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Alaska Airlines Makes Unexpected Changes: No More Free Intra-Asia Stopovers

Alaska Airlines Makes Unexpected Changes: No More Free Intra-Asia Stopovers
Anya Kartashova

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the fan-favorite frequent-flyer programs out there. It still awards miles based on the distance flown and not the money spent. It also allows free stopovers on one-way award tickets and offers competitive rates. The problem is, to members’ dismay, Mileage Plan keeps making unannounced changes to the program.

Mileage Plan Eliminates Free Intra-Asia Stopovers

Free stopovers on mileage tickets have been a beloved perk of the program for a long time. However, Alaska Airlines decided to eliminate it on certain routes. Specifically, intra-Asia flights will now require two separate awards when flying on Asia-based carriers, such as Cathay Pacific, Hainan Airlines, Japan Airlines (JAL) and Singapore Airlines.

For example, if you’re looking to fly from Bangkok, visit Hong Kong for a few days and continue on to Singapore with Cathay Pacific, you’ll be paying for two separate awards. In the past, you could book this trip for 22,500 Mileage Plan miles in business class. Now, the same itinerary will set you back 45,000 miles.

However, flying from the United States to Asia keeps the stopover intact. In this case, it’s still possible to fly from San Francisco, stop in Hong Kong for a few days and continue on to Bangkok by using the same number of miles as you would without a stopover in Hong Kong, which is 50,000 miles for a one-way journey.

But wait. It gets worse.

Mileage Plan Redefines Mainland China for Singapore’s Award Chart

Alaska implements different redemption rates for different partners, and no one is expected to memorize them all. For this reason, Alaska publishes a nifty chart that defines award regions and their redemption rates.

All of a sudden, Alaska reclassified mainland China from Southeast Asia to North Asia as part of Singapore Airlines’ award chart. It’s now lumped in with Japan and Korea. As a result, redemption rates on flights between Southeast Asia and China increased from 25,000 miles in business class to 60,000 miles for a one-way flight operated by Singapore Airlines.

With the elimination of intra-Asia stopovers, the difference in redemption rates is even more noticeable on flights between China and Southeast Asia that include a stopover in Singapore. In this case, you’ll need 85,000 Alaska miles to book a trip that previously cost 25,000 miles in business class.

It’s worth noting that Hong Kong remains to be part of Southeast Asia, according to the new award chart.

Why This Is a Bad Move

Aside from the obvious program devaluation, this move won’t bode well for flyers loyal to the Mileage Plan program. It’s one thing to change terms of use. It’s another to do so without notice. The move is akin to doubling Emirates redemptions in the blink of an eye as Alaska did a few years ago, and it’s just not cool, to say the least. Come on, Alaska, you can do better than that.

What do you think of overnight changes to the Alaska Mileage Plan program?

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. eddiehuang97

    October 17, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Flyers loyal to AS don’t reside in Asia.

  2. UAPremierExec

    October 17, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    We can thank all the bloggers for this….

  3. Flying for Fun

    October 17, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    CX awards always terminated in HKG unless you were continuing onto North America. It was always two awards! Asia to Europe was always a seperate award too. In summation, there was never a free CX stopover in HKG for intra-Asia awards.

    Perhaps you should do a little more research!

    James

  4. edgewood49

    October 18, 2019 at 6:31 am

    Many of your fellow bloggers have covered this and interesting enough many of the responders wrote essentially blaming travel bloggers for many of these changes further noting that many of which (bloggers) do not fly AS regularly simply using it as another hack. I joined them as well as a MM on AS we EARN these redemptions not hacking or manipulating the system. As a loyal flyer when I call the “partner desk” for assistance in booking an international trip they first look at our account seeing a long time loyal flyer, much better assistance. If one reads the program AS as all airlines do have the right to change without notice, bloggers hate this because it takes away from their efforts.

    Get over it.

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