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Details/Discussion of Saver (Basic Economy) "X" Fares

Details/Discussion of Saver (Basic Economy) "X" Fares

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Old May 11, 19, 6:58 am   -   Wikipost
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How are Saver fares different?

Saver fares do include some restrictions on booking, refunds, changes, and seat selection.

These restrictions include:
  • Limited seating may be available at the time of purchase. Most seats will be assigned at check-in.
  • We can’t guarantee that parties of two or more will be seated together.
  • No refunds are allowed beyond the first 24 hours after ticketing.
  • No changes, including same-day confirmed changes, are allowed for Saver fares.
  • No standby is allowed for Saver fares, even for elite status guests.
  • If a guest is a no-show for any flight during a trip, all other flights within that trip are automatically canceled, with no refund available.
  • Saver fares cannot be combined with any other fare types on the same itinerary.
  • Saver fares are non-transferable.

Elite status benefits you do get when you buy a Saver Fare:
* Priority check-in
* Priority boarding group
* Baggage fee waiver
* Express security line at select airports (for MVPG+)
* Refreshments (alcoholic drink or chocolate for MVPG+)
* Complimentary inflight entertainment player - available on coast-to-coast and Hawaii flights (for MVPG75k, while they last)
* Bonus miles (by elite level)

Elite status benefits you don't get when you buy a Saver Fare:
* Access to preferred seating (certain seats behind Premium Class or in the exit rows)
* First Class upgrades, when available
* Premium Class upgrades, when available
* Waived change fees for MVPG+
* Complimentary same-day standby/flight changes for MVPG+

Full info here: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/tr...perience/saver
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Old Dec 23, 18, 7:39 am
  #451  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska airlines 75K
Posts: 159
Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
Then how come Southwest is still in business?
Originally Posted by PaperGlider View Post
Your family also has MVPGold or higher? As far as I know, less than MVPGold get charged a change fee (don't get full value into the wallet for a cancellation)

yes spouse is MVP gold and my 6 year old is an MVP gold. I fly 90-125k year and family flies 50K of those miles with me.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 8:58 pm
  #452  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Seattle WA USA
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, IHG Spire, Wyndham Diamond, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 529
Originally Posted by beckoa View Post
I think a compromise I could live with is a change fee waiver extended to MVPG and G75K's. I can deal with some of the rest. Zero flexibility is unfortunate, especially as a 1MM'er and unlike AS.
I read the official Alaska language in places like https://www.alaskaair.com/content/tr...perience/saver as dictating that we couldn't *change* flights as a Gold or 75K, or expect a *refund* outside of 24 hours--but not as removing our ability to outright *cancel* the flights for a credit certificate (as opposed to a refund.)

So I had a rude awakening today when I tried to cancel two tickets booked Christmas day, some 30 hours earlier. Upon calling the gold line, I pointed the CSR to the language I thought was ambiguous. She agreed that it was easy to misinterpret, and kept me on hold 10-15 minutes asking supervisors for help. No dice...all I can do is cancel and get nothing back for the effort of canceling.

I certainly could have been more careful before booking these tickets. But I can't be the only elite who was put off by this experience well beyond the $300 in wasted tickets (assuming I don't get a more friendly hearing before the flights in February 2019).

Moreover, I am now disincented to cancel and let Alaska resell the seat to someone who can actually fly. That's because if there are schedule changes or IRROPS, I can get credit back, which I have no chance of getting if I cancel now.

It would be smart of Alaska allowed a one-time cancellation exception for new saver bookers. And indeed, if anyone has informed suggestions on who I might reach out to in my specific case, I'd be grateful.

Another worthwhile tweak would be a penalty to cancel which might be more significant than for a standard fare, but not so great as to disincent anyone from ever cancelling. FWIW.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 9:08 pm
  #453  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ballard, WA (SEA)
Programs: UA MM, AS MVPG, Marriott Platinum, Accor Platinum (missing Fairmont!), National Exec Elite
Posts: 7,709
Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
I read the official Alaska language in places like https://www.alaskaair.com/content/tr...perience/saver as dictating that we couldn't *change* flights as a Gold or 75K, or expect a *refund* outside of 24 hours--but not as removing our ability to outright *cancel* the flights for a credit certificate (as opposed to a refund.)

