There’s a slap on the back, a slap to the face, and then there’s a full fledged kick to the gut. Alaska Airlines has been a safe haven for mileage collectors, allowing those flying on American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and more to collect and use Alaska miles through their friendly program with great value on top notch airline partners. Overnight, Alaska pulled the worst possible move for passenger trust, devaluing the number of miles you need for a “free flight” award on Emirates up to 100%…

a woman standing in an airplane with a computer

First Class Damage…

OLD North America to Middle East/India — 90,000 miles

NEW North America to Middle East/India — 150,000 miles (~67% increase)

OLD North America to Africa — 100,000 miles

NEW North America to Middle East/India — 150,000 miles (~67% increase) 

OLD North America to Asia — 100,000 miles

NEW North America to Asia — 180,000 miles (80% increase) 

OLD North America to Europe — 100,000 miles

NEW North America to Europe — 180,000 miles (80% increase)

a row of seats on an airplane

My Thoughts…

This is a massive devaluation, sprung without notice, coincidentally on the last day of their mileage sale, which I had suggested for many looking to fly in Emirates luxury for less. Alaska miles remain great for flights on Cathay Pacific, but gutting Emirates without notice leaves us with no confidence or trust. Will they gut Cathay tomorrow? Never? How are we supposed to believe anything. 

a plane flying over a forest

How Can I Protect Myself?

All devaluations are a sh*t sandwich, but a devaluation without notice is a step far out of bounds. The single best way to avoid devaluation, is to earn miles through a credit card company which allows you to transfer your points to many airlines. American Express Membership Rewards Points from the Green, Gold and Platinum card fall into this category, Chase Ultimate Rewards from the Sapphire Preferred fit this category and Citi Thank You Points from the Prestige or Premier also work. With these cards your points remain safe, allowing you to choose which airline to transfer to, only when you’re ready to go. 

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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