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Alaska Airlines has one of the best award programs among all U.S. airlines. It’s hard to knock them in any way. The partners bookable with their miles are great, and prices are generally very, very good. One of the best parts is the free stopover they allow on one-way award tickets.

They even make it really easy to check how many miles you need to book a given ticket when you go to view the award charts. For an airline with a lot of partners and varying prices, their tool is honestly very good.

But there is one little thing that annoys me every time I see it…

What do you mean by just “Asia”?!

I get it. Asia is big. Saudi Arabia is in Asia. So is Japan. And also Sri Lanka. So what does it mean when you show all of Asia highlighted??!!?! Almost every program breaks Asia up into multiple zones. Sometimes into like 4 or 5 zones.

Thus, when the Alaska award chart tool lets you select ‘Asia’, things start to get a bit ambiguous unless you dig deeper. Which isn’t always easily possible.

a screenshot of a computer

What is Asia Zone 1 and Asia Zone 2?

Some of the descriptions for partner awards are the most confusing. For Cathay Pacific, it just says “Contiguous U.S. and Alaska to Asia”. So…is San Francisco to Hong Kong the same as San Francisco to Tel Aviv? Based on what I am looking at, yes.

Except Alaska also calls out India and the Middle East separately in the list of options, and the prices are different for these regions. Yet it highlights those same (sub)regions along with the rest of the continent when you just select “Asia”!

Things are just as interesting when you are trying to fly to Asia from another region. Can I fly between Sydney, Australia and Tel Aviv, Israel for 30,000 miles in business class (maybe also toss in a stop in Hong Kong)? Surely not. But….if I am to believe what is shown on your award chart…

This might seem like a loophole, but the real issue here is that the map isn’t correct. It annoys me enough that I might just call Alaska and start arguing with them, though.


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