Most of the folks who earn miles using credit card would have heard about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card from Bank of America. You can check out the flyertalk thread here with an important must-know here. Below are the few reasons folks have keen interest on this card:
The issue though is that when you apply online for the Alaska Airlines Credit Card you could either get "Visa Signature" card or the "Platinum Plus" card based on your credit worthiness. You get "Visa Signature" credit card when you secure a credit limit of $5k or more otherwise "Platinum Plus" when you secure the credit limit of less than $5k. Only the "Visa Signature" version earns 25k to 30k bonus miles whereas the "Platinum Plus" card only earns 5k bonus miles. So, your goal is to always secure the "Visa Signature" card or in other words get approved with the credit limit of $5k or more.
There are two approaches to make sure you get Visa Signature card or credit limit of $5k or more. The first one is more commonly known and used and the other one is lesser known:
Regardless of which approach you use, make sure that you have closed any of your previous opened Alaska Airlines Credit Card or do a product change to any other no-fee credit card few days before you roll in the new application. Also Bank of America combines the credit card hard-pull done on the same day most of the time, so you would (probably) not get hit with 2 credit card inquires.
So, get the easy bonus miles while this last...
Google Flights is one of the go-to tools for most folks looking to book the revenue flights. The various ease-to-use features help easily find the fares to the destination (or near by destination for creative souls). Since the ITA Matrix is at heart of the Google Flights, the same flight results can result from ITA including more details such as "fare class" as well as "Fare Rules" which are usually not shown by Google Flights. Using the "Fare Rules" details can help find out the details of the fare including the change/cancellation fees which vary by carrier.
The interesting aspect is when the flight is operated as "Code Share" flight. For e.g. a United flight is code-shared with its star alliance partners Lufthansa. Similarly carriers can have code-share agreement with another carrier in the market or route where they do not operate and this can represent the same flight being sold with different "Fare Rules" based on where you purchase your ticket from. There are certain routes which are code-shared by American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Since Alaska Airlines has a very generous cancellation policy where you can change or cancel the flights up to 60 days before the date of departure the same could potentially apply to code-share flights on American Airlines. This can be easily found by looking at the "Fare Rules" from ITA Search.
For e.g. below is the one way flight search in Google flights from San Jose, Ca (SJC) to Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) for Dec 15, 2017. As you can see the American Airlines flight AA 1231 is marketed by Alaska Airlines as AS 6719. To top it the price is significantly cheaper on Alaska Airlines (Of-course the tickets would be booked in different booking class based on which carrier is selling the tickets) but still if you just care about going from Point A to Point B that's a good price difference. Also American Airlines charges whooping $200 as cancellation/change fee on non-refundable paid fares where as Alaska Airlines cancellation/changes are free up to 60 days before the date of departure or just $125 (assuming you do not have status with Alaska Airlines) till the date of departure.
So if you book the flight using Alaska Airlines you can get:
Of course there are few downside to this:
The next time you book the flight on any airlines and want to make sure you do not have to pay hefty fees do check the "Fare Rules" to determine Cancellation/Change fees. Also if the above Alaska Airlines booking downside seems minor to you for a code share flight between American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, select Alaska Airlines for booking to get great cancellation/change policy.
Alaska Airlines has one of the hidden gems of value specially for folks staying on the west coast in one of the Alaska hubs to Hawaiian Islands. One value is booking a direct award flight (provided it is available at lowest mileage level) using British Airways Avios. The other better value is flying in "first class" on revenue ticket for Economy class ticket cost or less. This can be best maximized if you have companion travelling with you. Let me explain you this!
You need two different kind of certificates to fly first at the cost of Economy. These are:
So, let me walk you through this with example below:
Flying from SJC (San Jose, CA) to OGG (Maui, Hawaii) in September around Labor day weekend of 2015:
You need to "enable" the "Advance Search" option on Alaska Airlines website as highlighted in red in below screen shot.
On the next page you will see "drop down box" for Upgrade Certificate type and a Discount code field box as shown on screen shot below. Select "MVP Gold Guest Upgrade" from the drop down for now and keep the "Discount code" field empty for now just to see the prices.
As you can see in below picture there is availability with "Upgradable Space" shown. The one where the "U" symbol besides the flight detail is highlighted shows the Upgrade availability is there for instant upgrade. You should look out for "only this kind of upgrade" as it is guaranteed upgrade space.
Let's do the above search again by entering the discount code you would have in your account provided by BofA for your Alaska Airlines companion certificate. The companion ticket costs $99 + taxes & fees only. Below is the new cost with companion discount code being applied.
As you can see from above two snap shots. The initial cost of $485 for the 2nd passenger or the companion passenger has been reduced to mere $146 only. So, essentially you bought the round trip ticket for 2 persons on Alaska Airlines "first class" for just ~$631 in total. As you can see from below snap shot the best bargain you can get using combination of certificates.
So, remember next time you travel on Alaska Airlines you might be actually able to travel in first class for less than Economy/Coach class fare.
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