Update: Despite confirmation of this change from Alaska Airlines, this appears to be an error in the award chart rather than a change in pricing. Alaska Airlines agents are still pricing awards at the old rates.
A little over a month ago Alaska Airlines made no-notice changes to their Emirates award charts for business and first class travel, raising prices by as much as 100%.
Overnight the price of business class and first class awards went up — a lot. A first class roundtrip between the US and Africa on Emirates went from 200,000 to 400,000 miles.
Changes without notice are the worst thing a loyalty program can do. They promise future benefits in exchange for business now. You spend years, even, working towards an award. Any reputable program wants to retain the trust of its members, so gives significant advance notice when making changes that hurt its members or reduce the value of its points.
Alaska Airlines sought to reassure members, that this incident aside, they’d provide advance notice of changes in the future. Except, it seems, that they made no-notice changes again.
Readers noticed this week in the thread about Alaska Airlines bonus for selling miles that Cathay Pacific intra-Asia awards had been devalued without notice.
Here’s the intra-Asia award chart for travel on Cathay:
Business class was 22,500 miles one-way and 45,000 miles roundtrip for this award, and first class was 27,500 miles one-way and 55,000 miles roundtrip. First class awards are up 155%! Business has more than doubled.
Now, without notice, the award chart is showing the same price for intra-Asia awards as it is for awards between North America and Asia!
My first guess was that this was a mistake related to Alaska updating the way they displayed award charts. However, Alaska’s twitter team confirms it’s accurate:
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has some ‘splaining to do if it’s devaluing without notice again just after telling members we should trust them because they wouldn’t do this … mere weeks ago.
As I wrote when Alaska’s 50% bonus on purchase miles came out,
I’m not in favor of hoarding miles at these prices. Or hoarding Alaska miles at all. Especially now that we know their policy is to give only 30 days’ notice of changes, and even then only sometimes. That simply makes them not trustworthy in my view.
Cathay Pacific Business Clas Just Got More Expensive Intra-Asia
(HT: Jason H.)