So I had a rude awakening today when I tried to cancel two tickets booked Christmas day, some 30 hours earlier. Upon calling the gold line, I pointed the CSR to the language I thought was ambiguous. She agreed that it was easy to misinterpret, and kept me on hold 10-15 minutes asking supervisors for help. No dice...all I can do is cancel and get nothing back for the effort of canceling.

I certainly could have been more careful before booking these tickets. But I can't be the only elite who was put off by this experience well beyond the $300 in wasted tickets (assuming I don't get a more friendly hearing before the flights in February 2019).

Moreover, I am now disincented to cancel and let Alaska resell the seat to someone who can actually fly. That's because if there are schedule changes or IRROPS, I can get credit back, which I have no chance of getting if I cancel now.

It would be smart of Alaska allowed a one-time cancellation exception for new saver bookers. And indeed, if anyone has informed suggestions on who I might reach out to in my specific case, I'd be grateful.

Another worthwhile tweak would be a penalty to cancel which might be more significant than for a standard fare, but not so great as to disincent anyone from ever cancelling. FWIW.
Oh wow, I thought we could still cancel for credit, just not refund or change. That wording is ambiguous, I agree, and I'm glad I wasn't the one who had to pay that price to find out. That's really crappy
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Old Dec 27, 18, 10:26 pm
  #454  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,348
I am surprised that they don't say outright that you can't cancel and get a credit.

But, if they did, there would be no point to disallowing changes (they are technically different, but a cancellation and rebooking is a de facto change) so I just assumed that it wouldn't be allowed.
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Old Dec 27, 18, 11:18 pm
  #455  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AA, AS Gold 75K, BA, QF, SQ, Marriott Platinum Premiere
Posts: 2,421
Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I am surprised that they don't say outright that you can't cancel and get a credit.

But, if they did, there would be no point to disallowing changes (they are technically different, but a cancellation and rebooking is a de facto change) so I just assumed that it wouldn't be allowed.
From AS & Link upthread.

Note: All other Saver rules and restrictions apply. No cancellations, changes, or refunds are allowed for Saver fares, regardless of elite status.

This basically says, "no change fee waivers" on a Saver fare for anyone and the terms are independent. No cancellations, Period! No changes, Period! No refunds, Period. If there are no cancellations for a Saver fare, how could a credit to a wallet be triggered? The no cancellation clause is binding and final.

James
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Old Dec 27, 18, 11:26 pm
  #456  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,348
That's not true. Of course you can cancel. You just don't get a credit.
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Old Dec 28, 18, 12:04 am
  #457  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AA, AS Gold 75K, BA, QF, SQ, Marriott Platinum Premiere
Posts: 2,421
Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
That's not true. Of course you can cancel. You just don't get a credit.
Ahh, now I see the ambiguity on cancellations. No refunds still works both independently and in conjunction with status though. No refunds (via whatever vehicle) , Period!, and If you would otherwise have a waiver because of your elite status it doesn't apply to Saver Fares.

James
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Old Dec 28, 18, 6:45 am
  #458  
LBJ
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Technically, it's the "waived ticket change fee" benefit that you are attempting to exercise. There's no independent deposit for credit certificate for full amount upon cancel benefit. If you look at the MVP program benefit listings, they make it pretty clear that the benefit does not apply to Saver fares. I don't really see the ambiguity here.

https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mi...rship-benefits

Last edited by LBJ; Dec 28, 18 at 6:58 am
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Old Dec 28, 18, 8:54 am
  #459  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Seattle WA USA
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, IHG Spire, Wyndham Diamond, Hilton Diamond
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Thanks for the replies. James, your interpretation is reasonable, and I can see why Vegas read it that way too.

LBJ, I hear you on cancelling for wallet credit being classifed as a "change" by AS--and it does seem like that's what happened here. But I don't think I and bmvaughn were unreasonable in reading "no changes" as referring to SDC, changing flyers, etc...not a pre-emption of elite cancellation for credit. It would be a simple change in language to clarify this isn't available either.

