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Old Aug 5, 11, 9:39 pm   #1
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creative use of BA miles for Alaskan trip

I'm thinking of using BA miles for an Alaskan trip from the "Lower 48." And since I've been to Alaska before, I'm thinking of a "creative" trip -- fully taking advantage of BA's unlimited stopover rule. Other than availability, would there be anything stoping me from flying to Seattle, hopscotching southeast Alaska, stopping in Anchorage, and winding up in Nome? It would be pretty much a "straight line" from Seattle to Nome. And I'm assuming a one-way trip from the Lower 48 to Alaska would only be 12,500 miles.

I'd obviously want to sketch out an itinerary before I called BA rez. When I use AA miles to fly Alaska, I go to the Alaskaair.com website and check award availabiity. If the lowest tier is available on that site, it is available from AA. Would the same thing be true for BA?

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old Aug 5, 11, 10:12 pm   #2
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BA does not really allow unlimited stopovers, rather it is stopovers at Natural Connection Points to your final destination.

How does it define "Natural Connection Points" seems to be the hubs en-route in AA's domestic redemption.

Not sure if there is direct flight from SEA to ANC, BA would allow you to connect at, say, Juneau. You would have to call BA to find out as I doubt the BA board would have folks redeem such an Alaska trip.

Yes, it is the Saver tier availability you go by.
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Old Aug 5, 11, 10:44 pm   #3
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But what is a "natural connection point"? Unless you want to say Alaska Air has a hub in Anchorage, flying a straight line from Nome to Seattle would seem a "natural" routing -- unless, of course, there is a limit on stopovers if an "easier" routing is available!

I have little doubt that this is an extremely unusual use of BA miles - but a potentially good one!

BTW, one fly in the ointment might be getting to SEA from elsewhere in the lower 48 on Alaska Air. Their inventory looks very stingy for summer travel on their longer haul flights. It looks quite good for Alaska and West Coast segments.
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Old Aug 6, 11, 6:27 am   #4
 
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If the itinerary falls under the MPM for the city pair, then by all means go for it! Alaska redemptions are one of my favourite because revenue fares are so high yet their award availability is very generous.
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Old Aug 6, 11, 3:15 pm   #5
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duplicate

Last edited by Happy; Aug 6, 11 at 7:27 pm.
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Old Aug 6, 11, 3:19 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
But what is a "natural connection point"? Unless you want to say Alaska Air has a hub in Anchorage, flying a straight line from Nome to Seattle would seem a "natural" routing -- unless, of course, there is a limit on stopovers if an "easier" routing is available!

I have little doubt that this is an extremely unusual use of BA miles - but a potentially good one!

BTW, one fly in the ointment might be getting to SEA from elsewhere in the lower 48 on Alaska Air. Their inventory looks very stingy for summer travel on their longer haul flights. It looks quite good for Alaska and West Coast segments.
The only way to find out is to call BAEC. There is no point to discuss here because none of us really knows - neither you say or I say or anybody says, is relevant - unless someone actually booked such itinerary successfully posts his experiences, there is no way to know would such itinerary be allowed. Good luck for waiting for posts.

On the other hand I have read posts about being shot down on certain AA domestic routing and the reason cited is the passengers can do the stopovers at the hubs, but not at random points, even though it is roughly the same direction traveling, especially if the A and C has direct flights and the passenger wants to insert a B in between ... No, it is not allowed.

After the feeding frenzy of current 50% redemption cost sale post August 12, call BAEC to find out and please report back here on what BAEC tells you. Better, if it allows you to actually ticket it.

Last edited by Happy; Aug 6, 11 at 7:36 pm.
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Old Aug 6, 11, 5:33 pm   #7
 
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Not that stingy, I see quite a bit of availability for Aug on SEA-ANC, ANC-ADK, ANC-OME, ANC-BRW etc.
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Old Aug 6, 11, 7:30 pm   #8
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Originally Posted by belfordrocks View Post
Not that stingy, I see quite a bit of availability for Aug on SEA-ANC, ANC-ADK, ANC-OME, ANC-BRW etc.
OP is talking about from lower 48 to SEA, the longer haul flights. He reported it was actually quite good for Alaska and West Coast segments.

