Earning Alaska Airlines Elite Status on Partners and Emirates

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Last week I wrote about the promotion that Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan was having for their newest partner Emirates starting March 1stdouble redeemable miles, and then there was the big news of ditching the prayer cards from first class (finally).

Alaska Airline is alliance independent, which is rather rare these days. The airline has an agreement with number of airlines i.e. American, Delta, British, KLM, LAN, Air France, and Emirates where crediting Alaska’s Mileage Plan will not only earn you redeemable miles but also elite qualifying miles as well. You can redeem miles on these partners as well (Emirates starting later point this year), but the only drawback is that you cannot mix and match carriers to have multi carrier itineraries. You can have Alaska feeder flights for partner awards though. There are airline partners that only earn redeemable miles as well

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Alaska Airlines was thought of changing the accrual elite qualifying miles so that the class of service bonus for business and first class wouldn’t count. This, however, turned out to be just a glitch on their website over the weekend that has now been corrected.

Why would I care? I have 32707 miles coming in Emirates paid first class travel starting in the beginning of March (Emirates had a great business and first class sale back in January). I haven’t made up my mind where I should credit these flights. Had a few EK F flights the other year that made me Gold in their program, then I was demoted silver, and finally I will be base level member before these flights will take place. Quite frankly the EK Gold status is fairly useless if you are flying in paid business or first class. It does have some benefits especially for those flights in economy like business class check in, lounge access, extra luggage allowance, more miles etc.

These Emirates flights alone would give me 49K elite qualifying miles on Alaska’s Mileage Plan. Due to the double miles promotion and Mileage Plan Gold status (I could get status match based on my United status) redeemable miles bonus, which also applies to partners, the number of miles earned from these two tickets would be around 115K. It would be a nice enough number for partner redemption in business class

There are some nice status benefits for Alaska’s elites on Delta and American:

Priority Boarding on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines

Checked Baggage Fee Waiver for first two bags on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, and for the first checked bag on Delta Air Lines for MVP® member and persons traveling in the same reservation. Companion waiver does not apply to group bookings

Priority AAccess™ Check-In and Security Lines at select airports when traveling on American Airlines

Preferred Seating on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines

If I would credit another 41K on Alaska’s plan, it would not only make me Alaska’s MVP Gold 75K but also give a bonus of 50K redeemable miles. The benefits on AA wouldn’t matter for me personally as I made the lifetime Platinum status with that program the other year.

Not sure where I should credit these Emirates flights? The Emirate’s Skyward miles are not that useful for anything else than upgrades from economy to business, or from business to first. The proposition of crediting to Alaska’s Mileage Plan is tempting because I value their miles more, and I would be close to making the Gold status on these couple of tickets. But, I might have Emirates flights coming later this year in economy, so the Emirates Gold status might come handy as well. Luckily, I have another month time to contemplate on this issue as my flights are not before beginning of March.

Complimentary Booze is Back on International Economy Class on Select American Airlines Flights

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American Airlines is bringing back complimentary booze, although beer and wine only, on American Airlines flights to Asia, Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. This is an interesting development. With the US airlines, it has been recently like how we can unbundle more services that we can sell. Of course the booze used to be free on all flights, but that was gradually withdrawn.

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Not sure what made American to take this move. The booze, and not just beer and wine, has been on the complimentary basis with most European and Asian carriers. Anyway, on your next international flight on American, if you happen to be seated on coach, make sure to request your complimentary beer or wine.

Complimentary Beer and Wine Service is available in international main cabins onboard international flights between the U.S. and Europe, the U.S. and Asia and select flights between the U.S. and Latin America, including: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil (CNF); Brasilia, Distrito Federal, Brazil (BSB); Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE); Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (GIG); Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU); Santiago, Chile (SCL); Montevideo, Uruguay (MVD); Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (SSA); and Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil (REC). Beer and wine offerings will vary by flight.

American Airlines Offering Multiple Bonuses for Flights to Asia

Last week American Airlines cancelled its daily Chicago to Delhi flight. Now they are offering mileage bonuses for flights to China and Japan. You can still book an award travel special on Japan Airlines from Vancouver to Tokyo (Narita) or from San Francisco to Tokyo (Haneda) for 30K in economy and 50K in business.

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Now, American is offering double miles in business and first class fares on direct American Airlines flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Chicaco and from Los Angeles to Shanghai. You will receive 50% mileage bonus if you are ticketed on higher economy class buckets. You need to register for this prior to travel using a promotion code USCHN.

