Alaska Airlines will join the oneworld alliance on March 31, 2021. The airline announced adjustments to the miles and tariff classes in advance.
While the airline indicated a few weeks ago that these changes were coming, Alaska Airlines has now released their new mileage credit. This is in addition to Alaska Airlines, which recently announced changes to its status in 2021 as well as the introduction of a new elite tier of 100,000.
Alaska Airlines realigns fare classes
The mileage plan will change the mileage earning rates for flights with Alaska Airlines starting March 31, 2021. For now, only Alaska Airlines travel will change mileage rates, not partner airline travel.
So what’s all changing? Here is the Alaska Mileage Plan mileage summary table for flights through March 30, 2021:
And here is the Alaska Mileage Plan mileage summary table for flights March 31, 2021:
As you can see, it is difficult to do a side-by-side comparison as the tariff classes change too. A couple of things stand out:
- These changes will go into effect for flights March 31 or later, even if purchased prior to this change, which is in pretty bad shape (although I recognize the complexity of making these changes otherwise).
- On the positive side, all economy fares continue to earn at least 100% miles and the program is not based on revenue, which is fantastic compared to the competition
- First class tickets at full price (now marketed as Business Class) range from earning 175% miles to earning 200% miles, while discounted first class fares range from earning 175% miles to earning 150% miles
Alaska Airlines adjusts earning rates for prime miles
Why are Alaska Airlines’ fare classes changing?
It is clear that these changes are being made for Alaska Airlines to better align with American Airlines and the oneworld alliance as a whole. It is much easier for airlines to sell tickets together when the fare classes are coordinated, especially when you consider the degree of planned collaboration between Americans and Alaska.
The changes reflect that Alaska is getting closer to the American fare structure, which makes a lot of sense. For example, Americans’ domestic first class fares are the same as business class, while Alaska’s domestic first class fares are the same as first class.
One positive aspect of these changes is that Alaska Airlines first class award tickets will be significantly cheaper when redeeming British Airways Avios. You no longer have to redeem the first class miles, but can redeem the business class miles.
For example, a world class award for a one-way trip from Seattle to Los Angeles Alaska Airlines will increase from 30,000 Avios to 15,000 Avios.
These changes are good for those who redeem Avios on Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines will change some fare classes and mileage earning rates effective March 31, 2021, at the same time the airline joins the oneworld alliance.
Fare classes will be adapted to American Airlines, which makes sense given the amount of code sharing and collaboration between airlines. Most of the changes affect the way miles are earned for first-class fares, with discounted first-class miles earning fewer miles.
On the plus side, at least the Alaska Mileage Plan is not revenue-based, and the program will continue to award at least 100% miles on discounted economy tickets, so things could be a lot worse.
What do you think of these changes to Alaska Airlines fare classes and miles?