Hopefully the headline didn’t scare you too much, since this is the most minor award chart devaluation of the year… so far.
When I read the headline that Alaska was devaluing their award chart my first reaction was “gahhhh, there go my Cathay Pacific and Emirates first class redemptions.” As it turns out, there’s not really anything to worry about (yet).
Mileage Plan made some minor changes to their award chart only for travel on Alaska Airlines, which go into effect for tickets booked on or after January 14, 2014. As you can see below, these changes don’t impact the cost of saver coach awards, but rather only “refundable coach” (which come with last seat availability, preferred seating, and no change fees) and first class awards.
Here are the changes Alaska is making to their award chart for travel within the continental US & Canada:
Here are the changes Alaska is making to their award chart for travel to/from Hawaii:
And here are the changes Alaska is making to their award chart for travel to/from Mexico:
These are, in the grand scheme of things, really minor changes. Awards are going up by 2,500-10,000 miles per direction, and in one case even going down by 2,500-5,000 miles per direction. The way to maximize your Alaska miles has never been for travel on Alaska, but rather for travel on their partner airlines.
Now the big question is whether this is it, or if they’ll announce another devaluation for travel on partner airlines. On one hand you’d think if they made major changes and devalued the MileagePlan program it would all be at once, but on the other hand maybe they’re trying to ease us into an award chart change by announcing this first and then announcing a bigger devaluation later — I certainly hope not! In fairness, though, they’ve made a lot of improvements to their award chart this year, including adding Emirates as a redemption partner and introducing one-way awards, and even allowing stopovers on those one-way awards.
Here’s to hoping partner redemptions (especially those on Cathay Pacific and Emirates) remain the same!
(Tip of the hat to Hack My Trip)