How Can You Use Chase Points to Travel to Alaska?

Reader l.C asks,

I need to fly 3 people to Alaska using those Chase points. What is the best and most efficient way to do this. I have Alaska, but not Korean airlines, account.

Certainly Alaska Airlines has the most flights. And Korean’s award chart for travel on Alasks is very reasonable.

To say whether or not Alaska is best option I’d need to know this readers starting city and of course travel dates to know if award space is available.

Unfortunately Korean Airlines is offline as a Chase transfer partner (though should come back, although I do not know exactly when) which means to ticket right away the partner to use would be British Airways which charges for awards based on distance and charges separately for each flight segment.

You need to find seats with the lowest level of award space on Alaska in order to use a partner’s points. The simple way to be extra sure that the search for awards is returning only eligible seats would be to use the American Airlines website. American is also a partner of Alaska, and shows eligible award space on its website.

Then you’d call British Airways and ask for the specific flights found. Alaska award flights do not appear on the British Airways website. Points transfer from Chase to British Airways instantly. So the simple and safe way to set this up is to call BA, have them find the space and create the reservation, and then when everything is good to go head over to the Chase website and make the points transfer in real-time. The agent should be able to then see the points in your account and issue tickets.

If you have American Express points, it may be better to use Amex points right now for Alaska flights.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Well, given how I use miles, this is in my wheelhouse – I monitor availability with some regularity.

    I’ve gone to Alaska from the east coast on miles perhaps 5 times over the past 8 years – every time 2 pax in F and in the summer. It requires some planning. Award seat is quite odd, and even with a given carrier, I have detected few trends identifying when award seat availability opens.

    DL, which is OK for KE miles, has seemed to be surprisingly good close in – they seem to view empty seats the same way grocery stores view bananas – perishable inventory, and I think 90% of Alaska leisure travelers (read old people whose schedules are predictable) make their plans at least 60 days in advance, so DL might identify distressed inventory in Alaska summer markets with relative confidence. On one Alaska trip, my work schedule opened up just about the same time my chest freezer was running low on halibut, and DL had quite good close in availability.

    16 months ago, UA was generous 330 days out – my DCA-EWR-ANC-EWR-DCA this past August was cake well in advance, but I have not detected meaningful availbility even in Y this season. So, any *Allaince partners are poor candidates. (I do note that I reserved 2 F reward seats and they were looking for volunteers to reroute on the EWR-ANC leg – persuading relatively well-heeled, older, Alaska tourist passengers to alter their plans must be brutal – a complete “fail” in yield management).

    AA, sometimes in conjunction with AS (with AS on west coast routes) has completely opened up in the past 30 days or so – Avios are an option for Chase points, but it will get spendy given the distances involved. But just now, availability is good, although “I.C” may have to send his three pax on separate itineraries.

    AS using Avios may have some promise from the west coast, but their high season transcons can be brutal to get, and then, an expensive Avios redemption. DCA is all but impossible. New AS markets are promising when they open – BWI was easy for a couple of weeks when the BWI-SEA schedule opened up, but no longer.

    BUT, intra-Alaska, where distances are “shorter” (no distance in Alaska is short), Avios might be very helpful. I actually used LAN’s kms last summer, but could have used Avios for an ANC-JNU day trip. With Avios permitting one ways, and intrastate routes on AS having good availability, Avios can be quite helpfil within Alaska.

  2. Don’t neglect UA. Their award chart treats Alaska just like the rest of mainland US and Canada – 12.5K one-way economy awards, 25K one-way in domestic first.

  3. @Gary. True enough. Even so, I don’t need ten flights a day to get me from ORD to ANC – my body is still mostly in one piece, and it fits comfortably enough into one airframe. So long as there is a reward seat (or 3, in I.C.’s case) on a reasonable itinerary, that should do the trick.

  4. A little off topic, but if I have a freedom card right now and start to accumulate a rebate in bonus categories for Jan – March, and then say, in March, apply for and receive a Sapphire card (I don’t want to get it now as I am working on two minimum spends for the Chase BA cards), will I still be able to transfer my previously earned Chase Freedom Rebates to a card I received after I earned my Chase Freedom points (i.e., the Sapphire)? Thanks

  5. As I noted in a comment some months back, KE’s ability to book awards on Alaska has been horribly broken for a Very Long Time. Worse, they know this & have done nothing. Unless there are recent reports of improvements in this respect, people should forget about booking Alaska awards using KE miles.

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