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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 canít 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 Feb 13, 19, 3:11 am
  #661  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Programs: AS MVPG, WN A-List
Posts: 70
ULCs invented this nickel-and-dime business model: 1) cut costs to the bone; 2) use below-cost advertised fares to attract business; 3) soak customers with fees and up-charges at or after the point-of-sale. Legacies, including Alaska, were forced to drop their base fares in response.

These saver fares don't cause prices to drop further than they already have because that's not what they're for. They're an excuse to extract additional revenue by mimicking the ULCs: continue to offer the same-old advertised price, then up-sell to less restrictive options (or extract fee revenue) later on. It's a terrible, unethical way of doing business, but in the absence re-regulation to establish minimum service standards, this rotten egg will continue to be the most profitable business model, and we're all stuck with it. Any airline that dares to resist simply because it's the right thing to do (e.g., JetBlue) will feel the wrath of unhappy investors and be forced to capitulate.

No one likes to see their FF benefits chipped away, but I'm actually pleased with the way Alaska chose to implement saver fares. At least now my last-minute ticket from San Diego to Seattle won't be passed over for an upgrade by the 75K on a $59 fare. And that $59 still earns the 75K a whopping 2,364 redeemable miles, which is unbelievably generous. I arrived at Mileage Plan as a refugee from Delta's scorched-earth approach to cost-cutting back in the early teens. In the last decade, I've also had Platinum Exec on American, Platinum on Delta, Companion Pass/A-List on Southwest, and Silver on US Air. In my experience (as a mostly-domestic, mostly-leisure traveler) Alaska's Mileage Plan, in its current state, still blows all those others out of the water in terms of earned mile value and upgrade opportunities.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 7:04 am
  #662  
 
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I just got an E- seat in Seattle assignment with people beforeand after me being given E+ seats. Thanks Alaska.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 7:26 am
  #663  
 
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AS can do whatever they want, but I'm not sure what they were hoping to accomplish with the email. At least in CA, the BE price point has zero effect on those without status and affects only those with status. Devaluation and monetizing elite benefit surplus is all par of the course, but the PR crap was, as one put it aptly, "an insult to our intelligence"?
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Old Feb 13, 19, 8:33 am
  #664  
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Originally Posted by TravelBrighter View Post
At least now my last-minute ticket from San Diego to Seattle won't be passed over for an upgrade by the 75K on a $59 fare. And that $59 still earns the 75K a whopping 2,364 redeemable miles, which is unbelievably generous.
I resemble that remark, or at least I did last year. I agree that fare should matter for upgrade priority, but I believe Alaska treated top elites unfairly by taking away benefits after they had been earned. I also believe that the free change benefit should have been retained unless and until Southwest introduces its own no-change fare class.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 9:07 am
  #665  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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For myself anyway, upgrade priority means almost nothing to me, but the loss of being able to move to a seat closer to the front of the plane T-24 does. It means the difference between flying AS or WN. Flying alone, I cannot remember ever being behind about row 12 on WN, even when I forgot to check in until the airport. I do not understand why they took this away from MVP status, except to penalize and therefore hope to drive revenue. I think in the long run it will backfire.
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Last edited by tatterdema; Feb 13, 19 at 9:39 am
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Old Feb 13, 19, 10:41 am
  #666  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Originally Posted by tatterdema View Post
I do not understand why they took this away from MVP status, except to penalize and therefore hope to drive revenue.
That is exactly why they did it. They don't want to take away anything from you - they want you to pay more for the benefits you thought you earned with your loyalty.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 10:56 am
  #667  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
That is exactly why they did it. They don't want to take away anything from you - they want you to pay more for the benefits you thought you earned with your loyalty.
I have been noting that the word "Benefits" gets tossed around quite a bit, heavy emphasis on the "s". The benefit lost is a) no upgrade and b) no fee waiver for change of flight. The latter is interesting as when this thread started, many folks said that their businesses would never pay for saver fare as they want the flexibility of changing flights. However the benefits not lost are a) priority boarding with your current status, b) miles and bonuses based on your elite status, c) free drink and/or digi player if you qualify. Yes, I get that these type of benefits pale to the upgrades and fee waivers but not all is tossed. I noted in one post days or weeks ago, someone with status who had saver was able to move up to without having to pay extra due to lack of passengers on the aircraft. AS is a for profit entity, this may be the way they have to go and yes, they may lose loyal customers, time will tell. Of course the demise of the Air Group has been in the air for decades. I fly 50K yearly purely leisure and AS fits my budget, my destinations and my type of employees. Yes, I will pay a little more for that. Of course, as always, my opinion.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 11:10 am
  #668  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Anchorage AK
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I'd be fine with Saver fares if they actually saved any money. Looking at ANC-SEA flights this summer and I can get a "Basic" fare on DL for $214 or a "Blue" fare on B6 for $268, where the "Saver" fare on AS is $358 ("Main" fare being $440). Really hard not to want to book the DL flight right now :/
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Old Feb 13, 19, 11:19 am
  #669  
 
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Originally Posted by cragAK View Post
I'd be fine with Saver fares if they actually saved any money. Looking at ANC-SEA flights this summer and I can get a "Basic" fare on DL for $214 or a "Blue" fare on B6 for $268, where the "Saver" fare on AS is $358 ("Main" fare being $440). Really hard not to want to book the DL flight right now :/
Data point: YVR 75k flyer, saver fares priced out my loyalty. Free agent.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 11:47 am
  #670  
 
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Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer View Post
I noted in one post days or weeks ago, someone with status who had saver was able to move up to without having to pay extra due to lack of passengers on the aircraft.
While op-ups are nice, that's an outlier situation that doesn't really count as "upgrades from Saver." If that poster hadn't been on the plane, it'd just have gone to a Y passenger without status, and theoretical upgrades when weight and balance need to be tweaked aren't an advertised benefit of flying any airline.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 1:13 pm
  #671  
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Originally Posted by damieniz1 View Post
Data point: YVR 75k flyer, saver fares priced out my loyalty. Free agent.
Data point: MVPG based out of SEA, have matched to WN A-List, it's dicey whether or not I'll make MVP this year because of the business I'm sending to WN (who isn't penalizing me for buying a low fare, I can still keep 100% of the value of the ticket if my plans change), along with the AS mileage I have burned. And I think I'm fine with it.

