Alaska Airlines quietly slashes mileage earnings with two major partners

May 22, 2020

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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.

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 photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

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