In an attempt to combat fraudulent transactions for last minute flight redemptions, Alaska MileagePlan has resorted to blocking award redemptions on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Hainan Airlines within 72 hours of the intended departure.
Alaska MileagePlan is exceptionally useful for redemptions on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, where you can fly in First Class from Singapore to North America for as low as 70000 miles per way.
On the surface, this may not appear to be a problem for those who redeem their miles for flights way in advance. However, at times seats get released at the last minute, and this blocking of award space within 72 hours of departure will reduce award space availability in a way.
In a surprising twist, Alaska MileagePlan has reversed their decision to block all award redemptions within 72 hours of the intended departure. Instead, this will only apply to intra-Asia flights only. All other routes will not have this similar restriction enforced.
If it’s any consolation, Alaska MileagePlan did not modify their redemption charts, hence there isn’t any explicit devaluation of their mileage programme. However, if your tactic is to perform last minute redemptions with the affected carriers, then you might have to make plans slightly ahead to avoid being denied of award space, only for intra-Asia flights that is.