6

Emirates First Class on the A380 is amazing because you have your own blinged out suite as well as access to an onboard shower spa and onboard bar.

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You can book Emirates First Class with Alaska Airlines miles with no fuel surcharges. Alaska charges 90,000 miles one way to Dubai and 100,000 miles to Europe, Africa, or Asia. You can even get a free stopover on one way awards, so I recently booked Zurich to Dubai, a stopover there, and then Dubai to Houston to get nearly 24 hours in Emirates A380 First Class and two showers for 100,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 8.34.51 AM

Right now there is First Class award space for 4+ people on many Emirates routes from the United States to Dubai and vice versa.

Award Space

The best award space is on the New York-to-Dubai (including the daily flight that stops in Milan) and Dallas-to-Dubai routes. This is a calendar for July 1-10 for four passengers in First Class, made by Award Nexus. Wide open!

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Getting Four Showers

If your definition of maximizing your Emirates redemption is getting the most showers for your miles, you can easily book four segments/showers on alaskaair.com.

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Combine the New York-Milan-Dubai flight with a flight to Bangkok with a fifth freedom route from Bangkok to Hong Kong. You can enjoy one stopover longer than 24 hours along the way at any point. The image below shows that stopover in Bangkok.

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Alaska Airlines Award Routing Rules

Alaska Airlines is extremely generous allowing a stopover on one way awards, anywhere you’d like en route.

Here are the basics for redemptions of Alaska miles.

Getting Alaska Miles

You can get Alaska Airlines miles from Alaska Airlines co-branded credit cards and Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards.

Alaska Airlines cards usually have very small sign up bonuses in the 25k to 30k mile range, but you can get a new one every 91+ days without closing the old ones.

Starwood Preferred Guest cards also have 25k or 30k sign up bonuses. Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.

Bottom Line

There is great award space in Emirates A380 First Class for several people on the same flight at the moment. Book with Alaska miles. See Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Basics.

Hat Tip Points MD

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

Alaska Airlines miles can now book Icelandair flights. This is something I have hoped for since September when the partnership was announced. Here is the award chart for Icelandair flights with Alaska Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.51.00 PM

The good news:

  • You can book Icelandair flights with Alaska miles between North America and Iceland, North America and Europe, or the opposite direction.
  • You can book one way awards.
  • You can get one free stopover per one way award. You can get two per roundtrip.
  • You can book Medium and High economy award space, and they really aren’t that expensive. I have never seen a partners’ miles be able to book anything other than Low (Saver) space.

The bad news:

  • There are fuel surcharges on the award of about $100 per one way.
  • You cannot book just Iceland to Europe or vice versa. The award must touch North America.

Icelandair Route Map

Icealandair serves 10 American destinations, 5 Canadian destinations, and 25 European destinations from Reykjavik.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.29.01 PM

Since I’ll be talking about booking a free stopover in Iceland between the United States and Europe a little later, I should note that this adds very little travel time to your trip. Iceland is only a few hundred miles (30 minutes flying) out of the way on most routes between the United States and Europe. It is only two miles out of the way between Seattle and London.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.57.31 PM

How to Search Icelandair Award Space

Right on alaskaair.com, check Use Miles and perform your search. To and from Iceland, your results will be Icelandair and occasionally Delta.Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.36.08 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.35.58 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.36.13 PM

Scroll down on your search results because a connecting flight may be cheaper. In particular, I see great award space out of Edmonton, Canada at the 22,500 mile price in economy.

To see a month of award prices at once, run a regular search. Then on the search box on top of the search results, tick the box to see the Award Calendar and re-run the search.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.36.55 PMYou will get a calendar like this that shows the lowest price economy award for a month. You can use the choices on the left of the calendar to change it to a Business Class calendar.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.37.28 PM

 

Rules to Follow on Awards

Remember the basic Alaska Air award rules because you always follow the rules of the miles you’re using:

  • You can only fly one partner per direction. You can combine that partner with Alaska Airlines flights if you’d like, but you can’t use separate partners. (Alaska + Icelandair one way is OK; American + Icelandair one way is not.)
  • You can book one way awards for half the price of roundtrips.
  • You can get a free stopover anywhere en route on each one way.

Add a Stopover

To book an award with a stopover, select Multi-city above your search results.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.40.58 PMMy search results show a flight from Trondheim, Norway to Reykjavik and a week later on to Denver for 27,500 Alaska miles + $218. That’s the same price you would pay even if you just laid over in Iceland, so the stopover in Iceland is free.
Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.45.30 PM

Nothing requires a stopover in Iceland. You could stopover in Seattle or Edmonton or pretty much any other Icelandair gateway to which Alaska Airlines flies if you’d prefer.

Fuel Surcharges

Previously Alaska Airlines only collected fuel surcharges on awards that flew British Airways planes. Unfortunately it also collects fuel surcharges on Icelandair flights. One way awards are all over $100 out of pocket.
Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.38.57 PM

A roundtrip from the United States to Iceland costs $289 out of pocket in addition to the 45,000+ miles.Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.40.06 PM

Of the $289:

  • $25 is a fee for using Alaska miles to book a partner
  • $76 is taxes
  • $188 is fuel surcharges

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.40.10 PMIt’s a bummer that Alaska Airlines has decided to make this cash grab, but it may still be worth using Alaska miles to book Icelandair flights if your other options to Iceland or Europe are not very good.

If you do book Icelandair flights with Alaska miles, pay the taxes and fees with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. The card comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days, which you can use for a $400 travel credit. That travel credit can offset the taxes and fees on award tickets, meaning $0 out of pocket for this award.

Other Options to Iceland

You only other options from the United States directly to Iceland are WOW Air and Delta.

WOW Air is a low cost carrier with flights from Baltimore and Boston to Iceland with connections to Europe. Next Summer, it adds flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco. If you live in one of those cities, WOW Air is your best option because fares are often as low as $230 roundtrip, which is cheaper than just the taxes and fuel surcharges on these awards.