AAdvantage® bonus mile offer is valid from January 23, 2012, through March 31, 2012, on American Airlines marketed and operated nonstop flights from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) or Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai, China (PVG); or from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Beijing, China (PEK). Offer is valid for travel on purchased, published fare tickets booked in First Class or Business Class (in F, A, J, R, D or I) or Economy Class (Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S or N). Bonus miles do not count toward elite status qualification. Double miles will be calculated at 100% of the base miles earned while 50% bonus miles will be calculated at 50% of base miles earned. Registration prior to travel is required.

Another offer is for double miles from Boston to Tokyo on Japan Airline’s new 787 service starting this spring. You will get double miles from April 22nd through June 30th for business class and selected economy class fares, regardless whether the flight is marketed by JAL or AA. The promotional code is BOSTY.

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Didn’t Re-qualify for American Airlines AAdvantage Gold or Platinum Status in 2011? Now You Can Buy It Back.

Last week, I wrote about how you can “buy” back your Silver, Gold, or Platinum status with Marriott Rewards. American Airlines is running a similar program for buying back the elite status, but unlike with Marriott, where you can use points to do it, with American you need to use cash.

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Platinum members that flew less than 40K miles or who had fewer than 48 segments need to pay $769, and those who flew more, but not enough for Platinum, need to fork out $619.

They have similar for Gold status members as well. If you flew less than 20K miles or 24 segments, need to pay $559 to extend the status for another year, and those who flew more, but not enough for Gold, need to pay $409.

Does it make sense to buy back the status?

It really depends how much you are planning on flying on American and their Oneworld partner airlines this year. The main benefit for a Platinum are 100% bonus on miles earned, business check in regardless of the class booked, business class lounge access on international itinerariers even when flying in on coach, waived award fees if ticketed within 21 days of departure, ability to earn and confirm domestic upgrades, waived checked in bag charge and extra allowance on international flights, priority when there are irregular operations etc.

There are really quite a few benefits of being a Platinum member. Some of these apply for Gold members as well.

American Airlines Buy AA Miles-Offer – Get Up To 15000 Bonus Miles

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Personally, I am not a huge fan of buying miles from the airlines. I don’t think that it makes sense most of the time. I have, however, bought US Airways Dividend miles when they have had a sale, and used miles + cash option when booking premium international awards using BMI miles that is essentially buying miles.

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American Airlines has recently been pushing miles sales more aggressively than in the past. It must be a good way to get cash in now in exchange for award travel on AA or partner metal some later date. Last December American run a similar miles sale. You can buy maximum 40000 AAdvantage miles per year per account. Bonus miles do not count toward this limit.

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Right now you can buy 55000 miles (40000 + 15000 bonus) for $1100 ($1212.50 after $30 transaction fee + taxes). This comes to 2.2 cents per mile.

When it makes sense to buy miles?

  1. Short on miles for premium international flight award on partner airlines
  2. Oneway travel in markets where OW fares are expensive
  3. Travel that requires flexibility as award tickets can be changed/canceled for a fee/without fee almost like flexible tickets

Hilton HHonors Airline Promotions for Air Canada Aeroplan, US Airways Dividend Miles, Lufthansa Miles & More and American Airlines AAdvantage

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Hilton HHonors severed the relationship they had had with the Southwest and discontinued the ability to earn Rapid Rewards points from Hilton stays at the end of last year. To counter this change Hilton is having several promotions going on for double or triple miles with five airline partners. I have already written about the promotion with Delta for 2012 bonus SkyMiles for stays or two days or longer. The beauty of this promotion with Delta is that all the Hilton family of hotels are participating.

There are three other ongoing promotions that you can combine with these. The other promotions are Resort Escapes for free night certificates, More Points for extra points, and Visa Infinite promotion for instant Gold status and 40K HH after four stays.

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You can earn triple miles with US Airways Dividend miles, and double miles with Air Canada’s Aeroplan and American’s AAdvantage.  You need to designate the airline as the double dip partner and choose the variable or fixed miles.  With these airlines you really need to check the participating properties. The list is rather short.

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American Airlines is Offering Double Elite Qualifying Miles Systemwide Until January 31st, 2012 – Promotion DBLELITE2011

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American Airlines (AA), whose parent AMR is currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, just sent an email blast regarding their latest offer for double elite qualifying miles (DEQM). They have been running a limited DEQM promotion for residents of IL and CA for flights between LAX/SFO and ORD. Now all the AA flights marketed and operated by AA and American Eagle are eligible for DEQM until January 31st, 2012. Unlike previous promos, there is no need to reticket. All the flights are eligible. You just need to register for the promotion.

