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ALASKA AIRLINES MILEAGE PLAN

credit cards free checked bag
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Which Credit Cards Require You to Pay with Them for Free Checked Bags?

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By: Anya Kartashova

With the introduction of bare-bones basic economy fares, panic has settled in among the traveling masses. Most budget fares do not offer a seat selection and make you board the aircraft last, which oftentimes leaves you with no room for luggage in the overhead bin. Your options are to place the bag underneath the seat in front of you or, if it’s too big, you’re forced to check it, which doesn’t come cheap.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid paying for a checked bag. Being an elite flyer is one of them. Flying in a premium cabin is another.

An alternative option?

Holding a co-branded credit card from an airline of your choice.

Typical perks include boarding a plane in an early group to get access to the oh-so-limited overhead space, yes, but also being able to check a bag at no extra cost. The benefit often even covers your travel companions.

So, which credit cards allow you to check a bag for free? And, more importantly, which credit cards require you to pay for the ticket with them to receive the benefit?


Alaska Airlines

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card

With the Bank of America Alaska card, you and up to six travel companions are able to save on baggage fees. Most domestic airlines have increased their bag fees from $25 to $30 for the first checked bag, but Alaska still charges $25. Your group can save up to $350 per round-trip reservation provided that everyone in the party checks a bag each way.

 Alaska Airlines - book ticket using credit card to get free baggage fee

When you book, simply make sure you attach your Mileage Plan number at the time of booking.

You’re not required to pay for the reservation with the Alaska co-branded credit card for the benefit to apply — this is key since cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred provide trip delay coverage.

When you book, simply make sure you attach your Mileage Plan number at the time of booking. It takes about two to three weeks for the perk to activate once you open the card.

Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card from Bank of America

Same benefit as on the personal Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card Earn 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days

American Airlines

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard

Holding the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard will allow you and up to four travel companions booked on the same reservation to check the first bag for free on domestic flights operated by American Airlines and its regional subsidiaries, such as American Eagle, Compass Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, etc.

credit card to get free checked bag

Keep in mind that flights to the Caribbean don’t count as domestic, and you’ll be on the hook for a bag fee even if you’re a credit cardholder. Been there, done that.

American Airlines charges $30 for the first checked bag (for tickets issued after Sept. 21, 2018), so you’re looking at potentially saving $60 per person on a round-trip flight. If all four of your travel companions check a bag, you’ll save the group $300 on your entire trip.

The benefit applies to award travel as well. Not bad for a card that costs $99 annually (waived for the first year).

You don’t have to pay for the flights with your Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card, but the account must be open at least seven days before travel date.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard has a similar baggage perk, except now you and eight of your companions are covered on the same trip as long as all of you were booked together. In this scenario, your Brady Bunch can save up to $540 on each round-trip.

Keep in mind that this premium credit card has a high annual fee of $450, but it more than makes up for it in other benefits, such as Admirals Club access and Global Entry / TSA Precheck enrollment fee. Continue Reading

Ways to fly to Hong Kong with miles - Cathay Pacific First Class
Best Ways, Blog

Best Ways to Fly to Hong Kong With Miles

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By: Caroline Lupini

Hong Kong is a super accessible city to visit since English is one of its official languages.  Even better, you can often find award space from the U.S.

If a trip to Hong Kong is on your to-do list, check out the best ways to get there with points and miles!

Content

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

United Airlines Mileage Plus

Delta SkyMiles

American AAdvantage

ANA (All Nippon Airways) Mileage Club

Final Thoughts


Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

One of the best ways to fly to Hong Kong is with Alaska Mileage Plan thanks to is partnership with Cathay Pacific, which has nonstop flights to Hong Kong from Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York–JFK (JFK), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), and Washington–Dulles (IAD). It also partners with American Airlines, which has nonstop flights from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Los Angeles (LAX).

You can also use Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book connecting flights to Hong Kong on Korean Air, Emirates (super pricey though), Finnair, Hainan and Japan Airlines.

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If you’re wanting to travel to the Maldives, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to get there.
Best Ways, Blog

Best Ways to Fly to the Maldives Using Points and Miles

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By: Travis Cormier

The Maldives is considered one of the most luxurious island destinations you can visit on earth. Seclusion, luxury and the gorgeous Instagram-worthy scenes attract people from around the world to this island nation.

Getting to the Maldives is no small feat, though. From my hometown of Houston, the Maldives islands are nearly 10,000 miles away. With that in mind, you should anticipate the trip taking at least 24 hours (trust me, it is worth it).

You won’t find any non-stop routes from the U.S. to the Maldives but there are a number of options that connect in Asia and the Middle East

Let’s explore some of the best ways to use miles and points to use to fly to the Maldives.

If you’re wanting to travel to the Maldives, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to get there.

If you’re wanting to travel to the Maldives, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to get there.

  1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  2. American Airlines AAdvantage
  3. Air Canada Aeroplan
  4. All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
  5. Japan Airlines 

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

If you’re wanting to travel to the Maldives, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to get there. Alaska has different award charts for different partners, so what airline you fly on will impact the amount of points you pay.

Keep in mind, with an Alaska Airlines award ticket you can only fly on Alaska Airlines flights and the one partner airline you have chosen. You cannot mix and match partners. Because of this, you may have to use a positioning flight in addition to your award ticket.