Delta flies from New York to Iceland, and seasonally from Minneapolis to Iceland. Award space, as you might expect when we discuss Delta, is very limited.

You can also buy Icelandair flights with cash, but they usually aren’t that cheap.

When I go to Iceland, I will combine it with Europe. I will look at all three of these options plus booking Icelandair flights with Alaska miles and using a free stopover. It is impossible to say which will be the best option without first seeing the award space and the ticket prices.

In all cases, you should pay for the ticket or the taxes and fees with a Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® and then redeem Arrival miles for a statement credit to offset the charge.

Getting Alaska Miles

If you decide to book Icelandair flights with Alaska miles, there are three main ways to get Alaska miles:

Bottom Line

Alaska Airlines miles can now be used to book Icelandair flights. Two things that surprise me are that the awards have fuel surcharges and you can book economy award space at the medium and high levels.

Before booking, check your other options on WOW Air and Delta to Iceland.

When booking, make sure to include your free stopover and to pay with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® in order to redeem Arrival miles for a statement credit to offset the charge.

It is always good news when an airline adds a partner. Hopefully this means that Alaska Airlines will allow us to redeem on Hainan Airlines soon.

 

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6

Alaska Airlines’ newest miles sale offers miles as cheap as 1.97 cents each, which means Emirates First Class from the United States to Dubai for around $1,800 (or anywhere else in the world for around $2,000) or Cathay Pacific First and Business Class from the United States to Hong Kong and Johannesburg for around $1,400.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 1.37.36 PM
Emirates First Class

Until December 23, 2015, Alaska is offering an instant mystery bonus on miles purchases of 35% to 50% more miles. Sign in here to see the bonus you are offered.

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I got the 50% bonus.

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The sale is structured as a bonus on the normal number of miles you’d receive. The bonus is tiered, so the biggest 35-50% bonus comes from purchasing 40,000+ miles at the normal price of about 2.96 cents each after tax.Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 5.40.04 PM

To buy 60,000 miles (40,000 + 20,000 bonus) during this sale costs me $1,182.50, which is 1.97 cents per mile. That’s tied for the cheapest I’ve seen Alaska miles.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 5.40.29 PM

If you got the 40% bonus, the cheapest you can buy miles is 2.11 cents. If you got the 35% bonus, you can buy miles for 2.19 cents.

I don’t think Alaska miles are even worth 1.97 cents each, but they are worth close to that, and if you have a specific redemption in mind, it isn’t hard to get more than 1.97-2.19 cents of value per mile.

  • What are the best redemptions for Alaska miles?
  • Does this miles purchase count as airfare or travel spending for category bonuses?
  • How many miles can you buy during the promotion?

Airlines on which You Can Redeem Alaska Miles

Here are the Alaska partners on which you can redeem. (Alaska Airlines will let us redeem miles on Hainan Airlines starting in “early 2016,” and unfortunately AeroMexico redemptions are unavailable until further notice.)

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Four Favorite Redemptions

Here are my four favorite redemptions with Alaska miles:

1. Emirates A380 First Class

Emirates First Class on an A380 costs 100,000 miles one way for two flights to Africa, Asia, or Europe.

DSCN1588Emirates First Class

Here is my review of Emirates First Class on the A380 from September 2015.

2. Cathay Pacific First Class

Cathay Pacific First Class costs 70,000 miles one way from the United States to Johannesburg with a free stopover in Hong Kong.

Here is my review of Cathay Pacific First Class.

3. Fiji Airways Business Class

You can fly from the United States to Fiji to New Zealand or Australia for only 55,000 Alaska miles one way in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji.

4. AeroMexico Business Class

You can fly from the United States to Southern South America like Brazil or Argentina in AeroMexico Business Class for 45,000 Alaska miles one way. Try to get at least one segment on AeroMexico’s Dreamliner.

I flew two great flights in AeroMexico Business Class in October. Trip reports coming soon.

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Alaska Airlines Award Routing Rules

Alaska Airlines is extremely generous allowing a stopover on one way awards, anywhere you’d like en route.

Here are the basics for redemptions of Alaska miles.

Logistics of Buying Alaska Miles

Unlike many miles sales when you are capped at how many miles you can buy, with Alaska miles sales, you can generally make several maximum purchases to get all the miles you need.

Remember that Alaska Airlines miles sales are handled through points.com, so they are not considered airfare or travel purchases for the purposes of earning a category bonus on your credit card.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Trip Report Index

I have broken my 16 hour flight from Dubai to Houston into four parts because I had over 200 photos and several videos from the flight. This section covers roughly the first half of the flight and my review of the suite and related amenities.

Emirates 211
Dubai (DXB) – Houston (IAH)
Depart: 9:05 AM on September 10, 2015
Arrive: 4:25 PM
Duration: 16 hours, 20 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 4K (First Class)

This is it. This was my throne for 16 hours from Dubai to Houston.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.32.54 PM

I was the last First Class passenger to board, and I was met at the door with a smile and escorted to my seat in the last row of First Class. Emirates has four singles seats along each side of the plane and three rows of double seats in the middle for 14 total First Class seats. I’d recommend the middle seats if you’re traveling with a companion and a window seat otherwise.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.36 PM

I have flown in the first, last, and middle rows, and I see no difference because dining is on demand, and the cabin is quiet throughout.

As soon as I sat down, I was offered any drink I’d like. I chose the specialty lime mint non-alcoholic drink, which was refreshing and tasty.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.52 PM

For the 20 minutes until departure, I re-familiarized myself with my suite while flight attendants came through the cabin offering their standard pre-departure service. The suite itself is blinged out with wooden finishes and gold accents. In front of the seat is one of the largest TVs in any commercial First Class, a small vanity with spa products, and a drawer with a writing kit.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.32.05 PM

When you get to your seat, there will be a snack basket. It is taken away before takeoff and brought back after take off until just before landing. None of the snacks appealed to me, but there is enough to eat on the flight, including sweets galore. The front of the suite also has two light fixtures and a fresh flower.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.32.21 PM

You store your carry ons underneath the television. There are no overhead bins in First Class. Don’t worry; your carry ons don’t take up any of your leg room. I’m 6’4″, and my feet are well short of my bags. Next to my bags, you can see the inflight magazines, safety info, and headphones.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.32.27 PM

The noise canceling headphones get the job done, but they are not Bose like some airlines offer in First and Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.31 PMAlso underneath the television is a universal plug and two USB plugs, so all your devices can be charged throughout the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.38 PM

To the side of the seat, along the window is a mini-bar.
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Mine offered still and sparkling water, pineapple juice, and three Pepsi products. I’ve said before that the mini-bar is flash over substance. None of these drinks are chilled, so to drink one, I’d have to ask the flight attendant for ice, which kind of defeats the purpose of having the drinks at your seat.

