Points, Miles & Life

Travel adventures on this earthly pilgrimage

Category: Alaska (page 1 of 2)

West Coast Magic with Alaska Miles: A Primer

One of my favorite things in this hobby is figuring out how to maximize my miles. Earning miles via credit cards is easy enough, but they are only as valuable as you make them.

Alaska MileagePlan is one of my favorite award programs. Back in late 2016, they rolled out new distance-based awards, both reducing the price on many awards and raising the “cap” on others in high demand. The new awards are called a hop, skip, jump, and leap, based on the distance traveled. Here’s the chart:

Overall, I think consumers came out slightly ahead. Especially if they know how to maximize Alaska’s award routing rules. Here are some great options to explore with your Alaska miles:

Scenario 1: The one-way “round-trip”

One of the most unique things about Alaska Airlines award tickets is that they offer a stopover on a one-way award. Granted, the stopover has to be in one of their hubs, or a hub of a partner. I’ve found a few awards that break this rule, but it generally holds true.

However, if you’re interested in traveling to one of their hubs (think Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and Anchorage), you can often use this to your advantage.

Consider for a second that you want to visit Seattle from the Silicon Valley. At a distance of 696 miles from San Jose, a one-way flight *barely* qualifies for the lowest level Alaska award of 5,000 miles. But you can actually book a “round-trip” on a one-way ticket, if you’re willing to get creative.

Instead of booking a round-trip award to and from San Jose for a total of 10,000 miles, use the multi-search tool to add a different, but (sorta) close return airport, say Reno, Nevada. Looks like you even get to fly through Boise, for a total flight distance of 1,696 flown miles.

You’d expect this ticket to price out at 10,000 miles, given the flight distance. But it turns out Alaska prices award tickets on their own metal simply by distance between origin and destination! Because Reno and SJC are much less than 700 miles apart, this award will price out a 5,000 miles at the lowest level!

Now you just have to get yourself home to San Jose from Reno.  You could easily catch a cheap flight back, or maybe take Amtrak.

Sure, this may not be a desirable trip for many people, but what if you wanted to see Tahoe for a bit before heading back to the Bay? It could be just the ticket for you. You’re only looking at 5,000 miles and $70 for a two-stop vacation!

I’m mainly using this example as an illustration, although my wife and I did fly a “one-way” award from Arcata to the Bay Area, with a convenient stop in Portland to meet up with our in-laws (SEE: The Pacific Northwest Stopover Trick).

Scenario 2: The two-stop hop (aka the “in-laws”)

I’ve definitely had my in-laws in mind when considering some of the potential in the Alaska program. My mother-in-law often visits family in San Diego, typically flying out of the tiny Sonoma County (STS) airport. Since the route is under 700 miles, it prices out at 5,000 Alaska MileagePlan miles one-way.

But what if she and my father-in-law want to visit, say, Seattle for a few days, before heading to sunny southern California?

Utilizing Alaska’s amazing stopover on one-way tickets, you can actually book STS-SEA-SAN as a one-way ticket for the same 5,000 miles!

This is especially crazy given that the SEA-SAN flight distance is 1,050 miles and rings in at 7,500 award miles when booked by itself. Again, Alaska actually prices it based on the STS-SAN distance.

Tack on a cheap one-way, or another 5,000 mile award flight back to STS from San Diego, and you have a two destination vacation for a mere 10,000 miles. Not sure you can beat that.

Like the San Jose to Reno example, all you need to find is a cheap ticket back to Santa Rosa. Or you can burn another 5,000 miles, which will probably be worth it in this case. It’s still 10,000 miles for a two-destination vacation!

Scenario 3: The home “stopover”

Things get even more creative if you live in one of Alaska Airlines’ main hubs. Especially Seattle or Portland. The award routing rules are extremely advantageous.

Consider the scenario where you are taking two vacations in the western U.S. in the next several months. Say, one to San Francisco and the other to Las Vegas.

Instead of booking two round-trip awards, book a one-way for your first leg. Cash tickets for this route are competitive, so they may be the way to go instead.

Next, book your return, but combine it with your outbound to Las Vegas on the same one-way award (use the multi-city search tool). Bingo. Your “stopover” is now your several weeks at home between trips. And it is a crazy cheap 5,000 miles!

