Living in San Diego, my favorite airline to fly is easily Alaska Airlines. I know it’s a fairly West Coast airline but my experience with Alaska has always been top notch. I also don’t hold any type of status with Alaska so I don’t get any perks as a road warrior. So why the love? 2 main reasons and they both have to do with their rewards program.
First, I love Alaska’s reward redemption rules. A really neat feature is that Alaska allows stopovers on one way fares. For those who love to travel internationally, this could be huge. For the price of one ticket, you could visit two cities and potentially three different cities on one round trip awards ticket. I think that’s phenomenal especially since many airlines don’t allow stopovers at all.
However, more importantly, I love Alaska’s earning and redemption values. Alaska is one of the few airlines who hasn’t gone toward a fare based rewards system. It’s based on miles flown. Although I would advise everyone to join loyalty programs, I always thought it was nice to earn miles for a chance to redeem them for something that would typically be out of my price range while still shopping around to get the lowest price. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the more you pay, the more you get. But if we’re trying to be cost conscious, it is nice to know that you can earn a substantial number of miles for the distance and not the price paid. However, you can earn bonus points fairly easily when flying on their many partners.
Their redemption rates with their partners is also great. Although some would argue that it’s highly devalued, that makes for some really sweet spots to take advantage of some great premium cabins.
So these are the two main reasons I love transferring most of my points to Alaska whenever I can. Of course this doesn’t even mention all the staff I’ve encountered who have been beyond helpful (especially when calling to make a travel arrangement). If you’re looking for an easy to understand rewards chart with easy to accrue miles, Alaska just might be the right one for you.