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Does Alaska and AA offer the best awards?

Does Alaska and AA offer the best awards?

Old Jun 10, 19, 7:01 pm
  #1  
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Does Alaska and AA offer the best awards?

I am consistently seeing great award prices as well as availability with Alaska and some with AA.
Alaska in particular, has bargain awards, but it appears to be impossible to get them without having actual Alaska miles, or transferring through a 3rd party, which greatly devalues the points/miles transferred.

Is this is it, or are there other ways to get Alaska awards?
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Old Jun 10, 19, 8:19 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by uela View Post
I am consistently seeing great award prices as well as availability with Alaska and some with AA.
Alaska in particular, has bargain awards, but it appears to be impossible to get them without having actual Alaska miles, or transferring through a 3rd party, which greatly devalues the points/miles transferred.

Is this is it, or are there other ways to get Alaska awards?
What is your criteria for best?

Questions about AS ffp are best asked in the AS forum

There are threads in the AS forum and people joining the AS ffp, transferring credit card points, booking high value premium awards and then having issues (having never flown AS). Major issues.

From where are you wanting to travel to, on awards?
Each ffp has its own ff mile cost for awards, that is nothing to do with other ffp's or the airline travelling on

OP other recent threads:-
The grass in not always greener on the other side

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jun 10, 19 at 8:37 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Jun 10, 19, 8:35 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by uela View Post
Is this is it, or are there other ways to get Alaska awards?
Well, you could fly Alaska or some of its partners to accrue miles (like Qantas where cheap fares accrue 100% based on distance plus your Alaska elite bonus), get an Alaska credit card with 40,000 bonus miles, or just buy the miles during one of their mileage sales (though without elite status you're limited to 150,000 miles per year).
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Old Jun 11, 19, 7:11 am
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Originally Posted by uela View Post
transferring through a 3rd party, which greatly devalues the points/miles transferred.
Points and miles don't have the same value, just as with currency. For example would you rather have 1,000 US dollars or 1,000 Cambodian riel? AS and AA are transfer partners from Marriott, where if you transfer in 60,000 blocks, you receive 25,000 airline miles. That isn't really a devaluation as those airline miles will potentially provide greater utility than the equivalent Marriott points for most people (assuming that you're not spending the 25K miles on a poor-value redemption or something). There may be some other options to transfer in to AA or AS that would be a poor value, but at least with Marriott, it's definitely a viable option.

The question of which is "best" can't really be answered in a vacuum. You will want to consider ability to earn/acquire the miles, redemption rates for routes you actually want to fly on, and award seat availability. Like anything in life, there are tradeoffs among those 3 basic categories. For exploring redemption rates and availability, these two sites are excellent:

https://www.awardhacker.com/

https://awardnexus.com/user/login?url=%2F

I've realized great value from AS and AA miles...but also from many other programs. And I've also been frustrated with all of the programs at one time or another. It's good to have some diversification in the miles/points you hold as that provides flexibility when you run into award seat availability problems and lets you leverage sweet spots for the different programs. But of course you also need to accrue enough miles/points to be usable - so it's a balance.
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Old Jun 11, 19, 4:30 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by uela View Post
I am consistently seeing great award prices as well as availability with Alaska and some with AA.
Alaska in particular, has bargain awards, but it appears to be impossible to get them without having actual Alaska miles, or transferring through a 3rd party, which greatly devalues the points/miles transferred.
Have you ever considered that those two things may be linked? Maybe it's the "too easy" availability of miles with other airlines that makes the awards at those airlines "instantly" disappear? Remember, you're not the only one trying to redeem, so if it's "too easy" for lots of other people too, they'll often grab the awards before you can.

The hotel program Best Western seems to realize this. It has for the past year had redemption "sales" in winter where all hotels are 10k points per night, but it non-coincidentally takes away the ability to buy points during and near this time, so that these deals are there only for people who were already"committed" to collecting Best Western points before these sales happened. I bet if people start buying Best Western points in droves hoping for this sale to repeat, then Best Western may see that behavior and because of that not repeat the sale!
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Old Jun 17, 19, 3:58 pm
  #6  
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American Airlines is turning the corner and offering award travel that will be “priced” dynamically (variably, depending on revenue demand,) in the near future, for its MileSAAver awards as it has been doing on its multi-tiered AAnytime awards. Dynamic Award Pricing to Expand, AA announces 30 May 2019

Personally, at this time I’d not recommend starting with the AA Advantage program. You can earn AA miles quite easily, but they’re no longer easy to use economically. MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity discussion
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