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Alaska Air Downgrades Upgrades with Bag Fees

Beginning on July 10, upgrades on Alaska Airlines flights—whether they’re paid for with miles or purchased with cash at the gate—will come with one fewer associated perk.

Currently, whether you paid for a first-class ticket or were upgraded from coach, if you’re flying up front, the fees for the first and second checked bags are waived. That’s not just Alaska’s policy—it’s standard industry-wide.

But beginning next month, if you upgrade from coach, either with miles or with cash, you’ll be charged $20 for each of the first two checked bags. The waiver? Waived.

The bag fees will continue to be waived for those buying first-class tickets, with miles or cash, and for those granted upgrades on the basis of their Mileage Plan elite status.

As with so many consumer-unfriendly policy changes, this one isn’t a game-changer. Alaska is still a fine airline. And Mileage Plan remains a solid mileage program.

But it’s another example of an airline choosing to boost revenue at the expense of loyalty program perks, another devaluation of a frequent-flyer mile.

Reader Reality Check

How would you feel if your mileage program followed Alaska’s lead on this?

This article originally appeared on

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