Alaska Airlines is switching to the dark side — or is it?
According to the airline’s website, as of March 1, 2022, the pricing for American Airlines redemptions through its Mileage Plan loyalty program will begin to vary depending on demand.
Let’s have a look into what this could mean for you.
Dynamic Pricing Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Worse Value
Historically, when airlines and hotels switch to dynamic pricing it means bad news for passengers and guests (similar to what is about to happen with the Marriott Bonvoy program).
This is because the price of the redemption varies depending on demand for hotel beds or airline seats, meaning a flight or stay in the middle of summer can cost considerably more than at other times of the year.
That said, Alaska does also stipulate that “current award prices will continue to be available.”
Bottom Line: It appears that while dynamic pricing will apply to some award redemptions on American Airlines, some fares will remain the same as travelers are used to.
We can interpret this as meaning American Airlines’ Saver awards will hopefully still cost the same amount as before.
As it stands, booking a one-way domestic flight with American using Alaska miles will cost you from 12,500 miles for economy and from 25,000 miles for business/first. This is considerably more than what Alaska would charge for flights on its own airplanes, which start at 5,000 miles and 15,000 miles, respectively (these low redemption prices only apply to flights of 700 miles or less and increase gradually with the length of the flight).
It’s currently unclear exactly how much difference in price there will be when the dynamic system is rolled out in March.
Alaska Mileage Plan Updates
Since Alaska joined the Oneworld airline alliance, changes to its rewards program, Mileage Plan, have been afoot.
It recently became possible to redeem Alaska miles on nonstop flights to Morocco with Royal Air Maroc. Admittedly, this wasn’t the most exciting of changes for passengers given the comparably high redemption prices.
This update to prices for American Airlines redemptions is the latest in what could be several more while the airline adapts as it settles into the Oneworld alliance.
Hot Tip: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a popular program with frequent flyers across North America and beyond. Earning points is easy, and there are some excellent value redemptions to be had.
Alaska’s switch to dynamic pricing for American Airlines award tickets doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for flyers.
Come March 1, 2022, we’ll know more about how this will look.
Worst case scenario, there’s nearly always a work-around in the air miles game.
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