Changes in Fees and Award Redemptions; Free 60-Day Change Eliminated by Alaska Airlines

Three of the fees and policies of Alaska Airlines will be updated effective as of Tuesday, June 5, 2018; and the pricing for the redemption of Mileage Plan miles for award tickets used for flights operated by Alaska Airlines will change effective as of Monday, June 25, 2018.

Changes in Fees and Award Redemptions; Free 60-Day Change Eliminated by Alaska Airlines

Changes in the policies of 24-hour free cancellation, changing or canceling tickets greater than 60 days from the time of departure, and same-day confirmed become effective as of Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

24-Hour Free Change or Cancellation Policy Changes

The 24-hour free cancellation policy will now only apply to tickets booked for travel starting a minimum of 24 hours from the time of purchase.

If travel begins within 24 hours of purchasing your non-refundable ticket, standard change fees or cancellation fees will apply immediately. If you cancel your flight reservation prior to flight departure, the ticket value will be available as a credit certificate or My Wallet credit.

Change Fee and Cancellation Fee Changes

In addition to the change fees and cancellation fees which already exist, if you change or cancel your ticket greater than 60 days prior to departure, either action will now be subject to a fee of $125.00 — which used to be free of charge.

For travel which begins within 24 hours after you purchase a ticket, the $125.00 fee for changing or canceling your ticket applies immediately. For all other travel, the $125.00 change fee or cancellation fee applies starting 24 hours after ticketing.

Three exceptions to the policy include:

  • Change fees and cancellation fees do not apply to refundable fares — whether they are purchased tickets, award tickets, or Money & Miles tickets.
  • Members of Mileage Plan who have earned MVP Gold and Gold 75K elite level status will still enjoy the same service fee waivers which they currently have.
  • Change fees do not apply to travel wholly within the state of Alaska on purchased tickets or Money & Miles tickets; and standard cancellation fees apply — but standard change fees and cancellation fees do apply to award travel within Alaska.

Same Day Confirmed Changes

You will be able to request a same-day change at any time while checking in for your flight, as the requirement of a window of six hours will be removed — but the new flight you choose will still need to be on the same calendar day as your ticketed flight.

The same-day confirmed change fee is increasing by 100 percent from $25.00 to $50.00 — but it will now apply to non-refundable First Class award travel booked in A class of service.

Four exceptions to the policy include:

  • For travel entirely within the state of California, the same day confirmed change fee will remain at $25.00.
  • For travel on shuttle flights between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Spokane and Seattle, or Portland and Seattle, the same day confirmed change fee will remain $25.00.
  • Refundable purchased or award travel — booked in F, D, Y, or Z class of service — will have no same-day confirmed change fee.
  • Members of Mileage Plan who have earned MVP Gold and Gold 75K elite level status will continue to have their same day confirmed change fee waived.

No-Show Policy Update

Due to the recent updating of the no-show policy of Alaska Airlines, if you do not change or cancel your ticket before the time your flight is ticketed to depart:

  • Your flight reservation — including all continuing and return flights — will be canceled.
  • The money, Mileage Plan miles, or combination thereof which you spent on the flight will not be available as a credit toward future flights.

Mileage Plan Award Level Changes

Effective for tickets which are booked on or after Monday, June 25, 2018, changes to Mileage Plan award pricing on flights operated by Alaska Airlines — highlighted in dark red for increases and green for decreases in the charts below for your convenience — include:

  • Reduced lowest award level on short-distance First Class flights
  • Reduced refundable award level pricing on First Class flights shorter than 1,400 miles within the contiguous United States and Alaska, and on First Class flights shorter than 2,100 miles from the United States to Mexico
  • A new lowest award level of just 10,000 miles on Main Cabin flights from California to select destinations in Mexico for flights shorter than 1,400 miles
  • Hawaii awards starting as low as 15,000 miles one-way

 

Within the Contiguous United States and Alaska Ticketed by June 24, 2018 Ticketed on or after June 25, 2018
Trips fewer than 700 miles
Main Cabin 5,000 – 30,000 5,000 – 30,000
First Class 25,000 – 60,000 15,000 – 40,000
Trips between 701 – 1,400 miles
Main Cabin 7,500 – 30,000 7,500 – 30,000
First Class 25,000 – 60,000 25,000 – 50,000
Trips between 1,401 – 2,100 miles
Main Cabin 10,000 – 30,000 10,000 – 40,000
First Class 25,000 – 60,000 25,000 – 60,000
Trips longer than 2,101 miles
Main Cabin 12,500 – 30,000 12,500 – 50,000
First Class 25,000 – 60,000 30,000 – 70,000
Contiguous United States and Alaska to Mexico Ticketed by June 24, 2018 Ticketed on or after June 25, 2018
Trips between 701 – 1,400 miles
Main Cabin 15,000 – 35,000 10,000 – 35,000
First Class 30,000 – 70,000 30,000 – 50,000
Trips between 1,401 – 2,100 miles
Main Cabin 15,000 – 35,000 15,000 – 40,000
First Class 30,000 – 70,000 30,000 – 60,000
Trips longer than 2,101 miles
Main Cabin 17,500 – 35,000 17,500 – 50,000
First Class 30,000 – 70,000 30,000 – 70,000
Contiguous United States and Alaska to Hawaii Ticketed by June 24, 2018 Ticketed on or after June 25, 2018
Main Cabin 17,500 – 40,000 15,00050,000
First Class 40,000 – 80,000 40,000 – 80,000

Price ranges are all for one-way flights. Highest price in each range is a refundable award.

In addition to these lower award levels, market adjustments to peak award pricing will occur on longer flights within the United States; from the contiguous United States to Mexico; and on flights from the contiguous United States to Hawaii.

If a seat is available on Alaska, you will be able to redeem Mileage Plan miles for it — and with no blackout dates.

Summary

Although the majority of members of FlyerTalk are not happy upon learning of the news, they seem resigned that changes to the aforementioned policies were bound to eventually happen sooner or later, as they were amongst the most generous in the commercial aviation industry for airlines based in the United States…

…but at least the changes to award levels in the Mileage Plan frequent flier loyalty program are not all bad — but members who travel on longer haul flights will feel more of the pain than anyone else.

Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

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