Finally – after several years – Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has announced that they are going to make Cathay Pacific flights available for online bookings sometime this month (October 2022).
So far, members always had to call and request an availability check for Cathay Pacific flights which might or might not have matched that of other Oneworld carriers award programs.
LATAM awards will also be available before the end of the year through the online search and redemption interface.
Booking Cathay Pacific flights with Alaska Mileage Plan miles has always been considered sort of a sweet spot redemption together with Japan Airlines, particularly in First Class, and considering that ASMP is one the very few remaining carriers that allow a stopover on awards, even one-way.
With the recent promotional email that Alaska sent out, they included a footnote that changes will be coming to the redemptions of Cathay Pacific awards:
The news about a “simplified” award chart doesn’t bode well for the program, as usually when an airline wants to “simplify” something, it means that things are about to get decimated and certain sweet spot awards might certainly be in line for an increase in price or a negative change of ticketing rules.
Alaska Airlines redemption website now has the following notice:
Update on partner awards
Good news for 2022! Cathay Pacific awards will be available to book on alaskaair.com in October and LATAM awards will be available before the end of 2022.
Starting late December, the way you view award charts online is changing. We’ll have a simplified award chart to show you where award levels start based on which regions you’re traveling from and to. With this change, similar to awards on Alaska, partner award levels may vary depending on multiple factors including route, distance, or demand. You’ll continue to be able to enjoy great value for your miles. As always, the best way to view pricing and availability for the routes you’re interested in flying is to search for your specific travel dates and destinations.
Right now, the required mileage for awards is flat and very reasonable. I can’t see an upside to changing (simplifying, as they put it) the award chart system in a way that would actually benefit the customer.
Making award charts flexible pricing subject to demand and peak periods is never a good thing. In the majority of cases, pricing would go up and it’s really more difficult to plan ahead how many miles you need to bank before being able to redeem in your desired cabin.
Just last year, Mileage Plan finally added Qatar Airways to their list of airlines for which you can redeem online without the help of an agent:
It’s unclear whether they will finally allow to mix and match all airlines on awards or to allow redemptions for all airlines on all routes. Presently, there is still an annoying restriction for many partners that you can’t redeem on all routes.
For example, I can’t redeem Japan Airlines to fly to Europe (from Japan) but I can use it to book a flight to North America. It doesn’t make any sense and Alaska should stop this madness.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is making some more modifications and additions to their awards redemption structure and this will include Cathay Pacific as well as LATAM to be available for online bookings. Cathay Pacific should be added to the website this month (October) and LATAM until the end of the year.
Hopefully Mileage Plan gets their stuff together very soon and finally rolls out proper oneWorld awards that allows redemptions on all routes with all partners – worldwide.
I find it outrageous that they were allowed to be a full alliance member without having even the most basic infrastructure in place that is standard with all oneWorld carriers. Mileage Plan has been horrible with partner flights, especially their weird routing restrictions.