Hotlinked is a post from March where I outlined some of the bush flight considerations we worked through to find a transporter once we are on Kodiak Island…still gotta get there though.

Enter, Alaskan Air (earlier post I did regarding Alaska Airlines). Had I known a few key facts beforehand, the deals I’m about to tell you about could have been even better! But I’m not complaining.

I have some hard numbers to report on savings. I booked one-way tickets for dad and I out of Raleigh-Durham clear through to Kodiak Airport using miles. I got my credit card back in February, paid off a balance through June (4 months worth) and cashed out all my miles (38,000 and change) + purchased an additional 2K miles to cover the difference. 2 one-way tickets with additional trip protection added on cost me a total of $102.33. Best price I could find without using any benefits or discounts was $959.60.

Returning from Kodiak to Raleigh-Durham, I burned my companion fare which meant after purchasing a full rate fare, I was able to purchase the second ticket for $99 + fees/taxes. Adding on trip protection again (not something I normally do, but decided it would be wise considering the unpredictable nature of Alaska’s elements), the return leg of the trip cost $660.48, down from the full retail price of $994.94.

For tickets bought under an Alaskan Air account, they tack on a free 1st bag/passenger for each one-way leg ($25/bag normally), so there’s an additional $100 in savings.

So, all told, we each saved $428.64/departing flight + $167.23/return flight + $50/baggage fees for a Hamilton-short of grand total $1,300 savings. Basically unbelievable.

Things I wish I knew beforehand (because believe it or not, I did not manage to wring every last drop of savings out of the amazing Alaskan Air program)

1) There are a fixed number of “miles” seats on any given flight and when they are gone they are gone. As flights zero out their “miles” seats allotment, it becomes tougher and tougher to pin down your optimal itinerary if you are determined to use your card benefits.

2) If a flight has 10 “miles” seats, they start cheap (for instance, one-way trip from Raleigh-Durham started at 12,500 miles when they were first posted) and escalate in cost as supply is reduced (they were 20,000 miles/one-way ticket when I secured them). Classic economics, could have saved me 15,000 miles overall if I’d have jumped at them when I first started researching.

Alaskan Air, I rest my case.