This Alaska Airlines First Class Fare Is Tempting…

This Alaska Airlines First Class Fare Is Tempting…

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I stumbled upon an incredible Alaska Airlines first class fare, and I’m seriously considering booking one of these, even though I’m not sure it makes much sense to do so…

Amazing Alaska Airlines first class fare from Florida to Alaska

I have a bad habit of constantly searching fares to & from a variety of markets, even if I have no intentions of actually traveling. In particular, I’ve been keeping an eye on oneworld fares for the first two months of 2022, since those flights can be “double dipped” with American AAdvantage — these flights will count both towards 2021 status, and also towards 2022 status under the new Loyalty Points system.

I’ll be in the Tampa area for the next few months, and just stumbled upon an incredible Alaska Airlines first class fare from Tampa to Anchorage. Specifically, one-way fares are running $368, which is amazing when you consider the distance we’re talking about, as this is the equivalent of two transcon flights.

It seems that the simplest routing that awards the most miles would be Tampa to Los Angeles to Anchorage, which covers a distance of around 4,500 miles one-way.

There are opportunities to add some segments, but it doesn’t necessarily add many miles. For example, Tampa to Los Angeles to Seattle to Anchorage covers a distance of 4,560 miles one-way. On the plus side, it would allow me to review a couple of new types of Alaska Airlines planes (for me), including the A321 and 737 MAX 9.

You could also just fly through Seattle and then Juneau, but that would be fewer miles.

There’s a great Alaska Airlines first class fare

How many AAdvantage miles would I earn?

Let’s use the Tampa to Los Angeles to Anchorage routing for these purposes, since it’s the most efficient. As mentioned above, in January and February of 2022, American AAdvantage will count travel towards both the 2021 and 2022 status years.

How much elite credit would I get with American AAdvantage for this one-way ticket?

  • For 2021 elite qualification, Alaska Airlines first class fares earn 150% elite qualifying miles, 150% redeemable miles (plus elite bonuses), and elite qualifying dollars equivalent to 30% of the distance flown; in other words, one-way I’d earn 6,750 elite qualifying miles, 1,350 elite qualifying dollars, and 12,150 redeemable miles
  • Elite qualification is totally changing in 2022, and essentially each redeemable mile earns you one Loyalty Point; so as an Executive Platinum member I’d earn 12,150 Loyalty Points

The reason this opportunity is lucrative is because while my Executive Platinum status has already been extended by another year, if I qualify the “real” way then I’d have access to AAdvantage elite choice rewards. In total, that could earn me 85,000 bonus redeemable miles (which I’d choose in lieu of systemwide upgrades). Booking this roundtrip would get me to that threshold.

This fare would help me with AAdvantage status qualification

Why I’m on the fence about this fare

I think the math largely checks out with this fare in terms of the benefits for elite qualification. So why am I so lukewarm about this? First let me state that I’m trying to spend as much time as possible in Florida with my mom right now, so if I do take any trips, I’m trying to keep them quick.

With that in mind:

  • As I get older I value a proper night of sleep more than just about anything, and all of these 12-2AM arrivals into Alaska (which is 4-6AM Florida time) sound brutal, especially if they can be avoided
  • While I love flying, 12 hours in Alaska Airlines first class in each direction doesn’t sound all that comfortable, especially when you consider there might be other mileage run opportunities that involve long haul flights and flat beds
  • Like I said, I’m trying to keep this trip quick, so is there any way to throw in something fun while in Anchorage in winter? I know Anchorage isn’t ideal for seeing the Northern Lights (which I’d love to see), but I’m not sure if there’s an efficient way to throw in a flight to somewhere else in Alaska that might afford that opportunity?
  • Alternatively, perhaps I could also throw in an Alaska Airlines “milk run” flight if I’m up in Alaska anyway, though I’d think that this would be more fun in summer than winter
A quick trip to Alaska sounds like it could be fun, maybe?

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines has some unbelievably low fares this winter between Tampa and Anchorage, as you can fly first class one-way for under $370. This is an amazing fare and from the perspective of elite miles, this could very much be worth it.

15 years ago I would have probably booked five of these back-to-back. Over time my priorities in life have changed, especially when it comes to being able to spend time with family and loved ones. Nowadays I don’t view these trips purely in terms of the cent per mile ratio, but rather I view them in terms of how I could otherwise be spending my time.

So, what do you think? Would you book this Alaska Airlines first class fare? And assuming I want to keep this trip short, any ideas for something interesting to do in a day or two in the dead of winter near Anchorage, whether it’s an opportunity to see the Northern Lights, or something else?

