Alaska Airlines is rolling out new award prices for award travel and the prices are actually lowering in most markets! Following the lead of the lower prices for main cabin award bookings, Alaska is extending the reduce prices to First Class. In addition, prices for travel are dropping to and from Hawaii in economy and to Mexico from some markets! The biggest reduction of price is on shorter flights, but some markets will see a slight increase in price. The biggest increase will be for full fare/refundable tickets.

Alaska Airlines Award Ticket Changes

Following the reduction in price made to lower 48/Alaska/Canada main cabin awards last year, Alaska will now charge less for shorter flights in first class. Pricing based on flight length rolls out for First Class cabins starting June 25. Additionally, flights to and from Hawaii and Mexico will also be cheaper in some cabins and markets.

Effective for bookings on or after June 25, 2018, you’ll see some changes to award pricing on Alaska Airlines flights, including:

  • Reduced lowest award level on short-distance First Class flights
  • Reduced refundable award level pricing on First Class flights shorter than 1,400 miles within the contiguous US and Alaska, and on First Class flights shorter than 2,100 miles from the US to Mexico
  • A new lowest award level of just 10,000 miles on Main Cabin flights from California to select destinations in Mexico (flights shorter than 1,400 miles)
  • Hawaii awards starting as low as 15,000 miles one-way
  • Higher Prices on Transcon First Class awards now starting at 30,000 miles

New Award Chart

Alaska Airlines has made it easy for us to compare the changes. Overall, the changes are actually for the benefit of the consumer and Mileage Plan member.

Within Contiguous US and Alaska Ticketed by June 24, 2018* Ticketed on or after June 25, 2018*
Main Cabin 5,000 – 30,000 5,000 – 30,000
First Class 25,000 – 60,000 15,000 – 40,000
Trips between 701 – 1,400 miles
Main Cabin 7,500 – 30,000 7,500 – 30,000
First Class 25,000 – 60,000 25,000 – 50,000
Trips between 1,401 – 2,100 miles
Main Cabin 10,000 – 30,000 10,000 – 40,000
First Class 25,000 – 60,000 25,000 – 60,000
Trips longer than 2,101 miles
Main Cabin 12,500 – 30,000 12,500 – 50,000
First Class 25,000 – 60,000 30,000 – 70,000
Contiguous US/Alaska to Mexico Ticketed by June 24, 2018* Ticketed on or after June 25, 2018*
Trips between 701 – 1,400 miles
Main Cabin 15,000 – 35,000 10,000 – 35,000
First Class 30,000 – 70,000 30,000 – 50,000
Trips between 1,401 – 2,100 miles
Main Cabin 15,000 – 35,000 15,000 – 40,000
First Class 30,000 – 70,000 30,000 – 60,000
Trips longer than 2,101 miles
Main Cabin 17,500 – 35,000 17,500 – 50,000
First Class 30,000 – 70,000 30,000 – 70,000
Contiguous US/Alaska to Hawaii Ticketed by June 24, 2018* Ticketed on or after June 25, 2018*
Main Cabin 17,500 – 40,000 15,000 – 50,000
First Class 40,000 – 80,000 40,000 – 80,000

The award chart does offer variable award pricing with ranges. The highest price awards are fully refundable. There is no indicator of how many saver awards Alaska Airlines will offer. So, although the new price is lower in nearly all markets, the full fare refundable price is actually increasing by 30% in some markets. Buyer beware! This may look good, but only time will tell.

To make the most of these changes, I would advise to only buy saver level fares. Full fare tickets are not a good use of miles!

To determine the length of a trip, use GCMaps. Enter airport codes such as LAX-MEX to determine the length of the trip.

Also note, Transcon saver first class awards do increase in price. Seattle to New York or Los Angeles to New York are both approximately 2,450 miles. Under the award chart changes saver awards increase by 5,000 miles.

Final Thoughts

Lower prices on award travel is warmly welcome and is a great surprise. It’s frustrating that transcon first class awards are increasing. California is the biggest winner of these changes for shorter flights to Mexico and up and within the Western region.

Most airlines are increasing the cost of travel, but we’ve actually seen Alaska Airlines reduce the cost of saver awards over the last year (in most cases). However, If Alaska Airlines does not release saver award space, everyone will likely be paying a premium going forward.

What do you think of these changes? Is this a win for you or does it win over your loyalty?

This article was originally published on Travel Codex. Read it at Alaska Airlines Reduces Award Travel Prices.

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