This August, I need to get to Seattle for a presentation at the First2Board Sessions. Ironically, my session is about last-minute travel, so it’s no surprise that I have yet to book my flights.
I have no idea what is going on in Seattle during the first weekend of August, but what I do know is that prices are astronomical. Normally I have no problem falling back on an award, but even that seems non-existent in both directions from New York, so it’s time to get creative.
I decided to have fun with this. Why not treat myself to a Cathay Pacific first class flight to Vancouver beforehand (more on that later…)?
Now that I am starting off in Vancouver, I started to explore options to get myself to Seattle. One of those options include booking an Alaska Airlines flight with miles.
Alaska Airlines is not part of any alliance, but they partner with American, Delta, and British Airways. Miles from all three carriers can be used to book Alaska Airlines flights that Alaska releases at the saver award level.
Within North America, the best miles to use to book Alaska Airlines flights will often be British Airways Avios, since British Airways has a distance-based award chart with incredible deals for short, direct, economy itineraries like Vancouver to Seattle. As a reminder, British Airways charges these prices for every economy flight segment you book with its miles:
- Up to 650 miles flown: 4,500 Avios
- 651 to 1,151 miles flown: 7,500 Avios
- 1,152 to 2,000 miles flown: 10,000 Avios
- 2,001 to 3,000 miles flown: 12,500 Avios
- 3,001 to 4,000 miles flown: 20,000 Avios
- 4,001 to 5,500 miles flown: 25,000 Avios
- 5,501 to 6,500 miles flown: 30,000 Avios
- 6,501 to 7,000 miles flown: 35,000 Avios
- 7,001+ miles flown: 50,000 Avios
Business Class flights cost double the miles compared to economy class. First Class costs triple the economy miles price.
How to Search for Alaska Award Space
I wanted to use my British Airways Avios to book an Alaska Airlines flight, but the miles I was using were irrelevant for deciding where to search.
The best place to search for Alaska Airlines award space is AA.com. AA.com has an easy-to-use calendar that shows you a month of availability at a time, and all Alaska award space on AA.com is bookable with American Airlines, Delta, and British Airways miles.
On the home page of AA.com, I did a simple search for my preferred date.
The results show that Alaska Airlines (the only American Airlines partner that flies Vancouver to Seattle) has award space almost every day in July and August.
Clicking on my preferred date, there is only award space on one evening flight.
Note that the price on AA.com is 12,500 American Airlines miles. That is not the price with British Airways Avios.
Always search Alaska Airlines award space on AA.com no matter what miles you’ll use to book the Alaska Airlines flight.
Always look at the award chart of the miles you want to use to see the price of the flight.
British Airways charges only 4,500 Avios for a one way economy flight of under 651 miles flown.
Vancouver to Seattle is only about 120 miles flown, so it is only 4,500 Avios.
To book an Alaska flight with British Airways Avios, call British Airways at 800-AIRWAYS, since Alaska flights are not bookable on BA.com. Make sure to ask the agent to waive the $25 phone fee since you couldn’t book the ticket online.
Great Alaska Routes to Use Avios
There are a ton of great Alaska Airlines routes on which to use your Avios, but I want to highlight flights from Los Angeles and Maui.
From Los Angeles, Alaska flies all over the west coast and Mexico. Most of the Mexico flights are 7,500 or 10,000 Avios each way.
From Maui, Alaska flies all over the west coast and even to Alaska. All these flights are only 12,500 Avios each way.
Alaska also has substantial operations on the other Hawaiian islands.
All of these flights are as cheap or cheaper with Avios than they would be with American, Delta, or Alaska miles.
Getting Avios is easy. I personally love transferring my Membership Rewards points from my American Express Platinum card to Avios. Avios are also a transfer partner in the Ultimate Rewards program (Chase Sapphire Preferred). Another option is the British Airways Visa.
Have you ever redeemed miles for flights on Alaska Airlines? Another question I have is this: how does Alaska Airline’s standby policy work? The evening flight that is available is not exactly ideal, but do-able. If anyone has any experience with that and would like to share, I’d certainly appreciate your input!