Strange: Alaska Airlines Wants You To Pay $5/mo To Receive Their Ads

Alaska Airlines is now selling a $5 per month subscription to fare alerts. For a monthly fee you’ll receive ads about their fare sales, which you can target to specific destinations.

Immediately after sign-up, subscribers will receive their first monthly voucher to Alaska’s inflight streaming-fast satellite Wi-Fi. Benefits also include advanced alerts to some of our biggest fare sales of the year. Subscribers will be notified the night before a sale is announced to take advantage of huge savings and seat selection. Alaska Access also offers a calendar view of the lowest fares that are tailored to your favorite destinations, so you never miss out on the best deals.

Historically you’ve been able to get fare alerts for any airline for free from various online travel agency sites. This is a pay-to-receive-advertising service restricted to Alaska Airlines fares.

To make the deal go down a little smoother, each month you receive a wifi pass to use – Alaska charges $8 for this normally. Of course your prepaid wifi as part of the subscription is only useful if you buy a ticket and fly on Alaska. And most people don’t fly more than 12 trips a year with the airline, want wifi, while forgoing the monthly pass.

I still feel like the subscription service ought to work the other way around: Alaska pays you for your attention to their ads? Maybe you subscribe and get 100 miles, then each month that you open their fare sale email you get another 100 miles? Or they could take a page from Delta, which offers wifi free to loyalty program members, and just trade accepting ads for wifi.

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. Not the worst idea an airline has had but it would be nice if they would throw other items in there as well…. Snackboxes, drink vouchers, or something to even the playing field. A $155 one way sale from IAD to LAX is not going to entice me when there is less IFE and less possible connections for IRROPS on Alaska vs other airlines.

  2. WOW!
    Yet another way to make money but then again, Gary you might be right?! We the customers might be able to get something out of doing this as well.
    I’m still waiting for a fair contract for their FA’s………

  3. Well, since discounted fare classes are limited in availability this might be of use to some that want that advance peek to grab a seat before the sale is blasted to everyone.

  4. While saying “you’ll be the first to know…”, it’s unclear to me that actually purchasing these fares will initially be restricted to subscribers. Without that guarantee, I question how much it’s really worth. On the other hand, if paying $5/month gives you 24- or 48-hour early access to fare sales would be an interesting model for Alaska loyalists or people living in a hub.

  5. So, now the ~ vendor ~ wants the customer to pay for ~ vendor’s advertising ~ ?
    That’s rich!!
    As a retired person who can simply go online to check rates – for free – at any moment from the websites, not to mention the many travel sites available this can only be described as a ….
    Good Luck Alaska! This idea is somewhat akin to a fast food restaurant putting in a computer program for a 20 or 30% tip on a carry-out food order.
    Oh wait …. that horse has already left the barn.
    My mistake. Genius management move by Alaska Airlines!!

  6. This makes me like Alaska a lot less. I am tired of all the nickel and diming done by the travel industry. If they were to bundle this as part of a subscription package that included multiple amenities and/or choices of amenities it may be worthy of consideration.

  7. I went from loving Alaska years ago to somewhat hating them over the years
    Charging Gold elites for coach seating Alaska based on fare codes ? No thank you just fly with American and skip your pettiness along with your 12.50 partner award fees
    Thats my short list of this so called customer fave airline.
    Pure BS and this pathetic move clearly places them in the hall of shame
    Why not call it the Boeing door blow off monthly marketing surcharge lol
    I’ll try and keep it polite out of respect with further language for Garys blog 😉

  8. Why pay for this when you know that someone on a blog, social media, or DOC will post a screen shot within minutes of them emailing about these fare sales.

  9. I was actually willing to try this out. I have flights four of the next five months, so even if it was useless, the wi-fi vouchers would save me a few bucks. But buried in the fine print is this: “The Alaska Access membership requires a 12-month commitment.” Gary, I’m guessing you saw this, since you wrote “And most people don’t fly more than 12 trips a year with the airline….”, but I think you might have wanted to spell out that limitation more obviously.

    The one-year commitment is probably to be expected; otherwise, people would just keep signing up and quitting to get the wi-fi vouchers. But I, like Gary, question the economics. Let’s say I use the wi-fi vouchers twice in a year (assuming two round trips, but statistically speaking, the return trip is more likely than not to fall within the same month). That’s a net cost of $44. Will this early access get me $44 in savings? If I’m only booking for me, maybe. For two people, it’s a toss-up. If I’m booking for four, then I have school schedules to work around and I’m almost surely not going to benefit from any sale due to a lack of flexibility in travel dates.

    I might try it in the future when it’s just me and the wife and we can fly whenever we want. 🙂

  10. in other coming news Alaska will start charging a 25 dollar fee monthly to remain a program member but you get unlimited access to their website

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