Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.
Monday Morning Miles Talk is a regular series that has some smaller, more quirky ideas to kick off the work week. These are essentially random ideas that I wanted to share with you.
If you would like to read even more articles in the series you can click HERE.
Why I May Use Alaska Airlines Miles on a Hotel Booking
Alaska Airlines added the ability to book hotels with your Alaska miles a while back. A lot of different airlines offer this ability and it is almost always a terrible deal. Usually the redemptions are sub 1 cent per mile. That is especially horrible for what many consider as the most valuable/coveted mile out there. Even though I know all of this I may do it anyway.
Why I am Considering a Bad Redemption
I have said many times that the only mile or point that is truly worthless is the unused mile or point. I have even transferred points from one currency to another to unlock abandoned points before.
My situation is this, I have 11,600 miles left in my Alaska account and have no plans to earn any more. I have already burned through my stash of SPG/Marriott points so that transfer is not an option. Bank of America has become the toughest approval out there and I keep getting turned down on every application from them. Signing up for a new Alaska Airlines card to pad my miles is not really an option for me.
This leaves me with miles that I can not use and they have an expiration date. I don’t foresee myself adding to the total anytime soon so I would rather use what I have on a poor redemption then let them collect dust or expire unused.
There are other options but they take some work and come with additional cost. I could put $900 worth of spend on my Alaska credit card to get to 12,500 miles for a one way award. Or I could use the Alaska Airlines shopping portal to rack up the 900 miles. Both of these come with a small cost either in acquiring the miles or missing out on more useful rewards (to me) by pursuing Alaska miles.
If I did go this route I would have enough for a one way ticket on Alaska. I do need to get out to Alaska’s base, Seattle, for my MLB stadium tour so that could work. The only issue is that I do that trip with a buddy and I would have to pay cash for the second ticket. Not ideal, especially for me. If I was going to pay cash for one ticket I would use my Alaska companion ticket that I get with the credit card.
The more viable option would be to use the 12,500 miles on a one way flight on American Airlines since Alaska has a partnership with them. This would have been easier when they had the same deal with Delta, since I am a Delta hub captive, but American Airlines is the best I can do. This does come with a $19 fee which is $13.40 more than the standard $5.60 fee on award flights. That is an additional cost Alaska puts on partner flights.
Having laid out all of the other options the path of least resistance is still booking a hotel room. While this does not offer the best redemption it doesn’t take any additional effort. The prices in miles for hotels varies according to the cash price but I was able to find one near our house for 11,000 miles for the night. It would normally cost me 15,000 Marriott points.
This would be a terrible redemption and in no way is exchanging 11,000 Alaska miles for 15,000 Marriott points something people should do on a regular basis. But considering the situation, it is better than nothing. It allows me to use miles that would otherwise go unused. The only truly worthless mile is the one that is not redeemed!
I will most likely end up using a mix of the Alaska portal and credit card to bump my mileage balance to 12,500 and use it on a one way American Airlines flight. This is a good option since I can use AA miles or British Airways miles to book my companion on the same flight. But if the need arises for a hotel room and the miles work I may go that route too.
My main goal in this whole thing is making sure I get some kind of value out of every single point and mile I have. Even if it is considered a “bad” redemption it is worlds better than NO redemption.
Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.