Updated January 09, 2020
Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan continues to disappoint. Although redemption opportunities that did exist were decent, availability was terrible, only 44%. Furthermore, this lack of award space represents a deterioration in availability since we last performed a full reckoning. Not a good sign for things to come. After all calculations were complete, we ended up with an ACRV of just 0.59¢ per Alaska Mileage Plan mile. This figure represents a 30% decrease since last year.
Whenever presenting low’ish valuations, I always like to remind readers what this number means. It’s a discounted average, not a hypothetical best-case. Exact calculation steps are documented on our valuation methodology page.
|Current||Previous Period||$ Change||% Change|
|Intra-US Non-Zero Average||1.11¢||1.38¢||-0.27¢||-19%|
|International Non-Zero Average||3.30¢||3.63¢||-0.33¢||-9%|
As is the case with most award redemptions, the greatest ROS is going to come from international travel. Despite not having much of an international presence, Alaska does codeshare with many other carriers. Most notably, American, British Airways, Qantas and Emirates seats are all available via Mileage Plan. Alaska maintains a more detailed list of partners here, but sadly most are not bookable via their website.
Sketch Mixed-Class Award Availability
One particularly frustrating aspect of Alaska’s booking system is the fact that they advertise premium cabin award availability, so long as there is a single leg in the advertised cabin. In other words, a flight from San Francisco to London would be presented as a first class award if the San Francisco to Phoenix positioning flight was in first, even if the PHX to LHR leg were in coach. To be fair, many carriers do this, but Alaska seems to do it more often than not. In my opinion, this is false advertising.
The table above does not paint a pretty picture. Even when award space did present itself, most was in either acceptable or terrible redemption value territory. Our best for the month was actually an economy-class flight. This hypothetical award between Dallas and London was offered for just 22,500 miles + $19.00 in fees. The lowest-priced cash alternative was $2,679, providing an award value of 11.82¢ per mile! We’d be proud of that.