Alaska Eliminates Change Fees (9/1/2020)

Old Aug 31, 20, 4:17 pm
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Alaska Eliminates Change Fees (9/1/2020)

United and American have both announced no more change fees (other than on Basic Economy tickets) for all domestic-ish flights (American covers Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean too).

Alaska's got a waiver in place until Sept 8th but this is gonna put pressure on Alaska to announce something more substantive. Alaska's in a bit of a tricky situation since no change fees is the signature benefit of MVP Gold.

So... what's Alaska gonna do, and what will the offer to MVP Gold to reduce the sting?

Edit: Announced this morning.

The new change-fee policy applies to all tickets, except for Saver fares. Previously, Alaska's change fee of $125 applied to all non-Saver travel, except for guests traveling on refundable tickets and Mileage Plan top elite status members.

Last edited by missamo80; Sep 1, 20 at 7:53 am
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Old Aug 31, 20, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by missamo80 View Post
United and American have both announced no more change fees (other than on Basic Economy tickets) for all domestic-ish flights (American covers Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean too).

Alaska's got a waiver in place until Sept 8th but this is gonna put pressure on Alaska to announce something more substantive. Alaska's in a bit of a tricky situation since no change fees is the signature benefit of MVP Gold.

So... what's Alaska gonna do, and what will the offer to MVP Gold to reduce the sting?
I wonder this myself because free changes / cancellations is the main benefit of mvp gold🤔
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Old Aug 31, 20, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by missamo80 View Post
United and American have both announced no more change fees (other than on Basic Economy tickets) for all domestic-ish flights (American covers Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean too).

Alaska's got a waiver in place until Sept 8th but this is gonna put pressure on Alaska to announce something more substantive. Alaska's in a bit of a tricky situation since no change fees is the signature benefit of MVP Gold.

So... what's Alaska gonna do, and what will the offer to MVP Gold to reduce the sting?
The dam has broken, with UA, AA and DL all taking this stance. AS has no choice any longer. It will be announced by COB tomorrow if AS doesn't have their head fully in the sand.

MVPG still has plenty of value that Flyer Bob is not getting. They don't need to take the sting out of this.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 4:27 pm
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Originally Posted by PV_Premier View Post
MVPG still has plenty of value that Flyer Bob is not getting. They don't need to take the sting out of this.
No change fees is the only real reason I put effort into obtaining MVPG every year. GGUs are of no use to me (this has been hashed through to death). So what am I getting? A bump on RDMs and some access to Premium Economy? Yawn.

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Old Aug 31, 20, 4:28 pm
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It will also be interesting to see what Alaska does with saver or basic economy fares. American has said that elite benefits will apply to basic economy including seating and even upgrades. However, they have also said that basic economy will no longer earn elite qualifying dollars towards future status.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 4:29 pm
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Originally Posted by PV_Premier View Post
The dam has broken, with UA, AA and DL all taking this stance. AS has no choice any longer. It will be announced by COB tomorrow if AS doesn't have their head fully in the sand.

MVPG still has plenty of value that Flyer Bob is not getting. They don't need to take the sting out of this.
plenty of value, you mean like the 4 unusable GGU’s MVPG gets?
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Old Aug 31, 20, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Mauibaby2008 View Post
plenty of value, you mean like the 4 unusable GGU’s MVPG gets?
  • Unlimited space-available upgrades on non-saver tickets
  • Expanded availability of instant upgrades on high fare coach tickets
  • GGUs
  • Bonus RDMs
  • ...
  • ......

You're free to vote with your dollars! In fact, you should be rejoicing that this is becoming the new industry standard if the only reason you seek MPVG is travel flexibility. Now, you have it, and you don't have to drive the rock up the hill every year by bending to AS scheduling whims, weird connections, inconvenient times.

