Booking Alaska Airlines with Avios

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AS is a long standing BA partner and, as of 31st March 2021, a full member of oneworld. You can book AS flights using your Avios through BA: prior to AS joining oneworld this was only possible on the phone through your local service centre, but it is now possible to book online with some caveats, specifically that at this time (August 2022) it's not possible to retrieve the AS PNR via ba.com - the chat function on alaskaair.com is staffed by helpful and responsive agents though who can get your AS PNR issued quickly. You can book flights up to 330 days in advance.

It has been reported that flights operated by Skywest "Skywest operating as Alaska Airlines" for flights like SEA-SLO are not possible to book with Avios. The system may initially allow agents to grab inventory but then will send back an error message when going further even with the telephone booking.

Avios Cost
The cost should be in line with the normal BA reward price banding. To get an idea of what your flight may cost check the distance with the BAEC flight calculator or using gcmap, and then have a look at the avios banding here.

Note that all AS flights (just like any other non-BA flights) are priced at the peak avios rates. Also note that from 2 February 2016, redemption rates for travel on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and TAM will start at 7,500 Avios rather than 4,500 Avios, effectively pricing Distance Band 1 flights as Band 2.

If the flight includes a number of stops under the same flight number then the avios charge is for a non-stop flight from the departure point to the destination. For example, for Seattle to Juneau AS65 the service makes three stops enroute. However, the avios rate charged is as if it were non-stop Seattle to Juneau flight (7,500 avios) and not the avios total for four segments.

Taxes, Fees, and Charges
As with other non-BA reward bookings you need to pay the taxes, fees, and charges. You should be able to predict what this will be by having a look at the taxes, fees, and charges on the AS website or on itamatrix.

BA policy is to charge 15/US$25 for offline award tickets but there has been consistent and sustained reports for years of agents waiving fees. As recently as 1/2017, there have been confirmatory reports that the telephone fee has been consistently waived. When initially calling the call center let your first sentence be, "Can you help me with an Alaska booking that I cannot complete online." The agents have all proactively waived fees in every circumstance. If they do not, HUCA (hang up and call again - or ask supervisor to waive)

Can I Check Reward Availability Online?
You can attempt to make a booking on ba.com and this should at least show Alaska mainline routes. You can also check AA website and the AS website. If AS reward flights show as available on aa.com, then they should be bookable with BA using avios. Check MileSAAver availability not AAnytime availability. AA may be better to check as this should show partner reward availability.

Checked Bags?
AS charges for checked bags on all economy fares, however oneworld ruby & sapphire members are entitled to 2 free bags and emerald members to 3 free bags. Note that oneworld elite baggage allowance is only applied to the passenger with the elite status: 1 GCH and 3 blue members on the same booking only provides 3 bags free, not 12. See the baggage information here. Note that you can only add bags at OLCI, at the airport, or on the phone no earlier than 24 hrs before the flight. Baggage fees are also waived for Alaska Credit Card holders and up to 6 companions on the same booking.

Redemptions in First include 2 checked bags per passenger as the base entitlement.

oneworld Benefits?
AS joined oneworld on 31st March 2021: priority check-in, priority boarding, baggage allowance* and lounge access for passengers with status all apply per the normal oneworld/AS policies. Alaska's table is here.
(* see the Checked Bags question above for an important detail)

Does the 24 hour Cooling Off Period Apply?
Yes it does. However, you must cancel by phone - it is not possible to do it online. Miles are refunded immediately into your Avios account, taxes (if returned) just take a few days to be credited.

Can I Amend the Booking?
Yes, subject to fees and reward availability on the flight you want to move to. You need to do it on the phone. Fees (both the offline fee and change fee) are shown here.
Because of the fee structure of BA Avios - it is often beneficial to book two one ways instead of one roundtrip if you are unsure about either your departure or return dates.

Can I Cancel the Booking?
Yes you may subject to the usual fees here Fees (both the offline fee and change fee) are shown here. If the taxes, fees, and charges you paid were less than the cancellation fee due then you simply forfeit the taxes and fees paid and that serves as your effective cancellation fee. If taxes, fees, and charges you paid were more than the cancellation fee then you would pay the cancellation fee USD55 but get back your taxes in full as well as your miles. (Rather they debit USD55 from your taxes and fees and return to you the balance remaining to your form of payment.)

Can I SDC Same Day Confirm on an AS Avios Ticket?
Yes, AS Avios tickets are eligible for AS same day confirmed change benefits as detailed on the AS website. If AS agent tells you differently HUCA. But AS website should allow you to do this regardless.