Next to the mini-bar is a touch screen tablet that controls the main television. The television itself is also a touch screen. Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.08 PM

Or you can control the television from the remote in your armrest.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.24 PM

Overall the suite is fantastically designed. I don’t really get the mini-bar, but I have no complaints–A+.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.33.46 PM

Before take off, the flight attendants are a flurry of activity. You will be offered newspapers, magazines, a guide to the shower spa, beverages, Arabic coffee and dates, an amenity kit, pajamas, and slippers.

The amenity kit is Bulgari branded and very large.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.49 PM

Along the sides, it has pouches for the brush/comb, deodorant, and toothpaste.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.35.59 PM

Inside, it also has a razor, shaving cream, tissues, and a box of Bulgari products.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.07 PM

I’ve gotten compliments on the smell of the body lotion.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.13 PM

I kept the amenity kit as my new traveling toiletries kit for the next few months, jettisoning a smaller Cathay Pacific amenity kit in Hawaii.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.19 PM

The pajamas are very comfortable, and I changed into them and the slippers right after take off and wore them for the rest of the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.57 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.40.44 PM

To me, wearing pajamas the whole time harkens back to slumber parties growing up and heightens the fun. The more I think about it, the more I like the comparison because both Emirates First Class and sleepovers as a kid have:

  • more food than you should eat, but it’s so delicious
  • more fun activities than you can do at once, so you’re constantly shifting from one to the next
  • Woo-hoo, no parents! Woo-hoo, no work!

I skipped the Arabic coffee and dates, but that is an impressive, two-flight-attendant presentation.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.49 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-11 at 6.03.55 PM

Just before take off, I had this photo of all my “stuff” snapped.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.34.00 PMTake off is impressive to watch out the window or on your TV, which features the tail camera.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.25 PM

After take off, I was ready for bed because I had been up all night, and conveniently it was about midnight in my destination city. I asked the flight attendant to make the middle seat next to my seat into a bed because the cabin was only about half full.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.02 PMThe Emirates First Class bed is 7’2″ long and 1’11” wide. It could definitely stand to be a little bit wider like Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines First Class, but overall, it’s a very nice bed with comfortable bedding and a large pillow.

I used the touch screen to close the doors of my suite and then conked out.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.05 PM

I went to bed right after take off.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.19 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.10 PM

I woke up about six hours later over Estonia.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.21 PM

I find the Emirates A380 First Class bed to be acceptably comfortable, but it isn’t my overall favorite. It’s less than two feet wide, while Cathay Pacific’s First Class bed is three feet wide. That’s the difference between feeling a bit cramped and feeling like you have all the space in the world for me.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.39.03 PM

Upon waking up, I continued sporting some amazing bed head and my pajamas for the rest of the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.37.30 PM

Other than when I was sleeping at the beginning and eating later in the flight, I didn’t spend much time in the suite, preferring to hang out in the bar and shower spa.

I didn’t take much advantage of the over 600 TV and movie options on board, which is definitely one of the best offerings in the sky.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.55 PM

I did play one racing game briefly with the handset in my arm rest while I waited for my meal, and it was better than the standard card games and chess usually available on flights.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.32 PM

Overall Impressions of Suite

I love the Emirates First Class suite. I think the color choices are very attractive, the TV is the best in the world, the snack and mini-bar options are unrivaled (though unnecessary), the sliding doors are practical and fun, and everything is comfortable.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.39 PM

I do wish the bed were a little bit wider, but overall this an upper echelon seat and suite.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.38.47 PM

Stay tuned for reviews of the second half of the flight that cover the bar, shower, food, and service.

How to Fly Emirates First Class for Yourself

Alaska Airlines charges 90,000 Alaska miles one way in Emirates First Class from the United States to Dubai or 100,000 from the United States to Europe, Asia, or Africa via Dubai. (Or vice versa since I flew Zurich to Dubai to Houston.) You can stop in Dubai as long as you’d like on the award.

You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards, which each come with 25,000 bonus miles, no spending requirement, and an immediate $75 annual fee. Both cards are churnable every few months, and you can have several open at once. You can even open multiple personal cards at once. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska miles at a 1:1 rate with 5,000 bonus Alaska miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

You can book Emirates award flights on alaskaair.com as outlined here. You will pay (low) taxes plus a $12.50 per one way booking fee. There are no fuel surcharges on the awards.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

American Airlines off peak awards are one of the best deals with miles. For between two and seven months a year, American Airlines miles can book discounted economy awards from the United States to (one way price):

  • Mexico: 12,500 miles
  • Caribbean: 12,500 miles
  • Central America and Northern South America: 15,000 miles
  • Hawaii: 17,500 miles
  • Southern South America: 20,000 miles
  • Europe: 20,000 miles
  • Korea and Japan: 25,000 miles

Read more about American Airlines off peak awards here.

Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book American Airlines award space.

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Airlines You Can Book with Alaska Miles (except not Hainan or Icelandair yet)

A truism of miles is that the miles you’re using–not the airline you’re flying–determines which award chart you use, so we look at the Alaska Airlines award charts when booking American Airlines flights with Alaska Airlines miles.