Now all you have to do is book your final leg and you’ve saved yourself up to 7,500 Alaska miles, the normal price of a SEA-LAS flight! Maybe later in the year you have a trip to Denver and another to Salt Lake City. You can pull this stunt again!

Scenario 4: Hawaii and a transcon on the same one-way

Let’s take the home stopover one step further. While useful before, this trick becomes even more lucrative if you combine a Hawaii trip with a transcontinental flight. For this example I still have to assume you live in an Alaska hub.

Imagine for a moment that you’re booking an award to Hawaii. If you’re located on the West Coast (I’m assuming you live in Seattle), hopefully you’re considering using British Airways Avios. They are generally the best currency for flying West Coast to Hawaii.

But what if you have a trip planned to the Big Apple a month after your Hawaii trip? Hold those Avios for a moment. Alaska miles will get you further, again with their amazing stopover.

If you plan this right, you can essentially get *both* one-way tickets on the same award, spanning two different trips.

Plan your outbound as a one-way with Avios (12,500 per ticket), and then plan your inbound as a one-way Alaska award for 17,500 MileagePlan miles. Add in a stopover in Seattle that spans your time at home.

Voila. You now have a one-way ticket back home from Hawaii, and then a one-way ticket to NYC, all for the less than a single flight to Hawaii would cost with many other mileage currencies.

Is it an awful red-eye? Yes. But for 17,500 miles, you can’t really complain (I’m sure you can find better flights if you book far in advance). Here’s another:

Honolulu back home to San Jose, before taking off for Alaska on another adventure.

Scenario 5: Rural Alaska

Flying to rural Alaska doesn’t really require any interesting “hacks” per se, but I find it is a fantastic use of Alaska miles. You can head to Barrow to experience 24-hour daylight, or maybe go hiking in Nome.

I mention rural Alaska since cash tickets are often super expensive. Consider this round trip between the Bay Area and Dutch Harbor. You’ll almost certainly spend over $1,000 on a cash ticket, if not closer to $1,500. You can fly the same trip for a mere 25,000 MileagePlan miles round-trip. Consider hanging out in Anchorage for a few days as well with your free stopover.

Frustratingly, there is far less award space available at the lowest level than there was last year. Because Alaska offers variable award pricing, you’ll probably end up paying more like 20,000 miles for the ticket. Still, this can make sense for destinations in rural Alaska that cost a ridiculous amount in cash.

A few issues

Annoyingly, Alaska Airlines still doesn’t recognize Bay Area airports as a “hub” for award routing stopover purposes under most circumstances. Given that the airline has bought Virgin America, I wish they would change this.

The system also knows some airports are co-located. You can’t book a “one-way” ticket from SFO to Oakland with a stop in Portland. Nor can you even return to Sacramento or Santa Rosa from the Bay. MileagePlan would be a gold mine if their system allowed these tickets.

Conclusion

I hope this has been useful in showing you how to unlock the potential of Alaska miles. Overall, the award price changes to the Alaska program have been good, but there are some quirks. Personally, I wish they would price awards on PenAir out of Arcata airport better.

If you’re not interested in domestic travel, there are a number of possibilities for using Alaska miles for some great premium products, like JAL and Cathay Pacific to Asia, and AirFrance and KLM to Europe. Business class awards to India on Emirates are also a decent deal.

Header image courtesy of Frank Kovalcheck under CC 2.0 license

2 Best Airline Credit Cards for the Humboldt-Based Traveler

Living in Humboldt has it’s benefits. The climate is mild, traffic isn’t an issue, and the redwoods are at your doorstep.

But there are definitely some downsides. One of the biggest of these is how hard it is to travel anywhere either quickly or cheaply.

We have one local commercial airport. It is the Arcata-Eureka Airport (IATA code of ‘ACV’), and actually located in McKinleyville, just to be confusing. It also bills itself as an international airport, which I find hysterical.

The Arcata-Eureka airport is our only air connection with the outside world. Currently, the airport is served by about 7 flights per day by two carriers.

Flights out of ACV are typically quite expensive. It may be more convenient to fly out of Arcata, but for a family heading across the country on vacation, driving to the Bay Area to catch a plane is usually the better call.

Luckily, you can have it both ways: convenient and cheap. You just need to amass some award miles.

Earning award miles for flights out of Humboldt

The two carriers that serve ACV airport are United and PenAir. United has been flying to the area for years, while PenAir is a relatively new addition. Both carriers offer flights using award miles.

