Alaska Airlines is set to introduce dynamic pricing on American Airlines awards staring next month, prompting more questions than answers. I tend to think this particular change will be positive, but I’m still no fan of dynamic award pricing.
Alaska Airlines Hints At Dynamic Pricing For American Airlines. Should We Be Concerned?
First noticed by Zach Griff, a new disclaimer recently popped up on the partner awards page of Alaska Airlines website:
“Effective March 1, 2022, while the current award prices will continue to be available, note that award pricing on American Airlines flights in the US and Canada may vary depending on demand.”
The move is disappointing the sense that once again Alaska Airlines provided little advance notice of the change (though I suppose one month is better than no warning at all). Upon joining oneworld, Alaska said it would “strive” to give 90 days notice ahead of changes to partner redemptions. Talk is cheap.
But in this case, I am relatively optimistic that Alaska Airlines will continue to price saver awards as before (when T [economy], U [business], and Z [first] is available, which isn’t often). My hope is that Alaska Airlines will have access to more American Airlines space than other oneworld partners and we will see similar pricing to AA’s dynamic WebSavers and AAnytime awards.
And there’s good reason to think that will be the case, just like Alaska Airlines now has access to additional Qatar Airways award space. Qatar Airways “saver” space is still priced as before, while the access to additional space carriers a higher price tag. I’d say that is inarguably better than not having access to the higher-priced space at all.
But let’s not be naive…if “variable” pricing is a prelude to making the award chart fully dynamic, then we have a huge problem. Not just because of award travel cost inflation (as we’ve seen with Delta and United), but because it means the end of transparency that holds loyalty programs accountable and incentivizes consumers on the margins to stay loyal and save for that dream trip.
This is a developing issue, but as long as Alaska is just trying to provide members more value rather than slowly erode value, there should be no problem come March 1st.
Interestingly, Alaska still has not provided further details about these changes.
More choices are come, as long as the slow creep of variable pricing becomes the norm rather than the exception. On the other hand, there is such a dearth of American Airlines award space right now made available to partners like Alaska, that whatever Alaska Airlines does won’t be too much of a loss. Devaluing zero is still zero…
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the pending changes Alaska Airlines concerning American Airlines redemptions?