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Take advantage of Award Sweet Spots
Alaska has one of the best award charts out there, and they often put their miles on sale. Currently, they’re offering a 40% bonus on purchased miles, and I thought this would be the perfect example to illustrate how buying points can make a ton of sense. Flying between Australia and Asia is a VERY long flight, longer than most routes between the U.S. and Europe, coming in between 8-10 hours depending on where you depart. If you utilize their award chart properly, you can fly business class for just 30,000 miles. Currently, Alaska is selling their miles for just 2.1 cents – meaning you can fly from Australia to Asia for a little over $600 just by buying the points you need. Let’s take a look.
Here is Alaska’s chart for flights between Australia and Asia
It will only set you back an extra 7500 miles to bump up from coach to biz. Incredible value.
How do you find Cathay Space? You search using British Airways, Qantas, or Cathay
Cathay is rather stingy with releasing award seats in “prime time,” and abide by a pattern. They release quite a few seats when the schedule loads ( think 11 months out ) and then they start releasing seats again roughly 14 days in advance. I’ve found they release 14, 10, and 3 days out…sometimes even the night before.
Here’s space found using British Airways from Brisbane ( in a couple of weeks) and Melbourne next year.
Flights feature a reverse herringbone business class that gives great privacy and comfort, similar to what’s seen below.
Using Momondo…the best deal was $3k for the same ticket.
- 10k Miles gets a 20% bonus
- 20k Miles gets a 30% bonus
- 40k+ gets a 40% bonus
How I’m making use of this.
I need flights back from Australia. Alaska doesn’t permit mixing partners, unless the mix is partner + alaska/virgin. I was uber lucky and found 2 seats in Qantas First for the outbound flights to Australia, but there isn’t anything direct on the inbound. One way you can route is via Hong Kong. AA, surprisingly, has released quite a bit of avail from HKG to LAX, but alas, as I mentioned, I can’t mix Cathay and AA with Alaska miles. Here’s how I’m strategizing:
I’d like to fly from AUS-HKG-USA – if I did that all on Cathay Metal it would only cost me 60k in Biz and 80k in First. Great deal. However, the avail isn’t there all the way through.
My back up plan. Use 70k to lock in the flights from HKG to LAX on AA, and then use the aforementioned AUS-ASIA sweet spot to fly Cathay Biz for just 30k. That’s a 100k. I’m hoping that Cathay avail will release avail from HKG to USA, and I can change the itinerary to fly Cathay metal and save 20k or 40k points a ticket ( 60k and 80k are biz rates from AUS to USA). Worst case…100k for business class from Australia to USA with a stopover in HKG and we get to try out AA’s 77W with pajamas 🙂
Go here if you’re interested in buying points. Fingers crossed Cathay First opens up. Just 80k from AUS to USA
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