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  1. Katheryn D Burns-Fort Guest

    Go to Hatcher Pass to view Northern Lights. Just about 55 miles outside Anchorage.

  2. D3kingg Guest

    Don’t do it Ben. Alaska isn’t going anywhere.

  3. DCharlie Guest

    A gruelling twenty or so hours in domestic first on Alaska sounds horrific yet entertaining. I think you should bear the pain for our entertainment!

  4. Jan Gomez Guest

    Have an elegant meal that takes a while to enjoy. Next have a brandy (or two) with coffee. Sit back and relax with a good book or magazine. If you have lots of time to fill, take in a movie, maybe a double feature. Go to the cafe bar and socialize. If you have lots and lots of time, hire an Uber or Lyft driver and see the city . ♥️♥️♥️♥️

  5. Lisa Guest

    Anchorage gal here - winter is an excellent time to visit! January 28 & 29 is the beer and barleywine festival - we make some wicked brews up here (https://www.alaskacraftbrewandbarleywine.com/). You can see the lights from here if they are good and January through March are pretty good times for clear skies. You can always throw in a flight to Fairbanks from here to see the lights but then you also get the real negative...

    Anchorage gal here - winter is an excellent time to visit! January 28 & 29 is the beer and barleywine festival - we make some wicked brews up here (https://www.alaskacraftbrewandbarleywine.com/). You can see the lights from here if they are good and January through March are pretty good times for clear skies. You can always throw in a flight to Fairbanks from here to see the lights but then you also get the real negative temps. Or if you can wait until first weekend of March, the Iditarod does the ceremonial start the first Saturday of March in Anchorage and then takes off from Willow on Sunday. But we have a full week of fur rondy activities that are a hoot - running with the reindeer, the outhouse race, etc etc

    I'd wait til summer for a milk run - they aren't as much fun as I think they were when they actually did have the supplies on them, but you do get some great scenery. I think the milk run Juneau to Ketchikan is more scenic.

  6. Andrew Beck Guest

    I booked a first class ticket on my birthday from Missoula to Oakland and Oakland to Missoula paid for the ticket to Alaska air lines and the put me in coach and NEVER DID THEY RECTIFY THE DIFFERENCE SO UNTIL THEY DO I WILL NEVER FLY ALASKA AGAIN AND I WILL TELL THOUSANDS OF MY ASSOCO

  7. Peter Guest

    The Lake Hood float plane base next to ANC airport is well worth a visit in winter. The lake is frozen over with a snow topping and there are lots of ski-equipped light planes coming and going. I was impressed.

  8. DFWKnight Guest

    Ben — with AS joining the OW alliance, I'm curious if you've considered going for Emerald status with them (ie. 75k or 100k)?

    IMO (and as many of your articles state), the #1 benefit to EXP and PP with AAdvantage is OW emerald status.

    With AS joining, would their program give AA a run for their money? I average around 80k butt in seat miles in a non-pandemic year. As a flyer based out...

    Ben — with AS joining the OW alliance, I'm curious if you've considered going for Emerald status with them (ie. 75k or 100k)?

    IMO (and as many of your articles state), the #1 benefit to EXP and PP with AAdvantage is OW emerald status.

    With AS joining, would their program give AA a run for their money? I average around 80k butt in seat miles in a non-pandemic year. As a flyer based out of a non-AS hub, the math checks out for me as I'd effectively give up the PPro choice benefit for the qualification bonus on AS. Even as a non-AS hub flyer, I visit the west coast enough that I should be able to hit the 12 segment requirement next year.

    I've matched over and am enjoying the AS service + product much more than the AA one.

    Curious if you and other AA flyers have considered this. I imagine for people with 120k BIS miles each year, the AA choice benefits probably make it more worthwhile.

  9. Donna Smitth Guest

    You could fly to Fairbanks to see the Northern lights and fly back to Anchorage the next day. Check into Chena Hot Springs or visiting North Pole, AK. Both are in the Fairbanks area.

  10. Steve Guest

    I'm searching Google flights but best I'm seeing until end of Feb is north of $740. We got in from TPA-SEA-FAI J flights last night (don't ask the fare - it was highish).

    All 4 segments were 739s ... Quite comfortable and doable...I'm 53 and quickly get uncomfortable but it wasn't so bad. Add in AS J service and very survivable. Combine this with the 10% off Alaska airlines cards just bought, I'd jump on...

    I'm searching Google flights but best I'm seeing until end of Feb is north of $740. We got in from TPA-SEA-FAI J flights last night (don't ask the fare - it was highish).

