Alaska Mileage Plan Blocking Partner Awards: Cathay Pacific and JAL

Alaska Mileage Plan Blocking Partner Awards-Cathay Pacific First Class


Update: Alaska has removed the 72 hour advance booking requirement EXCEPT for intra-Asia awards (presumably where much of the fraud was occurring).

Another Alaska Mileage Plan Devaluation: Alaska is Blocking Partner Awards on Cathay Pacific and JAL within 72 hours, per Alaska Air's Twitter conversation with @CTravlr, as reported by FlyerTalk and Seth:

Alaska Mileage Plan Blocking Partner Awards

This is ostensibly in response to fraud issues (the same reason British Airways gave when it started making it impossible to redeem British Airways Avios for Cathay Pacific awards within 6 days of departure). Apparently there are mileage brokers who are selling last minute tickets, presumably focusing on Cathay Pacific First Class, Cathay Pacific Business Class, JAL First Class and JAL Business Class, obtained using Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

Unfortunately, this has the effect of significantly devaluing Alaska Mileage Plan miles as well for legitimate Mileage Plan award redemptions. Blocking all Cathay Pacific and JAL (and apparently Hainan Airlines) awards within 72 miles before departure will make it virtually impossible to obtain 2 Cathay Pacific First Class awards on the same flight.

Here's why: Cathay only releases 1 first class award seat in advance, and only releases additional first class award seats close to departure, often within that 3 day prior to departure window.

JAL will often make 2 JAL First Class award seats available in advance, and additional seats only close to departure, sometimes also within that 3 day before departure window.

The question on many readers' minds: what about Cathay Pacific Business Class awards booked months in advance, that you're trying to upgrade to Cathay Pacific First Class close to departure? Unfortunately, at least at present, it looks as though these will be blocked as well, never mind the fact that if you're the Mileage Plan member and have redeemed an award for yourself, it can hardly be fraud. 

I'm disappointed but not surprised that Alaska Mileage is further devaluing, and without any notice to members–remember when Alaska's Emirates First Class Awards Increased 100% With No Notice? And about 7 months ago Alaska froze my Mileage Plan account, suspecting me of being a mileage broker, even though I've only redeemed my own miles for family members, although of course I help my Award Booking Clients redeem their Alaska miles for their own awards.

Add this as reason #5 Alaska miles just aren't worth earning, for the most part. Sure, the award chart prices are lower than AAdvantage, but that's a moot point if you can't book the award due to Alaska's more limited availability and now this 72 hour restriction.

What do you think of Alaska Mileage Plan blocking Cathay Pacific, JAL and Hainan awards within 72 hours of departure?

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