Alaska will charge more miles for awards booked by phone

Effective August 1, members of Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan program will be charged 25,000 miles for domestic coach awards booked by phone. That's 5,000 more miles than the price for awards booked online.

As has become the industry standard, Alaska already charges a "ticketing fee" ($10) for bookings made by phone, so the extra miles represent a double hit.

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Unfair? I'd say so.

Also unfair is the effect, perhaps unintended, on Mileage Plan members intending to make award bookings that include a stopover on one leg of the trip.

Due to the limitations of Alaska's web-based reservations application, stopover itineraries can only be booked via the reservations center. So travelers wishing to book awards including stopovers will automatically incur the award price increase.

That amounts to being penalized for Alaska's failure to upgrade its own software.

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