Alaska Airlines Introducing Dynamic Award Pricing On American Airlines Flights

Alaska Airlines says they’re introducing dynamically-priced awards on American Airlines. There are some folks freaking out and I am not sure that they should be.

There’s a note on the Alaska Airlines partner award charts saying that American Airlines award prices are going to start to “vary depending on demand.”

American Airlines awards update: Effective March 1, 2022, while the current award prices will continue to be available, note that award pricing on American Airlines flights in the US and Canada may vary depending on demand.

Zach Griff at The Points Guy calls this “troubling news” – yet that’s premature to conclude.

  • Alaska suggests that “current award prices will continue to be available”
  • Assume that means the current awards you can book with Alaska miles (American Airlines saver awards, which are relatively rare) will have the same price
  • But that Alaska will have access to more seats for awards, but those will cost more

We’ve already seen this from Alaska with partners. The first one they rolled it out with is Qatar. You still can book Qatar saver awards, like you can with American AAdvantage miles, but you can book additional space for higher redemption prices. These are not good uses of miles, generally. But they’re additional options, not taking away from current options.

As a result – based on what we’ve seen with other partners – this is not “troubling news.” Rather, lack of saver award space from American Airlines (largely the case since US Airways management took over) is what’s troubling and this is merely a suboptimal workaround for that.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s tough to see dynamic pricing as a plus, particularly since it’s likely to be used as a way to offer even less pricing at saver level.

  2. Holding my breath here
    Another customer enhancement?roll eyes
    Frequently I see an American Web special for 6,500 to 7,500 that Alaska MP has for 12,500 etc the very same flights
    That means that it won’t get higher on Alaska?
    only on the inventory that wasn’t saver wil be higher priced?
    Will be interesting to see how it all plays out

    The Domestic web specials on AA almost make the program bearable but frequently they are undesirable flights or connections .They have pulled me off Southwest & other carriers when the web special deals have been decent.Even made me fly with AA again on revenue occasionally
    With everything sucking so bad with the horrendous crooks @ Delta and United

    Have started appreciating AA & Alaska to some degree.I sometimes wonder in my lifetime if there will ever be a carrier I can fully admire at least in my country that has it all hard product,impressive customer service & value.Even Alaska never fully recovered from the pandemic.They havent been supportive of their own failures.They were keepers before the pandemic now not so much

  3. Currently, it appears that one cannot book Flagship First with Alaska points. As well as BA points. I think this might be a function of the “award switch” not being thrown on the A inventory.

    That being said, certain travel portals do not have access to that inventory either.

  4. Speaking of Alaska, 22 years ago they killed 88 innocent people through an astonishing mix of negligent maintenance, reckless cost-cutting, and blatant corporate greed. Enjoy your flights.

  5. True. But yesterday they flew me home safe & sound. Like they’ve been doing for people every day for the last 22 years.

  6. Alaska has dynamic pricing on Aer Lingus and as a result J seats are almost 98%+ available only at 280k miles one way – basically killed the utility of Aer Lingus as an Alaska partner. I assume the same will happen here.

  7. If AS and AA didn’t go in for this arrangement, AS mile users would face the same problem as BA point users do when trying to redeem the miles/points for AA flights.

    While I’m still able to use BA points for domestic AA flights, availability using BA points plunged as AA got deeper and deeper into a more variable/dynamic pricing approach.

  8. Dynamic pricing is never good. AA will have a shortage of sAAver space available for awards for years due to the SimplyMiles December deal on top of the lack of releasing space as you mentioned. This will impact Alaska, BA, and other partners for a long time. In this case, Alaska will get some of the blame from its customers I think.

  9. Not sure how, but I’ve seen J AA flight awards at saver on AS that weren’t available on AA

    Didn’t think it could happen but it did. That will no doubt be gone.

  10. I guess I don’t understand. Alaska appears to have dynamic award pricing on their own awards. The number of points required, at least for F awards, changes depending on demand.

  11. For those of us holding both Alaska and American miles, it’s hard to find value with the former, while the latter seems to offer pockets of good value. That said, since AA went all-in on EQDs it’s easier to earn miles with Alaska. Not sure which I prefer right now.

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