Alaska has just implemented a new rule, and it’s not a good one for us.
You now need to book certain partner awards at least 72 hours in advance. This rule applies to Cathay Pacific, Hainan, and Japan Airlines, as of now. Additionally, changes will not be allowed to be made within that 72 hour period.
What’s really unfortunate about this new rule is that both Japan Airlines and especially Cathay Pacific have been known to release award availability for unbooked seats in the last few days before departure. It is no longer going to be possible to book any award seats that are released within 72 hours of departure with Alaska Airlines miles. Alaska Airlines miles have previously represented the cheapest and best way to book make of these flights. Now, they’re still the cheapest, but no longer necessarily the best.
The official reason behind this change is that it is helping to prevent fraud and people buying and selling miles for booking these often high-value tickets.
This isn’t the biggest no-notice change that Alaska Airlines has made within recent memory, but it’s still a small blow to the program.
Are you annoyed about Alaska’s new rule?