About two weeks ago Air France announced a major devaluation of their Flying Blue program, at least for non-coach redemptions. While the fuel surcharges on coach redemptions went down, the redemption rates for premium cabin awards went way up.
Alaska partners with Air France (and for that matter just about any airline with the word “air” in their name), and interestingly announced an increase in their redemption rates for travel on Air France starting June 11, 2013. Basically redemption rates to Europe are going up by 25,000 miles in business class, the same amount Air France is increasing redemption rates through their program:
And the cost of redemptions to Africa, the Middle East, and India, are also going up by 20,000 miles in business class:
First of all, I don’t really care about this devaluation, because the best use of Alaska miles has never been for travel on Air France. And actually Air France is kind of a pointless partner anyway, since last year they started releasing only a sub set of their award inventory to partner airlines, and that means award space is almost impossible to find nowadays for most of the year if not booking directly through Flying Blue.
But more than anything else I’m kind of fascinated by the decision to change these particular redemptions. Partner airlines have different redemption rates than the “native” airlines all the time, so why did this devaluation happen? Did Air France decide they don’t want their partners “under pricing” them? If so, is a Delta devaluation next?
And if this is just a random devaluation, of all the rates they could devalue, why this one? Oddly they leave their Cathay Pacific redemption rates to South Africa, India, and the Middle East intact (at 140,000 miles for roundtrip first class), their American rates to Japan intact (at 100,000 miles for roundtrip business class), their Korean Air rates to much of Asia intact (at 105,000 miles for roundtrip business class), and their Qantas rates to Australia intact (at 110,000 miles for roundtrip business class).
So I guess what I’m trying to say in a really backwards way is… thanks Alaska!
(Tip of the hat to Gary)