Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Subscription services aren’t limited to Netflix and Amazon — they have also filtered into the travel space. Alaska Airlines is commemorating the first anniversary of its subscription Flight Pass with a special offer to new subscribers.
The Seattle-based carrier launched its Flight Pass subscription last year; it allows travelers to pay for plans that start at $49 per month and offer between six and 24 round-trip flights to destinations in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.
To celebrate the first year of this program, flyers who sign up for Alaska’s Flight Pass program by March 8 will receive a 20% discount on the first three months of their subscription.
While it was unclear how Alaska’s subscription service would fare when it first started, the carrier reported that the subscription service exceeded first-year expectations; it’s seeing steady growth among millennial and Gen X subscribers, who make up the majority of the program’s subscriber base.
Alaska also reported that Gen Z subscriptions were rising more than any other age group. Read on for more details related to Alaska’s Flight Pass.
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Where’s the Alaska Flight Pass valid?
The Alaska Flight Pass offers flyers a fixed number of economy round-trip flights to destinations within California, as well as on flights to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) and Harry Reid International Airport (LAS), for a fixed monthly fee.
In total, the pass is applicable on 100 daily flights from 16 airports, with the full map below.
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This includes the airline’s intra-California routes, as well as flights to PHX, RNO and LAS from California. In November, Alaska added nonstop flights between San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and San Diego International Airport (SAN) to its Flight Pass route map.
Flight Pass plans
The airline offers two subscription plans — Flight Pass and Flight Pass Pro — which differ based on the advance-purchase requirement. The former requires booking at least 14 days before travel, while the latter offers same-day booking up to two hours before departure. With either pass, you can’t make reservations more than 90 days before travel.
Flight Pass starts at $49 per month, and Flight Pass Pro begins at $199. Find a detailed table with subscription fees below.
When picking a pass, you’ll need to select the number of desired annual round-trip journeys, either six, 12 or 24.
|Plan||Flight Pass||Flight Pass||Flight Pass||Flight Pass Pro||Flight Pass Pro||Flight Pass Pro|
|Monthly subscription fee||$49.||$99.||$189.||$199.||$399.||$749.|
|Round-trip credits received per month||0.5.||1.||2.||0.5.||1.||2.|
|Subscription cost per trip||$98.||$99.||$95.||$398.||$399.||$375.|
|Credits received per year||6.||12.||24.||6.||12.||24.|
When booking a trip, you’ll be responsible for the applicable government taxes and airport fees on each flight, in addition to the monthly subscription fee and nominal fare.
The airline estimates that the taxes and fees will run $14.60 per one-way segment, which includes the 9/11 security fee of $5.60 as well as $9 worth of airport and other surcharges.
Meanwhile, the “nominal fare” for most flights will only be $0.01.
Flights for peak periods will carry a higher nominal fare, and those fees will be disclosed during the booking process.
Alaska likened the premium-fee segments to surge pricing with a ride-hailing service. During periods of peak demand — such as if you want to fly to the host city for the Super Bowl or go to Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day — expect to pay a bit more for each flight.
Note that the pass only applies to round-trip tickets; one-way and multicity fares aren’t covered, though that may change. Additionally, those purchasing the entry-level Flight Pass and Flight Pass Pro must wait until they earn full credit (every other month) before making a redemption.
Furthermore, credits expire: You must use your credits to book travel before receiving your next set of credits, which varies based on your chosen plan. As such, you’ll need to maintain a regular cadence of travel to make the pass worthwhile.
Purchasing a pass requires a 12-month subscription, which you can’t cancel before the end of the annual term. Note that you’ll need to call to cancel your pass before the end of the year. Otherwise, it’ll automatically renew.
Travelers interested in purchasing one of these passes can visit Alaska’s dedicated website for more information.
Earning miles and elite benefits with Flight Pass
Flight Pass bookings are treated as standard, non-saver (basic economy) fares — they’re eligible for full mileage accrual at a 100% rate based on the distance flown. These tickets will also count toward elite-qualifying progress.
Alaska Mileage Plan elite members will also enjoy a full suite of perks on Flight Pass tickets, including free upgrades and checked bags, based on their tier.
Changing or canceling a Flight Pass booking
Modifying one of these tickets isn’t necessarily seamless.
For one, you can’t change them online. You must call the dedicated Flight Pass Desk (888-885-0155) to make a change. Self-service options are coming soon. Note that all changes must be within the eligible markets and follow the advance-purchase requirements of your specific pass.
Instead, you could cancel your trip and redeposit your credit any time before departure. Your credit will only be returned to your account if it’s still valid.
Is the Flight Pass worth it?
At first glance, the Flight Pass offers a compelling value.
Flight Pass costs $49 per month (or $588 each year) and covers six annual round-trip flights, which equates to a $98 fare paid for each round-trip flight, before taxes and fees.
With the Flight Pass, you must make these bookings at least 14 days before departure. Advance-purchase fares vary, but many intra-California round-trip flights can exceed $200 (before taxes and fees). This means the pass would offer savings.
Of course, this requires locking yourself into a subscription with Alaska, so you wouldn’t be able to fly a competitor airline should the fare be much lower.
Meanwhile, $199 per month (or $2,388 each year) for six annual round-trip tickets equates to $398 for each round-trip itinerary. The Flight Pass Pro offers same-day booking within two hours of departure, which can offer exceptional value when only walk-up fares are left.
For instance, an Alaska nonstop flight from San Francisco to Palm Springs, California, can run as high as $499 on the day of departure. If you need the utmost flexibility, then the pass would be your best bet and offer good savings.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an airline offer a Flight Pass option.
Back in 2010, JetBlue famously offered an “All You Can Jet” subscription, which included unlimited travel within the airline’s entire network for a month for a fixed fee. More recently, Frontier Airlines launched its own unlimited flight pass (with plenty of important terms and conditions).