Alaska Mileage Plan Reduces Mileage Earning On LATAM

Alaska Mileage Plan is one of my all around favorite frequent flyer programs, though there’s no denying that over time the program has lost some value. Alaska has a unique mix of partners that are great for earning and redeeming miles, and their partner earning and redemption rates are among the best in the industry.

The problem is that as airlines’ goals over time change, they also adjust their partnerships. We’ve now seen several airlines either cut ties or scale back their partnership with Alaska. For example, in recent years Alaska has cut ties with DeltaAir France-KLM, and Aeromexico, and has scaled back their partnership with American.

While this time around a partnership isn’t actually ending, Alaska is adjusting mileage earning rates in an unfortunate way. As of July 1, 2018, Alaska Mileage Plan is adjusting mileage earning rates for travel on LATAM.

As you can see:

  • For discounted business class ticket, mileage earning is being reduced from 225% to 200% (100% of which is elite qualifying)
  • For premium economy tickets, mileage earning is being increased from 100% to 110% (this is the only good news here)
  • While full fare economy tickets will continue to earn 100% mileage, the mileage earning for all other economy fare types is being reduced, to as low as 25%


LATAM’s 787 business class

While the July 1 change is based on your travel date rather than booking date, personally I’d contact Alaska after your flight if you booked before this was announced but after the change kicks in. While there are no guarantees, the airline generally has good customer service, so asking for the original mileage amounts isn’t an unreasonable request to make.

It goes without saying that this is bad news for Mileage Plan members, as flying LATAM was a great way to collect Alaska miles. My guess is that this change was prompted by LATAM. At the end of the day Alaska Mileage Plan will only award as many miles as the partner airline is willing to pay for, and my guess is that LATAM wanted to reduce their costs associated with awarding miles.

So while there’s probably not a whole lot Alaska could do here, I do hope they focus some effort on increasing the number of partner airlines they have, and also on increasing the speed at which they add mileage redemptions on new partners. For example, three of Alaska’s newest partners are FinnairSingapore Airlines, and Aer Lingus, yet the opportunity to redeem Alaska miles on all those airlines hasn’t yet been added.

Will you be impacted by these reduced Alaska mileage earning rates on LATAM?

Comments

  1. It would be great if they allow all LATAM flights to qualify. The former TAM flights with the JJ codes most often seen out of Brazil still don’t give any AS points and it’s a pain in the a to figure out which LATAM flights actually credit to AS.

  2. @Kory: Maybe if it’s a JJ flight they don’t credit. And all direct Latam flights from Brazil to the US is “operated” by JJ

  3. That isn’t a whole lot of notice. I am really starting to sour on Alaska. I understood when they terminated their partnership with Aeromexico, but was not happy about it. The hiccups with the incorporating of Virgin America have at times been somewhat annoying, but tolerable. But the change to Latam crediting with such short notice maybe the last draw.

  4. Latam has two FFP. One is for the former JJ (Latam Fidelidade) and the other one for the former LA. Maybe that’s the reason why some flights operated from/to Brazil aren’t eligible for mileage accrue with Alaska

  5. PmTAM flights are now available for credit. See qualifying flight numbers now include the 8000 range flights, which were previously excluded.

  6. Luckily I flew my LATAM segments before these changes were implemented. Flew on LATAM’s fifth freedom route from Madrid to Frankfurt and back in J to earn just over 4,000 AS miles. Those cheap Z fares are now worth slightly less 🙁

  7. @Sean, you are most correct. I had heard recently that jj had Mileage Plan as an airline for FF credit online so when the new earnings were released that is the first thing I looked for.

    I just booked an LA RTW Itinerary for September and was very diligent in chosing flights to maximize AS EQM. Now one flight is EXCLUDED from eligible flights for credit. It was an eligible flight before. It is Marketed by LA but operated by QF. Hopefully they will still credit based on both being AS partners like they have done with BA & AA. Oh well, what is 7,000+ EQM & 15,000+ RDM between friends on one flight of 8. lol

    Here is the current list of eligible flights.

    Qualify for mileage accrual

    Flights must fall within the eligible flight number range below, and your flight must be marketed and operated by LAN.

    Eligible flight numbers

    1 – 805
    808 – 4799
    7500 – 8299

    To ensure flight credit, the two-letter airline code (LA) must precede the flight number (for example, LA XXXX) on your ticket receipt or boarding pass.

    Mileage earned is based on a percentage of actual flight miles flown, with 500 minimum miles on flights shorter than 500 miles. No miles will be earned for classes of service not listed above.

  8. To be more accurate wasn’t it Delta that broke ties with Alaska? Similarly Air France and Aeromexico were bullied by Delta into doing the same? In order to cut Alaska off at the knees and facilitate delta’s aggressive push into Sea-Tac?

  9. @James: Did you booked separated flights or you use the explorer fare?
    I think if you used the explorer, you can change the flight for a QF number.
    The flight that you booked was a SCL/SYD or SYD/SCL? In that case the number would be 806/807 that are not eligible.

  10. @LEEZA1: Thank you for the information. Indeed, I am on LA806 SYD-SCL. My Itinerary is 8 segments, 3 in Y, 5 in J, all on LA ticket stock with KE, QF, LA, EK and CX. 30,404 miles and all but 1 short segment credits at 100% or more EQM to AS.

    James

  11. LATAM is a terrible partner airline. I fly to brazil on American with miles and LATAM simply refuses to make seats available on connecting flights out of Sao Paolo and Rio. So, if you’re going anywhere else out of the three American destination cities you are screwed. It has gotten so hard that I’m going to be forced to fly United. Ugh!
    I don’t understand why LATAM is allowed to do this and still be member of OneWorld. It’s a two way street.

  12. I would say the same my ex boos ADAM HARVEY from gategourmet was saying about LSG group, part of lufthansa LH, THE EVIL EMPIRE.
    This is how I see Alaskan, and Hawaiian airlines, the Evil airlines, is something very deep with the corporate culture and the way they both operate, despite the crappie loyalty program of Latam, aeromexico and other third world country airlines.

  13. @Luck —>. Semantics is everything. I would dispute your initial comment that, “For example, in recent years Alaska has cut ties with Delta, Air France-KLM, and Aeromexico, and has scaled back their partnership with American.”

    How much of this was REALLY Alaska’s doing, versus something ordered by DOJ (in the case of AA), or something that was either pressured by DL (as with AF, KL, and AM) or was simply the inevitable as DL transformed SEA from a (my words) “partnership hub” to a full-blown hub for DL — from friends, then frenemies, then downright antagonistic enemies.

    I do not mean to suggest that responsibility for at least some of the devaluations and/or cutbacks in service, partnerships, etc. doesn’t lie at the feet of AS — only that nothing in the above quotation is 100 percent the fault/doing of Alaska.

    I *know* you know this, as your comment (“My guess is that this change was prompted by LATAM. At the end of the day Alaska Mileage Plan will only award as many miles as the partner airline is willing to pay for, and my guess is that LATAM wanted to reduce their costs associated with awarding miles.”) would suggest, but your choice of wording would seem to suggest otherwise.

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