Most of you have seen the IcelandAir / AlaskaAir deal on one of many blogs (like OTR) this week, including this one. In reading other blogs this morning I came across this article: When Planning Goes Awry. She makes the point that one of the unintended consequences of this deal is a significant uptake of award space on Alaska Airlines flights to Hawaii – the very award space she was banking miles toward booking. One of the things Alaska will have to evaluate going forward now is how much more (if any) award space to allocate on these flights for “real” Alaska Airlines MVP’s.
I should note at this point that because of the way my name is formatted on my IcelandAir award booking on Alaska, I can’t attach my MVP number (but attached my AAdvantage number just fine) – I’d like to have my MVP number on there, though, to properly represent myself as an Alaska flyer. See my prior posts on Alaska’s MVP program if you’re interested in why they’re my “second” program after AAdvantage.
The key here is that award availability is not static – it’s constantly changing based on expected demand for sold seats. You’re much better off pulling the trigger on what you see available (if it’s close to what you need) rather than waiting and watching someone else snap it up. Example: You want three first-class tickets but only two are available + 1 in coach. Would you rather have three tickets or zero? Another example: You want four tickets to Hawaii but only two are available. If you’re willing to buy the other two if you have two, pull the trigger on the two award seats so you know you have them, then keep watching for the others. At some point, even if there’s a cancellation fee, it’s likely worth it to hold what you need and then cancel vs. not being able to get anything.
Don’t wait… and if you do? Enjoy your steak knives.
Have you missed an award redemption opportunity? Or just squeaked one by? Tell your tale in the comments!