Old Feb 12, 19, 11:57 am
  #637  
PVDtoDEL
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: SEA
Programs: AS 75K, TK ELPL, Hilton Diamond, SPG/Marriott Gold
Posts: 7,262
Originally Posted by flycal312 View Post
Honestly, I thought it was a pretty good letter and understand where they are coming from. AS's saver fares are more generous than the competition's.
Ironically, I think this is what makes it worse. When flying UA, for example, an elite on a basic economy fare gets treated significantly better than a non-elite - for example, elites get a free checked bag. On Alaska, the difference between a saver and regular fare is not very significant for non-elites (they don't get upgrades anyway, most don't change flights because change fees are expensive, they get assigned seats in the back normally anyway), but for elites they really hurt (no upgrades, no change fee waiver).

I think they would have been much better off if they had been "more generous than the competition" with elites as well, allowing upgrades to premium class at checkin (if there are seats left over) and allowing changes for $125. That way, there would have still been an incentive to buy up to regular economy, but elites wouldn't feel like their loyalty is worthless when flying on saver fares.

Instead, telling elites "we recognize, in some situations, you will pay more for Main Cabin fares that provide the full suite of the elite benefits you're accustomed to" seems like a slap in the face - what he's basically saying: we know that non-elites can now access the cheapest fares with limited impact to them, but we know you'll be willing to pay more to get your elite benefits. The short term benefit for AS is elites paying more to access their elite benefits, and the long term cost is that this devaluation of Mileage Plan will drive elites to fly other airlines which have better networks, schedules, and price points.
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