You can now use your Alaska Airlines miles to book award travel on Aer Lingus. But on most days you shouldn’t. You really shouldn’t.
We’ve waited a year, but Alaska finally introduced redemptions on Aer Lingus…with a big twist. Take award space between the USA and Europe. What do you notice about this chart?
Notice the variable pricing. Prices ranges from 60K-280K for a one-way journey. Since when did Alaska adopt Delta-style pricing?
Sure enough, on most days the price is 280K one-way for business and 80K for economy class:
This is an interesting development in the evolution of Alaska MileagePlan. Up until this point we’ve seen variable pricing on Alaska flights, but fixed pricing on all partners. This variable pricing on Aer Lingus represents a new era and may foreshadow plans for award pricing on other partners.
Aer Lingus uses “U” class for saver business and “T” class for saver economy. You can check this space on Expert Flyer. As is the case with many Alaska partners, Alaska seems to have access to one less seat than is available in U-Class. So if Aer Lingus has made two award seats available, Alaska will have access to only one.
But once the saver U and T buckets are exhausted, Alaska seems to have access to last-seat availability…at a very steep price. Spending 280K miles for a one-way trip on Aer Lingus is not going to make sense in any circumstance that I can imagine. Since the Irish carrier offers one-way pricing and has reasonably-priced business class tickets, it would just be foolish to dump so many miles on an Aer Lingus flight.
I’m less concerned about the Aer Lingus pricing itself than I am about what this may suggest for other partners. While I hope that Alaska would never start charging variable prices for saver awards, the Aer Lingus award chart at least suggests that Alaska is willing to consider a sliding scale for partner award prices.
Are you worried that the variable pricing on Aer Lingus foreshadows bad things to come?