One of the best things about the American Airlines’ pre-devaluation award chart was the ability to book off-peak saver awards to Europe for just 40,000 miles roundtrip. These prices were valid October 15 – May 5 and those who had a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard or Barclay Aviator Red Card were able to get another 10% discount on these awards (up to 10,000 miles per year), bringing the cost down to 36,000 miles roundtrip. With the AAdvantage award program changes that went into effect on March 22, 2016, the rates for off-peak awards to Europe increased to 45,000 miles roundtrip (40,500 miles for AAdvantage credit cardholders). However, Alaska Airlines is still offering off-peak American Airlines awards to Europe for just 20,000 miles each way.
These off-peak awards, priced at 20,000 miles one way, are valid for travel on American Airlines between October 15 – May 15. Normally, Alaska charges 30,000 miles one-way for economy class awards to Europe. Alaska Mileage Plan miles are arguably more valuable than American AAdvantage miles, since the former does not impose close-in booking fees, has lower redemption rates for several sought-after premium award flights, and allows free stopovers on one-way flights. Thus, some people might want to save their Alaska miles for a trip to Asia on Cathay Pacific First Class or hop over to Japan or Australia in a JAL Skysuite.
Redeeming 40,000 Alaska miles for a roundtrip off-peak award to Europe is really best for those who have maxed out the annual 10% rebate on their American Airlines credit card, don’t mind redeeming Alaska miles for non-premium awards, and either don’t have enough AAdvantage miles or are able to put them to better use.
At the moment, it’s much easier to accrue American Airlines AAdvantage miles than it is to earn Alaska miles, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to redeem Alaska miles for an off-peak economy award to Europe. The sign-up bonus on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card is just 30,000 miles after $1,000 spent within 90 days while the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is offering 50,000 miles after $3,000 spent within 3 months. The non-bonus category earning rate is the same on both cards and both programs are Starwood Preferred Guest transfer partners. For manufactured spenders, its really a matter of redemption preferences and determining what these miles are worth.
In any case, I realized a few people I know in the points and miles community weren’t aware Alaska was offering the same off-peak prices on flights to Europe as American Airlines was before the devaluation, so I thought it was worth mentioning. It’s really only 500 miles cheaper than an AAdvantage award with a co-branded credit card or 5,000 miles cheaper if the 10% redemption rebate has been maxed out, but you might appreciate it based on your redemption preferences.
I’d love to get your take on this: Would you redeem 40,000 Alaska miles for a roundtrip off-peak award flight to Europe? Which miles do you value higher and how do you generally prefer to use them?
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