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Booking Alaska Airlines with Avios

Booking Alaska Airlines with Avios

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Old Sep 3, 22, 7:03 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: Joeykins
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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 Apr 26, 12, 6:40 pm
  #91  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle
Programs: SPG Platinum, Marriot, Alaska Air, AAdvantage, Hilton Honors Diamond, British Airways
Posts: 159
Ok...I got it. My search turns up super saver/choice. What you are telling me is that it needs to be super saver only...correct?



Originally Posted by jerry a. laska View Post
Those are paid classes of tickets, not award tickets.

At the book your ticket screen at alaskaair.com you need to select the check box "Award Reservations". Also check the box for "Award Calendar". This will bring up a calendar showing what level awards are available each day for a particular month. For Mexico, you need to be looking for the 17,500 mile awards -- Super Saver Coach. If these are available then you should be able to book it with Avios.

From alaskaair.com:
Code:
Award Type             One Way              Round Trip
Super Saver Coach          17,500           35,000
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Old Apr 26, 12, 6:52 pm
  #92  
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Join Date: Oct 1999
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Originally Posted by dqdude View Post
Ok...I got it. My search turns up super saver/choice. What you are telling me is that it needs to be super saver only...correct?
Yes. Choice awards are not bookable with Avios only super saver awards.
Check on the alaskaair.com website and look for supersaver coach awards.
At best, using Avios you are able to book AS flights that are available as super saver coach -- looking at the AS website you can see for at least one of your dates that no super saver coach tickets are available (even to members of Mileage Plan trying to use AS miles).
. . . it matters whether Alaska is making seats available at the super saver coach level. If you look at alaskaair.com you will see that AS does not have any super saver seats available on March 15 SEA-SJD even for Alaska Mileage Plan members. It does not matter how many seats are sold/taken/available on the seat map.
And if you read that thread, you will see that only seats available at the "Super Saver" rate to Alaska members are also available to BA Avios redeemers.

And I'm not seeing anything available as "Super Saver" on your route in March - only at the higher "Choice" rates. That's why you can't redeem using Avios.
You're looking at the wrong type of ticket. You need to look at Alaska award tickets. There appear to be the following types:
Super Saver Award
Choice Award
Full Flex Award

Only when Alaska has availability for a Super Saver Award might there be availability shown to BA for you to book an award through BA.
jerry a. laska is offline  
Old May 25, 12, 1:41 pm
  #93  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: NYC
Programs: Kettle Class
Posts: 677
Called the US call center recently to book an award to HNL on AS from the West Coast. The agent did not even bring up the $25 phone booking fee and I was only charged $2.50 and the requisite 12,500 Avios for each leg. Availability mirrored MileSaaver availability on AA.com.
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Old May 30, 12, 1:31 pm
  #94  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 26
Shot down again with BA. They say that there is no correlation to AS supersaver flights and BA avios redemption. I tried ORD-HNL 4/10 return 4/19 and they said no availabilty whatsoever even though AS shows multiple flights.
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Old May 30, 12, 1:37 pm
  #95  
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Originally Posted by karrun View Post
Shot down again with BA. They say that there is no correlation to AS supersaver flights and BA avios redemption. I tried ORD-HNL 4/10 return 4/19 and they said no availabilty whatsoever even though AS shows multiple flights.
Did you try giving them the flights segment by segment for the outbound and the inbound? Since you have to pay for flights with avios segment by segment, others have succeeded in this manner.
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Old May 30, 12, 1:43 pm
  #96  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by jerry a. laska View Post
Did you try giving them the flights segment by segment for the outbound and the inbound? Since you have to pay for flights with avios segment by segment, others have succeeded in this manner.
No, as soon as the agent said that super saver availability had no bearing, I figured I was pretty much shut down. She did search and came up with one seat on maybe the 10th and two seats on the 25th (both outgoing) but I figured if anythig else was available, she would have told me.
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Old May 30, 12, 1:53 pm
  #97  
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Originally Posted by karrun View Post
No, as soon as the agent said that super saver availability had no bearing, I figured I was pretty much shut down. She did search and came up with one seat on maybe the 10th and two seats on the 25th (both outgoing) but I figured if anythig else was available, she would have told me.
I don't think you can count on this, especially with the inbound flights routing through SJC and SEA with an overnite.
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Old May 30, 12, 1:55 pm
  #98  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by jerry a. laska View Post
I don't think you can count on this, especially with the inbound flights routing through SJC and SEA with an overnite.
Can you explain a little more what you mean by this?
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Old May 30, 12, 2:02 pm
  #99  
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Originally Posted by karrun View Post
Can you explain a little more what you mean by this?
I'm not sure how good the BAEC agents are at looking for a routing like HNL-SJC, SJC-SEA, SEA-ORD which is what AS has available at the supersaver rate on the return. (Also the outbound supersaver flights have a six hour layover in SEA.) The agents are usually going to just look for direct routes HNL-SEA-ORD. If you give them the specific segments or flights you are interested in others have reported some success where previously the agent had said nothing was available.
Since avios redemptions are segment by segment it is somewhat like you are looking for and booking these segments individually.
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Old May 30, 12, 2:09 pm
  #100  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by jerry a. laska View Post
I'm not sure how good the BAEC agents are at looking for a routing like HNL-SJC, SJC-SEA, SEA-ORD which is what AS has available at the supersaver rate on the return. (Also the outbound supersaver flights have a six hour layover in SEA.) The agents are usually going to just look for direct routes HNL-SEA-ORD. If you give them the specific segments or flights you are interested in others have reported some success where previously the agent had said nothing was available.
Since avios redemptions are segment by segment it is somewhat like you are looking for and booking these segments individually.

