Update: Alaska Airlines has multiple price levels or awards on Qatar Airways. They’ve now published their award chart. At the lowest level,
- US – Mideast or Indian subcontinent is 85,000 miles one way in business class (compare to 70,000 at American AAdvantage)
- US – Africa is 120,000 miles one way in business class (compare to 75,000 at American AAdvantage)
More expensive award tiers when saver isn’t available are not published. So not as bad as it could have been but not as good as with several of their other partners, either.
Alaska Airlines joined the oneworld alliance earlier this year. However they still don’t let you redeem miles for oneworld airlines that weren’t already partners. That’s coming ‘later this year’ and is scary to many members because it could upset pricing on existing partners. Alaska offers great value today on its partner awards, but when they introduce entirely new award charts we could see a big devaluation.
Alaska separately introduced their partnership with oneworld member Qatar Airways, and at the start of June said that award redemption on Qatar would become available in August. They’re actually a few days early, and Qatar Airways awards are currently bookable on the Alaska Airlines website. However the prices are.. sketchy to say the least.
Alaska Airlines isn’t currently publishing an award chart for travel on Qatar. But check this out, for U.S. to Doha on January 11th, here’s one way award pricing:
Coach is 42,500 miles one way. That’s at least in the ballpark. But 170,000 miles one way for Qatar Airways business class? American AAdvantage currently charges just 70,000 miles.
Now here’s where it gets even stranger. On January 8, coach awards don’t run 42,500 miles… they run 130,000 miles one way.
On the other hand, move to January 12 and we see 42,500 miles for coach again and different prices for business class. That non-stop flight is again 170,000 miles in business. But if you combine Qatar Airways with a domestic Alaska flight the price drops to 85,000 miles. 85,000 miles is more in the ballpark of what you’d expect.
Let’s take a look at connecting itineraries for even longer haul travel. Alaska’s partnership with Emirates is ending. They currently charge 120,000 miles one way for Emirates business class between the US and Africa. British Airways awards are 70,000 miles one way for business class or 80,000 miles for first class plus fuel surcharges. Currently Qatar Qiarways awards though are pricing 50,000 miles in coach (reasonable) and 280,000 miles in business class for a one way between Dallas and Johannesburg.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has said they would “strive to” provide 90 days advance notice of changes to pricing for current partner awards. Hopefully that holds, but I don’t like the prices I’m seeing now for Qatar.
Hopefully this is all just a big mistake – the award space was posted too early and will be fixed. I’ve reached out to Alaska to learn more. It’s possible that 170,000 miles for one-way business is for a roundtrip (85,000 each way) and one ways without an additional flight are pricing as roundtrips. At least that’s my hope. I do not know how to explain 130,000 miles for one way coach.
Update: It appears that Alaska is charging a premium award price on dates where saver inventory on Qatar isn’t available. It’s unusual for an airline to offer awards on partners without saver availability, but Alaska has done this before.
Update 2: It is both a multi-level chart and pricing glitches. And it’ll be early 2022 (no longer by end of 2021) that all oneworld partner redemptions will be available. Alaska Airlines tells me,
As you’ve seen, Qatar flights are now redeemable on alaskaair.com. However, we’re working through some technical issues with the award charts on our website. They were supposed to launch yesterday, but were not functioning properly in production so we didn’t publish them. The charts should be up soon. I’ll advise when I get word they’re up.
The redemptions will range within each cabin, similar to Aer Lingus and some other partners we have. There is a discount level, and higher price points that will have greater availability.
As for redemptions on our remaining oneworld partners, we’ll be launching them as they’re ready, with all of them scheduled to be completed in early 2022.