Alaska has tons of award charts, broken down by the airline you want to fly and where you want to go. On several of those charts, Alaska lists discounts for flying American Airlines economy flights during the off peak windows.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.02.37 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.02.45 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.02.13 AM

Alaska offers discounted economy awards from the United States on American Airlines flights to (one way price):

  • Central America and Northern South America: 15,000 miles
  • Southern South America: 20,000 miles
  • Europe: 20,000 miles
  • Korea and Japan: 25,000 miles

For those regions, Alaska offers the discounts on the exact same dates as American Airlines offers its off peak discounts. Oddly, American Airlines flights to Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean do not see off peak discounts when you book them with Alaska miles.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.49.46 AM

American Airlines charges 12,500 AA miles for these flight, but Alaska doesn’t offer off peak pricing on American Airlines flights to Mexico.

Stopovers & Free One Ways

How can you trick out these off peak Alaska Airlines awards that fly American Airlines flights?

First you have to understand them. The discounted award prices when using Alaska miles apply only to American Airlines flights, not flights on other partners. For instance, on March 1, you can use 20,000 Alaska miles from New York to London (off peak price), but the British Airways flight on the same route costs 32,500 Alaska miles because off peak award pricing doesn’t apply to other partners. (Also note the dastardly fuel surcharge on the British Airways flight.)

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.49.38 AM

Second, you have to understand two rules for all Alaska Airlines awards:

  1. Alaska Airlines one way awards can fly only one partner OR one partner plus Alaska. For example, a valid award can fly all American Airlines flights or Alaska + American Airlines flights, but not American Airlines + British Airways flights.
  2. Alaska Airlines one way awards can have one stopover for as long as you’d like, subject only to the rule that all flights must be flown within one year of the original booking.

The first rule limits our routings, but the second rule opens up chances for stopovers or free one ways. To search for an award with a stopover, tick the “Multi-city” circle, and search from your origin to your stopover and from your stopover to your destination.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.53.41 AM The stopover is free because the award still prices at the off peak price, in this case 20,000 Alaska miles from the Unites States to Southern South America.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.53.59 AM

This off peak itinerary has a one month stop in New York and includes both Alaska Airlines and American Airlines flights.Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.54.33 AM If you live in Seattle, that would be a one month stopover in New York.

If you live in New York that would be a free one way from Seattle to New York, followed by a one way award to Rio de Janeiro a month later. This shift in perspective illustrates that a free one way is really just a stopover at your home airport.

Similarly here is an off peak award to Japan for 25,000 miles one way with a two month stop in Chicago on all American Airlines flights.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.59.03 AM

If you live in Tampa, that’s quite a stopover in Chicago, and you might prefer to shorten it to a few days. If you live in Chicago, then it is a free one way from Tampa to Chicago, followed by the main award to Tokyo a few months later.

Two Free One Ways

Because you get a free stopover each direction, you can book a roundtrip with two stopovers or two free one ways.

Bottom Line

Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book many American Airlines flights at off peak prices. American Airlines miles can book off peak awards to more places and on more partners, but Alaska Airlines miles can book off peak awards that include stopovers or free one ways.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

On alaskaair.com, the following message appears:

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.02.31 AM

AeroMexico is a SkyTeam member. Including seasonal destinations, AeroMexico serves 13 American destinations from Mexico City.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 11.56.12 PM

From Mexico City, you can connect through Mexico, Central America, and South America. The South American destinations:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 12.49.18 PM

Delta is the American member of SkyTeam, so I went to delta.com to see if Delta miles can book AeroMexico award space at the moment. I found this itinerary on October 18 from Chicago to Buenos Aires on AeroMexico flights.Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.07.07 AM

If Alaska had access to AeroMexico award space, the same exact flights would be 45,000 Alaska miles. I searched for the same flights, and just like Alaska’s website promises, they are indeed unavailable.Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.08.28 AM

 

Bummer!

Related Posts

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

8

Alaska Airlines is charging 10,000 miles fewer than it should for one of my favorite awards!

Alaska Airlines miles are awesome because of the breadth of interesting oneworld, SkyTeam, and non-alliance partners on which you can redeem Alaska miles.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.25.12 PM

The Mistake Fare

One of the coolest awards you can book is from the United States to Australia or New Zealand on Fiji Airways flights because you can get a free stopover for as long as you’d like in Fiji. Here’s Alaska’s award chart for Fiji Airways flights.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.32.11 PM

You can mostly ignore the Business Class prices because Business Class award space is very rare, but the economy prices are great. It costs only 40,000 Alaska miles from the continental United States to Australia or New Zealand with a free stopover in Fiji. From Hawaii to Fiji to Australia or New Zealand is supposed to be 37,500 miles–also pretty good. Commenter Brian points out that alaskaair.com is actually pricing Honolulu to Fiji to Australia or New Zealand at 27,500 miles one way.

I checked it out, and he’s right. This deal is amazing and could be a great way to see Hawaii, Fiji, and Australia or New Zealand on one mega trip.

Fiji Airways flies to six destinations in the region.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.39.50 PM

I did a multi-city award search on alaskaair.com to test out what he found.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.28.37 PM

This award has a three day stop in Fiji.Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.29.10 PM

It prices at 27,500 Alaska miles + $129, instead of the 37,500 mile price from the chart.Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.29.16 PMSimilarly, a few days stopover in Fiji and then continuing to Sydney is 27,500 Alaska miles.
Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.30.31 PM

I tested out whether the discount also applies from the mainland, and it does not. Los Angeles to Fiji to Sydney is 40,000 Alaska miles.Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 6.32.01 PM

How to Take Advantage

I know I have a lot of readers in Hawaii, and they can obviously take advantage of this deal.

But even if you live on the mainland, this is a sweet deal.Here is a post on the cheapest awards to Hawaii. They start at 12,500 miles one way, so theoretically for 40,000 miles, you can fly from your home airport to Honolulu to Fiji to Sydney with stops in each place for as long as you’d like.

Here’s what mainlanders should book:

  1. Book a one way award to Honolulu (or another island if you don’t mind paying an $80 interisland ticket to Honolulu to continue the journey)
  2. Book this 27,500 mile award to Fiji plus your choice of six destinations in Australia and New Zealand
  3. Book a one way award home OR a one way award somewhere else to continue your journey (might I suggest this 40,000 United mile First Class award to Southeast Asia from Australia or New Zealand)

Should You Book Right Now?

