Alaska Airlines Raising Some Award Prices, Effective March 1

Imagine spending 190,000 miles roundtrip just to fly Alaska Airlines!

Alaska Airlines was one of the first carriers to introduce multiple tiers of award pricing. Their award charts list ‘ranges’ of prices when using Mileage Plan miles for Alaska Airlines flights. And they’ve gone ahead and published new higher prices for the upper end of the ranges for first class awards.

  • US domestic first class midcons go from a range of 25,000 – 60,000 miles to up to 70,000 miles (17% increase); while domestic first class trips over 2101 miles go from a range of 30,000 – 70,000 miles up to 95,000 miles (37% increase)

  • Central America first class goes from a range of 30,000 – 70,000 miles up to 95,000 miles (19% increase)

  • Hawaii first class goes from a range of 40,000 – 80,000 miles up to 95,000 miles (37% increase)

  • Mexico first class goes from a range of 30,000 – 60,000 miles to up to 70,000 miles (17% increase); while trips over 2101 miles go from a range of 30,000 – 70,000 miles up to 95,000 miles (37% increase)

The cost of first class awards on Alaska Airlines flights may in some cases be 37% higher on March 1 than they are today and throughout the month of February. So if you redeem Alaska Airlines miles for Alaska Airlines travel in first class, potentially paying more than the lowest published mileage price for the flexibility of choosing your day of travel and preferred flight, you’ll want to do so now.

Here’s what concerns me most. Alaska Airlines has emphasized that their standard is to give 90 days advance notice for changes, something they’ve talked about since their no-notice gutting of Emirates premium cabin award prices in 2016 right after a major miles sale.

They did not meet their commitment of 90 days’ notice and I’m not sure posting changes to the award chart on their website is actually notice to members the way that an email might be.

The best uses of Alaska Airlines miles are partner carrier redemptions, and specifically redemptions on their longer-term partners. Some of the more recent partner additions have already had much higher prices. So I’m not fundamentally concerned about a higher range for premium cabin awards on Alaska flights (though others will disagree). Instead my concerns are:

  1. the trend towards higher prices, with this change and recent partner award chart additions
  2. the change being made without honoring the program’s stated 90 days’ advance notice

If you do want to book any of these awards at current prices you have until February 28 to do so.

(HT: Loyalty Lobby)

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. […] View from the Wing is frustrated that Alaska didn’t provide 90 days notice of the change, as the airline did indicate that it hopes to provide 90 days of notice for award chart devaluations, after the no-notice Emirates devaluation back in 2016. I see where Gary is coming from, but personally I think that frustration is more on principle than practical: […]


  1. RIP AS.

    Waiting for the AS sympathizers to talk about how AS is still better than others when it comes to earning miles.

  2. Wow, I’n not concerned with Alaska 1st, I can buy that i.e DCA-PXD 🙂
    Right now I’ve got 140K AS Miles wrapped up in Cathay 1st JFK-HKG-FRA in May (also have back up JFK-SIN-DOH-FRA) hope it goes
    Also have new AS CC thanks to the fine folks at Bank of America 😉

  3. @J. That’s true isn’t it? Earning ~5000 mile R/T JFK/SFO on a $300 fare is more than UA will give me as I earn 8 points per dollar spent as a Premier Gold member. UA would give me 2400 miles.

    I’m wondering what the new bottom line will look like re: cents per mile redemption.

  4. Thank you John at LoyaltyLobby for unearthing this information – hope all is well along the Central Coast

  5. So now Alaska is not only devaluing but breaking their own promise about offering notice when doing so. This is a Marriott-style move and is a terrible breach of trust by Alaska.

  6. Very timely.

    They are my best choice to costs rica, and I’m going in mid January 2023. Just in time.

    I also gave a ton of AS miles. The dynamic pricing that they will show for AA will make a 190k rt transcontinental in old seats seem like a deal.

  7. They really aren’t the upper range as all the desirable flights to me seem to be at top price for the first seat

  8. Anybody who runs or works at a for-profit corporation understands that the 90 day notice “commitment” (which was never promised) is difficult to coordinate cross functionally. Many teams that do not work with the loyalty program — legal, FP&A, etc. — have to be involved. Those teams’ roadmaps may not have allowed for 90 days advance notice of something as niche as an award chart change.

  9. Alaska Airlines most likely did in good faith wish to provide customers as much notice as possible, but maybe a key decision maker on a cross functional team had to go on medical leave or something, and thus the 90 day notice could not be provided. Have some compassion.

  10. Alaska Airlines was also probably losing money from greedy customers making costly award redemptions. Many of these customers do not even live in Alaska served markets. These customers simply collect Alaska miles and use them on the most expensive partner awards. This is a blatant rip off to the airlines’ shareholders.

  11. Alaska Airlines at heart is a local small business and their partner availability was intended for Alaskans and residents of the PNW to fly to other places.

  12. If you’ve worked with Alaska’s C-suite, as I have, you will know they are very decent people. They are not sociopathic douches like 20% of C level execs (actual figure from a business school study on whether top executive leaders are sociopaths). Alaska does not deserve, or need, low-value customers such as those abusing loyalty rewards.

  13. Geez, anybody tell Big Booty to lay off the AS Kool-Aid?

    While we’re at it, somebody tell him that his five comments could be posted as one…

  14. ???
    Are some of these comments from the National Enquirer?
    Loyalty programs sell their mile currency because they are profitable

  15. Airlines are profitable as a whole. Doesn’t mean every sold ticket turns a profit. Loyalty programs are profitable as a whole. Doesn’t mean every loyalty customer is, or every redemption turns a profit. Non profitable customers should be axed unless there is a demonstrable network effect (that the customers are “loss leaders” to profitable customers). Redemption opportunities, a.k.a. award charts, should be revised to avoid negative profit holes.

    Alaska and every major airline being a publicly traded for-profit business means their ultimate loyalty is to the shareholder not the passenger.

  16. By the way my above comment, in response to Dwondermeant, motivates the argument that capitalism sucks. Infusion of socialist characteristics makes capitalism more civil and modern. We Americans need to only look toward Asia for the living proof.

  17. Ridiculous. AA charges 85,000-90,000 miles for first class Flagship Service on flights such as SFO-JFK and you get 1 x 1 seating with 180 degree recline. What makes AS think they can charge the same for a basic F seat?

  18. Alaska Airlines at heart is a not a local small business. Their partner availability is intended for whoever holds those Mileage Plan miles.

    “Alaska Airlines was also probably losing money from greedy customers making costly award redemptions.” Haha I’ve never seen such a hilarious sentence.

    I want to smoke some of what you’re smoking,

Comments are closed.