) to open up more flight options by only needing 2 seats per flight
Here’s an update(I had to sign up for a forum account so my login name changed):
I ended getting 4 seats on Business from SFO-HKG. Right now the agent said they didn’t have the LAX-SFO First positioning flight award availability on Alaska. That’s hard to believe because there are tons of daily flights between LAX and SFO-it’s Alaska metal and they say they don’t have space! I also still need flights for the final leg from HKG to SIN. Hopefully some will open up.
FYI-The agent told me that it doesn’t cost anything to add a flight leg but if you change or want to remove a flight leg then Alaska will charge you $125 per ticket. That is a big change from a year ago.
So now I’m waiting until 330 days out to try to book the return leg SIN-HKG-LAX. According to the BA website things aren’t looking good but with my experience it seems like there is no connection between Alaska and BA availability so maybe that will work in my favor.