Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
Frustrated Alaska MVP Gold
I am a MVP Gold with Alaska and have been increasingly frustrated over the lack of Business/First Class award seats to Europe on their Partners. We accumulate around 300k points/$ between business and personal spending. We live in Hawaii and mainly fly OGG to SAN (purchased)domestically and do a 3-4 week vacation to Europe using award miles. Avoid flying coach at all costs but will go Premium Coach if that’s our only choice.
We have several BofA Alaska CC’s for both biz and personal. Can you suggest a different cc strategy that opens up more options for redeeming points for awards on a wider list of airlines?
Really enjoy your posts and trip reports.
So, AS miles for Hawaii to Europe. Not many great options – American and Finnair are both stingy with awards. British has better availability but fees are atrocious. Mileage needed for Emirates are insane, and Icelandair doesnt seem to be worth it.
It might cost two awards, but would you consider Hawaii to Asia to Europe? Youre allowed to use AS miles to book Cathay from Hong Kong to any European city they serve, as well as Finnair between Asia and Europe, connecting in Helsinki. You can book a separate award on JAL, Hainan, Korean or Cathay from Hawaii to your Asia gateway city to get on a Cathay/Finnair flight.
I recommend going after Chase or American Express’s cards that earn Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards, respectively. Those points can be transferred to a number of airline programs to book tickets.
I feel a bit like an American Airlines apologist and even though they have severely reduced their SAAver award availability to Europe in the past two years, if one has flexibility as to when you can travel, bargain space is available from time to time both on AA metal, Iberia and FinnAir. As I write, I am in Italy, having found SAAver space four months ago in Business Class on AA metal inbound to FCO and outbound from VCE later this month. As for credit card strategies, unfortunately AA doesn’t have many viable trading partners in the points world. I have optimized my mile card earnings by obtaining AA cards which have bonus categories for groceries, travel and restaurant spend. I also have a subscription to Expert Flyer to alert me when award space opens. It’s hard but not impossible. I redeem TATL award flights on average every 18 months.