Alaska Misteps Again, then Backpedals

So it seems not too long ago, because it wasn't, that Alaska Airlines decided to devalue their Emirates First Class award costs. Overnight the cost of flying first class with Alaska Airline miles in Emirates First class almost doubled. The one thing that Alaska Airlines didn’t do, was give anyone warning in advance of the change. Boy did they receive backlash for that and rightfully so.

While I do not deny that Alaska Airlines can and has the right to change miles redemptions at any time, there are problems that crop up when you do so without and advanced warning. People buy miles for travel, or transfer miles from other programs to cover the cost of the ticket. If you time your purchase or transfer wrong, then the random award changes come in time where you just spent money or sent points and now you can’t buy the ticket you wanted. While Alaska offered refunds to customers for the Emirates devaluation, they did not solve the problem of people who transferred miles. Those miles can’t just be shoved back to the account they came from, doesn’t work that way, so now those people are up the creek and Alaska Airlines burned the paddle.

While many people thought that the backlash Alaska received had taught them a lesson, I remained skeptical for one reason, their response to the backlash was bad. Originally they tried to blame customers, then blamed someone else, then changed it one last time to blame someone else. None of the answers made much sense, so we were left with a company that felt no remorse for their poor reaction. Keep in mind that miles sales are a huge part of Alaska Airlines business, and they are actively undermining that when customers get cold feet about their practices.

Now Alaska, overnight again,  has released a new tool that is showing much increased intra-Asia flights on Cathay Pacific. No warning or anything, once again showing little respect for customer. I did voice my displeasure with them and someone responded saying this was an error with a new tool that is being implemented on Alaska Airline website. So was this an devaluation they are backpedaling on or a legitimate error? Maybe a little of both.

Question is why were these values in the system. We’ve seen accidental releases like this before, companies backpedal, and then release it later on… so have they or have they not learned their lesson. I’m still not entirely sure, I’m going to stick with their story until shown otherwise purely because I have no evidence to the contrary. I do however expect these devaluations to become reality in the very near future, as this seems to be par for the course with leaked devaluations. They deny right up until the become implemented. Question is, will they give us advanced knowledge of before hand?

Not sure I completely trust them anymore. They do still have some limited use outside of Emirates first class, since that is no longer a good way to redeem Emirate first class. Cathay Pacific was a good option now with Alaska, but these charts have me worried about that too. I think the prudent thing for me to do at this point is to back away from Alaska Airlines. The Emirates devaluation made me cautious, this makes me step away from their program for a while and let them figure out what the plan is for the future. I have many other points options available to me that feel much more stable than Alaska Airline miles do now. This needs to be addressed as does the last blunder with a far better answer than oopsie, or it’s your fault customers. My faith in the program won’t be restored for a good long while now.

Sorry Alaska Airlines, I’m stepping away, good luck!

Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8