Domestic Alaska Airlines coach roundtrip Saver awards booked after July 31, 2007 will be 25,000 miles when calling reservations — that’s a 5,000 mile jump. However, if a member books their award flight online at alaskaair.com, the redemption will stay at the current 20,000-mile redemption level. Other Alaska flight awards are also going to require more miles when not booking online: 50,000 for a coach roundtrip Peak award, versus 40,000 miles; 12,500 miles for a coach one-way Saver award, versus 10,000 miles; 25,000 miles for a coach one-way Peak award, versus 20,000 miles; 45,000 miles for a first class roundtrip Saver award, versus 40,000 miles; 90,000 miles for a first class roundtrip Peak award, versus 80,000 miles; 22,500 miles for a first class one-way Saver award, versus 20,000 and 45,000 miles for a first class one-way Peak award, versus 40,000 miles.
This change will not be popular with members who are looking to redeem their miles for an award with a stopover, or other award that is currently not available online, because they will have to pay more miles even when they have no choice but to call reservations; and they will also have to pay the $10 fee for making reservations over the phone instead of online. It should be pointed out, however, that 25,000 miles for a roundtrip coach saver award is the norm with most programs and close to 70 percent of domestic Alaska or Horizon Air flights are booked online, so a good portion of the program’s award redemption will not change.
Another change effective Aug. 1, 2007, which Alaska’s Web site reads “may seem like a significant change…” is that upgrade awards will only be available on H-class fares and above for 15,000 miles each way. Tickets booked in classes of service below H will no longer be eligible for upgrade awards. Alaska states that the logic behind the change is to increase availability of complimentary MVP Gold upgrades. Currently members can redeem upgrade awards from any ticketed coach fare for 10,000 miles each way. This change will be the least popular with non-MVP Gold members who will have to shell out significantly more miles and dollars to get the upgrades.