    All 4 segments were 739s ... Quite comfortable and doable...I'm 53 and quickly get uncomfortable but it wasn't so bad. Add in AS J service and very survivable. Combine this with the 10% off Alaska airlines cards just bought, I'd jump on these dates in a second.

    Yes Fairbanks was cooooold and yes we got a glimpse of the northern lights.

  11. Kylie Guest

    It’s annoying at the bottom of your email and web posts it includes completely outdated and expired article links.

  12. GRUSA Guest

    Long time lurker / occasional poster here. I’ll be staying with my parents in Tampa for Feb & March. Would be fun to plane spot at TPA or meet up for drinks at some point. Let me know!

  13. Terence Gold

    Thanks, Ben! It's a solid fare. There were some limited options to break the legs. I would much prefer an overnight in SEA between TPA and ANC for the recliner seats. 3x fare earnings essentially for EQDs or EQD-equivalent on AA

    1. Rock DeAugustine Guest

      Go during last two weeks of February or start of March for FurRondy (winter carnival and world sled dog championship) or Iditarod (iconic sled dog race). As mentioned on here, an add on flight to Fairbanks for Northern lights and Chena Hot springs is only another $90

  14. tuotuo Member

    Isn't just plane spotting at Anchorage worth the trip?

  15. Brick Bradford Guest

    First Class on Alaska is vastly overrated. Compared to Delta First Class, Alaska is stingy in its service. But for $372.00, it's certainly better than steerage.

  16. CMorgan Guest

    I live in Anchorage. Great fare. I checked and it is available both ways on limited flights. The Northern lights are best seen from Fairbanks.

  17. Michael M Guest

    Greetings from Anchorage. One can't predict when the Northern Lights will occur weeks to months in advance, generally just a few days in advance when there's increased solar flare activity. They can be seen in Anchorage although Fairbanks and the surrounding area may offer better viewing and a greater chance of clear weather. The World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks run 2/14/22 - 3/31/22. Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks offers year-round swimming and has...

    Greetings from Anchorage. One can't predict when the Northern Lights will occur weeks to months in advance, generally just a few days in advance when there's increased solar flare activity. They can be seen in Anchorage although Fairbanks and the surrounding area may offer better viewing and a greater chance of clear weather. The World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks run 2/14/22 - 3/31/22. Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks offers year-round swimming and has the Aurora Ice Museum. There's also a newly opened Hyatt Place in Fairbanks.
    There are also ice sculptures to see in Anchorage during Fur Rendezvous beginning the last week of February.
    For the dates you listed Salmon Berry Travel & Tours offers a 9 hour day tour (including pick-up in Anchorage) to go dog sled riding on a 6-mile trail near Talkeetna, north of Anchorage, with views of Denali (Mt. McKinley). Winter and early spring are generally the best times of the year for clear weather around Denali. This has been a cold, snowy winter in Anchorage so the sled riding should be good. If staying in Anchorage, the Hyatt Place currently offers a better breakfast than the Hyatt House.
    By the way, I haven't been able to log in to Questions and Answers since the new site went up. I keep getting an error message. Can you help me with this?

  18. Jeff K Guest

    had a trip scheduled this fall. no rental cars at all available and once they did become available, they were a fortune. maybe better luck in the dead of winter?

  19. Michael Fuller Guest

    I know head of Anchorage Tourism bureau well and recently attended a session with them. There are lots of cool things. I’m going there in March probably for the Iditarod races. Msg me and I’ll get you in contact with them! PS they tell me you CAN see northern lights then.

  20. Debby Stevens Dillahunty Guest

    I would rather take the gamble and ask to upgrade to first class when checking in. It's usually less than booking it right out the gate.

  21. Ray Guest

    Please realize that Alaska First Class seats are not lie flat seats and only recline, if that makes a difference.

  22. Clem Diamond

    But didn't you buy over 7 million AA miles? Not sure why you'd want to spend so much time in domestic first class for a "measly" 85k additional miles...

  23. PremiumCabinDeals Guest

    Go for BA Sapphire...
    580 Tier Points from TPA-FAI (TPA-SEA-JUN-ANC-FAI-ANC-LAX-TPA) for $747
    https://www.premiumcabindeals.com/2021/12/as-tpa-to-fai-for-747-and-earn-580-tier.html

  24. STEFFL Member

    737-MAX9
    .... not 1 Million Miles could get me on that plane!
    For NO reward i would get afterwards would i ever fly that plane.
    787-8 same thing.
    Looks like Lucky is a no risk, no fun Guy?
    I'm too old for that i guess?

