With credit card issuers tightening things up and airlines giving fewer miles for our flights, the idea of flying “for free” (or almost free) has kind of transitioned more to a “fly business for the price of economy” with many airlines.
Alaska Airlines Award Change Shows Us Why You Shouldn’t Buy Miles Speculatively
That is where buying miles comes in. When airlines discount their miles for sale, it can be a great time to grab what you need to either top up for an award or buy enough outright for a business/first class redemption. But, now you are not “buying a ticket” but actually buying a currency which remains completely under control of the airline – which means they can change how much value you get from those miles overnight.
This is why I always make sure I am letting readers know that if they buy miles through my site, I get a commission. I also let them know that I never recommend buying miles speculatively because airlines can and do change the awards without notice.
No More Intra-Asia Stopover Awards
Alaska Airlines has done this before – with the fantastic Emirates first class redemptions – and now they have done it again. While it was not overhauling an entire awards chart, it was slipping in something that prevents people from taking advantage of a great redemption opportunity with intra-Asia stopover awards. This had been a nice way to turn a one-way award into a tour around Asia at the price of a one-way.
It’s Not About This Award But What It Represents
Granted, most of my readers probably are not booking such an award flight but that is not the point. The point is that Alaska inserted that language with no notice and without giving time to book some last awards like that before the change. In fact, it was not even announced but was found by Shutterwhale this morning.
What makes this worse is that this comes on the tail end of another Alaska Airlines mileage sale. Many people bought miles with plans to use them but had not used them yet. Let this serve as another warning – do not buy airline miles speculatively! Make sure your awards are available and book them after buying the miles!
Buyer Beware / Blogger Beware
Like I mentioned above, I (and every other blog that writes about mileage sales) do make money when you buy the miles through my site. That is part of what makes me caution people right in the area of the link so that people know I am not trying to sell them on something for my own gain. If you hear of a great mileage sale on another site, just remember that they make money when you buy and take their glowing recommendation with a grain of salt (and mine). Make sure the purchase is good for you and that it makes sense – and book it right away.