If this award looks interesting, booking now is smart.

I think this is a mistake that will be corrected by Alaska Airlines sooner rather than later, so lock in the price now. Then use Alaska’s award cancellation policy of free changes or cancellations until 60 days before departure to get out of the award risk free if you decide not to take advantage.

More on Alaska Airlines

For more information on sweetspots, earning Alaska miles, and the Alaska program in general, see Basics of Alaska Mileage Plan.

I also have a longer post on this exact award, quoting the price from the chart instead of the chart alaskaair.com is currently charging.

Bottom Line

Alaska Airlines is mis-pricing awards from Honolulu to Fiji to Australia or New Zealand. Book now and cancel for free up to 60 days before departure.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

5

Alaska Airlines has added Icelandair as a partner for mileage earning effective October 1, 2015. You will earn Alaska Miles at a rate of 25% to 250% of mileage flown depending on the fare bucket and class of service of the Icelandair flight.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.26.37 PM

I’ve never been to Iceland, and I really want to go, but other than points that can be redeemed like cash toward any flight, there are no convenient miles to book Icelandair or WOW Air (another Icelandic airline) flights. If I were forced to book a trip with miles to Iceland today, I’d use United miles and route via continental Europe, which is a lot of backtracking.

By contrast, Icelandair has an amazing route network of direct flights from the United States to Iceland, with great connections to continental Europe if you want to see both on the same trip.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.28.17 PM

However, as of right now, Alaska Airlines miles can NOT book Icelandair flights, and there is no timetable for their gaining that power.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.51.10 PM

My guess is that Alaska Airlines will work out a deal to redeem miles for Icelandair flights, since you can redeem Alaska Airlines flights with all other partners, except Hainan Airlines, which is coming soon.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.52.32 PM
The bad news is this used to say November 2015.

Icelandair adds to the impressive and eclectic group of partners for Alaska Airlines.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.25.12 PM

For more information on sweetspots, earning Alaska miles, and the Alaska program in general, see Basics of Alaska Mileage Plan.

Bonus

Alaska MVP Gold members will get free access to Icelandair’s flagship lounge in Reykjavik.

Bottom Line

Starting next week, you can get Alaska miles when you fly Iceland Air. No partnership for redeeming miles on Icelandair flights has been announced, but I am optimistic.

Right now, the options for awards to Iceland are terrible. Getting to use Alaska miles, which are easy to earn, on Icelandair’s amazing route network would be a boon.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

5

Emirates offers First and Business Class passengers free chauffeur service to and from the airport. I took advantage with rides to Auckland’s airport and from Sydney’s airport in 2013.

Starting in January 2015, Emirates restricted chauffeur service to First and Business Class passengers whose tickets were issued by Emirates or Qantas.

The best way for travel hackers to book Emirates First and Business Class ticket is with Alaska Airlines miles, meaning Alaska issues the ticket. That means, by the rules, no chauffeur service. But One Mile at a Time reports a trick to get free chauffeur service in Dubai that works sometimes:

Upon landing in Dubai, follow signs for Emirates Chauffeur Drive Services and request a chauffeur there at the airport. Commenters reported some successes and some failures.

I decided to try it out when I landed in Dubai yesterday, having flown Emirates First Class from Zurich (trip report to follow.) After clearing customs, you see huge signs that point you to the right for a chauffeur or to the left to exit. I headed right and to the First Class desk inside the chauffeur area. I presented my ticket with a smile and said I’d like a ride to my hotel.

A minute later she was handing me a slip to hand to the driver for my free ride. Success!

It did seem to take her an extra thirty seconds to print my ticket because someone else showed up next to me after me and had his slip printed before mine. I speculate that maybe she had to override something on the computer on my behalf.

This trick will not work 100% of the time, and maybe Emirates will shut it down completely, but for now, there is a chance to get a free ride from the Dubai airport on an Alaska award ticket. I don’t know of a similar way to get a ride to the Dubai airport, nor do I know of a way to get rides to/from any other airport on an Alaska award ticket.

If you try this out, make sure you have a backup transportation plan. Share your results in the comments.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

Alaska Airlines is having an award sale from 47 of its cities. Awards start at 5,000 miles one way, and I see Hawaii and Mexico awards discounted to 12,500 miles one way.

Start on the award sale page. Select your city from the dropdown menu to see its sales. For instance, here is the sale from Kona, Big Island (Hawaii.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.50.42 PM If there is a discount in the market you’re searching, it is good in both directions, so San Jose to Kona would be only 25,000 Alaska miles roundtrip. Click the VIEW DATES button for the search page to be brought up.

I see some good deals out of Los Angeles…

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.51.44 PM …out of Seattle…Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.52.02 PM

…and out of everywhere else on the dropdown menu.

No purchase date or travel dates are listed on the sale page or in the email announcing the sale, but The Points Guy says the sale is good for awards booked by September 13 and flown from September 9 to December 16.

How Good Is the Sale? Avios are Often Better

San Jose to Kona for 12,500 Alaska miles is very good, but you can always book the exact same award space for 12,500 British Airways Avios by calling British Airways.

Los Angeles to Los Cabos for 12,500 Alaska miles is good, but you can always book the exact same award space for 7,500 Avios.

Many of the routes are also included in Delta’s 5,000 mile award sale.

Any discounts are always welcome, but this is probably not even the deal of the week, let alone century. I’ll be keeping my Alaska miles to fly Emirates First Class, Cathay Pacific First Class, and AeroMexico Business Class to Argentina.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

1

Until October 6, 2015, you can buy 56,000 or more Alaska Airlines miles for 2.11 cents each.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 4.55.11 PM

The sale is structured as a bonus on the normal number of miles you’d receive. The bonus is tiered, so the biggest 40% bonus comes from purchasing 40,000 miles at the normal price of about 2.96 cents each after tax.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 4.56.24 PM

To buy 56,000 miles (40,000 + 16,000 bonus) during this sale costs $1,182.50, which is 2.11 cents per mile. This is not the best sale we’ve seen. Just last month, we saw Alaska miles on sale for 1.97 cents each, but 2.11 cents each is the normal sale price.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 8.04.04 PM

I don’t think Alaska miles are worth 2.11 cents each, but they are worth close to that, and if you have a specific redemption in mind, it isn’t hard to get more than 2.11 cents of value per mile.

