Alaska Slashing Customer-Friendly Price Guarantee
Alaska Airlines has long differentiated itself from the other major US carriers through a generous change fee policy, not offering a basic economy product and allowing you to receive a credit if the price of your flight drops. Unfortunately, though, all good things must come to an end. To become more in line with its competitors, in April, Alaska reported a number of (negative) updates, including the introduction of a basic economy product and a tightened change fee policy. Soon, it'll remove its price guarantee.
Tickets issued as of September 1, 2018, will no longer be eligible for Alaska's guaranteed airfare credit. Presently, if you purchase your ticket directly with the airline and then find a lower price on alaskaair.com any time before your departure, you can get the difference back in the form of a travel credit.
While you've always had to track the fares yourself (or set an alert on Google Flights), the process of claiming the credit has been simple. All you have to do is head to the price guarantee page on Alaska's website, input your confirmation code and then the system will tell you if the fare has dropped. Unlike filing a claim for a hotel's best rate guarantee, you don't need to grab screenshots of the lower fares or fill out lengthy forms.
Alaska MVP Gold and Alaska MVP Gold 75K elites will continue to be eligible for free ticket changes, so those customers will be able to rebook their flights without penalties and get the credit for the difference.
This change makes Southwest the last US carrier to offer price drop protection up until departure. Thanks to the carrier's incredibly generous no change fee policy, if the price of a purchased flight drops, you can rebook your flights at the lower rates and be credited the difference. JetBlue also has a lower fare policy where you can get a credit for the difference that’s good for up to one year, but that's only if the price decreases within five days of the original booking date.
Customer-friendly perks such as the price guarantee helped land Alaska the top spot in TPG’s 2018 Best Airlines in the US rankings. However, with all of these customer-unfriendly changes, only time will tell how much longer it'll reign that title.
H/T: One Mile at a Time