Updated on March 31, 2016
Any value left in Alaska Miles?
In case you have missed the big news today, Alaska Airlines massively devalued their award chart for Emirates flights! Some of these devaluations are up to 100% increase for First Class!
Not only did they devalue their chart but they did so with ZERO notice, which is an unforgivable offense in the eyes of their loyal customers. Especially ones who may have just spent a large amount of money purchasing miles from their recent sales with the intent to use them for an Emirates flight.
There is no doubt that the value of the Alaska Airlines miles and their trust took a HUGE hit today, but is there some good in it?
First of all, I expect a lot of people to really hate my stance on this, especially ones who have been saving their miles for a special flight that just got ripped out of their hands, but hear me out.
This has been building for awhile now. Flying all over the world with stop-overs in First Class on Emirates for 100K miles was not going to last. Especially when there were blogs everywhere talking about it.
When the AA devaluation was announced the posts on Alaska miles really started to ramp up as THE milage currency to own. Then they started having more and more sales on Alaska miles which were advertised ad nauseam by many bloggers who were paid handsomely for those purchases. There were some weeks where there were posts about Alaska miles EVERYWHERE. So you better believe that Alaska Mileage Plan customers were chewing up a ton of Emirates first class space!
So, to me, this was inevitable and I believed it was likely to happen soon (the no notice is still UNACCEPTABLE and a bit shocking). But, I thought it might be even worse, with them devaluing ALL of their award charts!
For those that don’t know, Alaska has a lot of random partners and each has their own award chart. Today, only Emirates was devalued and that’s where the good news comes in. MY HOPE is that this devaluation might save the value that remains in this currency. It is fairly well known that Alaska miles can be accumulated for little cost over a period of time if you are patient which I talk about HERE (and needs to be revised now 🙁 ).
So what the good news??
The good news is that there is still value to be found in some of those other partner charts.
This award is still an incredibly reasonable way to get to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand in Business Class. Other airline award charts aren’t really even close to this. And you can stay in Fiji on a free stop over!
This is a new addition to the Alaska Milage Plan but again really reasonable Business Class award price to Asia compared to other airlines (haven’t looked into them much since they are so new).
This is an award that was just DESTROYED by American Airlines, making it pretty much un-bookable at 110K each way. But on Alaska, as you will see above, they are MUCH cheaper. Now it is still difficult to find space unless it is the beginning of the schedule or very close in, but at least when you find it the price isn’t insane!
You can actually fly on AA flights internationally using Alaska miles for cheaper than using AA own miles on some flights AND you can get a free stop over which you can’t do using AA’s own miles (would likely need to be a domestic stop)!
Comparing these awards above to American Airlines current chart we see that Business Class and First Class to Europe is 50K/62.5K compared to AA which is now 57.5K/85K.
Flying to Asia it costs 50K in Business and 62.5K in First to Japan/Korea on Alaska and 60K/80K using American. For China, Alaska is 55K/67.5K compared to 70K/110K using American.
This is another potentially BIG thing that is still around for Alaska awards. You can have a free stop-over on all one way award flights which can allow you to easily see two places for the price of a single ticket.
Devaluations always suck, and they REALLY suck when you have no idea they are coming. If I had a boat-load of AS miles and was planning to book a flight on Emirates I would be furious right now! With that being said, I think it could have been much worse. If this is what needs to happen to keep everything else in place, I still don’t like it but I can live with it. The reason is that a devaluation was inevitable in my mind.
I will continue to collect my Alaska miles mostly through the credit cards and if I have enough for Emirates when the time comes then great, and if not I will fly on one of their other charts.
Too bad that even if I do fly Emirates in the future, I will likely be thinking about how I probably could have had 2 flights for the price of that one a year before…