After a debacle years ago increasing award pricing without notice for travel on Emirates, Alaska Airlines made an express commitment to notify members in advance when making changes to the program.
Sadly they did not do that this week, as Monday they increased the price of award travel on their oneworld partner Japan Airlines, and they did this without any advance notice. So members who were saving their miles for a specific trip had the rug pulled out from under them.
- One-way first class has gone from 70,000 miles to 85,000 miles for departures from the West Coast and to 100,000 miles for departures from the Midwest and East Coast.
- One-way business class has gone from 60,000 miles to 80,000 miles for departures from the Midwest and East Coast, although so far business class from the West Coast hasn’t changed.
- One-way economy has gone from 35,000 to 45,000 miles for departures from the Midwest and East Coast, although so far economy from the West Coast hasn’t changed.
At the end of last year Alaska Airlines obliterated award charts as they’re traditionally known.
- For flights that don’t start or end in North America, award charts were eliminated entirely
- For flights involving North America, they list ‘starting at’ prices, rather than telling you the price of a partner award
- And while they charge different amounts for different partners, the award chart no longer tells you about this at all
- Nor is there any longer disclosure about what routes are unavailable for redemption on a given partner
Make no mistake, the elimination or ‘dumbing down’ of award charts is always and everywhere a tool to obfuscate devaluation. It’s a way to disrespect your customers. And by the way American Airlines is on the verge of doing something similar.
And would you be surprised if I told you that the biggest devaluation (100% increase!) is to an award outside of North America where there’s no award chart at all? Intra-Asia business class, like Singapore to Japan, has doubled from 25,000 to 50,000 miles each way.
When Alaska launched their new award chart they snuck in some price increases. With this change to Japan Airlines awards, even Alaska’s one-time commitment that changes would have at least 90 days’ notice is clearly no longer in effect (itself a change without notice). This comes after a no-notice devaluation of British Airways awards just six weeks ago.
That commitment was something they expressly reiterated during the pandemic: “As always, we’ll strive to give at least 90 days’ notice if changes were coming to any current partner awards.” I guess they didn’t strive very hard.
[…] an unannounced devaluation without notice Alaska Airlines was will to reverse a points transfer into Mileage Plan from Marriott Bonvoy. When […]