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.