  • What are the best redemptions for Alaska miles?
  • Does this miles purchase count as airfare or travel spending for category bonuses?
  • How many miles can you buy during the promotion?

Airlines on which You Can Redeem Alaska Miles

Here are the Alaska partners on which you can redeem. (Plus Alaska Airlines will let us redeem miles on Hainan Airlines starting in November.)

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 3.03.05 AM

Four Favorite Redemptions

Here are my four favorite redemptions with Alaska miles:

1. Emirates A380 First Class

Emirates First Class on an A380 costs 100,000 miles one way for two flights to Africa, Asia, or Europe.

DSCN1588Emirates First Class

Here is my review of Emirates First Class on the A380. I am very excited to have two more segments in it coming up in September.

2. Cathay Pacific First Class

Cathay Pacific First Class costs 70,000 miles one way from the United States to Johannesburg with a free stopover in Hong Kong.

Here is my review of Cathay Pacific First Class.

3. Fiji Airways Business Class

You can fly from the United States to Fiji to New Zealand or Australia for only 55,000 Alaska miles one way in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji.

4. AeroMexico Business Class

You can fly from the United States to Southern South America like Brazil or Argentina in AeroMexico Business Class for 45,000 Alaska miles one way. Try to get at least one segment on AeroMexico’s Dreamliner.

I will fly AeroMexico Business Class in October.

Alaska Airlines Award Routing Rules

Alaska Airlines is extremely generous allowing a stopover on one way awards, anywhere you’d like en route.

Here are the basics for redemptions of Alaska miles.

Logistics of Buying Alaska Miles

Unlike many miles sales when you are capped at how many miles you can buy, with Alaska miles sales, you can generally make several maximum purchases to get all the miles you need.

Remember that Alaska Airlines miles sales are handled through points.com, so they are not considered airfare or travel purchases for the purposes of earning a category bonus on your credit card.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book a diverse array of oneworld, SkyTeam, and non-alliance partners.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 2.58.57 PM
Hainan Airlines awards coming November 2015

I’ve written about some of my four favorite Alaska miles redemptions here, and I want to expand on one of those options. For 50,000 Alaska miles in economy or 90,000 miles in Business Class on flat beds, you can fly from the United States to three Latin American cities, like Lima, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 3.04.13 PM

This relies on the free stopover on one way Alaska Airlines awards and Alaska’s two partners in the region.

Alaska Routing Rules

Alaska Airlines allows one way bookings on most partners. On one way awards, you can have a free stopover for as long as you’d like at an intermediate city on the way to your destination

Unfortunately, each Alaska one way award can only fly one partner. In addition to that partner, you can fly Alaska Airlines flights, but you cannot combine two partners on a one way award.

  • Flying Alaska Airlines + AeroMexico flights on a one way award: OK
  • Flying Alaska Airlines + American Airlines flights on a one way award: OK
  • Flying American Airlines + AeroMexico flights on a one way award: not OK (two partners)

Alaska’s Latin American Partners

Stopovers on awards have to be at connection points, and you are only going to realistically connect at hubs or focus cities, so let’s check out Alaska’s partners and their hubs and focus cities.

Alaska partners with LAN, which lists hubs and focus cities in:

  • Santiago, Chile
  • Antofogasta, Chile
  • Lima, Peru
  • Bogota, Colombia
  • Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Miami

Alaska partners with AeroMexico, which lists hubs and focus cities in:

  • Mexico City
  • Guadalajara
  • Monterrey
  • Hermosillo

You should fairly easily be able to stopover in any of these places en route to some other destination on the airlines as part of an Alaska Airlines award.

Alaska also partners with American Airlines and Delta, which have flights to Latin America, but they are much less useful for awards with many destinations in Latin America, since all of the American and Delta hubs are in the United States or Asia.

Award Prices

Alaska has a different award chart for every partner. Here are the pertinent Latin America charts.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 3.43.58 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 3.02.06 PM

The AeroMexico chart breaks up South America into two regions like American programs do. The LAN chart does not, meaning that using Alaska miles on LAN to fly to Northern South America isn’t a great deal.

Searching and Booking

You can search award space for all Alaska partners on alaskaair.com except Cathay Pacific and LAN. Search those airlines on ba.com and then call Alaska to book at 800-252-7522.

Sample Award: Lima, Buenos Aires, Mexico City

This award imagines a person living in Los Angeles who wants to fly Business Class all the way, which will cost 90,000 miles total. The ultimate destination in Buenos Aires. On the way down, there is a stop in Lima. On the way up, a stop in Mexico City.

Search for the LAN award space on ba.com, then call Alaska Airlines to book it. Here is a four day stop in Lima on the way to Buenos Aires.

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.30.10 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.30.16 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.33.17 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.33.23 PM

Search and book AeroMexico online. Here is a four day stopover in Mexico City for 45,000 miles.Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.33.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.33.50 PM

Pay your award taxes with your Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will cover the award taxes and fees on these ticket. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy pay the taxes with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement.

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases.

Bottom Line

Alaska miles are great to South America with stops along the way. You can see three cities on one roundtrip award for a very low price.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

11

Until August 9, 2015, you can buy Alaska Airlines miles for as little as 1.97 cents each. Go to the sale page for Alaska miles and input your Alaska Mileage Plan number. People are being offered bonuses of 35% to 50% on purchased miles. I received a 40% bonus offer.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.35.38 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.35.58 PM

Non-cardholders of the Alaska Airlines Visa seem to be getting the 35% bonus offer, and cardholders are getting a maximum bonus of 35%-50%.

