Favorite Frequent Flyer? The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan!
If you make your home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest like I do, you know that Alaska Airlines has a complete dominance up an down the west coast. Seattle is the main hub of Alaska Airlines. With other focus cities including Anchorage, Portland, Los Angeles and San Francisco, it's easy to see why Alaska's Mileage Plan has become so popular!
The Alaska Mileage Plan is a great value for frugal fliers because mileage is accumulated based on distance. For example, a one way flight from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Seattle (SEA) is a distance of 2,712 miles. After completing the trip, I can expect Alaska to credit 2,712 airline miles to my account. Other legacy carriers like United, Delta and American have changed their point programs to be revenue based. This essentially penalizes those that find good fares and rewards the business travelers on corporate expense accounts who pay a premium for last minute tickets.
Another reason I value Alaska miles highly is because of their partner airline network. A few years back, I signed up for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Signature Visa card. Upon approval and the minimum spending requirement, I was awarded 30,000 bonus miles. I combined these with the existing 10,000 miles in my bank and was able to score a round trip flight to Santiago, Chile using 40,000 Alaska miles. When shopping, I also saw round trip flights to Ecuador for as little as 30,000 miles! The Signature Visa Card also offers a yearly $99 companion fare anywhere they fly (including Costa Rica, Mexico and Hawaii!) On top of that, your first checked bag is free for everyone on your itinerary when using the card to purchase the flight.
Earning miles is easy if you can route all of your spending through one credit card. Several websites like Rentshare, RentMoola and Plastiq allow you to pay your rent and other utilities using your credit card (with a nominal fee). Make sure to pay down the balance every month otherwise your newly earned award points with be costing you interest! Advance techniques for manufactured spending will be discussed in a future blog update.
Alaska offers 3x bonus miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines website. Each month, a variety of vendors offer bonus miles using the Alaska Mileage Shopping portal. Recently, Alaska offered 7x bonus miles for online purchases at Nordstrom.com. The $140 I would've spent on shoes anyway gave me nearly 1,000 airline miles for my next vacation. I also used a variety of vendors during the holidays such as Kohl's, Macy's and Best Buy who also offered mileage multipliers. Bonus miles are also award for vacation packages, cruises, hotels, rental cars and occasionally online surveys
If you like flying frugal like I do, I highly recommend signing up for the Alaska Mileage Plan and crediting partner flights to it whenever possible!