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Air Mile Problems with Alaska Airlines--HELP!

Dear Fellow Travelers,
I’m on Rick’s Best of Europe tour June 7. I tried to use my Air Miles to get from Spokane, Washington to Seattle to Paris., back from Rome to London to Seattle to Spokane. My Air Miles are with Alaska Airlines so I needed to use one of their partners. I have a bad back which makes sitting in Coach very uncomfortable for long flights. It is hard for me to sleep on a plane. I use the restroom about once every two hours and really don’t want to bother my seatmates when I have to get up (that’s probably TMI). So….. I felt that I really needed to fly Business Class.
I looked online and spent three hours checking to make sure that everything was perfect. Leaving on June 4th, I chose Alaska flight 2495 from Spokane to Seattle, British Airways 48 from Seattle to London and British Airways 316 from London to Paris. Coming back on June 21, I chose British Airways 557 from Rome to London, British Airways 49 from London to Seattle and Alaska 2270 from Seattle to Spokane.

I don’t know if I was just slaphappy from staring at the computer for three hours or what, but I didn’t understand that I would not be in Business Class from Seattle to London or back from London to Seattle.
I thought that I was in Business Class all the way, but I misunderstood the computer and I now am only in Business Class for the short segments of London Paris and Rome to London and have used 120,000 Business miles for a mostly Coach trip.
Alaska tells me that I just have to check back every day because they don’t know what will open up. I tried that for two years and didn’t find anything “opening up” and have tried this year too, so not holding my breath here. I really want to be able to fly Business Class the whole way.
Does anyone out there have any brilliant ideas?
Mary Nelson

Posted by
2218 posts

I ran into this when I was trying to book my tickets. For some reason, I'm not sure why, I clicked on the flight details and saw that I was facing the same thing you are. I ended up booking with American. What I have seen, after checking on the Alaska site frequently (cause we want to go next year) is that the dollar figure that's added to the miles needed is crucial. It looks like $600-700 is the price where you actually get business all the way. Anything less than that seems to mean you're in coach on the longest leg. I wish I had an answer for you, except to say that things do seem to open up as there are options on there now that weren't there when I booked.

Posted by
9010 posts

Why don't you see what is available on Iceland Air, since they connect in Seattle? Nice short flight to Iceland, and then a short hop from Iceland to Paris?

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks to both of you who responded to my plea. I paid $638 and still got the coach seats for the longer leg. Right now, I can't even switch to all coach to save the 60,000 miles extra I paid for Business Class. And.....I don't feel that I can change to another airline at this point because Alaska charges to put your miles back in if you change your mind. I made the reservations back in August and didn't figure out until recently that I had goofed. I guess it is lesson learned.....sigh.

Posted by
2081 posts


the only thing i can offer is:

  1. get a bulkhead seat - more leg room
  2. get one at the isle so you "dont bother your seatmates"

happy trails.

Posted by
11613 posts

If your airline has economy comfort seats, pay the extra money for more leg room. It makes a difference. You will also board right after first/business class.

Posted by
873 posts

Unfortunately, Alaska ended their partnership with Icelandair recently - otherwise you could have probably gotten a good deal in their Saga class. I was hoping to earn a ton of miles on my Alaska card when I booked our Icelandair tickets, but alas, they'd just broken off their partnership a few months before I booked.

I can't think of any solutions as far as getting a business class seat for the transatlantic portion of your flight, but if you end up stuck in coach, try to request exit row seats and sit near the isle.

Posted by
4411 posts

"I don't feel that I can change to another airline at this point because Alaska charges to put your miles back in if you change your mind."

Mary, I don't know what Alaska charges, but I'm familiar with a couple of other airlines and their charges. Don't get locked into a 'penny-wise, pound-foolish' scenario. It may be well worth it to pay to have your miles reinstated, and go with some other plan than to sink ALL of those miles into an inferior product for your needs. Just look into exactly how many $$$ the different would be, then make a decision.