Here are two great credit cards to help you get started toward your first free flights out of ACV:

  1. United Mileage Plus Explorer Card – This is the best card for the Humboldt-based traveler in my opinion. United offers the most fights in and out of ACV, and they are the best for connection options. All United flights out of Arcata head to San Francisco, one of United’s hubs, and United is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use you United MileagePlus miles earned via the credit card to fly all over the world. The card typically comes with a 30,000 mile sign-up bonus, but an increased bonus offer of 50,000 miles is typically available at least once per year (currently ongoing). Best airline credit cards HumboldtThe card does carry a $95 annual fee (typically waived the first year…not on this 50k offer), but it does offer some perks, such as 1 free checked bag on United-operated flights, priority boarding, and a slight increase in award seats (some award seats are only available to United credit cardholders). If you fly in and out of Arcata even twice per year, it is worth having in your wallet.
  2. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card – While the flights out of Arcata are operated by PenAir [**UPDATE: PenAir left as of 8/7/17, so this option is off the table**], awards are available on these flights using Alaska miles. The easiest way to earn Alaska miles is by signing up for their credit card through Bank of America. The typical offer is 25,000 miles, and the card fee is $75 annually. However, you can often find an increased offer of 30,000 miles, sometimes even with a statement credit of $100 after a certain amount in purchases. This effectively nets you $25 and the 30k miles.

    Boarding a PenAir flight at ACV

    Alaska miles can be used on PenAir’s flights out of ACV to any destinations served by Alaska Airlines. The only direct PenAir destination from Arcata is Portland, but Portland is one of Alaska Airlines’ hubs, allowing you to connect to many other destinations. You certainly won’t have the extensive network offered by United, though. Additionally, Alaska flies out of Santa Rosa, which is a much easier airport to get to from Humboldt than either San Francisco or Oakland. Alaska is the actual carrier out of Santa Rosa (rather than PenAir like at ACV), so you can use miles to connect to flights on Alaska’s other partners, which is a huge benefit.

How much award space is available out of Humboldt?

Award space on United is generally very good, as long as you are not looking for last minute seats. Periods around holidays and in mid-summer fill up early as well. Here is a sample of the award availability between ACV and SFO for April and May:

Wide open award availability between ACV-SFO

There is still at least 1 economy award seat (denoted by solid blue line) all but one day over the two months. I can typically find at least 8 award seats available for at least half the dates over this period as well!

Remember that this is just for the leg between ACV and SFO. Availability may not be as good for other legs of an itinerary. This still gives you a taste of how easy it is to fly in and out of Arcata using United miles.

How about PenAir?

[**UPDATE: PenAir left as of 8/7/17, so this option is off the table**]

Award space out of ACV on PenAir using Alaska miles recently went from very good to fairly abysmal. After Alaska made some changes to their award pricing structure, award flights from ACV to basically anywhere in Alaska’s network now cost 30,000 miles one way! Which is a complete and utter ripoff. I’ve reached out to Alaska via Twitter twice regarding the issue.

PenAir award prices for ACV-PDX-SEA

My wife and I were looking at visiting friends in Montana this spring, but there are no reasonably-priced award all the way through May. The previous price was 7,500 miles, which is a great deal. But 30,000 miles one-way? Not so much.

We could have flown both of us round-trip for what a one-way flight now costs most dates!

Conclusion

If you are interested in accruing miles to travel from Humboldt, I highly recommend one or both of these cards. In addition to the personal cards, both offer a business version as well. If you make a lot of purchases as part of your business, consider getting a business credit card to help earn free travel!

As I will always reiterate, use credit cards responsibly! Any rewards you gain will be immediately offset if you get hit with interest and late fees. Annual fees can be worth paying, depending on your situation and the value of the rewards or points gained. Any other fees are not.

If you’re interested in accruing travel rewards using credit cards and don’t know where to start, consider coming to the first Humboldt Travel Hacker Seminar in a few weeks.

The Pacific Northwest Stopover “Trick”

I love finding award flight routing tricks. Some are simply nice in theory (because I will likely never personally fly the route), but there are a precious few I have found that actually provide great opportunities and real value. And these I get excited about.

