Lucky reports that one-way travel at half the round-trip price is now available online for Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members. Rumors of this change in policy begin swirling last month but have not been confirmed up until this point by Alaska. American Airlines is the first (and only, for now) partner airline with one-way bookings offered online.
Alaska has a number of nifty airline partnerships and the problem to this point has been a rule disallowing the mixing of partner airlines on a r/t award, with the exception of Air France and KLM (and Alaska Airlines space can be added to any partner award). That meant if you found British Airways space on the outbound and American on the return, the award could not be booked unless you paid for two r/t tickets. This issue will be mitigated with the ability to book two one-way awards on different airlines, even if it comes at the cost of a free stopover. Hopefully more partners will be added in the coming weeks. Already, Delta space shows up online as well, but only when searching for return travel.
Alaska's partners include:
A note of caution when booking one-way awards. I searched for a one-way award from Los Angeles to London departing tomorrow in first class and the following came up--
I thought it odd that "first class" was pricing at only 50K miles when it should have been 62.5K. A glitch perhaps? When I clicked through on the flight details there was no indication that this would be a mixed cabin award.
But when I clicked on "add to cart" to proceed to the next step, a yellow warning box did appear advising that the cabin may be mixed.
Examining the itinerary closely, I did see--in quite small print--that the New York - London flight would book into economy class, so be aware that although Alaska does warn you about a mixed cabin award, you must examine the itinerary closely to check which cabin you are in on each flight.
Alaska Airlines also has a month-long search tool, which will certainly be nice once Delta is added, but for now (with the mixed cabin issue), I prefer to use American's similar month-long online award search tool or AA's new map search tool.
Good progress by Alaska, though I would by lying to claim I am personally enthusiastic about this update: making award booking easier threatens my award booking business after all. But this will make using your Alaska points easier and that is a welcome change for most consumers, perhaps many who had no idea you could even use Alaska points for travel on partner carriers like American Airlines.