Skift Take

On the surface, more inexpensive award tickets may sound like a good sign for air travelers. But with the supply of award miles shrinking and cheap seats only available on select routes, the news is just a silver lining on a much bigger, darker cloud.

A new study measuring airline award ticket availability suggests that low-cost award tickets are getting easier to book.

The bad news is that an increasing percentage of airlines are also tying award seat prices to corresponding revenue tickets – so while more ultra-low-cost tickets are now available, those seats only correspond to the least expensive routes. Put another way, deal hunters keen on looking for the bargain basement award seat from the US to Europe or in First Class on a partner airline, may find this news troubling.

The other bad news, as Skift’s Brian Sumers detailed earlier this week, is that consumers are now earning fewer miles than ever thanks to new rules around revenue-based award mileage rates.

Even so, for those with a glut of miles or thrifty spending habits, the study suggests that most air carriers are at least offering a greater volume of cheaper award seats. The only exceptions? Delta, Korean, and Alaska.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @grantkmartin.

— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor

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Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.

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Photo credit: Frequent flyers check-in their luggage at the Delta counter at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis, File

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