Alaska’s MileagePlan is one of a few frequent flyer programs that we can use to buy frequent flyer miles at competitive enough rates to redeem them immediately for Business or First Class flights at great value.
There’s a full guide to buying Mileage Plan miles here, and they have run (and I have promoted) a 40% bonus offer which ends imminently.
However, they just broke one of the cardinal rules of operating a trustworthy loyalty program – making changes to a key part of the program with no notice.
Update – Alaska are offering to refund mile purchases on request if these changes have impacted you.
via One Mile at a Time, Alaska MileagePlan have increased the pricing of First Class redemptions with Emirates.
Here’s their calculations on the change:
- North America to Middle East/India — now 150,000 miles (~67% increase)
- North America to Africa — now 200,000 miles (100% increase)
- North America to Asia — now 180,000 miles (80% increase)
- North America to Europe — now 180,000 miles (80% increase)
The change itself will not affect many Australian buyers of MileagePlan miles, given the routes changed are between North America and other regions outside of Australia. They do not even allow redemptions on Emirates to/from Australia.
What’s more important is that it’s shown the Alaska will change their pricing without any notice at all, and when you’re considering purchasing several thousand dollars in miles to then redeem as soon as possible into award flights – that’s a big deal.
For now, there’s nothing you can (or need to) do if you didn’t have a North America / Emirates MileagePlan redemption in mind.
But if you do consider MileagePlan purchases in future, you should keep this in mind… who’s to say this couldn’t happen to their pricing for Qantas, Cathay Pacific or Fiji Airways?
Poor form Alaska.