April 2, 2016

Alaska Devalues Emirates Award Chart

This has certainly been a week for big travel news.  First, Anbang withdraws their bid for Starwood.

And now this.

Without notice, Alaska Airlines massively devalued their award chart for redemptions on Emirates.  They did so without notice.  After significant backlash, they put out a blog post essentially blaming the travel blogging/hacking community for exploiting the rules.  They are the ones that make the rules and they can change them at their prerogative if that was truly the issue.  That's like saying one would be "exploiting" the law by smoking pot in our great state of Colorado.  The rules were changed...it's legal...I don't think that's exploitation.

Perhaps what they meant is "we see way too many people redeeming for first and business class awards and we need to change that."  Or perhaps Emirates told them exactly that.  Either way, they could have been WAY more transparent about the change and perhaps given some time for the changes to kick in  As Points MD notes, maybe there is a silver lining to this change?

I don't fly Alaska and don't have any loyalty for (or against) them.  I'm not even that upset as I will still be able to collect Alaska miles through a variety of means and hope to fly Emirates First Class again in the future.

Caviar setup in Emirates First Class

But blaming our community for "exploitation" seems like a bit of hyperbole.  The internet is a treasure trove of information.  There are lots of deals out there in the world.  Put the two together and it's natural that someone is going to write about a better way of doing something, obtaining a service, or purchasing a product for a lower price.

It will now cost 600,000 miles for a roundtrip first class award (for 2) to the Middle East/India.  I was able to snag that award for the equivalent (we only flew one way) 360,000 miles just 5 months ago.  That is hyper inflation!

Airlines/hotels are going to devalue - that is just part of this game.  They should do it respectfully and with notice.  Hopefully Alaska will learn from their mistake and won't repeat this in the future.

On to the next deal!

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