The wife and I are both Alaska MVG Gold 75K this year. Me through status-matching my UA 1K status, her through BIS. Yeah, she wasn’t too happy I took the easy route. Anyway, this year is shaping up that I will easily qualify for Gold, but not that close to Gold 75K. She, however, was going to end up the year at 66K and really wanted to re-qualify for Alaska’s top tier. So my job was to look for easy ways to get her those extra miles. Fortunately, Alaska has continually expanded their network. The benefit to frequent flyers is that new routes are not well known, thus underbooked and a great opportunity for a good mileage run. Bonus is that these inaugural periods usually involve extra RDM to ensure people start booking them early. You can look for these opportunities on whatever airline is your favorite. Subscribing to The Flight Deal helps, but you’ll also need to frequent your airline’s website or check FT often. More information on planning a mileage run can be found in my previous post.
Alaska started a new route BWI-LAX which worked perfectly for a D.C. based couple. I was able to book a weekend mileage run leaving Saturday morning at 0725 and returning on a redeye which left LAX at 2210 and arrived at 0610 Monday morning – just in time to go to work. Note that you could have done this as a 12 hour stay in L.A., but we elected for 36 hours. We were able to get this for a great $214 RT fare each. For 4658 miles, this worked out to 4.6 cpm. That’s really good for Alaska! BTW, AS miles are widely regarded as one of the most valuable FF currencies. You can redeem them on Emirates, BA, DL, and AA. Bonus is that they recently raised the RDM earning for Gold 75K’s to 125% RDM AND that as a new route they were giving a 100% bonus for the first month or so. So for the 4644 miles, we each would earn 15,138 RDM. If you value the AS miles at 2 cents each, that actually works out to a value of $302.76. This is more than we paid so I consider it a free trip. Pretty good deal!
Since we are both Gold 75K’s I guess it is no surprise that we were upgraded both ways at the 120 hour mark. So far this year, the wife is at 12 for 14 on upgrades this year, while I am only 9 for 13. The added benefit that this is an inaugural run means very few elites to compete with so no surprise at the upgrades. I am not going to bother showing what the AS first class seats look like. You can see that on past trip reports here and here. The breakfast was nothing special except that they got my wife’s wrong and the FA, Dave, went to great lengths to apologize even showing her that the food was mis-labeled. She didn’t really care as she said she had had both types of meals many times, but it was great to know Dave cared so much about the mistake. How often does an FA ever do that for you? Just demonstrates how exceptional the FA’s are at AS!
Now I am a native Angeleno, so going to L.A. is not exactly an adventure for us. However, I will relate over the next couple of days our adventure traveling down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)!