The Basics

Equipment Change = Newer Seats and 12,500 Miles Back To Me

Alaska Airlines
Written by Charlie

Later on this year, I am booked on American Airlines from Santiago, Chile to Washington, DC (via Miami). I used 62,500 Alaska Airline miles for the first class ticket. I opted for first class over business class since it was on the older 777-200 plane with the angled business class seats. Since I really need to make sure I sleep well on that segment, I used 12,500 extra miles to get first class over business.

First Class or Business Class

When I booked the ticket, I was really disappointed that there was not one of the retrofitted business class cabins flying that route. I could have booked through Dallas and received the newer cabin, but I really needed to be in DC early that morning. Fortunately, I happened to notice that there had been a equipment change and it was to AA’s 767-300. This craft does have the retrofitted business class cabin which features lie-flat seats. It looks pretty great so I am looking forward to trying it out (it has the appearance to and people have compared it to the business class cabin on Austrian Airlinesreview here).

Business Class Means a 12,500 Mile Refund

Alaska Airlines

Nice new seat + 12,500 miles back to me! / from

Not only was I moved to a newer cabin and seats but I was actually bumped down from first class to business class. Even though it was a bump I was happy to take, it still meant that I had overpaid for my award ticket and it should only be 50,000 miles. Since I booked it as a partner award, Alaska wasn’t going to know about this change by themselves so I called them and explained the situation. At first the rep did not believe me because American is still showing me as being in a first class fare bucket. After he pulled up the seat map, he saw that I was indeed right.

How To Request The Refund

To get the itinerary reissued, he had to put in a request with their American Airlines liaison agent. They said it would take about 24 – 48 hours for the process to happen and the ticket would be reissued automatically and the miles refunded to my account.

If you are in a similar situation, since American is making upgrades to their equipment and putting them on different routes, call Alaska’s award reservations line for partner airlines – 888-280-7560. Once connected, explain that you saw that AA has moved you to business class and you were in a first class seat before. It will likely still show you as being in first class according to the fare code, so they may need to look past the fare – maybe at the seat map for the new flight. Once that has been done, they will submit the request for the reissue and you are all set!

You will not lose you award reservation in the process. If there is not a business class award available on your flight, the liaison agent will request for AA to open up a business class ticket in that fare to put you.

In the end, I am a happy camper. I get to fly in the newer seat that I had wanted initially and I am getting miles back – pretty nice!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Lucky for you! I booked an award from SAN-PHL-MAD on USAir and schedule changes put me on American SAN-DFW-MAD, where I am on the OLD 767. Would sure be nice to know if/when that route will be flying the new planes.

    • That’s a shame! I wasn’t expecting that plane to hit this route for a while after my flight, so I was pleasantly surprised! Keep checking – you may be surprised as well!
      I would give them a call, though, and ask them if they can’t get you back on a PHL-MAD flight with US Air. Those business class seats will be nicer than the angled ones on AA. What happened with the schedule change?

  • Yep, I’ve called and talked to 3 or so agents, but no one can see the award space on USAir. which is odd, cause I was even able to hold another reservation with those flights. (Hang up call again is not working!)

    • If there was a significant time change, there does not need to be award space. They would have to give you a seat even without award space. But, I believe it needs to be a delay of arrival to your destination of at least 90 minutes.