You don’t need a review from me on Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan and what happened yesterday. There’s been enough spleen venting already using cute words like “destroyed” and “massacre.” Don’t get me wrong, a 100 percent increase in award pricing overnight is a helluva kick in the gut if you had plans to use your Alaska miles for an Emirates award sometime soon. Of course, Emirates is not the only airline Alaska partners with, but no one seemed to care yesterday.
Granted, one could be forgiven for asking if they would do this again with another partner airline’s award chart? Even known industrialist tycoon airline sympathizer yours truly Tweeted a thought.
What Did Alaska Get Right?
Sometime yesterday, Alaska posted an article to its blog on the devaluation. Interestingly, they blame the rise of “travel hacking” and the exploitation of the routing rules (that they created) along with below market award levels. Bringing up “travel hacking” here is an interesting theory to say the least. What did Alaska possibly get right in this? They offered a refund for miles purchased since March 1, 2016, with the intent of being used to book an Emirates award. From the blog Q&A:
What if I purchased miles intending to book Emirates Business or First Class before I had a chance to book at the previous award level?
If you purchased miles on or after March 1, 2016, you can contact our Customer Care team for a refund.
They went on to indicate that they generally give 30 days notice of changes and that this sudden change does not represent a “new normal.” While it doesn’t make up for a 100 percent increase in an award overnight, I thought the offer to refund miles purchased since March 1 was the right thing to do.
Are there implications for the future in all of this? I can’t help but think so. But that’s another blog post.
-MJ, April 1, 2016