I really fail to see how this could be viewed as a negative for anyone, particularly those who see free change/cxl as the "only" benefit of MVPG.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 5:11 pm
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I was just having this discussion with my travel companion, a 75K/million miler, in flight. He immediately expressed indignation that it is a devaluation of his most valuable benefit. Anyone who doesn’t see this and says inane stuff like “vote with your dollars” is naive at best. Yeah, we got the upgrade into the last two F seats on a BOGO fare. But the flexibility of the travel waiver for Gold and up is clearly the most valuable benefit for most. It plays into how he makes all his bookings. If that is available on any carrier, dipping your toe in the Delta waters looks a lot more palatable out of Seattle when you’re MVPG for life.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by BrewerSEA View Post
I was just having this discussion with my travel companion, a 75K/million miler, in flight. He immediately expressed indignation that it is a devaluation of his most valuable benefit. Anyone who doesn’t see this and says inane stuff like “vote with your dollars” is naive at best. Yeah, we got the upgrade into the last two F seats on a BOGO fare. But the flexibility of the travel waiver for Gold and up is clearly the most valuable benefit for most. It plays into how he makes all his bookings. If that is available on any carrier, dipping your toe in the Delta waters looks a lot more palatable out of Seattle when you’re MVPG for life.
Seems a bit early for indignation, but AS will have to match. I expect, given reasonable time, they will come up with something to offset the relative devaluation to Gold customers...perhaps they will extend benefits to BE fares like AA is doing, including the MVP Gold change waiver, and maybe even allow some reduced earning on BE fares still. Who knows...
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Old Aug 31, 20, 5:28 pm
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It is a devaluation of G/G75k benefits. I hope they offset it somehow.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by BrewerSEA View Post
He immediately expressed indignation that it is a devaluation of his most valuable benefit. Anyone who doesn’t see this and says inane stuff like “vote with your dollars” is naive at best.
Agree to disagree. Nothing has been taken away from MVPG+. There is no devaluation of the existing MVPG benefits under these speculated changes. Chester MVPG/75K doesn't lose anything by Joe Kettle next to him having the same change/cancelation rights, except for a bit of his FF pride.

The fact of the matter is the game has changed, and this isn't the only thing that is going to feel like a "slap in the face" to "high flying elites" as the dirty nobody kettles actually get treated like basic humans again. Just remember, the airlines have been slapping us all around, kettles and elites, for the better part of 10-15 years. The tide has turned, and all the airlines need to do a serious about face on their customer policies to survive. I find it very hard to believe that everyone cannot see this as a good thing.

Now, there is no argument with the fact that such a change, when it does indeed happen, will make MVPG and 75K less "desirable" than it was before. To retain its MVPG and 75Ks, AS will need to figure out how to keep its elite program competitive in a world where this is no longer a unique benefit. But to say that this is a devaluation of benefits is asanine, absolutely nothing will be taken away that MVPG/75Ks didn't have before.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 5:43 pm
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Originally Posted by PV_Premier View Post
Agree to disagree. Nothing has been taken away from MVPG+. There is no devaluation of the existing MVPG benefits under these speculated changes. Chester MVPG/75K doesn't lose anything by Joe Kettle next to him having the same change/cancelation rights, except for a bit of his FF pride.

The fact of the matter is the game has changed, and this isn't the only thing that is going to feel like a "slap in the face" to "high flying elites" as the dirty nobody kettles actually get treated like basic humans again. Just remember, the airlines have been slapping us all around, kettles and elites, for the better part of 10-15 years. The tide has turned, and all the airlines need to do a serious about face on their customer policies to survive. I find it very hard to believe that everyone cannot see this as a good thing.

Now, there is no argument with the fact that such a change, when it does indeed happen, will make MVPG and 75K less "desirable" than it was before. To retain its MVPG and 75Ks, AS will need to figure out how to keep its elite program competitive in a world where this is no longer a unique benefit. But to say that this is a devaluation of benefits is asanine, absolutely nothing will be taken away that MVPG/75Ks didn't have before.
If every passenger has no barrier to change their flights then there may be less space on the desired flights for changes by elites.

Yes, it is a devaluation when everyone can do it.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by damnyourefine View Post
If every passenger has no barrier to change their flights then there may be less space on the desired flights for changes by elites.

Yes, it is a devaluation when everyone can do it.
I would still argue this is a vastly unfounded fear. The way this is being implemented by OALs and would presumably be implemented by AS is not a free-for-all with "no barriers". Fare differences still apply, which will be a deterrent to the vast majority of people even if the outlay is minimal.

Has it killed anyone in the MVPG+ ranks the past 5 months that the entire world has been change-fee-free? No.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 5:56 pm
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As the economy gets better over time this "permanent" change by the legacies will likely be eroded by increasing the gap between basic economy and regular economy. Just like change fees started at $25 and gradually went up to $200+, that $25 gap between basic and regular economy can shift upwards so that if you want full benefits you basically prepay for the change by paying an extra $75 or $100/segment. Will be interesting to see how AS/B6 respond and then how fast the US3 come up with new tricks to rip people off.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 6:48 pm
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UA started the ball rolling by eliminating their $200 change fee? Do we know if it allows unlimited changes? Does it apply to award redemptions? Oh, did I miss where UA said it is also eliminating cancelation fees?

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