The latest is using a one-way Alaska award as a (sort of) round-trip ticket to either Seattle or Portland. How? By utilizing Alaska’s fantastic stopover rules. If you are not familiar the term “stopover”, it is essentially a scheduled break in a ticket where you can leave the airport and visit a destination before continuing on. It is different than a layover in that it can typically be of any length. Layovers are nearly always less than 24 hours (and less than 4 domestically).

Alaska has a generous stopover policy on award tickets. Each one-way award allows one stopover, with some associated rules as to where they can occur. They typically have to be in a “hub”, although I find this to be pretty loosely defined, and more or less determined by the routing engine based on your origin and destination. On a round-trip award, you get a total of two stopovers, which effectively gives you up to 3 destinations! These generous stopover rules are one of the primary reasons I love Alaska MileagePlan miles.

boarding-pen_air-acv

The new flight out of ACV to Portland is on a tiny Saab 340!

For a recent trip to surprise my in-laws in Portland, we had three options: (1) pay $536.40 for two ACV-PDX round-trip tickets (no way), (2) spend 30,000 Alaska miles and $72.40 for two ACV-PDX round-trip tickets, or (3) spend 25,000 Alaska miles and $22.40 in fees for two “one-way” tickets from ACV-PDX-OAK, including a stopover in Portland. As you might guess, we chose option (3). I guess there was an option (4) on the table: drive, but that would have cost us two full days. One full travel day is plenty for such a short trip.

This “trick” of turning Portland (our true destination) into a “stopover” is completely valid based on Alaska’s rules. The routing engine at Alaska’s website had no trouble pulling it up. We flew out of Arcata (ACV) on 10/4, stopped in Portland (PDX) for a few days, and continued on our last leg to Oakland (OAK) on 10/9. Now Oakland isn’t all that close to home (~5 hours by car), so you may be wondering why I would want to book a ticket there. Bear with me and it will all become clear.

alaska-partner_fees

ACV-PDX prices out as an “intra-state” award, but the $12.50 partner fee is added

First, we saved $50 in fees. Alaska charges a $12.50 “partner fee” per one-way ticket if none of the segments are on Alaska metal. The Alaska website officially says $25 per ticket, but this is the round-trip price. Thus, two round-trip tickets from ACV to PDX would have cost us $50 in partner fees. Since the PDX-OAK flight is on Alaska metal, the partner award fee disappeared, and the fees came to only $22.40 for the entire ACV-PDX-OAK ticket.

Second, we saved 5,000 Alaska miles over the round-trip ACV-PDX option. Two one-way tickets price out at 25,000 miles, rather than 30,000 miles for two “intra-state” tickets. Valuing Alaska miles at a conservative 1.5 cents each, we “saved” $75 this way. This is arguably not truly a savings since it isn’t cash out the door, but I am viewing it that way.

Lastly, it saved us $25 in bag fees. We typically travel with a checked luggage, and the ACV-PDX flight is unfortunately not a code share flights where Alaska bag fees are waived (if you have the Alaska credit card). This meant we would only spend $25 on bag charges rather than $50.

But this still left us in Oakland rather than in Humboldt County. My in-laws had booked their tickets in and out of Santa Rosa/Sonoma County (STS) airport, which is only a 90 minute drive from Oakland. The preferred option would have been for me to simply book our award to STS, but there was no saver availability, so Oakland had to do. To get us to our rendezvous with them, I booked a rental car. The cost of the rental car plus gas and toll came to $98.

hertz_promo-united_10500

Targeted Hertz/United promotion that offers 5,250 United miles on up to two rentals

That, plus the 5 extra hours, was the trade-off. However, because we were able to utilize a Hertz promotion where we will get 5,250 United miles for the car rental, it was actually a major win, in my book. The value of the points and cash we saved, minus what we spent, left us about $130 ahead. The out of pocket cost came to only $145.

What this experience really did was seed me with ideas on other Alaska routing tricks. I spent some time on alaskaair.com, and I found that every Bay Area airport, plus both Santa Rosa and Sacramento, allowed a one-way stopover through either Portland or Seattle. This is what I am calling the “Pacific Northwest Stopover Trick.” Granted, this “trick” is only for two destinations, but it could still prove useful. Remember, it is either very expensive or time consuming to get anywhere from where we live behind the Redwood Curtain, so any trick to save miles or money is heartily welcomed.

seattle_skyline-from_needle

Downtown Seattle, as seen from the Space Needle

The Portland option could be a wash, depending on how you value points and time. In my opinion we came out ahead. However, the Seattle option offers fantastic value. Round-trip tickets from ACV-SEA are either 25,000 Alaska miles and $11.20 in fees, or ~$325 at the cheapest. Or make the 10 hour drive. By using the stopover trick, though, and returning to the Bay Area instead, you can reduce the cost to only 12,500 miles and $11.20 fees. That’s a win in my book.

