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Alaska Airlines quietly slashes mileage earnings with two major partners

May 22, 2020
3 min read
Alaska Airlines quietly slashes mileage earnings with two major partners
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One of the best things about the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan loyalty program is its breadth of partners.

Before the carrier announced that it was going to join the Oneworld alliance, it was one of the few airlines to have partners that spanned the globe and crossed multiple alliances. With so many unique partners, you could earn or redeem Mileage Plan miles in a bunch of interesting and valuable ways.

Personally, I always enjoyed crediting paid flights to Alaska since it's got a few sweet spots on its award charts. Going forward, I'm going to need to reconsider crediting Cathay Pacific and Emirates flights to Mileage Plan, since the carrier just silently slashed the earn rates with those two partners.

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With an update on its website, Alaska is reducing the number of miles that you earn for the many discounted coach and premium economy tickets with Cathay Pacific. The changes are most notable for those crediting miles with deep discount economy tickets, as most fare classes now earn just 25% of total miles flown. The new mileage earning chart is valid for flights taken on or after June 1, 2020.

For Emirates flights, the changes are more nuanced. Some coach fares are getting a bump from earning 50% to 75% of total miles flown, but there's also a good chunk of economy fare classes that are being reduced from 50% to 25% of total miles flown.

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In addition, some business-class tickets with the lowest fare classes will now earn just 100% of total miles flown. The biz fare classes correspond to Emirates' most restrictive "basic" business-class tickets, which include limited checked baggage, seat selection and reduced mileage earning. These changes are effective for flights flown on or after July 1, 2020.

Along with these changes are some adjustments to how many elite qualifying miles you earn, so be sure to pay attention to that if you're going for Alaska status.

Related: How to earn miles with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

As travel slowly begins to pick up, it pays to consider your options for crediting partner flights. You could consider crediting your Cathay Pacific flights to any other member of the Oneworld alliance, like American Airlines or British Airways. Emirates has fewer useful partners, so you may be stuck crediting your flights to Alaska at these new rates.

At least we're getting some advance notice of the changes, but it's certainly not great news for those who typically purchase discounted tickets.

Featured image by SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

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    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

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  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.