This is a really short post about something that annoys me with Alaska miles.
Since 1) I’ve been getting large amounts of Alaska Miles (check out the Alaska 25k credit card) and 2) I don’t have status with any airline and always book last minute flights, Alaska miles have been great since they don’t have a close-in fee.
For some reason when you use Alaska Miles for Delta flights oneways are the same price as roundtrips.
Take for example a oneway domestic flight, say Dallas to New York, it would cost 25,000 miles for a oneway on Delta. Or it would cost 25,000 miles for a roundtrip.
The good news is that you could fly there one way on Delta and back on AA and it will count as a roundtrip, and still be 25,000 miles.
The bad news is that I was looking for a oneway and the only thing available was a Delta for 25,000 miles.
Of course, if you need a oneway you could not book on Delta, and book on a different airline, but unfortunately I didn’t have that option.
Or you could just book as a roundtrip, and fly Delta or any airline back. But in my case, there was nothing available.
So I need to use Alaska miles, because it’s my only way of booking a Delta flight (the only flight available), but there’s nothing available for the return. Nothing.
Here’s the tip.
Turns out you can open-jaw on the destination but not the starting/returning city.
In other words, in order to be a roundtrip, a flight has to return to the city it started in.
With the Dallas to New York example, let’s say you can’t find a return flight, here’s what you can and can’t do.
You can “open-jaw” a ticket so you catch your flight back from a different city. Say you now catch a flight from Boston to Dallas. Start in Dallas to go to New York, but then you train up to Boston (or whatever) and eventually catch a return back to Dallas.
However, you can NOT catch a flight back to a different city. You can not do Dallas to New York, and then New York to Denver.
The only time it matters…
This is a little nerdy, focusing on a very specific routing rule. But the general point is that you can open-jaw on the destination but not where you started from.
Normally, there is no reason to care, because with Alaska you can just book oneways. Except, when you redeem for Delta flights, a oneway ends up costing as much as a roundtrip, so I try to make the ticket a roundtrip.
The same rules apply to international trips. Anytime you want to book a Delta flight using Alaska miles, you want to make it a round trip. Even if it means flying back on a different airline (the easiest solution), or returning from a different city.
Hopefully someone else also has a ton of Alaska Miles and is looking to book a Delta flight. My sense is that this will at least help someone, given the growing scarcity of award seats. Plus, when I realize a routing rule, I like to post it…
However, remember with all other airlines, you can just book separate oneways with Alaska miles at half the cost of a roundtrip.
Hope this helps someone.