My wife is the only one in her family who has not been to Seattle, so maybe we will utilize this trick again and head up there for a long weekend. One way rental car prices from the Bay Area to either Eureka or Arcata routinely fall to $85 with Hertz (the reverse is not true!), so the out of pocket cost can potentially be reduced to $120 for all transportation. Combine that with a few free nights, and we have ourselves a cheap vacation. Bring on those Alaska Visa card offers!

Cover photo courtesy of Tiffany Von Arnim under creative commons license.

We Live In Oregon, According To Alaska

My newfound award travel love is Alaska Airlines. Recently, I gave several reasons why Alaska MileagePlan miles are worth collecting. The award redemption rules and rates are good, and their co-branded credit card through Bank of America offers good churning value.

alaska_airlines-intra_state

The intra-state price offers fantastic value for some Alaska MileagePlan award fight options.

But the pluses of the program don’t end there. Alaska Airlines offers what it calls “intra-state awards”. These price out at a mere 7,500 miles for a one-way saver award, compared to the typical 12,500 miles within the continental U.S. and Canada. For someone who lives in rural Alaska, these could be put to great use. A flight from Juneau to Dutch Harbor prices out at 7,500 miles plus the typical $5.60 in fees, even though it normally costs over $600! Talk about incredible value.

jnu-dut-intra-state-alaska_award

One-way intra-state award from Juneau to Dutch Harbor. Definitely beats paying cash!

For some strange reason, I found that the same pricing applies to flights between Arcata, California and Portland, Oregon. PenAir, a partner of Alaska Airlines, began offering two daily ACV-PDX flights this past spring, and when this route is searched at alaskaair.com, it receives the intra-state pricing. Last time I checked, we don’t (quite) live in Oregon. I am left wondering: was this intentional when someone entered the flights into the pricing system, or did someone with Alaska Airlines accidentally enter Arcata as an Oregon airport? I am very curious.

acv-pdx-one_way-alaska_award

A one-way Alaska award ticket from ACV-PDX receives the intra-state price!

Flights from Portland to both Bend and Medford (both in Oregon) receive the intra-state pricing, but I cannot find another California airport that does. We appear to be unique. Not that I am complaining. 🙂

5 Reasons Why I Love Alaska Miles

There have been so many negative changes to the miles and points world over the past two years. The downhill likely started even earlier, but that was before I was really invested in this hobby. Right when I was thinking of reapplying for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the so-called “5/24” rule hit the streets. Then there was the devaulation of British Airways short-hop awards in North America. Followed by Marriott purchasing Starwood (which might not be negative, but it probably will be). Then the American Airlines general program devaulation.  Then the expansion of the Chase 5/24 rule.

Shining bright to me still was United’s award program. But now their incredible stopover rules are about to die. And alongside that are negative changes for the Citi Prestige card and for Citi cards in general. I really am not sure how much more of this I can take.

Yet one program is now standing a head above the rest: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Granted, Alaska made some major changes earlier this year to some partner awards, completely without warning. Which really made some people understandably angry. But looking beyond that, the Mileage Plan program may be my new favorite. Here are my five reasons:

1. Distance Based Award Mileage. Alaska Airlines is the final holdout among the major U.S. airlines where you actually earn award miles based on the distance flown rather than price paid. Considering that they don’t operate many long-distance international routes, the ability to earn lots of award miles on fare sales is pretty small.

Alaska began service to Costa Rica last year, which is one of their furthest away destinations.

For example, a ticket from LAX to SJO will earn you just shy of 5,500 redeemable miles, while probably costing a bit shy of $400. The earning is good, nearly 3x what you would earn under the program of a revenue based domestic airline, but it isn’t the insane amount you used to score if you caught a sub-$500 round-trip to Asia.

All things considered, revenue earning puts you ahead on some domestic tickets. I will nearly always earn more miles from cash fare than flown miles on short hops. But it’s the principle of the matter! Why call them miles if you aren’t earning the miles you fly? I like Alaska Miles, because they are actually miles.

