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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 Jun 1, 12, 8:40 pm
  #106  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 93
Originally Posted by dqdude View Post
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?

Alaska Air flights cannot be booked at the web-site, you must call in tomorrow. My experience is that because we are in peak months, you will be very lucky to find a seat open in coach (15,000 avios points). Good luck anyway, and challenge them if they find you a seat and want to charge you the $25.00 booking fee. Sometimes they waive the fee, if you state that your booking can't be made on line. Be prepared to blow 45k points in first class if they can't find you an economy seat.
wheelsup57 is offline  
Old Jun 2, 12, 5:30 pm
  #107  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle
Programs: SPG Platinum, Marriot, Alaska Air, AAdvantage, Hilton Honors Diamond, British Airways
Posts: 159
Thanks!

I'll pay the 45,000 points for first...it's 40,000 Alaska points for coach!
dqdude is offline  
Old Jun 2, 12, 7:40 pm
  #108  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SEA
Programs: AS MVP, Hhonors Gold, National Executive, Identity Gold, MLife Gold
Posts: 2,688
Originally Posted by dqdude View Post
I'll pay the 45,000 points for first...it's 40,000 Alaska points for coach!
I don't think you're looking at the right info. Sounds like you're looking at the # of AS points, when that's entirely unrelated if you're using Avios.

Can you give us the dates when you're trying to travel?
OverThereTooMuch is offline  
Old Jun 3, 12, 9:14 am
  #109  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: MHT/BOS
Programs: Many
Posts: 429
Originally Posted by karrun View Post
I even tried doing it leg by leg to see if it makes a difference.
Segment by segment is the only reliable way to check on the phone.

If several calls results in the same agent answer of not available, I would conclude that the award is not bookable at this time with Avios - either by design or because some sort of system limitation/lag/glitch. So far for me I have been able to access the same saver AS flights with Avios as with AA/AS miles by calling back when I got the wrong answer but from reports here it seems this is not always possible....don't know why.

Last edited by crazyMRer; Jun 3, 12 at 9:20 am
crazyMRer is offline  
Old Jun 3, 12, 9:06 pm
  #110  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle
Programs: SPG Platinum, Marriot, Alaska Air, AAdvantage, Hilton Honors Diamond, British Airways
Posts: 159
SEA-LAX
June 20

LAX-SEA
June 25

I was able to get a flight using avios for SEA-LAX. First class at 22,500 per person.

There was only one return flight availabe, on the 25th, at 6am. No thanks! I was able to book my return flight through Alaska for 20,000 per person in coach. Not ideal...but it works.


Originally Posted by OverThereTooMuch View Post
I don't think you're looking at the right info. Sounds like you're looking at the # of AS points, when that's entirely unrelated if you're using Avios.

Can you give us the dates when you're trying to travel?
dqdude is offline  
Old Jun 4, 12, 12:35 am
  #111  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SEA
Programs: AS MVP, Hhonors Gold, National Executive, Identity Gold, MLife Gold
Posts: 2,688
AS & AA sites show this availability for the lowest level of awards on 6/20:

6:05a
6:30a
7:00a
7:32a (ONT)
8:45p (ONT)

Neither one showed an available non-stop on the return, but both show availability for the 5:50p LAX-SJC-SEA.

Not a lot of supersaver availability right now.
OverThereTooMuch is offline  
Old Jun 4, 12, 12:14 pm
  #112  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: AZ
Programs: HH Diamond
Posts: 196
Haven't Received Notice of Schedule Changes

Has anyone else had problems NOT being notified of changes/cancellations when booking Alaska flights with Avios points? This has happened to us on our last 2 flights.

Last year, we showed up at the airport and the agent couldn't even find our reservation - although DH had checked on it via phone the night before and the phone agent made no mention of a cancellation. Agent at the airport said our flight had been cancelled a month before. We eventually got home but our planned leisurely trip became long and stressful.

Yesterday, I checked a reservation made in December only to find that we had been moved to very inconvenient flights. It appears that AK cancelled our previous flights and now has only 1 non-stop a day PHX-PDX and back. Fortunately we are still on the non-stop flights but the new seat assignments are not what we originally had. Phone agent said several changes have been made to our reservation since March but we never received ANY notices!

After our previous experience, I was checking this reservation periodically until the beginning of March when some family problems and travel distracted me. I will be checking it regularly from now until flight time.

I can't tell if the problem is with Alaska or BA (both phone agents said "you should have received notice, I don't know why you didn't ...") I will complain to both but in the meantime wanted to warn everyone to keep checking your reservation so you don't get any nasty surprises like we did last year.
MellieAZ is offline  
Old Jun 6, 12, 3:41 pm
  #113  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ireland
Programs: BA Gold, A3 Gold, BD..oh, wait..
Posts: 4,045
So, if I'm understanding the Avios calculator correctly, and this thread SMF - SEA - YVR - SEA - SMF in Economy would price as 18000 Avios (4500 x 4), plus taxes?
colmc is offline  
Old Jun 6, 12, 5:00 pm
  #114  
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Originally Posted by colmc View Post
So, if I'm understanding the Avios calculator correctly, and this thread SMF - SEA - YVR - SEA - SMF in Economy would price as 18000 Avios (4500 x 4), plus taxes?
For coach, that's what it should be, as all flights are less than 649 miles.
jerry a. laska is offline  
Old Jun 11, 12, 12:16 pm
  #115  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Left
Programs: FT
Posts: 7,285
Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
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.
what i find remarkable is smart alleck comments about the same. what if BA intentionally made only half the flights bookable via ba.com...would your cute response be different.

i really wish BA.com would have their engines updated. if i did not know better, i would think this is a way to add more money to reward redemption by screwing those who expect BA.com to work when it does not...i mean how long have they had to fix booking such flights online...piss poor BA
mkjr is offline  
Old Jun 11, 12, 12:35 pm
  #116  
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Originally Posted by mkjr View Post
what if BA intentionally made only half the flights bookable via a.com...would your cute response be different.
Booking award flights on AS is hardly core business for BAEC, let alone BA. You don't know whether it would be an easy job for BA to create the booking functionality in ba.com, and I would rather that BA spent the IT resources creating and fixing things that are more important to more people.

