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Alaska has announced a host of changes that will affect its award chart, cancellation and change policies. As is the trend most changes are negative, especially the new change and cancellation policies, although the change to the award chart is slightly positive.

Alaska Boeing 737 Max

24-Hour Free Change And Cancellation Policy

Effective June 5, 2018, the new policy will be as follows:

  • You will only be able to cancel/change your ticket if it is booked for travel more than 24 hours after the time of purchase
  • For tickets booked for travel within 24 hours standard change/cancellation fees will apply

Change And Cancellation Fees

Also starting June 5, 2018, the following will apply:

  • For changes/cancellations on tickets more than 60 days prior to travel a fee of $125 will apply
  • For changes/cancellations when travel begins within 24 hours of purchase a fee of $125 will apply immediately
  • For all other travel, 24 hours after ticket purchase a fee of $125 applies
  • MVP Gold and Gold 75K Mileage Plan members are exempt from the fees

Same Day Confirmed Changes

  • Same day change fee is increasing to $50
  • The 6-hour window is being abolished, you can request a change at any point during check-in
  • The new flight will have to be on the same day as the ticketed flight
  • The fee will also apply to non-refundable First class award travel booked in our A class of service
  • MVP® Gold and Gold 75K Mileage Plan members continue to benefit from having their fees waived

Award Chart Changes

The changes to Alaska’s award chart will come into effect June 25, 2018. Overall, they are pretty positive with minor reductions, and changes include:

  • Short distance (less than 700 miles) First class award have their lowest award level reduced
  • Reduced refundable award level pricing on First class flights less than 1,400 miles within the contiguous US and Alaska
  • Reduced refundable award level pricing on First class flights less than 2,100 miles from the US to Mexico
  • A new lowest award level of 10,000 miles on main cabin flights from California to select destinations in Mexico (on flights that are less than 1,400 miles)
  • Awards to Hawaii now start at 15,000 miles one way
Changes to Alsaka award levels within the US
Changes to Alaska award levels within the US
Changes to Alaska award levels from the US to Mexico and Hawaii
Changes to Alaska award levels from the US to Mexico and Hawaii

Our Take

Adding cancellation and change fees is disappointing, and the blow is only slightly softened by the mild improvements in Alaska’s award chart. Despite the changes, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan remains our favorite airline frequent flyer program and still has some excellent perks and benefits including some great sweet spots for redemptions.

Source: The Points Guy

Alaska Tweaks Award Chart & Introduces Cancellation And Change Fees
5 (100%) 2 votes
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Comments

  • Main use of AS has been EK F. As well as CX F.

  • Jacqueline says:

    Love Alaska but these charges are not welcomed at all.

  • This is unfortunate. I recently used the 60-day free change to alter my reservation. Now that would be $125.

  • I hope they dont change the partner rewards, EK and CX has been my favorite redemption from Alaska!

  • Ouch. Those change fees are what get to me.

  • It is what it is. As with most changes, very few are positive. It’s not too punitive, but it’s certainly disappointing.

  • Definitely unfortunate — I love Alaska.

  • I love Alaska and use this airline a lot.
    This is a big disappointment for me and my family.
    Thanks for letting us know in advance!

    We really liked this airline and recommended it to everyone!
    Thank you for everything!

  • Another one bites the duct, why not

  • Alaska was one of my favorite airlines. This is a bit of disappointment to me.
    I really use it a lot. I even told my friends about it as well and they love the service and everything. So thanks for that!

  • This is truly strange. At the same time as Alaska is feeling increased competition from Southwest, they go and make their fees more onerous? I have used the free cancellation for award tickets and it was very welcome. They are still a good airline and their points are certainly valuable, but I have to question those making the decisions: to keep their Business Class configuration rather than that of Virgin America and now to gut their change fees so Southwest becomes an even better option to Hawaii — definitely shortsighted.

  • Alaska Airlines! Shame on you! SMH!! I really dislike any airline collecting fees left and right and to learn AS has jumped on that gravy train is a huge disappointment.

  • Christina Stewart says:

    We love Alaska Airlines (customer service and in flight entertainment options are great), and plan to keep flying on it regardless of these changes. However, we are hopeful for a SW Hawaii route that will work for us, so we’ll probably continue to choose SW for its more flexible award program instead of Alaska if the price is the same.

  • I am not happy with these changes, however I have become accustomed to negative changes with airline and hotel award programs.

  • The change fee for advance reservations is a real killer.
    So disappointed in Alaska Airlines.

  • panka121 says:

    thank you for the info

  • Thanks for the heads up.

  • Not too bad overall, although the larger trend is a reminder ro earn and burn

  • I just hope they remain mileage based and not fare based for The Mileage Plan.

  • I hope they don’t increase the partner awards, as that’s where the real value is.

  • I wonder when we will see positive changes with some airlines, it seems they just keep stripping things away.

  • Well this airline is pretty good and if I have to cough up a few more points to take them over most other domestic carriers it’s something I am seriously gonna consider

  • For everyone saying these changes are a big disappointment: do you all really make changes to itineraries that frequently that this matter at all? I mean, the change is not for the better, but to me, no matter what airline it might be, this is a non-issue.

  • What a huge blow to the Alaska loyalists without status. Not surprised with virgin merger in rear view.

  • hate the new fees, hate em!

  • charles j says:

    Yes. The charges are a definite negative. Another benefit of your post regarding cards where the incidentals fee rebate seems to kick in.

  • The_Bouncer says:

    As someone who doesn’t often mess around with my plans once I’ve booked, I’m not too bothered about this.

  • For so long, AS has been my favorite airline. Been flying them since the early 1980’s when I lived in Juneau. They were an airline apart. With this latest change in policy AS, IMHO, now has sold its soul and is now treating its customers with the same attitude all the other carriers have been doing for years. I grieve the old days.

  • I’m very bothered by this. AS was always high on my list of favored airlines. Now, seems AS is going to treat its passengers like a walking checkbook, just like all the other airlines. Too bad.

  • terrible moves. Maybe they shouldn’t have bought VX if they cannot handle losing revenue and profitability and have to cut customer benefits!

  • I’m more interested in changes to award chart and these are pretty positive so from my point of view Alaska continue to be one of the best programme for redeeming miles.

  • I love Alaska Air! I see this as them aligning themselves with the rest of the group. They want to get lots of money too. Keep investors happy.
    I, also, do not change my reservations really so I don’t think I’ll have to worry about this too often.

  • As with most program changes, it’s not a good thing AND it could have been worse.

  • The fees they have introduced seem quite high, and definitely make the program much less attractive.

  • Thanks for the info!

  • Bound to happen… it was too good before.

  • worldtraveller73 says:

    Quite a bit of loss of value with the missing change fee. I could almost forgive them if they had access to the same space as AAdvantage but they don’t. Grr!! =)

  • Beppoello81 says:

    Still love Alaska

  • Mileage program is still a good option for Asia for me.

  • Sebastian says:

    How may I check before buying whether there is free award space?

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