The sale is structured as a bonus on the normal number of miles you’d receive. The bonus is tiered, so the biggest 35%-50% bonus comes from purchasing 40,000 miles at the normal price of about 2.96 cents each after tax.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.37.19 PM

To buy 40,000 miles during this sale costs $1,182.50.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.43.19 PM

  • If your bonus for buying 40,000 miles is 35%, you can buy 54,000 miles for 2.19 cents each.
  • If your bonus for buying 40,000 miles is 40%, you can buy 56,000 miles for 2.11 cents each.
  • If your bonus for buying 40,000 miles is 50%, you can buy 60,000 miles for 1.97 cents each.

I don’t think Alaska miles are worth even 1.97 cents each, but they are worth close to that, and if you have a specific redemption in mind, it isn’t hard to get more than 1.97 cents of value per mile.

Airlines on which You Can Redeem Alaska Miles

Here are the Alaska partners on which you can redeem. (Plus Alaska Airlines is about to allow us to redeem miles on Hainan Airlines.)

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 3.03.05 AM

Four Favorite Redemptions

Here are my four favorite redemptions with Alaska miles:

1. Emirates A380 First Class

Emirates First Class on an A380 costs 100,000 miles one way for two flights to Africa, Asia, or Europe.

DSCN1588Emirates First Class

Here is my review of Emirates First Class on the A380. I am very excited to have two more segments in it coming up in September.

2. Cathay Pacific First Class

Cathay Pacific First Class costs 70,000 miles one way from the United States to Johannesburg with a free stopover in Hong Kong.

Here is my review of Cathay Pacific First Class.

3. Fiji Airways Business Class

You can fly from the United States to Fiji to New Zealand or Australia for only 55,000 Alaska miles one way in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji.

4. AeroMexico Business Class

You can fly from the United States to Southern South America like Brazil or Argentina in AeroMexico Business Class for 45,000 Alaska miles one way. Try to get at least one segment on AeroMexico’s Dreamliner.

I will fly AeroMexico Business Class in October.

Alaska Airlines Award Routing Rules

Alaska Airlines is extremely generous allowing a stopover on one way awards, anywhere you’d like en route.

Here are the basics for redemptions of Alaska miles.

Logistics of Buying Alaska Miles

Unlike many miles sales when you are capped at how many miles you can buy, with Alaska miles sales, you can generally make several maximum purchases to get all the miles you need.

Remember that Alaska Airlines miles sales are handled through points.com, so they are not considered airfare or travel purchases for the purposes of earning a category bonus on your credit card.

By contrast, Avianca miles are sold through lifemiles.com and DO count as airfare/travel spending.

Alaska runs a 35% or 40% bonus on miles purchases every quarter. The last one ended in April and offered a 40% bonus on purchased miles.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

I recently booked myself an award from Chicago to Buenos Aires in Business Class on a Dreamliner for 45,000 Alaska Airlines miles and $19 in taxes and fees.

AeroMexico releases a ton of award space from United States to Mexico City and from there to Buenos Aires (or elsewhere in Central and South America) in economy and Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 5.04.46 PM
Fresno only has a direct flight to Guadalajara from where you can connect to Mexico City and beyond. Source: gcmap.com

AeroMexico is a member of SkyTeam, so you can book its award space with Delta SkyMiles and Air France Flying Blue. It is also a partner of Alaska Airlines, which is how I booked the award space. (Economy/Business one way prices to Argentina)

Just how good is AeroMexico award space?

AeroMexico Award Space

Below are some calendars from delta.com. You can also search on alaskaair.com or airfrance.us. Every day below that says “65,000” has award space for two people in Business Class from Mexico City to Buenos Aires. (Oddly Delta charges more from Mexico to Argentina than from the United States. If you start your Delta award in the United States, you pay just 62,500 miles.)

Other than some missing days around Christmas–and even then there’s space if you’re flexible–you can see there is award space for two people in Business Class from Mexico City to Buenos Aires almost every day.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.19.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.20.28 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.22.01 PM

The pattern is the same from Buenos Aires back to Mexico City. What about getting between the United States and Mexico City?

Award Space Between the United States and Mexico

AeroMexico serves 14 American destinations.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 5.04.46 PM
Fresno only has a direct flight to Guadalajara from where you can connect to Mexico City and beyond. Source: gcmap.com

If you live in any of the cities on the map, you can get to Buenos Aires on AeroMexico with only one connection in Mexico City.

I’ll be going from the Chicago Seminars to Buenos Aires to repeat my now annual tradition of spending the summer down there. Searching and booking my award with Alaska miles took about five minutes because award space is so plentiful.

I started my search from the main search box on alaskaair.com.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.46.44 PM

On the results screen, I clicked “Calendar” under “View By.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.47.36 PM

That brings up a calendar like this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.48.44 PM

I had the calendar set to show the lowest price award available each day. It shows that economy award space from Chicago to Buenos Aires is not great in October, available just five days–the ones that say 25k + $19. But on every day of the month, Business Class space is available for 45k + $19.

That’s not that unusual. Business Class space is also widely available in December 2015 and March 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.49.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.51.29 PM

I picked the date I wanted and was given two options. The first has only one layover for six hours in Mexico City. That’s long enough to leave the airport, but it’s probably too early in the morning for anything to be open. The other option is two layovers, but 1.5 hours less of travel.
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.47.17 PM

The longer one-stop itinerary looks better to me. I can nap or work more easily at Mexico City’s airport than in the air, and I have less chance of missing a connection.

I clicked on “1 stop” to get more flight details. As you can see, the long flight is on a 787 Dreamliner.
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.47.25 PM

AeroMexico Dreamliner

Four days a week, AeroMexico flies its new 787 Dreamliner between Mexico City and Buenos Aires. The rest of the flights are operated by 767s. AeroMexico also flies its Dreamliner on some New York <-> Mexico City and Los Angeles <-> Mexico City flights.