Meanwhile, AS's unwillingness (so far) to accommodate these misunderstandings as a one-time courtesy--like they did when they changed the policy on refunding no-shows recently--makes me and others feel less valued as a customer, making AS flights look more like a commodity. That isn't in the airline's long-term interest. I book five figures on AS every year for business and personal purposes. Measures like this encourage us to book the cheapest flight, which increasingly isn't AS.
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Last edited by DaveH; Dec 29, 18 at 12:20 pm
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Old Dec 28, 18, 9:29 am
  #460  
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I though it was pretty clear from the start. MVPG benefit is change fee waiver. There is no change fee for saver because you cannot make any changes
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Old Dec 28, 18, 10:21 am
  #461  
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
Thanks for the replies. James, your interpretation is reasonable, and I can see why Vegas read it that way too.

LBJ, I hear you on cancelling for wallet credit being classifed as a "change" by AS--and it does seem like that's what happened here. But I don't think I and bmvaughn were unreasonable in reading "no changes" as referring to SDC, changing flyers, etc...not a pre-emption of elite cancellation for credit. It would be a simple change in language to clarify this isn't available either.

Meanwhile, AS's unwillingness (so far) to accommodate these misunderstandings as a one-time courtesy--like they did when they changed the policy on refunding no-shows recently--makes me and others feel less valued as a customer, making AS flights look more like a commodity. That isn't in the airlines long-term interest. I book five figures on AS every year for business and personal purposes. Measures like this encourage us to book the cheapest flight, which increasingly isn't AS.
I hate to break it to you, but air travel has been a commodity for many decades.
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Old Dec 28, 18, 11:03 am
  #462  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
Ahh, now I see the ambiguity on cancellations. No refunds still works both independently and in conjunction with status though. No refunds (via whatever vehicle) , Period!, and If you would otherwise have a waiver because of your elite status it doesn't apply to Saver Fares.

James
I think that the issue here is that a wallet credit is not a refund. "Refund" has a very specific meaning in this context, which means refund to original form of payment. All fares other than Y and F have no refunds past 24 hrs; X is not special in this regard.

Reading the fare rules makes it very clear that you get no credit if you cancel ("no residual value"), but it is not mentioned clearly on the AS website (at least, not on the link posted above), so I can see how there might be some confusion.

I just think that it would be silly to offer tickets that can't be changed, but have value after cancellation.
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Old Dec 28, 18, 3:06 pm
  #463  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
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Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
I though(t) it was pretty clear from the start. MVPG benefit is change fee waiver. There is no change fee for saver because you cannot make any changes
MVPG change fee waiver WAS clear. NOW it is clear it is part of the Bait and Switch.

bait-and-switch
noun
  1. the action (generally illegal) of advertising goods that are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods.
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Old Dec 29, 18, 12:27 pm
  #464  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Seattle WA USA
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Update: I called in on a related matter, then asked again about these saver tickets. No dice. Then I was transferred to a supervisor. She agreed that my situation was reasonable and that customers like me should have "one get out of jail free card". So she is refunding the two saver tickets. (Wallet credit is impossible because the system is hard coded to not allow this in the case of saver fares). I appreciate this accommodation, and will avoiding book my team, family, or self on saver fares going forward.

Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
I hate to break it to you, but air travel has been a commodity for many decades.
I respectfully disagree. The existence of airlines loyalists proves otherwise.

More on point, Alaska's key competitive advantage has long been its exceptionalism. They said as much when they reaffirmed a commitment to a miles-based FF plan.
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Old Dec 29, 18, 1:39 pm
  #465  
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
I respectfully disagree. The existence of airlines loyalists proves otherwise.

More on point, Alaska's key competitive advantage has long been its exceptionalism. They said as much when they reaffirmed a commitment to a miles-based FF plan.
Loyalty programs exist because they are a profit center for the airlines. While they may endear a certain preference among customers, there is not a meaningful segment of the traveling public that will pay more for an equivalent or inferior product.

People shop based price and convenience. Most airlines can be substituted for another. That is the definition of commodity and why we’ve seen saver and basic fares expand.
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