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Old Mar 20, 17, 6:49 pm   #1
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Why BLI - PDX not showing lowest award level?

Why can't I find 5,000 point flights from BLI-PDX? The distance is well below the 700 mile minimum, but there is not one single award flight available at that level - lowest available for the next 11 months is 7,500. SEA-PDX has tons at 5,000. Also tons of BLI-LAS available for 7,500 (lowest award level for 900+ miles distance). What gives? According to their chart, they should be releasing some at 5,000, shouldn't they?
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Old Mar 20, 17, 7:09 pm   #2
  
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Originally Posted by pokee View Post
Why can't I find 5,000 point flights from BLI-PDX? The distance is well below the 700 mile minimum, but there is not one single award flight available at that level - lowest available for the next 11 months is 7,500. SEA-PDX has tons at 5,000. Also tons of BLI-LAS available for 7,500 (lowest award level for 900+ miles distance). What gives? According to their chart, they should be releasing some at 5,000, shouldn't they?
It's weird....I've noticed how random the 5,000 awards are...for instance, it's hard to find PDX-EUG or PDX-RDM flights but I've been able to find quite a few PDX-FCA (via SEA even) and PDX-FAT (via SEA) flights for 5,000 miles.
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Old Mar 20, 17, 7:29 pm   #3
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Originally Posted by pokee View Post
Why can't I find 5,000 point flights from BLI-PDX? The distance is well below the 700 mile minimum, but there is not one single award flight available at that level - lowest available for the next 11 months is 7,500. SEA-PDX has tons at 5,000. Also tons of BLI-LAS available for 7,500 (lowest award level for 900+ miles distance). What gives? According to their chart, they should be releasing some at 5,000, shouldn't they?
In short, because AS thinks they can sell them for more than 5000 miles. Explained another way, the lowest inventory award bucket on these flights isn't available because AS has chosen not to make it available.

PDXPremier - personally out of my home airports I find very few 5000 mile flights that involve a connection. To nonstop destinations, there are quite a few...but add on a connection, and forget about it. Not sure if that is an inventory issue, or "by design". Even though UA's 700mi awards involve 10K miles, I find the availability much better at the low level to expensive 2nd tier cities in the west.
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Old Mar 20, 17, 8:00 pm   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokee View Post
Why can't I find 5,000 point flights from BLI-PDX? The distance is well below the 700 mile minimum, but there is not one single award flight available at that level - lowest available for the next 11 months is 7,500. SEA-PDX has tons at 5,000. Also tons of BLI-LAS available for 7,500 (lowest award level for 900+ miles distance). What gives? According to their chart, they should be releasing some at 5,000, shouldn't they?
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXPremier View Post
It's weird....I've noticed how random the 5,000 awards are...for instance, it's hard to find PDX-EUG or PDX-RDM flights but I've been able to find quite a few PDX-FCA (via SEA even) and PDX-FAT (via SEA) flights for 5,000 miles.
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Originally Posted by PV_Premier View Post
In short, because AS thinks they can sell them for more than 5000 miles. Explained another way, the lowest inventory award bucket on these flights isn't available because AS has chosen not to make it available.
AS availability for low is based in part on the fare filed in the market. If there are cheap fare classes in a market, you get cheap mileage. If there aren't cheap fare classes filed, there aren't (as well as "um, we don't want to let someone connect on a cheap fare and soak up two tickets we can sell"). Alaska isn't going to give you 5k fares for $500 one way fares (might not even give you 5k fares for $100 if they haven't filed their lowest fare classes). "But the flight is only 200 miles, why isn't there a 5k fare?" is not how this works.

PS: the advance fare for BLI-LAS is cheaper than BLI-PDX in cash. The advance fare for BLI-PDX is more expensive than SEA-PDX. This might have something to do with pricing as well.

Last edited by eponymous_coward; Mar 20, 17 at 8:10 pm
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Old Mar 20, 17, 8:55 pm   #5
  
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Originally Posted by PDXPremier View Post
It's weird....I've noticed how random the 5,000 awards are
Because they are random. Well no, there's a pattern, but it doesn't make any sense.

MFR-SFO and MFR-SJC are almost always 5,000 but MFR-OAK and MFR-SMF are 10,000. All the those routes cost roughly the same in $. Don't try to reason with it, just take the deals.
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Old Mar 20, 17, 9:37 pm   #6
  
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Because they are random. Well no, there's a pattern, but it doesn't make any sense.

MFR-SFO and MFR-SJC are almost always 5,000 but MFR-OAK and MFR-SMF are 10,000. All the those routes cost roughly the same in $. Don't try to reason with it, just take the deals.
The QX routes of OAK/SMF/STS-PDX have been pretty consistently more expensive than SFO/SJC-PDX in my recent experience. It's annoying as hell looking at flights every week all spring and summer of $120-195 OAK-PDX while there are lots of $73/$87 SFO fares and $66 SJC fares. They want to grow at those airports (and obviously not at the QX airports), so lots of capacity and cheap fares is the brilliant business strategy I guess.
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Old Mar 20, 17, 10:08 pm   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
AS availability for low is based in part on the fare filed in the market. If there are cheap fare classes in a market, you get cheap mileage. If there aren't cheap fare classes filed, there aren't (as well as "um, we don't want to let someone connect on a cheap fare and soak up two tickets we can sell"). Alaska isn't going to give you 5k fares for $500 one way fares (might not even give you 5k fares for $100 if they haven't filed their lowest fare classes). "But the flight is only 200 miles, why isn't there a 5k fare?" is not how this works.