Are AS Avios tickets upgradeable with cash?
Yes, AS Avios tickets can be upgraded by paying a fee at 24hr check in, "U" inventory allowance, space available. Please note upgraded U fare class tickets are not eligible for lounge access.

Do AS Elite Benefits apply to AS Avios tickets?
Yes, if you are AS MVP Gold for instance your AS Avios ticket is eligible for Complimentary Upgrades and as long as your AS FFN is in the reservation, you will be automatically added to the AS complimentary upgrade list (AS in 12/05/16 changed policy to allow complimentary upgrades to apply to award tickets - including Avios awards) Gold Guest Upgrades, however, have never been allowed to be applied to AS Avios tickets.

Can I book Virgin America flights now using avios?
As of 25 April 2018, Virgin America no longer exists as far as reservations systems are concerned. Former VX flights are now AS flights and can be booked with Avios.



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Old Jan 24, 12, 3:05 pm
  #61  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by crazyMRer View Post
Yes, I do.

To know the distance between any two airports: http://www.gcmap.com/

To know how many BA avios it costs to travel any specific distance:
http://www.awardguru.com/blog/?p=425

SEA-ANC is 1448 miles.

So it will cost 10,000 BA avois each direction.
+ Taxes + a phone booking fee since BA.com cannot book AS flights for you.

To check miles availability on Alaska Airlines, go to http://www.alaskaair.com and check "Award Reservations." 99% of the time, BA avois will have access to the same seats as Alaska shows available on their website for miles only redemptions at the "Super Saver" level. "Choice" miles seats (more miles required) are only available with Alaska miles, not partern airline miles.
Excellent INFO!!! thanks for posting this...(printed and hung in my office now)
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Old Feb 1, 12, 11:06 am
  #62  
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I can confirm AS is bookable. YVR-LAX 7,500+$81.11 (Includes Phone Booking Extortion)

It makes my blood boil that I am charged a service fee when I can't book online. (Especially on a non complex 1 way flight)
AMRivlin is offline  
Old Feb 1, 12, 11:22 am
  #63  
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Originally Posted by AMRivlin View Post
It makes my blood boil that I am charged a service fee when I can't book online.
I would suggest this easy solution: Don't book something that requires the use of the phone, and confine yourself to internet bookings only. It might be good for your health, as boiling blood sounds dangerous.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 11:23 am
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by AMRivlin View Post
I can confirm AS is bookable. YVR-LAX 7,500+$81.11 (Includes Phone Booking Extortion)

It makes my blood boil that I am charged a service fee when I can't book online. (Especially on a non complex 1 way flight)
they didn't waive your fee???? ......they waived mine....I complained big time about the program , this and that and how we cant book AS partner flights on line ..and why I should be punished and then I got it waived....did you complain?
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Old Feb 1, 12, 11:30 am
  #65  
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Originally Posted by mrx900 View Post
they didn't waive your fee???? ......they waived mine....I complained big time about the program , this and that and how we cant book AS partner flights on line ..and why I should be punished and then I got it waived....did you complain?
I tried, but the agent went into a 5 min dissertation about why this fee was being charged. I could have hung up and tried a different agent, but it was 45min hold time.

Their policy SUCKS. If you intentionally don't want to book on the web, ok. But a 1 way trip on a partner YVR-LAX should be available online OR FREE>
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Old Feb 2, 12, 2:51 pm
  #66  
 
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Award available on aa.com but not bookable at BA

Saw supersaver availability on Alaska and was able to book it on aa.com. But was not showing available when BA agent checked so wasn't able to use avio points. I thought partners gets the same availability. Anyone has any experience?
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Old Feb 19, 12, 7:28 pm
  #67  
 
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Originally Posted by tuscanyx View Post
Saw supersaver availability on Alaska and was able to book it on aa.com. But was not showing available when BA agent checked so wasn't able to use avio points. I thought partners gets the same availability. Anyone has any experience?
My guess is BA agent error. I have been told before by BA something was not bookable; called again and booked it as I should have been able to first time.
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Old Feb 19, 12, 7:31 pm
  #68  
 
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Originally Posted by tuscanyx View Post
Saw supersaver availability on Alaska and was able to book it on aa.com. But was not showing available when BA agent checked so wasn't able to use avio points. I thought partners gets the same availability. Anyone has any experience?
BA agents are lame ; I had the same issue---was able to see availability via AS, but the BA agents couldn't 'see' the PDX-LAS flights.......You just have to keep calling until you get a competent agent.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 1:02 am
  #69  
 
