Redeem 5,000 Miles For A One-Way Ticket With A Stopover!

Yesterday Alaska announced some major changes to their Mileage Plan program, many of which were positive. Generally my preference is to redeem miles for premium cabin awards, though Alaska Mileage Plan has just made many domestic redemptions extremely lucrative with their recent changes.

Alaska’s new discounted shorthaul awards

One of the changes Alaska has made is that they’ve discounted shorthaul award ticket costs. Specifically:

  • Tickets covering a distance of under 700 miles cost 5,000 miles
  • Tickets covering a distance of 701-1,400  miles cost 7,500 miles
  • Tickets covering a distance of 1,401-2,100 miles cost 10,000 miles

alaska-award-costs

That’s pretty awesome to begin with, though there are a few things that make this especially awesome:

  • The above award costs are based on the cumulative distance of a one-way ticket, meaning that you can fly multiple segments and still qualify for one of the above discounted awards (other airlines that have discounted distance based awards typically limit you to one segment)
  • Alaska Mileage Plan allows a stopover on one-way awards, including entirely domestic awards
  • Award tickets on Alaska are now eligible for complimentary upgrades, so if you’re an elite member you can potentially score an upgrade on these tickets

As usual, there are also a couple of things to be aware of:

  • Not all saver level award seats will be available at the above discounted prices. In other words, not all flights covering a distance of under 700 miles will cost just 5,000 miles, but rather there are capacity restrictions
  • This is only valid for travel within the continental U.S. and Canada, so doesn’t include flights to Mexico, etc.

Seattle-Skyline-Market
See Seattle on a stopover on a 5,000 mile award!

Here’s why you should be excited

This opens up some amazing opportunities to visit two destinations for just 5,000-10,000 miles. Let me give just a few examples.

For 5,000 miles you could fly from San Francisco to Portland, have a stopover for several days, and then continue from Portland to Seattle.

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Or for 7,500 miles you could fly from Los Angeles to Santa Rosa, have a stopover, and then continue from Santa Rosa to Seattle.

alaska-award-3

Or for that same price you could fly from San Diego to Seattle, have a stopover, and then continue from Seattle to Vancouver.

alaska-award-4

Or for 10,000 miles you could fly from Spokane to Seattle, have a stopover, and then continue from Seattle to Anchorage.

alaska-award-2

The point is, there are a lot of opportunities with these discounted awards, especially for those on the West Coast. Paying 5,000-10,000 miles for a one-way ticket is a great deal to begin with, and it’s made even better by the ability to have a free stopover, and also upgrade if you’re an elite member.

Any other routings you guys are finding especially lucrative using this chart?

(Tip of the hat to Mommy Points)

Comments

  1. No offense to my brothers and sisters in Santa Rosa and the Pacific Northwest, but those trips sound dreadfully boring. Charlie Brown museum anyone?

  2. @stvr:

    Russian River wine country, anyone? With a swing over to Napa, all of 25 miles away? 😉

  3. “For 5,000 miles you could fly from San Francisco to Portland, have a stopover for several days, and then continue from Portland to Seattle”

    How do you do the above if the connection flight is the next day? You said several days? I’m just wondering if there’s a loophole that I’m not seeing. Thanks.

  4. Seems like they did limit it so that you can’t do some crazy back tracking (ie SFO-SEA-SJC with SEA counted as a stop over) and getting essentially a free return fare.

  5. @Shawnipoo, assuming AS or VX operates in fifth-freedoms in Canada, then yes. But we all know that’s not gonna happen. For the time being, we are stuck with AC and WS on intra-Canada flights, and since these two are not AS-partners we can’t redeem AS miles on it. The only value I can see on this is on short cross-border flights (eg YVR/YEG/YYC-SEA on AS), and that is if there is availability on saver awards.

  6. @Stephanie, a stopover is essentially a layover that lasts longer than 24 hours. So if your flight leaves the very next day, then it’s probably going to just be a layover, unless you get in super early and leave super late.

    A layover will be covered by a separate policy, but I’m guessing that the layover policy will be the same or similar since the reward is mileage based. If that’s the case, then just select flight to give you the long layover.

  7. It looks like AS is requiring 21 day advance purchase for the discounted awards. Flights booked closer in are pricing at 12,500 miles.

  8. Hmmm…I think there’s a lot more going here.

    Previously saver on Alaska for Mammoth Lakes to San Diego (350 miles) was 7.5K, now saver (i.e. lowest) is 10K. There seems to be a next tier of 12.5K and refundable is 17.5K.

    The 10K awards are also available on AA for 12.5K (so I would assume 7.5K on BA).

  9. Andres, I can’t get SEA/SFO/LAS/LAX to price at all via the website. What days did you use, or did you call in? TIA

  10. An odd data point: flights from major Canadian airports price at the lowest rate i.e. YVR-SEA @ 5,000 miles. However, try YLW-SEA and the lowest is 10k. Why would that be?

    Is it because it’s operated by Horizon and not Alaska?

  11. Silly question, perhaps, but does this have to be on Alaska metal? Can you get these redemption rates on DL or AA?

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