I'm still buying AS tickets, but less of them (and once 2020 hits I'm more likely to defect to DL on any given ticket if the timing/price is better since elite status/upgrade chances/better seat will now be ZERO percent of the decision I need to make if I don't have AS status). But hey, it probably makes more sense to sell to Joe Kayaker than me at the lowest fare. That letter was sure purdy, though.

Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer View Post
The benefit lost is a) no upgrade and b) no fee waiver for change of flight.
On the routes where AS/WN are among my choices, fare flexibility at a low fare wins out over mileage acquisition, upgrades, exit row, elite recognition. This is the key benefit of MVPG for me. Losing it on Saver and having it on the Wanna Get Away fare WN matches means I'm going to fly WN.

Last edited by eponymous_coward; Feb 13, 19 at 1:19 pm
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Old Feb 13, 19, 1:50 pm
  #672  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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"While op-ups are nice, that's an outlier situation that doesn't really count as "upgrades from Saver." If that poster hadn't been on the plane, it'd just have gone to a Y passenger without status, and theoretical upgrades when weight and balance need to be tweaked aren't an advertised benefit of flying any airline."

I agree with you 100%, it is an outlier......but still not the strict adherence to "no" you cannot move up. It was just an example and not the main part of my post.

"On the routes where AS/WN are among my choices, fare flexibility at a low fare wins out over mileage acquisition, upgrades, exit row, elite recognition. This is the key benefit of MVPG for me. Losing it on Saver and having it on the Wanna Get Away fare WN matches means I'm going to fly WN."

To this I have to say, to each his own. Mileage acquisition, upgrades, elite recognition, etc IS important to me as is fee waiver/changes and I am happy to pay extra for them on Alaska. I get it, people want the cheapest fare and upgrades and perhaps Alaska will lose business over this, who knows as we all speculate here. WN is an excellent company, I for one have never enjoyed flying with them and would do so only if they were my last choice....but for leisure flying, I do have choices. For others, it may be a better choice. I am interested in how this all works out for the company which will not know for some time.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 2:13 pm
  #673  
 
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Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer View Post
I have been noting that the word "Benefits" gets tossed around quite a bit, heavy emphasis on the "s". The benefit lost is a) no upgrade and b) no fee waiver for change of flight.
That is not a complete list. There is also the loss of the ability to select an elite-only seat (or even a non-elite seat at near the front of the plane) and the ability to select a premium seat within 5/3/2 days of your flight (this is different than an upgrade, since premium seats are in the same cabin as economy seats, and, indeed, you don't need to wait to be "upgraded", you can just select the seat).

Furthermore, it's not only the loss of the fee waiver; it's the complete inability to change your flight. Same-day changes cost non-elites (and MVPs) $25 or $50 depending on route. This is often worth paying; you lose the ability to do that. Changes to a flight on a different day, or cancellations, incur a $125 fee. This is less often worth paying, but it occasionally is. You also lose the ability to do that. This has nothing to do with fee waivers.

So, yes, "benefits". That's the plural of "benefit", and there are several (certainly more than 1) so "benefits" is correct.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 2:31 pm
  #674  
 
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Originally Posted by jinglish View Post
While op-ups are nice, that's an outlier situation that doesn't really count as "upgrades from Saver." If that poster hadn't been on the plane, it'd just have gone to a Y passenger without status, and theoretical upgrades when weight and balance need to be tweaked aren't an advertised benefit of flying any airline.
That may have been me. SEA-DAL day trip, was on Saver when they upgraded me to single seat First Class. The belief is that they oversold Y and undersold F, and the GA opted to move me up cause I had status. It made sense but I am sure it was an Outlier.

It will probably be very rare for me to get upgraded since I really don't mind the limitations to Saver fares. I don't mind the back of the plane and don't care about getting off first...Ö I like getting on first though.....
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Old Feb 13, 19, 2:31 pm
  #675  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
That is not a complete list. There is also the loss of the ability to select an elite-only seat (or even a non-elite seat at near the front of the plane) and the ability to select a premium seat within 5/3/2 days of your flight (this is different than an upgrade, since premium seats are in the same cabin as economy seats, and, indeed, you don't need to wait to be "upgraded", you can just select the seat).

Furthermore, it's not only the loss of the fee waiver; it's the complete inability to change your flight. Same-day changes cost non-elites (and MVPs) $25 or $50 depending on route. This is often worth paying; you lose the ability to do that. Changes to a flight on a different day, or cancellations, incur a $125 fee. This is less often worth paying, but it occasionally is. You also lose the ability to do that. This has nothing to do with fee waivers.

So, yes, "benefits". That's the plural of "benefit", and there are several (certainly more than 1) so "benefits" is correct.
..sigh...you are right, I did not read my post completely it was meant to be "fee waiver OR change of flight" not "for". Yes, you lose the ability to chose your seat but the main point of my comment is the gist was becoming that you had no benefits when that is not the case. I get that the benefits such as the ones listed above are very important to frequent flyers.
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