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The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program is a favorite among frequent flyers. With over two dozen partners and plenty of redemption sweet spots, it's no surprise the program remains popular among points and miles enthusiasts. Additionally, over the past few years, Alaska Airlines has avoided making major changes to its frequent flyer program that negatively impact members. In fact, it's been adding a slew of new redemption partners.
To kick off the new year, Alaska Airlines just made a pretty big change to how it displays awards charts. While this change has the most significant impact on partner awards, it impacts all Mileage Plan award charts. Ultimately, this change makes pricing all awards on Alaska Airlines and partner airlines far more challenging.
Here is what members need to know about the changes made to the Mileage Plan awards charts.
Alaska Airlines Updates Mileage Plan Award Chart
One of the best features of the Mileage Plan program was the ease at which members were able to price award redemptions. Alaska Airlines kept up a very easy-to-use landing page that displayed all award charts for all of the airline's partners.
While this big change was first announced in September 2022, Alaska Airlines finally implemented its new “simplified” award charts. Unfortunately, this major change is not good news for travelers. Here's the statement that Alaska Airlines released back in September regarding this change:
“Starting late December, the way you view award charts online is changing. We’ll have a simplified award chart to show you where award levels start based on which regions you’re traveling from and to. With this change, similar to awards on Alaska, partner award levels may vary depending on multiple factors, including route, distance, or demand. You’ll continue to be able to enjoy great value for your miles. As always, the best way to view pricing and availability for the routes you’re interested in flying is to search for your specific travel dates and destinations.”
What's Changed About Alaska Airlines Award Charts
Alaska Airlines used to publish award charts with a minimum and maximum price for domestic awards. The airline also used to publish a single rate for most partner awards. This allowed members to know whether or not they were getting a good rate on award redemptions. Additionally, it meant there was a definitive maximum rate for all awards.
Now, Alaska Airlines only publishes two award charts, and these two charts only display a starting rate for each award.
Here's a summary of the changes to the Alaska Airlines award charts:
- Region-specific award charts eliminated
- Pricing for award travel originating outside of the United States eliminated
- Maximum award pricing eliminated
While we haven't seen any changes yet, this change means Alaska Airlines can price all awards above the original maximum award prices found in previous award charts.
This change also means that travelers will need to search for awards when their travel originates outside of the U.S. — as this type of travel isn't listed in the new award charts. Here's what these new award charts look like compared to the previous award charts:
Previous Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Domestic Award Chart
Previous Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan International Award Chart
New Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Domestic Award Chart
New Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan International Award Chart
Alaska Airlines is selling this change as an improvement as it simplifies how the airline displays award redemption pricing. However, one of the features of the Mileage Plan program members loved was the easy-to-use award charts which included specific and definitive pricing for each award.
What Are Partner Awards Priced at Now?
As of writing this post, most Mileage Plan partner awards remain unaffected by these new award charts. The partner awards we checked when writing this post remain priced at the rates displayed on previous award charts.
For now, travelers can still use the previous award charts as a reference tool when pricing partner awards. However, these rates are subject to change as a result of the new “streamlined” Mileage Plan award chart.
US to Australia as of January 1st
US to Hong Kong as of January 1st
The Bottom Line
Though this change was announced back in September 2022, it's still a massive blow to the Mileage Plan program. One of the best features of the program was the published award charts. The way in which Alaska Airlines used to price awards and publish these rates was also a big selling point. Now, Alaska Airlines joins other US-based carriers in only publishing as little information on award redemptions as possible.
Hopefully, there are additional changes coming to the Mileage Plan award chart as the two new “simplified” charts leave a lot to be desired.
The most significant element missing from the new charts is pricing for award travel originating outside of the United States. For now, if you want to price travel originating outside of the US, you'll need to search for flights to get any sort of idea of how many miles you'll need.
What do you make of this change to the Mileage Plan award chart? Does this change how you'll utilize the Mileage Plan program moving forward?
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