Five years ago Alaska Airlines shared that 84% of redemptions were for flights on their own aircraft, that American Airlines was by and large the second biggest carrier members redeemed for travel on, and non-U.S. airlines accounted for just 3.5% of redemptions.
Most members use their miles for domestic coach travel even though the best value comes from premium cabin international awards — especially with Alaska which has great partners and reasonable award pricing on most of their partners (not Emirates).
Alaska shares that in 2018:
- Mileage Plan members credited 19 million flights to their accounts
- One member credited 338,480 flight miles, his name is Richard
- Alaska’s 8 most popular redemption destinations are — 1. Phoenix 2. Las Vegas 3. San Diego and then Portland; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Orange County; and Juneau make up the rest of the 8.
- Elites and co-brand credit card customers checked almost 5 million bags at no charge
- A new member joins the program every 30 seconds. Taken literally that’s 1,051,200 new members per year.
During the first half of the year we know that saver redemptions were up 40%, with much of this being American AAdvantage members gobbling up inventory (American’s own planes lacking in this regard) that they shouldn’t have made available but they were new to managing space on Virgin America Airbus routes and planes.
The airline’s managing director of loyalty underscored their commitment to continue to award miles based on distance flown rather than as a function of ticket price,
We love rewarding our members with miles based on how far they fly – not just how much they spend – and easy-to-earn elite benefits.
Alaska Airlines has previously said that moving to revenue-based mileage-earning would benefit only 5% of their members and so continuing to award miles based on actual travel flown represents a competitive advantage for them now that Delta, United, and American have stopped doing that.
For now Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has the most compelling frequent flyer program in the United States.