I have four Alaska Airlines MVP Guest Upgrade codes that expire 12/31/2016 to give away!
“U” class must be available at the time of the request, and fare classes G, R, and T are not eligible for upgrades. Each upgrade code is valid for one-way travel for one person.
If you’d like one, please email me at efficientasianman at gmail dot com. Please make sure that you can actually use the code prior to 12/31/2016 (i.e. you have travel booked and your ticket qualifies). If I receive more requests than I can fulfill, I’ll figure out some arbitrary (or not so arbitrary) way to give them out.
See here for more information on how to use them: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/membership-benefits/guest-upgrades.aspx
Another underrated Alaska Airlines award redemption besides premium economy is intra-Asia flights on Cathay Pacific. You can only redeem Alaska miles for routings that are defined in their award chart, which generally means that you can only redeem miles for awards that begin or end in North America (e.g. you can’t redeem for Emirates between Europe and Asia because there’s no mileage price listed on their chart). But Cathay Pacific has some of the most comprehensive routings listed for non-US travel if you’re willing to begin/end in Hong Kong.
Here’s the award chart for Cathay for Asia:
While all of the prices between North America and Asia are pretty competitive (and you get a free stopover), the intra-Asia prices are super cheap if you’re looking to travel between North Asia (i.e. Japan and Korea) and Southeast Asia (e.g. Singapore, Thailand). As a comparison, Asia1 to Asia2 costs 20k/30k/40k using American miles for a one-way in coach/business/first; North Asia to South Asia is 20k/40k/50k using United miles on partners for one-way travel; and US Airways is 40k/60k/80k roundtrip for North Asia to South and Central Asia. Note that travel within a single region on these other award charts can be cheaper than Alaska’s intra-Asia prices on Cathay, and super short flights can often be a better deal using British Airways Avios (e.g. Taipei to Hong Kong is only 4500 Avios in coach and only 13,500 Avios in first class).
The incremental mileage needed for premium cabins is relatively small, requiring only 2.5k more miles each way for premium economy instead of coach. But even first class at 27.5k miles is a pretty good deal if you can find routes with first class. Ignoring the dates, you could potentially do the following routing in first class on Cathay Pacific: BKK to HKG on a Friday, nearly 24-hour layover in Hong Kong, then continue on flying HKG to HND the next day in first class. That’s about 5 hours in first class for only 27,500 Alaska miles with access to Cathay’s first class lounges in Hong Kong.
Haneda and Taipei regularly have first class service, but Bangkok is currently only scheduled to have first class service once a week. Aircraft swaps are also common, so you might book something only to find that first class service might disappear from your aircraft as your departure date approaches. Intra-Asia routes are the last place that you’ll find Cathay’s 747s since they’ve stopped flying 747s long haul, so you still have a chance to fly Cathay Pacific first class on the 747 if you haven’t yet.
I have an AA Admirals Club membership through the Citi Executive AAdvantage card. I also no longer have an Amex Platinum card, as I cancelled that soon after redeeming my airline credit with them after they got rid of AA/US club access. By canceling my Amex Platinum card, I no longer have unlimited access to Alaska Airlines Board Rooms through Priority Pass Select.
For a long list of reasons, I recently found myself unexpectedly flying from DFW to SEA on AA and then SEA to SFO on Alaska Airlines instead of flying nonstop from DFW to SFO on AA. In Seattle, there’s no Admirals Club, so I thought I’d be out of luck for lounge access, but I figured that there might be a small chance that I could get into the Alaska Airlines Board Room through my Admirals Club membership since AA and AS are pretty buddy buddy. Turns out, this is true: there are certain circumstances where you can access an Alaska Airlines Board Room by virtue of having an Admirals Club membership.
The key thing that you need is a flight marketed by and operated by American Airlines/US Airways. If you have a same day ticket/boarding pass on a flight operated and marketed by AA/US, then you can access the Alaska Airlines Board Rooms at Seattle (SEA), Portland (PDX), or Anchorage (ANC). The AA/US flight can be either the inbound or the outbound flight at any of these airports, and it’s even possible that the boarding pass doesn’t even need to involve one of these airports provided that it’s same-day (it’s not specified in the rules, but YMMV with the lounge agents).
Domestic lounges generally aren’t anything special, but the Alaska Airlines Board Rooms generally have a marginally better food selection than most domestic lounges. They have pancake machines in the morning for breakfast, and there’s usually a hot soup later in the day. I also find AS employees to be friendlier than most airline employees, but maybe that’s my Pacific Northwest bias coming through.
For more information, check out the AA page about this policy and the thread on Flyertalk.