American Airlines DEQM

This promotion doesn’t double the elite qualifying points or redeemable miles. Only the base flight miles will be doubled for the elite qualifying purposes. Personally, I would be all over this promotion had I not moved out from the United States earlier this year.

Buy American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flier Miles and Get 25% Bonus.

Now American Airlines is offering a 25% bonus for buying miles until December 31st. The number of miles that one can buy each year is normally capped at 40K. American Airlines has temporarily lifted this to 60K miles.

American Airlines Buy AA Miles Email

So, the question then becomes, whether buying AA miles at 2.0625 cents each is a good deal or not? Overall, the AAdvantage program is one of the easiest ones to use miles at reasonable cost and without fuel surcharges, which only apply to British Airways metal flights.

American Airlines Parent AMR Filed for Bankruptcy Protection This Morning – What Happens to Miles and Frequent Flyer Benefits?

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American Airlines Upside DownThe short answer is nothing at least not in the short term. Now all the so called legacy carriers have been to bankruptcy protection and some even more than once.  Continental Airlines, now part of United, went through this cycle twice in the 1990’s, and all the other legacies United, US Airways, Delta, and Northwest, now part of Delta, all went through this same process in the last decade. Some have suggested that AMR made a mistake of not going through this process when all of their competitors did.

CNBC AMR

During the chapter 11 bankruptcy protection it is easier for airlines to cancel leases and renegotiate other contracts. Quite a few of the other airlines dumped their pension liabilities to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation during their restructuring.

American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping Mall Holiday Bonus – 500 Miles for $500 Spent or 1000 Miles for $1000 Spend

It is the time of the year again when quite a few of the airline associated online malls are offering double miles and/or bonuses based on dollar amount spend. Just received an email from American Airlines where they are offering 500 bonus miles for total purchases of $500 to $999.99, or 1000 miles for total purchases exceeding $1000. The link for this offer is https://www.aadvantageeshopping.com/HolidayConfirmationInterstitial2.aspx.

American Airlines Eshopping Holiday Special

Some of the retailers are also offering double the number of usual miles. When I am making online purchases, I normally check what is the straight cash back rebate using EBates, Fatwallet Cash back, or BigCrumbs and then compare it to the airline malls. During the holidays and when the airline malls are offering threshold bonuses they are typically a better deal.   

Transferring American Airlines Or Virgin Atlantic Miles To Hilton HHonors Points.

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Hilton HHonors participating Airline PartnersIt is always good to have the possibility to transfer miles and points between programs. If you happen to need some (or even a lot) Hilton HHonors points, you can currently transfer in from number of programs including American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. Most of the programs have transfer ratio of 5000 points/miles into 10000 Hilton HHonors points. The only two programs where this 1 mile/points to 2 HHonors doesn’t apply are American Airlines and CSA. With American, CSA, and Icelandair the transfer can be completed online. Others must be called in.

American Airlines Offering Double Elite Qualifying And Redeemable Miles!

American Airlines AAdvantage Double Elite Qualifying Miles EmailAmerican Airlines just announced that they are offering double elite qualifying and redeemable miles between Chicago (ORD) or Dallas (DFW) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO). This promotion is valid for AAdvantage members whose address on file with AA is in California, Illinois, or Texas. The promotion period is surprisingly long from yesterday until the end of March 2012.

Apparently AA is trying hard to fight against Virgin America that has started to operate somewhat schedule on these routes, although the main competitor remains to be United.

Reduced American Airlines AAdvantage Business and Economy Class Awards on Japan Airlines Between Vancouver-Narita and San Francisco-Haneda.

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Now members of American Airlines AAdvantage program can travel between San Francisco and Tokyo Haneda, the more convenient airport to Tokyo, or Vancouver-Narita using up to 50% fewer miles in business class than without this award special.

American Airlines AAdvantage Award Travel Special On Japan Airlines San Francisco Tokyo HanedaThe number of required miles to travel in business is 50000 miles and in economy 30000. You can also mix business and economy class. These awards are valid only on JL (Japan Airlines) operated non-stop flights and only between these cities.

American Airlines AAdvantage Members Can Now Redeem on Etihad.

Passengers flying on Etihad (EY), the national airline of United Arab Emirates based in Abu Dhabi, have already been able to credit their flights to American Airlines AAdvantage program, with few exclusions, for some time.  Etihad flights booked on American Airlines flight numbers are also eligible for EQM’s and extra RDM’s. Flights booked entirely on Etihad flight numbers are not eligible for EQM’s.

American Airlines Etihad Earnings StructureNow, passengers are also able to redeem their American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier miles on Etihad and vice versa.

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