Update: Alaska writes to me that the previous Alaska agent that wrote the information below to me was misinformed about the changes going forward from 2021 and that Alaska is still deciding how they will handle residual value when changing paid tickets as well as partner award change and redeposit fees. Awards on Alaska will definitely be able to be redeposited for free.
For now, all of the below information will apply for tickets bought through the end of 2020 and next year’s information will be announced at a later date.
One constant over the past decade has been the airlines removing benefits and devaluing their mileage programs.
Airlines now realize they’re in for an extended recovery period and the pendulum is finally swinging back in favor of consumers.
Yesterday, Delta said they would do the same, though they were vague on the details.
American then one-upped United. They included more destinations in their waiver, will provide vouchers for changes to less expensive tickets, and will greatly ease up on basic economy restrictions, especially for elites.
They are eliminating change fees on all domestic and international flights!
Alaska doesn’t fly to very many destinations abroad, so don’t expect any major airlines to match that. However they do have many world class award partners that fly abroad!
The announcement is short on details, so I asked for clarification and it seems truly incredible. Most of the same policies that apply for the current COVID-19 waiver will be implemented permanently.
Alaska tells me that customers will be able to credit their ticket to their Alaska wallet for future travel! That means that unlike United, you won’t lose out if you want to switch to a less expensive ticket. Even better, you can book tickets for other people with your Alaska wallet!
As with the other airlines, they will not allow changes on basic economy/saver paid tickets.
Best of all, they also tell me that you will be able to change or cancel and redeposit awards worldwide on Alaska or any partner airline for travel worldwide at any time for free!
Alaska miles were already valuable, with incredible deals for flying on partner airlines like Cathay Pacific, JAL, and Qantas. Alaska is also joining the OneWorld alliance, headed by American, later this year.
With the elimination of change fees, Alaska miles and buying tickets on Alaska just became a whole lot more valuable!
Alaska also announced that they will extend free changes on all tickets, including basic economy/saver paid tickets, as long as they are purchased in the remainder of 2020.
Has anyone seen JetBlue? Please pick up the red courtesy phone if you can find them…