Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has some great values in its award charts. But as much as I love the airline I also like to poke fun at how difficult it is to find some information. Make that was. For a program that once didn’t even have a link to its award charts from the main navigation menu, it now has made the process of searching for and filtering award prices easier than ever.
This may seem like a minor change, but not at Alaska Airlines. I once pointed out that the airline effectively had 41 separate award charts because it negotiates separate prices and regions with every one of its international and domestic partners. That number has only grown with the addition of new partners like Icelandair and Hainan Airlines. If I write about Alaska Airlines a lot, it’s partly because there’s so much material. I once wrote an entire post about awards that you can take outside of North America, which some people believed was impossible.
Contrast this with most other airlines that publish one chart (or maybe two) and then charge the same amount regardless of which you fly.
Well, Alaska Airlines has a solution to this issue. Now when you visit the award chart page you’ll get an interactive map very similar to the one United Airlines has used for a couple years, in which you can pick the region of your origin and destination to display the cost of an award between those two cities.
As I said, every partner has its own price even if multiple airlines serve two regions. What Alaska has done to help simplify this is create a list of carriers in the sidebar, so you can select just the ones you’re interested in. If you don’t care for the seats on one airline, or you don’t want the fuel surcharges that come with another, just remove it from the results. You can even see filters for seasonal award pricing and specific regions, if those apply.
You can even take out all the awards for coach!
I wish my award chart comparison tool were this easy to use. I do sort of miss not having a static chart (United still has one if you need it), but for the type of loyalty program that Alaska runs I do think this makes more sense than what they use to provide.
Terms and conditions below each chart update depending on the destination and carrier selected. I’m still poking around the new charts to see if they copied over everything correctly. So far all looks good. They even got one of my favorite hidden gems between Hawaii and Mexico, which is only valid as a single award if you fly American Airlines — even though many other carriers also serve both markets.
What are your thoughts on the new charts? Does this make it easier or more difficult to discover how to use your miles for your next vacation?