August 11, 2008
Alaska Airlines has announced changes to its Mileage Plan program, including new award levels and increased fees. The changes, which the airline is detailing in letters to its frequent fliers, will begin Nov. 1, 2008.
"Our program has always been one of the most generous in the industry, with lower award levels and more robust benefits than any other carrier," said Steve Jarvis, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing, sales and customer experience. "With the current state of the industry and impact of fuel prices on our bottom line, we're forced to refine our program to make it viable for our airline while maintaining its strong value for our customers."
Jarvis noted that airline frequent flier programs were created during a time when costs were lower. "When Alaska Airlines introduced its popular 20,000-mile 'Saver' award 13 years ago, we were paying less than $20 a barrel for crude oil. [In July] oil touched $145 a barrel," Jarvis said.
The following changes become effective for Mileage Plan awards redeemed on or after Nov. 1, 2008:
New three-tier award levels
Partner award fee
To offset the high costs associated with redeeming miles on partner airlines, Mileage Plan will begin collecting a $25 fee for each award booked on a partner airline. There continues to be no award fee or fuel surcharge for award travel on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air.
"Money and Miles" award changes
The "AS50 Money and Miles" award will continue to offer a 50 percent discount up to $250 for 15,000 miles round trip, however mileage will no longer be earned on these awards. The change will apply to all "Money and Miles" awards booked on or after Nov. 1, 2008.
More detailed information, including a new award chart, is available at alaskaair.com.
Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan was recently named "Program of the Year" at InsideFlyer magazine's 20th annual Freddie Awards, the most prestigious consumer-generated honors in the travel industry.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can earn or redeem mileage on more than a dozen airlines, including more major U.S. airlines than any other frequent-flier program. The program offers additional opportunities to earn miles through an extensive network of partners, including the Alaska Airlines Visa credit and debit cards, Mileage Plan Shopping, Mileage Plan Dining, Safeway and more than 30 hotel and car rental partners worldwide.
Alaska Airlines and sister carrier Horizon Air together serve 95 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.
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