Skip to content

Alaska gears up to dynamically price awards for American Airlines flights

Jan. 30, 2022
3 min read
Alaska gears up to dynamically price awards for American Airlines flights
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor's Note

This story will be updated with more details as they become available.

There’s troubling news from Alaska’s Mileage Plan frequent flyer program.

The Seattle-based airline appears to be gearing up to launch dynamically priced awards for American Airlines flights. Alaska added a new disclaimer to its website this weekend, which states that:

"Effective March 1, 2022, while the current award prices will continue to be available, note that award pricing on American Airlines flights in the US and Canada may vary depending on demand."

Until now, Alaska has priced American flights booked with miles according to the Alaska award chart. In the contiguous U.S., Alaska and Canada, these one-way rates have been at 12,500 miles for the main cabin and 25,000 miles for first class.

Alaska's domestic award chart now states that American awards "start" at the aforementioned levels, which implies that the rates could be increased based on demand and other factors.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

We’ve reached out to the carrier to learn more about the implications of the change, and we’ll update this story when we hear back.

(Screenshot courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

With this move, Alaska appears to be transitioning to a pricing model similar to the one that American has implemented for its own flights in recent years.

For most AAdvantage awards on American metal, the carrier offers a “Web Special” fare across all cabins. These dynamically-priced awards are available on AA's website, and cannot be changed (but they can be canceled and redeposited).

Sign up for our daily newsletter

We’ll have to wait to see the details of the changes, but it appears like Alaska is going to be doing something similar for American's domestic and Canadian flights starting on March 1.

This isn't unprecedented for Alaska. The airline has recently introduced dynamic pricing for certain awards booked on Aer Lingus, LATAM on Qatar Airways.

One big question about this change is how it will impact award availability.

Previously, Alaska only had access to saver-level awards on American flights. The availability of these specific fare classes (T, U and Z for economy, business and first class, respectively) has been sporadic at best, so it’s possible that the shift to dynamic pricing will mean that Alaska gets access to additional award space on American flights.

For now, we have more questions than answers, but it’s definitely an alarming development.

Perhaps most irksome is that Alaska promised TPG when it joined the Oneworld frequent flyer alliance that it would "strive to give at least 90 days’ notice if changes are coming to any current partner awards." In this case, Alaska is giving members just around a third of what it promised.

Interestingly, this move could be a harbinger of what’s to come for American’s Northeast Alliance with JetBlue.

To date, American has launched reciprocal award redemptions for JetBlue tickets, but JetBlue still hasn’t unveiled the details of redeeming TrueBlue points for American flights.

It’s possible that American is working with its two U.S.-based partners on introducing dynamic award pricing for its flights, but Alaska is getting around to launching it first.

Either way, mark this one as developing.

Featured image by David Slotnick/The Points Guy
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023