UPDATE: Alaska Airlines Reportedly (NOT) Going Revenue-Based

Update:: The reporting newspaper made a grammatical error and left out the word ‘not’. Goodness knows I have mistyped things before…

This week American announced the date that it would move to earning points based on the cost of a ticket instead of miles flown. The change will happen August 1.

In addition to copying Delta and United on miles earning for flights, American is imposing the exact same price per mile minimum spending for elite status as those two airlines. And they’re going a step further to prioritize upgrades based on rolling 12 month qualifying spend as well. How much have you spent with me, lately?

That leaves Alaska Airlines as the last major mileage-based airline frequent flyer program in the U.S.

Back in March Alaska Airlines said they wouldn’t be going to a revenue-based frequent flyer program where miles earned for travel is based on the cost of a ticket rather than distance flown.

“We like where we’re at,” CFO Brandon Pedersen said at the JPMorgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference. “We’re sticking with the traditional model. It gives us an opportunity to look at how we perform versus how others perform. And we wouldn’t say that we would never go to that, certainly.”

CEO Brad Tilden suggested Alaska may try to advertise its program as a competitive advantage, similar to what Southwest Airlines has done with checked bags. You’ve probably seen Southwest’s “bags fly free” campaign.

“It is a lot like Southwest with bag fees,” Tilden said. “We could argue about its merits five years ago. Today, it’s very differentiated from what the other guys offer. So I think its value actually has gone up.”

However according to Juneau, Alaska’s local paper Joe Sprague, Alaska’s Senior Vice President Communications and External Relations:

announced Thursday that Alaska Airlines will transition from a miles-based rewards program to a points-based alternative, in which points are awarded based on the cost of plane tickets rather than the distance of the trip.

No other details on program changes — such as timing — are available at this time.

(HT: rybob1)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. That sucks. It was wonderful having a choice between the two types of earning on American and Delta. Just three months after affirming the traditional system, too. Sigh.

  2. Wait, did you read the article? Or maybe there was a misprint and they fixed it, but it clear says:

    Sprague also announced Thursday that Alaska Airlines WILL NOT transition from a miles-based rewards program to a points-based alternative, in which points are awarded based on the cost of plane tickets rather than the distance of the trip.

  3. @Z @Simon yes I read the article. It originally said they WOULD go revenue-based. The article has been updated and so has this post.

  4. The article had a misprint which is now corrected: “Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that Alaska Airlines is not changing its frequent flyer program.”

  5. Whew ….. Looks like the comments were edited incorrectly by the paper and have been corrected. Alaska is NOT going to a revenue based program.

  6. Only a matter of time before they do go revenue based. It will be hard for them to hold out when everyone else has made this switch. For now though this is good news that they aren’t changing.

  7. @Gary
    gary, I know that this might be a typo, but I will take the opportunity to ask a related question
    Is there any foreign carrier in any alliance, in which their own FF program will award full miles flown on their alliance US based carrier/partner?

  8. Glad you updated your headline Gary. You should teach your young protege, Ben, to do the same!

  9. @Benjamin what more could you want in an update to the title??? I changed it to say UPDATE and NOT and I did it half an hour before your comment.

  10. @GARY
    tks gary
    do you know if they would status match from american platinum and do they have requirements for segments in their own flights to maintain status?
    tks for this

  11. Gary – I see now what @Benjamin is getting at…while the title on this post page is updated, the title hyperlink on the Boarding Area site still has the old headline (without the “UPDATE” and “(NOT)”).

  12. Actually @Benjamin just copied/pasted comment left on One Mile at a Time, the comment sure seems to refer to THIS POST.

    while I don’t have access to BoardingArea for this not sure if it re-pulls RSS feeds to update on its own or not (and thus whether it’s possible to update).

    I didn’t just update here, I updated on Facebook and I tweeted out the update and retweeted Alaska on the issue as well.

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