Have I mentioned that I L-O-V-E miles and points yet?! Even if sometimes they are incredibly frustrating or confusing to use, there are times when it really does take 30 seconds to find the perfect routing at the perfect price… saving thousands of dollars.
Where do I begin? I mean it is really simple, actually. I’m planning a weekend trip from Seattle to Cancun sometime in the coming weeks and I know that Alaska has a seasonal flight to Cancun from Seattle… too bad those flights cost more than $800 in Economy Class. Alaska likes to charge a premium on some routes out of Seattle.. and Delta’s flights are actually less expensive in this case.
I found the ideal dates for my trip, checked hotels first and found a great rate at an SPG hotel in Cancun, and my last task was to find a flight. I usually check Google Flights first using the calendar view to check when the lowest price is available. I narrowed down the results and found out that the Alaska flight on my intended travel days costs $1260 USD… and yes, that’s for Economy Class. Alaska, are you INSANE? Other airlines are charging $300 for the same journey, just with a stop in either Los Angeles, Dallas, or Houston! Who in their right mind would book this direct flight?
Disappointed that I wouldn’t be on that flight, I checked available award flights for my travel dates and much to my surprise, what do I see? The same Alaska direct flight is available at saver-level for mileage redemption… in both directions! I naturally thought it was a website glitch at first since Alaska is only selling the most expensive fare on the route (that books into “Y” class), and there’s no way “W” class would have availability (Alaska’s saver-level mileage class)… but somehow.. there is, and not just one seat… 3 seats!! Three seats are literally available on this $1260 USD flight for mileage redemption.
Alaska charges 17.5k miles each-way for saver-level Mexico redemptions, which makes it 35k Alaska miles round-trip:
You can see that you have the option of booking with miles or paying a terrible price for Alaska’s sub-par Economy Class. Obviously everyone in their right mind would book using miles. I really don’t understand Alaska here, because normally they would never release saver-level award seats weeks before the departure date when they are selling revenue tickets that book into the most expensive fare class.
Now, since we are mileage geeks after all, my reaction was to call British Airways Executive Club (an Alaska Airlines partner) and redeem 25k Avios for the round-trip journey instead of booking with Alaska directly, since it would save me 10k miles and I also have tons of Avios to use. Within 30 minutes of finding the flight, my ticket was issued and I had saved around $1200 USD, all I had to pay was the 25k Avios and $75.94 USD in taxes/fees.
Miles are amazing, aren’t they?