As is being reported in this thread on Flyertalk, it appears that you can no longer book partner awards using Alaska Airlines miles beyond 331 days out.
There’s been a lot of excitement over the fact that you can now redeem one-way awards using Alaska miles on most partners, as well as the fact that they’ve added a lot of partners to their online award search tool. But one of the best parts of using Alaska miles was that they had availability when partners loaded their schedules, which can be at 354 days for partners like Qantas.
Getting first class awards on Qantas to/from Australia is extremely difficult, partly because of very limited award availability, but also because they release space at 354 days while you can’t book using American miles until 331 days out. This means that Qantas’s own frequent flyer members, people using British Airways miles, and previously people using Alaska miles had 3 weeks to book the awards before anyone using American miles had a chance. Since it’s such a desirable award, that usually means that by the time American has access to the space, it’s already gone.
Now that Alaska is also restricting to 331 days, it’ll be just as hard using Alaska miles as it is to use American miles for this award, which means it’s not something to try to plan a trip around.
After flying the Emirates A380 in First Class and experiencing the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai, I was looking at other aspirational products and really wanted to try First Class on the Qantas A380 and the First Class Lounge in Sydney or Melbourne. I thought that I’d get that chance now that Alaska has one-way awards for partners and the ability to book at 354 days out, but with that last part eliminated, I guess it’ll stay just as aspirational as before…