PS: the advance fare for BLI-LAS is cheaper than BLI-PDX in cash. The advance fare for BLI-PDX is more expensive than SEA-PDX. This might have something to do with pricing as well.
I'm not sure about everything eponymous_coward said, but I did doubt him about these awards not being guaranteed and Missy confirmed he is correct about it being even more limited than saver. When it says "5,000 - 20,000" the - is means through. Well its a little off. Its 5-12.5K each way for saver Y. 20k is the former mid tier choice award. Full fare is 30K (instant upgrade eligible if MVP or higher)
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Old Mar 21, 17, 11:10 am   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
AS availability for low is based in part on the fare filed in the market. If there are cheap fare classes in a market, you get cheap mileage. If there aren't cheap fare classes filed, there aren't (as well as "um, we don't want to let someone connect on a cheap fare and soak up two tickets we can sell"). Alaska isn't going to give you 5k fares for $500 one way fares (might not even give you 5k fares for $100 if they haven't filed their lowest fare classes). "But the flight is only 200 miles, why isn't there a 5k fare?" is not how this works.

PS: the advance fare for BLI-LAS is cheaper than BLI-PDX in cash. The advance fare for BLI-PDX is more expensive than SEA-PDX. This might have something to do with pricing as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
I'm not sure about everything eponymous_coward said, but I did doubt him about these awards not being guaranteed and Missy confirmed he is correct about it being even more limited than saver. When it says "5,000 - 20,000" the - is means through. Well its a little off. Its 5-12.5K each way for saver Y. 20k is the former mid tier choice award. Full fare is 30K (instant upgrade eligible if MVP or higher)
I know over at DL there are subclasses of awards. For example, economy is N, NL, ND, NS, and NK. It seems something similar might be in place here with various subclasses of W at 5K, 7.5K, 10K, 12.5K.

One problem is, this makes it very challenging to set alerts, etc with EF. Finding W space is no longer the issue. I'm looking at PDX - BZN and seeing limited 5K space (like a couple days in Aug); but the day I want is 10K, still W. The lowest purchase price of a 5K day and the 10K day is the same. But according to EF, the 5K day does have some lower fare classes available than the 10K day.

Hard to say if it is an algorithm based on purchase fare classes (i.e. if R, G, or T is available, the lowest award level is available), or if it's based on overall loads. From what I'm seeing it may be the latter.

Hopefully the collective brain of FT can figure it out
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Old Mar 21, 17, 12:37 pm   #9
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Originally Posted by ANC RED-EYE View Post
Hard to say if it is an algorithm based on purchase fare classes (i.e. if R, G, or T is available, the lowest award level is available), or if it's based on overall loads. From what I'm seeing it may be the latter.

Hopefully the collective brain of FT can figure it out
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Old Mar 21, 17, 1:51 pm   #10
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This may actually be an accurate description of the collective brains on FT (self included).
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Old Mar 21, 17, 2:23 pm   #11
  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
This may actually be an accurate description of the collective brains on FT (self included).
Hey now....I resemble that remark
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Old Mar 21, 17, 4:38 pm   #12
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I know over at DL there are subclasses of awards. For example, economy is N, NL, ND, NS, and NK. It seems something similar might be in place here with various subclasses of W at 5K, 7.5K, 10K, 12.5K.
These used to show up on DL when booking, but now it's always "N" that is displayed when going through the booking process regardless of the underlying bucket being drawn upon. I agree it's very frustrating and makes it hard to set up alerts. I'm sure that is part of what they're going for though.
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Old Mar 22, 17, 7:46 am   #13
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I couldn't find any 5K days in BLI but here is what i see so far comparing to a SEA-PDX.

5K has W & R space

7.5K has W & G/T

10K has W & K space.

12.5K is W and within 21 days of departure.
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Old Mar 26, 17, 10:13 pm   #14
  
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I was able to get 5k RT from PDX-STS. I bought it as two one ways though, for over a week the PDX-STS was 5k and STS-PDX was 20k.

The flight I was eyeing 7/1 had morning for 199 and evening 140. About a week ago price on evening flight dropped to 140 and both flights opened up for 5k redemption. Maybe part of a fare sale? There was quite a lot of inventory. 5 of us traveling home from a wedding were able to book over the course of an evening.

Sorry I wasn't looking at fare class when I was making the comparisons. What are you using to check fare classes?
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Old Mar 27, 17, 7:46 am   #15
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I have a membership through expertflyer.com to check fare buckets.

Looking at that time on STS-PDX there is a ton of R space on all flights. Also in early July there are 4 saver award seats on both AM & PM flights. The fares in the market G/T have been available since January. They don't have an R fare in the market so no gobbling up of R space that way but i assume the revenue management system will decrease R space as G/T are eaten up. At this point there is still 7+ seats left in every fare class for the first week in July.
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