The Dreamliner has fully flat beds in Business Class in a 2-2-2 configuration, so, as usual, pick a middle seat if you’re flying alone to avoid having to climb over or be climbed over by anyone else.

God Save the Points has a review of Business Class on the AeroMexico Dreamliner. The review is complimentary of the seat, bed, and entertainment though it refers to the crew as “ghosts, you know those things you can’t see, talk to or receive a drink from.” [Scott: hahaha, I believe it]

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.44.10 PM
AeroMexico Dreamliner in reclined, but not yet flat, position. Source: http://www.godsavethepoints.com/news/dreamlinerreview

Try your hardest to fly a day served by the 787, because the 767 doesn’t feature fully flat beds.

Other Latin American Destinations

AeroMexico has fantastic award space throughout the Americas, and it is cheap with Alaska miles as well as Delta and Air France miles.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 2.44.01 PM
Alaska Airlines chart for AeroMexico Flights

Here are all the places that AeroMexico flies from Mexico City. There are great options in Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 5.21.31 PM

Awards within Argentina

Argentina is much more than Buenos Aires.

Check out glaciar hiking at El Calafate; Patagonia in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego; the Lake District of Patagonia; the waterfalls of Iguazu; the wine in Mendoza; and much more.

To get around Argentina, use British Airways Avios to fly LAN or Delta SkyMiles to fly Aerolineas Argentinas.

Bottom Line

Buenos Aires is a very easy award ticket for 45,000 Alaska miles + $19 in Business Class. Pick your dates correctly to get the 787 Dreamliner from Mexico City to Buenos Aires.

Alaska also offers cheap awards on AeroMexico throughout the rest of Latin America.

Pay your award taxes with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.

Further Reading

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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This is the eleventh post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

Why Collect Alaska Airlines Miles?

Alaska Airlines miles are great for booking Emirates First Class and Cathay Pacific First Class. These are two ultra-luxury cabins, and Emirates First Class is not part of any airline alliance. Check out my trip report! (Here’s how to book Emirates First Class.)

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Emirates First Class Suite

Collecting Alaska Airlines miles is easy. Both the personal and business cards from Bank of America are churnable, meaning you can get the same bonus over and over.

Alaska Airlines partners with 14 airlines from SkyTeam, oneworld, and outside the three alliances.

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  • What airlines can you fly with Alaska Airlines miles?
  • What are the routing rules for Alaska Airlines awards?
  • What are the special features of the Mileage Plan program?
  • How can you book an Alaska Airlines award?

Mileage Price?

Alaska Airlines miles are region-to-region based. (The Five Types of Miles)

A region-to-region chart means that instead of having to calculate the number of miles for an award from your origin city to your destination city, say Atlanta to Rome, you merely figure out how many miles you need for an award from your origin region to your destination region, in this case North America to Europe.

Alaska Airlines has a different chart for every partner to every region. Here are the charts to Europe, and you can choose different regions along the left hand side of the page.

Partners

Alaska Airlines is not a member of any of the three alliances. It has partners from oneworld, SkyTeam, and other non-allied airlines.

Unfortunately you cannot freely combine partners onto a single ticket.

You can fly one partner on an award, or you can fly one partner plus Alaska Airlines. On a roundtrip, each direction can have a different partner.

As an example, you can combine Alaska and Cathay Pacific flights on a one way award, and you can fly Cathay Pacific one way and Emirates for the return on a roundtrip award. However you cannot combine American Airlines and LAN–or any other two partners’–flights on a single one way award.

Routing Rules

You cannot combine two partners’ flights on a one way award or in one direction on a roundtrip award.

Some Alaska Airlines partners allow one way awards, and some do not. Each type of partner is clearly indicated on the award charts at alaskaair.com.

Alaska Airlines awards can have one stopover per one way award or two per roundtrip.

Special Features

There are three main special features of the Alaska Airlines program:

1. You cannot freely mix partner flights on an award. All the other US-based airlines allow you to mix as many partners on a single award as you’d like. Alaska lets you use one partner plus Alaska flights.

2. You can’t start your award anywhere you’d like. Most airlines have a price on their chart for any possible origin and destination region, but Alaska generally only lets you start or finish awards in the United States with some exceptions noted on the award charts.

Plus there’s no way to use Alaska miles to get to certain destinations with certain partners, like Australia with Emirates.

3. Alaska has the most diverse collection of partners. You are not constrained by Alaska’s alliance because it is not in one.

Taxes, Fees, and Fuel Surcharges

Taxes

Alaska Airlines awards require you to pay the government taxes associated with the itinerary.

These start at $5.60 each direction for domestic awards and go up to $300 if you fly to roundtrip to the United Kingdom in Business Class. Generally international awards have roundtrip taxes of $50 to $150.

Fees

Award Processing Fee: Alaska Airlines charges a non-refundable $12.50 per one way partner award just to book the award.

Phone Fee: Alaska Airlines charges a non-refundable $15 fee per ticket for awards booked over the phone.

Changes/Cancellation: There is a $125 fee per person to change or cancel an Alaska Airlines award within 60 days of departure and no fee if more than 60 days before departure.

Full details on Alaska Airlines’ award fees can be found here.

Fuel Surcharges

Alaska Airlines only collects fuel surcharges on British Airways flights. These can be up to $500 per flight, so avoid British Airways flights.

How to Book Alaska Airlines Awards

All Alaska Airlines partners are bookable at alaskaair.com except LAN and Cathay Pacific.

LAN and Cathay Pacific flights can be booked by calling 1-800-654-5669.

If you can’t seem to find the award you want for your dream trip, you can hire my Award Booking Service to search and book your Alaska Airlines awards. We have the expertise to search every Alaska partner to maximize convenience and luxury while minimizing out-of-pocket cost.

BOTTOM LINE

Alaska Airlines miles are fantastic to fly any of Alaska’s 14 partners. I’m specifically saving my Alaska Airlines miles to book Cathay Pacific and Emirates First Class.

Alaska Airlines miles are easy to earn from churnable sign up bonuses on their personal and business credit cards from Bank of America.

Any questions? What did I leave out?

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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