Of course the longer haul would be stingy in Summer season - lots of such awards are taken months ago by folks going on an Alaska cruise.
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Old Aug 6, 11, 8:03 pm   #9
 
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Here's an Alaskan! You have only one "natural connection" between Seattle and Anchorage and that's Juneau. Anchorage is a "natural connection" for Nome from either Seattle or Juneau. You're right that there seems to be decent availability until early September. Hmmm. I couldn't get an F seat to Seattle in late January recently!

Given the 12.5K cost, it might be worthwhile to use individual segments (using a "natural connection" for each one to double the value) to get what you want. Intrastate flights are expensive up here! However, we also have some small regional airlines that offer some decent fares.

However, I think the original advice is best - call the desk. You can work out the perfect trip only to have all those hours wasted!

Hope you make it up - given the curret weather we should have a beautiful early Autumn!
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Old Sep 21, 11, 2:11 pm   #10
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Just wanted to give you guys an update on this: it works!

I mapped out a hopscotch itinerary from the lower 48 to Nome on Alaska Air, using their website to find availability (you need Alaska's lowest mileage seats to be available). I called BA rez, gave them the flights and no problem -- I got a very efficient agent. I wasn't even charged a telephone booking fee, just $2.50 per flight per person + 12,500 miles per person (one way USA award).
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Old Sep 21, 11, 3:44 pm   #11
 
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can you share what you were able to book?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Just wanted to give you guys an update on this: it works!

I mapped out a hopscotch itinerary from the lower 48 to Nome on Alaska Air, using their website to find availability (you need Alaska's lowest mileage seats to be available). I called BA rez, gave them the flights and no problem -- I got a very efficient agent. I wasn't even charged a telephone booking fee, just $2.50 per flight per person + 12,500 miles per person (one way USA award).
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Old Sep 21, 11, 3:55 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephem View Post
can you share what you were able to book?
Quote:
Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Just wanted to give you guys an update on this: it works!

I mapped out a hopscotch itinerary from the lower 48 to Nome on Alaska Air, using their website to find availability (you need Alaska's lowest mileage seats to be available). I called BA rez, gave them the flights and no problem -- I got a very efficient agent. I wasn't even charged a telephone booking fee, just $2.50 per flight per person + 12,500 miles per person (one way USA award).
Indeed! Please share the routing.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 6:37 pm   #13
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PHX-SEA-SIT-JNU-ANC-OME. I'm just connecting in SEA.

I suspect I could have thrown in another city as well, if I wanted to. But I think a lot depends on the agent you get.

BTW, this won't work from the East Coast of the USA in summer, because Alaska does not load any standard award availability for the summer from DEN East (as best I could tell). Everything out West, including Alaska cities, are easy to find inventory, at least this far in advance for next summer.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 9:12 pm   #14
 
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Fantastic! Thanks for posting your success. I can buy a cheap transcon from BOS and get an award for the Alaska segments.
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Old Sep 21, 11, 9:56 pm   #15
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SIT and JNU and in particular JNU, are port of calls of all Alaska cruises.

Better hope you do not visit them on the same days as tens of thousands of cruisers.

Skagway would be more interesting as you could drive to Whitehorse, Canada. The route is quite interesting, 2 mountain passes before the Canadian border. Then some really scenic drive with pretty lakes and nice Fall foliage (or green in Summer), plus passing the world's smallest high dessert...

JNU down town area now is pretty cheesy, overrun by all the shops such as you would see in St. Thomas... (Diamond International and the like, )

ANC is boring if just in the city. Of course you could do side trips to NPs but have to return back to ANC. Be prepare to pay an arm and a leg for rental car in Summer though.

If I go, I would pick KDK and BRW, which I assume is the most northern town commercial flight can go?

KDK is expensive to visit and only high end, small cruise ships would call on the islands. BRW is just for the sake of it.

Last edited by Happy; Sep 21, 11 at 10:12 pm.
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