In any event, the basic point is that boiling blood is a wild over-reaction to a small irritation, speaking more of the person whose blood is boiling than of the company that's caused the reaction.
Globaliser is offline  
Old Jun 11, 12, 12:41 pm
  #117  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: PHX
Posts: 4,668
Wish I had seen this thread before I booked. I booked 4x SEA to HNL. Great use of Avios, but I was charged 4x$25 for booking on the phone. Didn't ask to have the fee waived.

Anyone ever get the fee waived after hanging up by calling back? I figure it's a long shot, but if anyone has any tips of what to say, I'd be interested.
lkar is offline  
Old Jun 11, 12, 2:22 pm
  #118  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Seattle
Programs: Alaska Airlines MVP, SPG Platinum
Posts: 24
Originally Posted by MellieAZ View Post
Has anyone else had problems NOT being notified of changes/cancellations when booking Alaska flights with Avios points? This has happened to us on our last 2 flights.

Last year, we showed up at the airport and the agent couldn't even find our reservation - although DH had checked on it via phone the night before and the phone agent made no mention of a cancellation. Agent at the airport said our flight had been cancelled a month before. We eventually got home but our planned leisurely trip became long and stressful.

Yesterday, I checked a reservation made in December only to find that we had been moved to very inconvenient flights. It appears that AK cancelled our previous flights and now has only 1 non-stop a day PHX-PDX and back. Fortunately we are still on the non-stop flights but the new seat assignments are not what we originally had. Phone agent said several changes have been made to our reservation since March but we never received ANY notices!

After our previous experience, I was checking this reservation periodically until the beginning of March when some family problems and travel distracted me. I will be checking it regularly from now until flight time.

I can't tell if the problem is with Alaska or BA (both phone agents said "you should have received notice, I don't know why you didn't ...") I will complain to both but in the meantime wanted to warn everyone to keep checking your reservation so you don't get any nasty surprises like we did last year.

Something similar happened to us. Our family flew from SEA->ANC on Alaska Airlines, but my kids and I booked with AK Air miles, and my husband used his BA Avios to book the same flight. My husband had to call BA to book the flight with Avios (wasn't able to do it online), and he was able to book the flight with no problems at all.... we all got seats together, even though 3 of us were booked through AK Airlines, and 1 was booked through BA.

BUT, while we were up in Anchorage a few days before our return, I got an email from Alaska Airlines saying our return flight to SEA had been cancelled and they had moved my 2 boys and me to a new flight (and they emailed all the new flight info, etc). Well, my husband got no email from BA about a cancelled flight, nor did AK Airlines send him an email (understandably, since he was booked through BA). So, I called Alaska Airlines first to inquire about my husband's ticket, and if they could see if he was re-booked on this new flight. The AK agent told me that she did not see him re-booked on that flight, but BA had to be the ones to move him to that flight, and AK Airlines had no way of accessing his booking since it was through BA.

SO, I called the BA agent, and the BA agents said that Alaska Airlines had not sent them any notice that this flight had been cancelled, so they had no reason to move him to a new flight, and if they did move him, they'd have to charge me a "flight change fee". BA told me that AK is who would have to make the change to my husband's ticket since it was an AK flight. So, BA told me to call AK back and tell them what BA said. So, I called AK back and told them what BA told me. AK told me BA definitely should see in their system this flight was cancelled and AK had absolutely no way of accessing my husband's booking since it was all in the BA system. AK said there was nothing they could do. This was a BA issue. So, I called BA AGAIN and got the same song and dance, that the BA system did not show that this flight was cancelled, and this was AK's issue, etc. etc.

It was rediculous. Luckily, where we were staying in Anchorage was very close to the airport, and so I just went to the airport and talked to an AK Airlines ticket agent in person, and had my husband's ticket info with me. They were very helpful and gave me some code to give to BA, and she told me exactly what to tell BA.... but she said she could not make changes to his ticket since it was booked through BA.

So, I called BA AGAIN, this time talked to an agent who was super helpful and empathetic for the complete runaround I had gotten, and this agent was able to talk to a manager, and they figured out the problem (I don't know what the problem on their end was), and they did now see that the flight was cancelled, and they were able to book my husband on the new flight with us. Phew!

It was a huge pain.

Just that experiece alone has made us to never want to use avios to book on Alaska Airlines again.
LovesToRun is offline  
Old Jun 11, 12, 2:42 pm
  #119  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Left
Programs: FT
Posts: 7,285
Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
Booking award flights on AS is hardly core business for BAEC, let alone BA. You don't know whether it would be an easy job for BA to create the booking functionality in ba.com, and I would rather that BA spent the IT resources creating and fixing things that are more important to more people.

In any event, the basic point is that boiling blood is a wild over-reaction to a small irritation, speaking more of the person whose blood is boiling than of the company that's caused the reaction.
so what if its core or not...and defend BA all you want, i could careless and expect nothing less from you. your responses are typical. oh well, go back to correcting grammer...
mkjr is offline  
Old Jun 11, 12, 3:03 pm
  #120  
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Originally Posted by mkjr View Post
so what if its core or not ...
Core stuff is more important to fix.

Of course, the "me first" generation that thinks that everything should be done around their cry of "I want" will always see things differently.
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