Air France using frequent flyer miles

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Sep 27th, 2010, 06:53 AM
  #1
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Air France using frequent flyer miles

I am flying AF to CDG from MIA, and then on to Rome using Alaska Air frequent flyer miles. I had a very hard time finding flights available for mile usage for May 2011 and I finally found flights on AF Affaires Class (business class) for three of the four legs. The problem is that I can't get business class reserved on the CDG - MIA return leg because Alaska Air says it has no availability for business, only regular coach. Since I needed to absolutely travel on set dates, I agreed to this, but they charged me a mileage total for business class the whole way.

What can I do to get the CDG - MIA leg upgraded to Affaires, as I "paid" milage for it? I tried calling AF but I got nowhere. Any suggestions?
mscg2000 is offline  
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Sep 27th, 2010, 07:14 AM
  #2
 
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I like the Alaska FF program in general, but it suffers from a couple of flaws compared to some others, notably American's -

First, you can't book one-way itineraries using partners, only round trips or open-jaws. Alaska has said they're working on a one-way redemption plan, but they've been saying that for at least 3 or 4 years. Not. Rocket. Science, guys. But because of this, if you book a trip using miles that involves different classes of service, e.g. business going out and coach coming back, they charge you the miles needed for the "higher" class of service.

Second, you can't "mix and match" partners. With FF plans run by airlines in alliances (e.g., American, Delta, United...) if there isn't space on a flight operated by, say, Air France, but there is on a flight operated by another Skyteam member, say, Delta, then your ticket can have one partner on one leg and another on the next. No can do using Alaska miles.

In your case, I have two recommendations. First, be patient and keep calling Alaska about the return portion. It's still early days for May 2011, and you must remember the airlines do not release award seats all at once, but do so in dribs and drabs. Business class on the return might very well come open at some point, at which time Alaska would be able to move you into that class with no additional mileage charge.

Second, keep asking about availability using other carriers. British Airways, American, KLM and Delta - all Alaska partners - fly into Rome, so you could be switched to one of those airlines if space opens on them. There might be a fee payable to Alaska for the switch, but considering the difference in mileage cost and creature comforts, it might be worth it. Keep calling.
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Sep 27th, 2010, 08:31 AM
  #3
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Thanks for the info. I've called Alaska a couple of times, but no luck so far. Any idea if there's any way to work through AF? I'd even pay $$ to upgrade, but I don't know of any way to do that
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Sep 27th, 2010, 10:13 AM
  #4
 
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You have to deal solely with the airline whose mileage plan you use. And no, you can't upgrade a redemption ticket using cash or anything else.

Since we're talking May, I'd just resolve to phone Alaska once a week for the time being, more often around the first of the year. Airlines release seats into award inventory based on very complicated (and confidential) software models, which nobody short of Dumbledore can fathom.

What are your dates in May?
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Sep 27th, 2010, 11:31 AM
  #5
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I'm traveling on May 18, returning May 30.
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