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Alaska Air "super saver" availability using avios

Originally Posted by mrx900 View Post
BA agents are lame ; I had the same issue---was able to see availability via AS, but the BA agents couldn't 'see' the PDX-LAS flights.......You just have to keep calling until you get a competent agent.
I'm not so sure about the claim made in this thread that 99.9% of the time a super saver award available on alaskaair.com will also be available for us to spend our avios on. I live in Alaska and fly Alaska all the time, but piled up a bunch of BA miles by getting a couple of their credit cards a few years ago. Every time I make a trip with the whole family I find the dates and super saver AS flights we want, then call BA first and try to book those flights. About 8 of 12 times the agents said they saw no seats available using miles/avios on those flights. I even fed them several different flight options (all of which were available as super saver awards on Alaska Air's website) and got the same answer. The first time I was very surprised and thought it must be an incompetent agent, and called and after another eternity on hold got the same answer.

So I'm thinking that the 99.9% figure claimed is a bit exaggerated. Perhaps there is better luck when flying between city pairs in the lower 48. I'm always asking about flights between Alaska and the northwest, for example BET to SEA or ANC to LAX.

One benefit of the switch to avios is a ticket from Anchorage to most of the rural hubs in Alaska that AS flies to (Juneau, Bethel, Barrow, Nome, etc) cost only 4,500 avios each way. But these tickets run about $200 to $300 each way (AS has a bit of a monopoly up here and charges what they want), meaning each avios is worth about 5 to 7 cents, which is great.

OH and one more small piece of information is that AS lets you check 3 bags for FREE on tickets that begin and end in-state. So if you fly to ANC on Continental or whoever and then switch to Alaska to fly to Fairbanks, Juneau, or the bush, your bags are free. This is to accommodate residents like myself who literally bring groceries home from the big city back to the village. : - )
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Old Feb 25, 12, 9:00 am
  #70  
 
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Originally Posted by schneidler View Post
About 8 of 12 times the agents said they saw no seats available using miles/avios on those flights. I even fed them several different flight options (all of which were available as super saver awards on Alaska Air's website) and got the same answer.
You might be right that AS actually keeps some seats not available to partners; I doubt it, but we need more data to know for sure. In addition to agent error/lack of knowledge, there is also the possibility of IT systems not communicating with each other properly or one lagging behind the other. At times just waiting a day or two will solve that problem if it is the case. I would suggest that getting two agents saying "no" on same day does not mean BA really doesn't have access to the seats...there still are other possibilities. Hopefully in time we will have more reports from people who keep on calling to know if some AS availability really is never released to BA.
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Old Mar 4, 12, 6:54 pm
  #71  
 
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Got an agent today who said "Alaska only releases 7 seats on each flight to BA, and they're all taken." I assume she just made that up?! Will try calling back tomorrow to book the flight that I can see on Alaskair.com, aa.com as well as delta.com.
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Old Mar 5, 12, 12:10 pm
  #72  
 
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Originally Posted by SF_trotter View Post
Got an agent today who said "Alaska only releases 7 seats on each flight to BA, and they're all taken." I assume she just made that up?! Will try calling back tomorrow to book the flight that I can see on Alaskair.com, aa.com as well as delta.com.
For the AS flights I'm looking at (paid) they seem to show availability in any class as 7.
sl1ppy is offline  
Old Mar 5, 12, 4:30 pm
  #73  
 
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Originally Posted by SF_trotter View Post
Got an agent today who said "Alaska only releases 7 seats on each flight to BA, and they're all taken." I assume she just made that up?! Will try calling back tomorrow to book the flight that I can see on Alaskair.com, aa.com as well as delta.com.
The maximum seats BA can book for travel on AS in a single transaction/record is 7. On most flights less than 7 seats are ever made available for awards and on others far more than seven seats get made available. I wonder if the agent believes what she/he told you.
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Old Mar 6, 12, 4:17 am
  #74  
 
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Anyone know if Alaska has a similar 331 days ahead booking, or are they more restrictive ?
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Old Mar 6, 12, 1:36 pm
  #75  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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What's frustrating is that the AS flights I want are bookable not just on the AS website but also on AA.com and Delta.com (at the lowest rates), so they're definitely being made available to partners. But what can I do if I get an agent who insists the flights are not available?
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