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Already mastered the fundamentals of utilizing Alaska Airways miles to guide journey? Searching for the key tips and stratagems utilized by knowledgeable award vacationers? Then welcome, provoke, to the superior Alaska award reserving dojo.
Simply kidding – you don’t want a black belt in award journey to learn this text. However we are going to delve into among the extra nuanced and complicated facets of reserving flights utilizing Alaska miles.
First off …
Don’t trouble with the app
The Alaska app is nice normally however leaves loads to be desired when reserving award (or any) journey. Particularly, the app lacks:
- Multi-city searches (wanted for stopovers, see under).
- Calendar view.
- Helpful filters.
- Indications of mixed-cabin itineraries.
You want some or all of those options so as to benefit from the superior strategies we describe under. So, briefly, skip the app for reserving flights.
Use the award calendar for premium cabin fares
Flying in enterprise or top notch with companion airways is without doubt one of the greatest methods to “maximize” the worth of Alaska miles. But, whereas loads of premium cabin candy spots exist in concept, truly discovering availability is the difficult half.
For instance, let’s say you’re on the lookout for enterprise class seats on Alaska’s companion Fiji Airways from LAX to Nadi, Fiji (NAN). You may enter the date you're on the lookout for within the regular Alaska award search software, however that is all you're prone to see:
There's no solution to filter by award sort within the left column, so that you'll solely see major cabin availability and (most likely) no premium seats. To search out these, you’ll want to decide on the “calendar” choice underneath “view by”:
This brings up a month-wide view which, importantly, helps you to filter by cabin:
This allows you to see, at a look, which dates have premium cabin availability. Since this availability is commonly unpredictably scattered all year long, utilizing this filter makes discovering it a lot simpler.
Grade: This may get difficult when a number of airways serve the identical route. There's presently no solution to filter by award sort and airline in the identical display, so that you're caught bouncing between the calendar and the schedule view on the lookout for your most well-liked provider. Alaska: in case you're studying this, please add this function to the award calendar!
To keep away from mixed-cabin itineraries, break it down by leg
The instance above works nice for direct flights served by just one airline, however in case you're on the lookout for extra advanced premium cabin itineraries you'll rapidly encounter this scourge: the mixed-cabin itinerary.
Right here’s an instance of a mixed-cabin itinerary on Emirates from LAX to Bali, Indonesia (DPS):
See that little “seat” icon on the proper hand aspect? That signifies a “blended cabin fare,” which suggests a part of the itinerary is within the premium cabin and a part of it’s not.
Clicking on the fare brings up this warning:
Since we're placing up the outrageous sum of 180,000 Alaska miles for this flight, we undoubtedly don't wish to get caught in coach for the primary (16-hour) leg. Alaska doesn't provide a great way to filter out these itineraries, so that you'll have to take action your self by trying to find every leg of the itinerary individually.
Typically, the lengthy legs of a multi-stop itinerary have far much less availability than the shorter ones. So on this case we wish to discover a flight from LAX to Dubai (DXB) with first-class availability, then add on the leg to Bali. To try this, we'll use the calendar view, filtered by top notch, on a search from LAX to DXB:
Now we will construct an itinerary across the dates with availability on the lengthy leg, utilizing a easy one-way seek for both September eight or September 29.
»Be taught Extra: Your information to the Alaska Airways award chart
Use AA.com to seek out Cathay availability
This one is fairly easy. Though Cathay Pacific and Alaska are companions, you may't guide Cathay award flights on the Alaska website. As an alternative, it’s a must to name the Alaska reservations quantity and topic some poor cellphone consultant to your repeated search requests till you each discover availability.
If that seems like a drag (and it’s), simply use the award search software on AA.com earlier than calling Alaska.
American’s new award search software does permit filtering by each airline and fare class within the calendar view, so trying to find Cathay availability is kind of straightforward. In concept, Alaska ought to carry the identical Cathay availability as what's proven on AA.com, however you may't know for positive till you name.
»Be taught Extra: Information to Alaska Airways companions: Incomes, redeeming, elite perks
Don't neglect the stopover!
This isn't precisely an “superior” trick, nevertheless it bears repeating. Alaska permits one free stopover on all award itineraries, together with companion bookings. There is no such thing as a restrict to how lengthy the stopover lasts, so you may get inventive and break a single journey into two.
For instance, within the Emirates journey above, as a substitute of flying from LAX to Dubai and straight on to Bali (which, frankly, is an excessive amount of flying even in top notch), you may spend per week in Dubai for no additional cost.
The one solution to guide stopover itineraries is through the use of the “multi-city” search software on the web site:
Once more, you may need to seek for availability on every leg individually at first, then mix them right into a single search when you've zeroed in on the dates.
»Be taught Extra: 5 award candy spots utilizing Alaska Airways miles
The underside line
Alaska Mileage Plan is a good program that may provide tons of worth, however truly discovering these sweet-spot rewards takes time, effort and a few superior trickery.
That is removed from an exhaustive record of expert-level reserving strategies; it's solely the start of your award journey blackbelt coaching.
maximize your rewards
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