There is a flight that has only two legs on return: HNL-PDX, PDX-ORD as super saver which is the one I was going to try for.
Okay, so I should just give them the specific legs and see if they have availability for each? What happens if they have availability for something like 3 of the 4 total legs? Well, I guess I can at least try, nothign else seems to be working.
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Old May 31, 12, 5:33 pm
  #101  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 93
I booked a round trip Seattle/ Orange County California last week. I was not surprized when they informed me there was no seat availability for my mid August trip. But when the agent looked in first class he was able to book me no problem, at triple the miles, 45,000! ouch.

He mentioned the $25 booking fee, I asked him to check with a supervisor as I rightly/wrongly, believed it should be waived as online bookings not possible for AS flights. He came back and waived the fee.

I have flown this route 3 times in the past, once the fee was waived, the other two times they made me pay.

Also, the last two times I have booked, february 2012 and this month, the phones have answered much more quickly, and the agents have gone from disinterested and curt, to flat our friendly and helpful.


Just to some up, I wonder if the agents or the supervisors have the discretion to waive the fee based on, the callers manners, the agents mood, the supervisors mood, the class of ticket being booked. Last week was the first time I booked this trip first class.

I recommend being as nice as pie to them, and politely asking a minimum of two times, after that I guess you're done!
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Old May 31, 12, 7:39 pm
  #102  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Originally Posted by karrun View Post
but I figured if anythig else was available, she would have told me.
Bad assumption.

I have a habit of booking hard to find awards at the low level the airline agent initially says 'nothing available" for. The key is understanding the rules, having the time and skill/knowledge to do the research yourself, then calling until you get an agent who can/knows how to book the available flights.

An airline call center's knowledge of how you can/cannot check availability yourself is nearly always flawed/incorrect.
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Old Jun 1, 12, 10:11 am
  #103  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by crazyMRer View Post
Bad assumption.

I have a habit of booking hard to find awards at the low level the airline agent initially says 'nothing available" for. The key is understanding the rules, having the time and skill/knowledge to do the research yourself, then calling until you get an agent who can/knows how to book the available flights.

An airline call center's knowledge of how you can/cannot check availability yourself is nearly always flawed/incorrect.
Well I sure would like to know what I am doing wrong then.

I search AAs site and Alaska's site for available flights for the lowest awards. I find them, and in AAs case, make sure that another non-BA partner is not doing any of the legs, then call BAEC only to be told there is no availability. I even tried doing it leg by leg to see if it makes a difference. If I go to BAs site and search for AA availability, it is never listed. If I call in, I get the same story. I've tried calling in about a half dozen times now.
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Old Jun 1, 12, 7:47 pm
  #104  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Posts: 159
I am trying to book SEA-LAX and keep getting an error saying that BA and their partners do not fly that route. I can't call the US Call Center as it is past 8pm est

I see that others have booked this route...any thoughts as to why I am getting this message?
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Old Jun 1, 12, 8:36 pm
  #105  
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

Originally Posted by dqdude
I am trying to book SEA-LAX and keep getting an error saying that BA and their partners do not fly that route. I can't call the US Call Center as it is past 8pm est

I see that others have booked this route...any thoughts as to why I am getting this message?
You cannot redeem Avios for travel on AS at the ba.com website; the only way to do so is by calling the BAEC Service Center.
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