Economy Flights on Emirates

For flyers in an economy, you’ll want to use Alaska Mileage Plan to fly on Emirates. This will cost 42,500 miles each way, or 85,000 miles round-trip per person. Taxes and fees are quite low as well, starting at $25 one-way from the U.S. to the Maldives, and $92 on the return flight.

travel maldives with points and miles

Emirates flies from a number of US cities. If you can’t find availability from your hometown, try searching from these cities to the Maldives (MLE).

Boston (BOS) New York (JFK)
Chicago (ORD) Newark (EWR)
Dallas (DFW) Orlando (MCO
Ft Lauderdale (FLL) San Francisco (SFO
Houston (IAH) Seattle (SEA)
Los Angeles (LAX) Washington DC (IAD)

Emirates usually has pretty good award availability for economy class, so you shouldn’t have too big of an issue finding flights.

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best ways to get to japan with miles
Best Ways, Blog

Best Ways to Get to Japan With Miles

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Caroline Lupini

Going to Japan is a dream trip for many. The big cities, great food, natural beauty, and the koi ponds are enough to mesmerize even the most well-traveled of people.

But getting there isn’t cheap—especially if you want to fly up front. Economy tickets are often over $1,000, and business class starts at somewhere around $2,500 at any given time. Don’t even get us started on first class tickets.

Fear not! It’s actually very easy to get to Japan with points and miles. A ton of different airlines fly from major U.S. cities to Tokyo (and beyond), and you can use a number of different airline programs to book award flights.

Best Ways to Get to Japan with Points and Miles

Today we will look at 6 ways to get to Japan using points/miles

Here are six of the best ways to fly to Japan using points and miles.

  1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  2. Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank
  3. All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
  4. Air Canada Aeroplan
  5. United Airlines MileagePlus
  6. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

One of my favorite ways to book flights to Japan is with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles thanks to a few partners.

Alaska Airlines has a different award chart for each airline, and you can’t mix flights on different partners for the same award redemption. However, one-way award flights are allowed and you can include a stopover.

Here’s the one way award prices for both airlines:

AirlineEconomyBusiness ClassFirst Class
Japan Airlines42,500 Alaska miles55,000 Alaska miles70,000 Alaska miles
American Airlines40,000 Alaska miles80,000 Alaska miles110,000 Alaska miles
Alaska Air Mileage Plan | Best Ways to Get to Japan with Points and Miles

You may find yourself connecting on an Alaska Airlines flight to get to your Japan Airlines departure city or connecting on Alaska or American to pick up your American Airlines long-haul flight.

Connecting flights on Alaska Airlines can be tagged onto an award ticket, but that’s it. You may find yourself connecting on an Alaska Airlines flight to get to your Japan Airlines departure city or connecting on Alaska or American to pick up your American Airlines long-haul flight.

Remember, you can only include one partner on award bookings so you can’t include a domestic connection on American Airlines if you have a flight on Japan Airlines.

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australia new zealand points miles
Best Ways, Blog

Best Ways To Fly To Australia and New Zealand Using Points/Miles

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Caroline Lupini

Getting to Australia or New Zealand can be one of the more difficult redemptions to put together. Not only do you need to amass a huge number of miles to get to the region, but you also need to find award space which can be tough.

But, fear not. In this article, we’ll show you seven different programs that can help you get to Australia and New Zealand with points and miles. Armed with this information, you’ll have a better chance of finding the award availability you need.

  1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  2. ANA Mileage Club
  3. Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
  4. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  5. Air Canada Aeroplan
  6. United Airlines MileagePlus
  7. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Let’s get started!

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

One of the best ways to fly to Australia with points is using Alaska Mileage Plan miles. Though Alaska doesn’t actually fly to Australia or New Zealand, many of its partners do. From the U.S., its partners  Qantas and American Airlines will provide the most direct path but you’ll have a couple other options as well.

Alaska Mileage Plan has different award charts for each partner so you’ll want to keep an eye out for sweet spots in each chart. Qantas is the better deal for first and business class, but American Airlines is the best choice for economy seats. Here are the one-way award rates when booking with Alaska miles:

Class of ServiceAmerican AirlinesCathay PacificFiji AirwaysQantas
Economy40,000 miles40,000 miles40,000 miles42,500 miles
Premium EconomyN/A47,500 milesN/A47,500 miles
Business80,000 miles60,000 miles55,000 miles55,000 miles
First110,000 miles80,000 milesN/A70,000 miles

Not only are awards on Qantas cheaper, but it also has a very nice first class and solid business class product. Though the hard product leaves a bit to be desired in business class on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, the soft product is incredible for a round-trip price of only 110,000 miles. If you find yourself on one of Qantas’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners, you’ll get to experience one of the better business class options in the sky.

australia new zealand points miles-Qantas Dreamliner Business Class

Photo courtesy of Qantas

While you can add a connection on Alaska Airlines, you are only allowed to include one partner on award bookings. This means you cannot fly both American Airlines and Qantas on the same award.

Since Qantas flies out of Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) via LAX, and San Francisco (SFO), you may find yourself positioning on an Alaska flight before your flight abroad.

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