32 Responses

  1. Ric Garrido
    Ric Garrido at |

    Love your common sense analysis of the Alaska Mileage Plan abrupt change. All the whining about Alaska Airlines screwing over their frequent flyers from credit card churners was laughable.

  2. Mark Ranck
    Mark Ranck at |

    You forgot the people that aren’t hardcore churners or manufactured spenders…they have been working on a plan to accrue enough miles for a first class Emirates flight for months, if not years. These are the people that have been most screwed by the abrupt change since they have allocated their spending/flying/earning on Delta/American to Alaska Airlines for a long time and now find that they need a lot more miles. I see your point though and it doesn’t personally affect me much but can understand the outcry.

  3. Lack
    Lack at |

    Considering Alaska gave a mulligan to folks who bought points and not the guys who fly the airline, I’m not sure which of the customers they do consider “bad” in the case, or at least for whom do they show care.

  4. Trevor
    Trevor at |

    I think the issue isn’t the change, its the no notice. I totally get “because they can” and “its business” — but it certainly doesn’t instill trust or confidence, especially given the frequency of their sales, it seems that actually want to sell miles. I’d love to see the numbers of sales over the past few, and the next couple (with the one that just ended on 31 March including refunds). That would really show if there’s a business impact, more so than the complaints (myself included) on twitter and blog posts.

    1. Christian
      Christian at |


    2. Lack
      Lack at |

      They do want to sell miles, and they do want you to keep buying them.
      Just in this scenario, the cost of service for them (perhaps suddenly) rose significantly – but they still want your “travel hacker” business (as longs as they profit as well).

  5. Glenn
    Glenn at |

    Thanks Seth – You are the only voice of reason out there. Really appalls me that so many bloggers say they are outraged and how dare the company blame them? Just own up to the idea that they hawk little known deals and eventually kill that deal. Get over it and on to the next “hack” although they are getting harder to find.

  6. ALCO
    ALCO at |

    The writing has been on the wall for a long time. Miles and Points are rapidly transitioning to points earned solely by spend, and it won’t be too much longer before the majority of programs transition to dynamic (price-tethered) redemptions. Once the earnings and redemption rates are fixed at some %, the opportunity for significant arbitrage will evaporate, as these companies are not going to set rates anywhere near as favorably as what can be done with mileage or region-based redemption options. Cash-back cards will likely be superior in most instances, as cash is fungible, and points aren’t (not to the same extent).

    Moreover, credit card issuers are actively cracking down on the manufactured spend crowd. Premium-cabin fares are more regularly pricing at what are historically-low rates, driving up demand for paid premium-cabin travel and reducing award inventory.

    All of this is occurring against a backdrop of steady, decades-long devaluation since the inception of just about every major mileage currency. I’ll enjoy what diminishing returns are left in the mileage space (far fewer golden geese than there were just five years ago), but a strategy for maximizing your cash-on-hand, rather than points-on-hand, is likely to outperform for those seeking to maximize their potential travel in the future. As the returns keep diminishing, chasing the miles/points becomes a fool’s errand. No harm in earning them as an incidental perk whenever possible, but expending considerable effort trying to earn points likely won’t be worth the payoff.

  7. TravelBloggerBuzz
    TravelBloggerBuzz at |

    No problemo, as long as I can get 5 Alaska Airlines in one day!


    1. TravelBloggerBuzz
      TravelBloggerBuzz at |

      credit cards

  8. CDKing
    CDKing at |

    it’s those that actually earn their miles by flying AS that get hosed. I don’t fee sorry for anyone who feel they were screwed.

  9. Terrible Amex Customer Service, Getting Played with Miles, Eliminating Reciprocity Fees & More! - Frequent Miler

    […] Getting Played Rather than Playing the Game – Some insight on the Alaska Emirates devaluation and why it is important to use your miles. […]

  10. JohnB
    JohnB at |

    Thank you for being probably the single voice of honesty about this devaluation. Your peers constantly pimped the Bank Of America Alaska Airlines card. Other bloggers were actually saying to apply for as many as you needed. With the miles sales and credit card churning, why did anyone think that this could continue? For me, it really wasn’t on my radar as I think travelling thru the ME takes too long. But, it would have been nice to try one time. Thanks to the greedy, it was ruined for all!

  11. AlohaDaveKennedy
    AlohaDaveKennedy at |

    I believe only bloggers make up the “travel hacking” world. The rest of us are merely artistic people who are very creative in how they travel. Shame on Alaska Airlines for libeling the arts community, but I guess haters are gonna be haters.

  12. Tim
    Tim at |

    Wham. Bam. Thank you man. (Apologies to David Bowie) At last a voice of reason. I’m as guilty as many in this “game” and have always believed the dread apocalypse would arrive. I hardly thing that this was it but, judging by so many of the blogs and responses, maybe it’s time for me to reread Revalations.

  13. Lisa
    Lisa at |

    I’ve been saving Alaska Air miles for two years for an upcoming trip from Seattle to Delhi for my family of 4 on Emirates. I had enough miles for all of us to fly RT in Business or a mix of First and Business. I did my last look at redemption charts the day BEFORE the devaluation and signed on to pull the trigger the VERY MORNING of the devaluation. My timing remains as flawed as always. First class is out of the equation. I now only have enough for the 4 of us to fly Business one way and Economy returning. What a major disappointment. I, for one, would certainly benefited with a little heads up.

  14. JohnB
    JohnB at |


    Have you tried calling Alaskan and pleading your case? There are positive reports of Alaskan making exceptions.