  25. Hans Guest

    A good ol' fashioned Lucky MR which made me love this blog! Looking forward to hearing your reports!

  26. Yay75K Guest

    I scored two of the ANC SEA TPA LAX ANC round trips in coach of 309 in mid-January. Midweek is a virtual certainty for a FC bump. It was a toss-up with EWR, but TPA won as they have a Starbucks :)

  27. Roberto Guest

    @Lucky, did you do the Finnair 200k mileage buy?

  28. Jay Guest

    posted this in the AA exec plat group last week. TOTH to me!

  29. Super Member

    Lucky - Why not credit to Alaska instead so you can get OneWorld Emerald thru them and thus get access to AA Lounges while traveling domestically?

    Sounds like the more valuable option considering you just "bought" millions of AA miles and Alaska miles are always valuable.

    1. Randy Gold

      Answer myself - I looked up under Elite benefits it is is the lower amount (- 5K). I guess it only showed the total (30K) when I looked in my AA Wallet - since it knew I had an AA CC.

  30. Randy Gold

    So the 85K miles is determined from:
    PlatPro Choice - 25K
    EXP Choice - 2 x 30K - 60K

    The award says "includes extra 5K bonus miles for cardholders".
    Does the "includes" mean:
    1. Included if you choose that reward? ie 30K +5K for cardholder
    2. Included in the amount of 30K, so the reward is 25K +5K

    Traveling from Florida to Alaska in the middle of the winter with short hours of daylight??

  31. Guest Guest

    Why bother? Didn’t you just buy millions of AA miles?

  32. Jaybee Guest

    I suggest you check out Girdwood and Whittier. Parts of kenai peninsula fairly close to Girdwood. Talkeetna is beautiful.

  33. JY Guest

    Go skiing at Alyeska, 45 minutes drive from the airport

    1. Erika Guest

      Fly to Alaska then ski for a day. The bragging rights are always fun. If you arrive the same day you can ski for free with your AK Air boarding pass. If your flight arrives at 12-2 am go to Girdwood later that day and ski for the afternoon. You can demo new equipment or just get a pass and take the tram to the top of the mountain. Enjoy the glaciers and view from...

      Fly to Alaska then ski for a day. The bragging rights are always fun. If you arrive the same day you can ski for free with your AK Air boarding pass. If your flight arrives at 12-2 am go to Girdwood later that day and ski for the afternoon. You can demo new equipment or just get a pass and take the tram to the top of the mountain. Enjoy the glaciers and view from up there while drinking a cocktail in the bar. If you have reservations to Seven Glaciers you can enjoy an amazing meal too. Midweek only and a few blackout dates. Available Jan 4-April. The tram is down for repairs now but should be back up soon.
      My daughter and I are flying to RSW in January for a quick Alaska mileage run, Disney day, lunch with grandpa. The flights were so cheap and then 22% off as well last week.
      There’s also Hawaii. Maybe not first class all the way but you could loop to Alaska and then take the nonstop to HNL, KOA or OGG from Anchorage on your way back home. Flights from there back to the mainland are really inexpensive.

  34. Alonzo Diamond

    I'd just skip the Alaska part of the trip and just go to LA or Seattle. Nice fare for Tampa to LA/Seattle.

  35. Lee in Alpharetta Guest

    If you are into beer, the Alaska Beer and Barleywine fest will take place the last weekend of January in Anchorage.

    As for the Northern Lights, yes, Anchorage is not the place to go, but there are many AS nonstops daily to Fairbanks.

  36. [email protected] Guest

    As a long time AS FF I have seen and flown these fares from time to time OGG to PDX $299.00 First was my favorite. I have flown that route before and it's a long hard flight but then that was for business.

    Having said that did you check the fare searching with your AA number or AS ? The fares are much different when searching with AA fares.

    Happy New Year

  37. boogen Guest

    Hmmm, I just qualified for BA silver on a recent trip to Europe and 4 long haul biz segments would give me enough tier points to qualify for the reduced Gold qualification. As my tier pt year just started, that's almost two years of Oneworld Emerald. I have Emerald from another airline expiring soon, so assuming the Qantas lounge in LAX opens soon, I might have to do this flight.

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Clem Diamond

But didn't you buy over 7 million AA miles? Not sure why you'd want to spend so much time in domestic first class for a "measly" 85k additional miles...

2
Hans Guest

A good ol' fashioned Lucky MR which made me love this blog! Looking forward to hearing your reports!

1
Roberto Guest

@Lucky, did you do the Finnair 200k mileage buy?

1
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