Alaska Airlines mileage plan opens online booking option for Cathay Pacific flights in October

Finally – after several years – Alaska Airlines mileage plan announced it will make Cathay Pacific flights available for online bookings this month (October 2022).

Until now, members still had to call and ask for Cathay Pacific flight availability checks that may or may not match those of other Oneworld carrier reward programs.

LATAM rewards will also be available before the end of the year via the online search and redemption interface.

Booking Cathay Pacific flights with Alaska Mileage Plan miles has always been seen as sort of an ideal redemption with Japan Airlines, especially first class, and given that ASMP is one of the few remaining carriers to allow a layover on the rewards, even one-way.

Along with the recent promotional email sent by Alaska, they included a footnote stating that changes will be made to Cathay Pacific reward redemptions:

News of a “simplified” reward chart doesn’t bode well for the program, because usually when an airline wants to “simplify” something, it means things are about to be decimated and that some ideal rewards could certainly be in line for a price increase or a negative change in ticketing rules.

The Alaska Airlines redemption website now contains the following notice:

Partner Rewards Update

Good news for 2022! Cathay Pacific awards will be bookable on alaskaair.com in October and LATAM awards will be available before the end of 2022.

Starting in late December, the way you view reward charts online is changing. We will have a simplified reward chart to show you where reward tiers start based on departure and arrival regions. With this change, similar to the rewards on Alaska,Partner reward levels may vary based on several factors including route, distance or demand. You’ll continue to get great value for your miles. As always, the best way to see prices and availability for the routes you’re interested in is to search for your specific travel dates and destinations.

Currently, the mileage required for rewards is fixed and very reasonable. I don’t see any benefit in changing (simplifying, as they say) the reward chart system in a way that would actually benefit the customer.

Making pricing tables flexible based on demand and peak times is never a good thing. In the majority of cases, the prices would go up and it’s really harder to plan ahead how many miles you need to accumulate before you can redeem them in the cabin of your choice.

Last year, Mileage Plan finally added Qatar Airways to its list of airlines you can redeem online for without the help of an agent:

The Alaska Airlines mileage plan has finally added Qatar Airways as an exchange partner – with a catch!

It is unclear whether they will finally allow all airlines to be mixed and matched on rewards or allow exchanges for all airlines on all routes. Currently, there is still an annoying restriction for many partners that you cannot trade on all routes.

For example, I cannot redeem Japan Airlines for a flight to Europe (from Japan), but I can use it to book a flight to North America. This makes no sense and Alaska should stop this madness.

Conclusion:

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is making further changes and additions to its reward redemption structure, which 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 its stuff together very soon and finally rolls out proper oneWorld rewards that enable redemptions on all routes with all partners – worldwide.

I find it outrageous that they were allowed to be a full member of the alliance without even having the most basic infrastructure in place, standard with all oneWorld carriers. The mileage plan was horrible with partner flights, especially their weird route restrictions.

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