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Joe and I spend a fair amount of time promoting Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. We aren’t paid for this. Let’s call it editorial integrity, instead of the fact that nobody actually offers to pay us. 😉 But all joking aside, we firmly believe that the advantages of the programme are too compelling to ignore, even if you have no plans to ever visit the airline’s base of Seattle, the state of Alaska or to fly on an airplane with an anonymous Eskimo painted on the tail…
Unfortunately, however, one of my favourite Mileage Plan features is being taken away. ? But you still have time to take advantage.
Have you ever called British Airways to cancel or change an Avios reward? That will cost you £35, with an extra £15 for doing it over the telephone. (unless you paid less in taxes and surcharges in the first place, in which case you simply lose everything you paid) A similar fee applies to Iberia Plus rewards.
But with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, you can change or cancel ANY award booking for FREE, as long as you do it at least 60 days before departure.
It is hard for me to underplay how valuable this feature can be. I can make an award booking through Alaska and know that I have flights confirmed for my holiday. Then if I find a better option, a higher cabin becomes available or I change my mind for whatever reason, I can make adjustments to my booking at no additional cost, as long as I do it far enough in advance. I have made dozens of flight award changes over the years… all for free!
Sadly, this perk is being removed on 5 June, 2018. You can read Alaska’s official announcement by clicking here.
However, if you have enough miles in your Alaska account, you still can take advantage of this perk one last time, even if you have no idea what your plans might be. This is due to the fact that the changes will only apply to awards BOOKED after 5 June. So, as long as you book your award before that date, any changes or cancellations after 5 June should be free – as long as you make the change at least 60 days before departure of course…
For bookings made after 5 June, 2018, you will need to pay a hefty $125 change / cancellation fee. (roughly £90-95) This new fee oddly makes it even more worthwhile to credit your long-haul Business Class flights to Alaska Airlines. Why? This fee will be waived for Alaska’s MVP Gold frequent flyers. You can reach that level of status with 50,000 miles in a year, a feat that you will manage rather easily with a couple of long haul returns in Club World!
I had hoped that Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan would avoid joining the other major American airlines in implementing customer unfriendly policies. But sadly no…
Nonetheless, I’ll be booking one or two speculative rewards with my Alaska miles soon. How about you?