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In one simple word…points. In 2016 I hit AA’s top tier status, Executive Platinum. Well, it was the highest published at the time – nowadays, Concierge Key is top tier, but I was operating under cognitive dissonance then that I was, in fact, top tier 😉 When AA gutted their program, turned it Revenue based, I looked elsewhere. Of the big three, these days, I tend to think United offers the best perks for their 1ks when compared to Executive Platinum, but that’s for another post. I knew I wanted to get the best earn for my time in the air, and I status matched to Alaska’s Top Tier, MVPG75. What I didn’t know at the time, was that Alaska would introduce some absolutely incredible earn rates on their partners. Specifically, British Airways, and as a result, I’ve consistently opted to fly their inferior business class to earn a ton more miles.
Here’s a look at Alaska’s current earn rate for British Airways flights.
Since I have MVPG75, I earn an additional 125% on top of the rates below.
In discount biz this equates to 375% earn rate for me. If I get rescheduled, I’ll hit 475%. Those are unbeatable earn rates.
I position myself for better prices
I’ve written in the past about how British Airways often prices their flights originating from mainland Europe far cheaper than those out of London. Often times in the $1500-$1700 range, vs $4000+ out of London. So when I’m in England, which I am several times a year, I hop on a little positioning flight and earn some extra miles. I’d had several instances where my flight has been cancelled, or changed, resulting in me changing my flight to one that works better for me…those price as full fare J tickets. On most roundtrips, I’m earning somewhere between 40k and 50k miles. Since you can often buy Alaska Miles for 2 cents, if we used that same valuation, I’m getting back somewhere in the range of $800 to $1000 in points, which almost cover a one way flight to Europe in biz. You can do the math – it’s an outstanding deal.
Currently, there are dates where you can just go to Edinburgh or Glasgow and price between $1500 and $2k in biz to select US cities. That’s almost equidistant to London if you live in the north.
Routes also open up whereby I can upgrade into First Class with points.
Like I did from Chicago to London on the 747 for just 20k points.
Earning credit card points on top of it
What’s better yet, if I use my Amex Platinum to buy the tickets from an airline directly or via Amex Travel, I’m earning somewhere between 7500 and 10k Amex points as well. That reduces the out of pocket cost even more.
This won’t last forever, and when the promotion finally ends, I’ll reassess. But for the time being, I’m perfectly happy to earn a lot of Miles while still flying flat, albeit in inferior seat to say AA.
On a lot of the routes, one of the options is to fly on American’s planes between the US and Europe for the same price.
I love Alaska Miles because they put me in products like Cathay First Class. Just 70k miles between the US and Asia.