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Alaska Mileage Plan is an incredibly popular loyalty program in the miles and points world because it’s one of the few loyalty programs left that still rewards travelers for the distance they fly, its award booking rules are comparatively flyer-friendly, and it allows members to book economical premium cabin awards on a number of very useful airlines.
One such useful airline is Fiji Airways and it’s by using Fiji Airways that Mileage Plan members can make the most of one of the best award chart sweet spots around.
The Alaska Mileage Plan Sweet Spot
Alaska Airlines’ award chart charges just 55,000 miles for one-way Business Class travel between the Contiguous U.S./Alaska and the South Pacific…
…and while a lot of people appear to focus on what this means for getting to Australia (110,000 miles for roundtrip Business Class travel to Oz is a very good deal), an even better way to maximize the value you can get out of this award is to combine it with a particular Mileage Plan award rule.
Unlike a lot of other airline loyalty programs, Alaska Mileage Plan allows travelers one free stopover on one-way awards and this means that’s it’s possible to build an itinerary that looks like this:
For 55,000 miles you can fly from Los Angeles to Fiji in Business Class, have a break in Fiji to soak up the beauty of the South Pacific, and then carry on to Sydney in Business Class too – that’s incredible value!
Note: A similar trip is available from San Francisco but I’ll explain why that’s not quite so good a little later.
You can actually take this a little further too.
Because a Business Class award to the South Pacific costs 55,000 Alaska miles from wherever in the US that you start out, it should be possible to book New York – Los Angeles – Fiji – Sydney for 55,000 Alaska miles too.
You wouldn’t be able to have a proper stopover in both LA and Fiji as only one stopover is allowed…but that’s still a pretty fantastic award to be able to book.
Booking The Award
A big problem with some of the better award deals we hear about is that they can be incredibly difficult to find, so I did a little bit of research into this routing before I decided to write this post.
If you use the Alaska Airlines website to search for Business Class awards between LA and Sydney for August next year (for example) this is what the calendar view will show you:
That looks like an incredible amount of award space but it really doesn’t tell the full story.
Drilling down into the results on some of these dates will show you options that look like this…
…and where you see the seat symbol next to an award it means that what you’re looking at is actually a mixed-cabin award:
That’s really not what you should be looking to book so it’s probably better to search for award availability segment by segment…and that’s how you’ll find options like this:
No seat symbol next to the award cost shows that the awards you’re looking at are for Business Class all the way.
I tried to price up a JFK – Los Angeles – Fiji – Sydney award on the Alsaka website but it really didn’t like me doing that despite the fact that I *think* I found dates which work:
New York to Los Angeles:
Los Angeles to Fiji:
Fiji to Sydney:
I think a call to Alaska Airlines may be required.
Yes, I know my examples don’t show a stopover in Fiji but I was focusing on proving that awards were available all the way to Sydney so you’ll just have to trust me (or check for yourself) when I say that the stopover options are there and available to book.
Why This Just Got Better
Fiji Airways has historically only been able to offer passengers a rather old-fashioned Business Class cabin with seats which angle (rather than lie truly flat) and which are set out in a 2-2-2 formation across the cabin…but on select routes this is about to change.
Fiji Airways is soon going to be taking delivery of 2 new Airbus A350 aircraft and these aircraft will come complete with a new Business Class cabin offering lie-flat seats in a reverse herringbone formation which gives all passengers access to one of the aisles of the aircraft.
Most importantly, these aircraft will be deployed on the Fiji – Sydney route (from 1 December 2019) and also on the Fiji – Los Angeles route (from 21 December).
This should be a great cabin in which to fly to Fiji and beyond.
Note: San Francisco is not set to get A350 service from the Fiji Airways A350s.
55,000 miles for Business Class travel between the US and the South Pacific has always been a great deal, but now that it can be done in a very good Business Class cabin without travelers having to rely on Qantas opening up Business Class awards it’s a fantastic deal.
When you throw in the fact that you can combine a great Business Class cabin with a twin-center vacation in Fiji and Australia without having to pay any more miles, this becomes one of the best award sweet spots you’ll find.