A few months ago, Alaska Mileage Plan announced that it would be publishing a new member award table before the end of the year. The airline just did that and I don’t know whether to be relieved or worried.
New Alaska Airlines Member Rewards Table
There are many amazing uses for Alaska Mileage Plan miles. Historically, what has made the program unique is that the Mileage Plan has separate award tables for each partner airline, which means you can’t mix and match partner airlines into a single award.
A few months ago, Alaska Airlines announced the following changes to the award table of its associated Mileage Plan:
Starting in late December, the way you view award listings online is changing. We will have a simplified award table to show you where the award levels start based on the regions you travel to and from. With this change, similar to awards in Alaska, partner award levels may vary based on various factors such as route, distance or demand. You’ll continue to enjoy great value for your miles.
This obviously caused quite a bit of concern among members, as the fear was that Alaska would publish a new prize table with much higher prices. Well, Alaska Mileage Plan has now released their new member award table, and it’s actually simplified.
Below is the Alaska Mileage Plan award table for North American awards.
Below is the Alaska Mileage Plan award table for awards that include travel to the rest of the world.
Essentially, Alaska Airlines no longer has individual award tables for each partner airline, but simply lists the “as of” prices between each of the regions. In other words, the price above reflects the lowest cost potentially available on any partner airline, rather than the price of any particular airline.
As of now, it doesn’t appear that Alaska Mileage Plan has changed any award pricing, rather the airline has just removed individual partner award tables and introduced this “simplified” table.
My opinion on this simplified table of Alaska awards
The good news is that there are no immediate changes to prize prices, which will no doubt come as a relief to many. Of course, changes could happen at any time, but nothing seems to change immediately.
The bad news is that I can’t help but wonder what the reason for the Alaska Mileage Plan is here. Beneath the prize table, it says to “search for your desired destination and dates to see prices.” Some thoughts:
- While the new prize table is certainly simpler, it is significantly less comprehensive and transparent.
- I can’t help but feel that this is the first step towards devaluation or increasingly dynamic prices; After all, when people no longer have a point of reference for how much a prize should cost, it’s much easier to change the price.
- Not having individual award tables for each airline really complicates things, since Alaska only allows redemptions on partner airlines in select regions; now it is difficult to know in which regions redemptions are allowed on a particular airline
- Alaska has been in this trend of having “starting at” prices for quite some time, so it’s nothing new as a concept.
- We know that the Alaska Mileage Plan was eventually planning to introduce award options that include travel on multiple airlines, so I imagine this simplified award table will be introduced before it’s implemented.
So yeah, I’m not sure what exactly to think here. I’m relieved that there doesn’t seem to be an immediate devaluation, although I also feel that this move to a less transparent prize table sets the stage for a future devaluation.
As promised, the Alaska Mileage Plan has introduced a simplified award table for travel on partner airlines. While nothing has changed in award options or pricing as of now, the Mileage Plan now has a single award chart that lists “as of” pricing.
This is definitely a negative development in terms of transparency. The big question is what is the motive here and what happens next…
What do you think of these changes to the Alaska Mileage Plan member award chart?
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