2. Generous Stopover Rules. This was a recent find for me. I had previously thought that Alaska allows one-stopover per ticket in a “hub”. Which to me meant Seattle, and then a large range of partner hubs. But I was wrong on multiple counts.

Alaska allows one stopover for each one-way ticket, so they effectively allow two stopovers on a round-trip. That’s awesome. The Alaska award rules state that a stopover must be in a “hub”, but this is actually fairly broad. For example, Juneau, Fairbanks, and Anchorage all act as hubs on one-way routes from the lower 48 states. For intra-Alaska routes, I am not sure the “hub” rule actually applies. I was able to book a stopover in some remote places, as long as you were headed on another short hop to a further remote destination. Examples include Dutch Harbor to Kotzebue with a stopover in Nome (DUT-ANC-NME(stop)-OTZ), and Juneau to Barrow with a stopover in Prudhoe Bay (JNU-ANC-SCC(stop)-BRW). While these are not exactly routes that interest everyone, this at least proves to me that the “hub” stopover rule isn’t really a fixed list of cities and often depends on the origin, destination, and routing.

two intra_alaska awards

Two intra-Alaska valid award routes with stopovers in “non-hub” locations.

The only rule that seems to apply is that there is no backtracking. Some very cool itineraries are possible when you look beyond the U.S. A crazy one that I found was PDX-DCA(stopover), WAS-SEA-PEK for 50k miles in Business! Start in Portland, head across the U.S. and back, then take off for China on Hainan Airlines, an Alaska partner. You could see the U.S. and Chinese capitals all in one trip!

alaska_was killer_stopover

This insane route with Washington D.C. stopover is possible in business for 50,000 Alaska miles!

For a good explanation on Alaska award routing rules, read this post.

3. Several Sweet-Spots On Their Award Chart. Alaska has several award redemptions that shine. The first is as it should be: Alaska! Because the state of Alaska is considered part of the domestic U.S. on their award chart, you can get tickets to outlying places in Alaska for the same 12,500 points and $5.60 (or $11.20) as any other domestic award. Considering many remote places in Alaska are quite expensive, this is a great use of miles! A decent flight from the East Coast to Fairbanks to see the northern lights will set you back an easy $600. If you are interested in seeing even more remote areas, you can easily pay over a grand. Take the West Coast to the Aleutians, for example.

expensive alaska_flight

Use Alaska miles to fly to the Aleutian Islands to avoid paying insane fares.

If Alaska isn’t appealing, there are many other great award options, including U.S. to Australia/Oceania in business on either Fiji Airways or Qantas for 55,000 miles, U.S. to China in Hainan business for 50,000 miles, U.S, to Europe in coach for a mere 20,000 miles(!), U.S. to Asia in Cathay first for only 70,000 miles, and U.S. to the Middle East or India in Emirates business for 82,500 miles. The Emirates deal used to be even better, until Alaska pushed prices up significantly without warning.

4. Bank Of America Card Churning. You can basically get 25k-30k Alaska miles (depending on the deal) every few months by applying for an Alaska Airlines Visa Card with Bank of America. Since the $75 annual fee is not waived, this is essentially like buying a domestic round-trip ticket for just $75. Or you can save your miles for something fancier, like Fiji business class.

This deal is going to die. I know it. It is way too easy to churn the card. But until BofA kills it, I hope to take advantage of it a few more times. Granted, I might keep a card open now so that we can earn Alaska miles from spending.

5. Partner Flights Out Of ACV. This reason is completely personal. I live in a fairly remote area, and up until recently, United was the sole carrier serving the local Arcata-Eureka (ACV) airport. This gave United miles a special value in my mind (even though they failed miserably the only time I booked an award flight).

PenAir_plane_landing_at_ANC

A Pen-Air SAAB 340 landing at Anchorage International airport.

But then along came PenAir, which at first wasn’t an airline I really cared about. Everything changed when I discovered that they are a partner of Alaska Airlines! All of a sudden Alaska’s entire network is at my doorstep.

I could keep going on my new love of Alaska miles. The reward program has always been appealing, but the fact that a partner airline now serves ACV airport is gold. If you lived in remote northwest California, you’d understand. It’s so nice to only drive 45 minutes to the airport rather than 4-5 hours. To fly anywhere.

Header image and Pen Air image courtesy of Frank Kovalcheck via Wikimedia Commons.

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