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Right now and as far as Alaska Airlines is concerned, all roads lead to oneworld membership, and the airline’s latest move to bring itself into line with its oneworld partners sees Alaska Airlines realigning its fare classes
As of 31 March 2021, Alaska Airlines will be a member of the oneworld alliance and for the past few months, the airline has been adjusting its systems and loyalty program to help make the transition to full membership of oneworld as smooth as possible.
The airline gave us a heads-up that its earnings chart and fare classes would be changing back at the beginning of January when we were told to expect a new top-tier elite status for the Mileage Plan program. As of late yesterday, the new earnings chart and new fare classes are in the public domain. Here’s how things are changing:
For Travel Through 30 March 2021
For Travel From 31 March 2021
The first thing that leaps out from the changes is that Alaska is doing away with any fare codes that relate to First Class fares on oneworld airlines – J, C, D & I all represent Business Class fare codes within the oneworld alliance* even if Alaska continues to call then “First Class” – and this is very good news for anyone looking to redeem a currency like Avios for a premium cabin domestic fare on Alaska Airlines.
As things stand, an Avios booking in Alaska Airlines First Class will be priced at the same level as a similar length route in a real First Class cabin (i.e. a lie-flat and very comfortable cabin). Going forward, because Alaska’s First Class cabin will have Business Class fare codes, the cost of an Avios award booking will drop significantly.
- Seattle – Honolulu goes from costing 51,500 Avios to 38,750 Avios
- Los Angeles – San Francisco goes from costing 30,000 Avios to 15,000 Avios
- San Diego – Austin goes from costing 44,000 Avios to 22,000 Avios
In further good news, Alaska Airlines has kept to its promise of not introducing revenue-based earnings, and Mileage Plus members will continue to earn miles at a rate of 100% of the distance traveled (excluding bonuses) on all fares – that keeps Mileage Plan unique among the major airline loyalty programs in the US.
The not-so-good news is that with Avios premium cabin awards on Alaska Airlines now considerably cheaper, the free domestic upgrades that Mileage Plan elites (and soon American Airlines elites) receive, may become more scarce.
A further negative thing to note is that the changes that are being introduced will affect all Alaska Airlines flights flown from 31 March 2021 regardless of when a fare was purchased (this doesn’t affect flights on partner airlines) – some people with First Class bookings will see their earnings drop as a result of this.
Alaska Airlines has revealed its new earnings chart for flights taken on its own aircraft and the changes come into effect for all flights taken from 31 March 2021 onwards. On the whole, the changes look positive, and the fact that premium cabin Avios redemptions on Alaska Airlines will be dropping significantly will be good news for a lot of miles and points fans.
*Some of these fares also represent domestic First Class fares on American Airlines
What do you think of the latest Mileage Plan changes?