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Alaska travel bargains arrive just in time for Christmas shopping

Scott McMurren
Ready, set, go: Act fast or miss a sweet airfare deal from Alaska Airlines that's good for travel through March 5, 2014 but requires ticket purchase within 48 hours. Aaron Jansen illustration

Miss the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend airfare sale and it's sequel, special rates from Alaska Airlines on flights to Seattle from Anchorage? The bargains may as well have been a mirage for some people who waited to snatch the deals and ended up emptyhanded.

Two suggestions:

  1. Wake up. Airfare sales go as quickly as they come.
  2. Perk up. There’s a glimmer of hope for those who act fast.

Alaska’s “Warm up to Winter” sale offers flights across the U.S. from Alaska, with travel opportunities through March 5, 2014. The caveat: Tickets must be purchased immediately, no later than Monday, Nov. 11. Dozens of fares are on sale from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, including:

Portland: $340 RT

Seattle: $360 RT

Burbank, Calif.: $399 RT

Las Vegas: $380 RT

Phoenix, Ariz.: $420 RT

In Alaska specials include these top picks, all flights originating from Anchorage:

Kodiak: $240 RT

Nome: $261 RT

Fairbanks: $199 RT

Alaska has a page built for the sale, where it includes fares to/from all cities. On that page, you’ll see the terms and conditions, including blackout dates (Christmas, Presidents’ Day, etc.).

Again, tickets must be purchased by Monday, Nov. 11.

Travelers should make sure they’re signed up for Alaska’s mileage plan before departing. Alaskans -- bona fide, live-on-Alaskan-soil Alaskans, also qualify for the Club 49 program.

Special mileage perks

Speaking of mileage programs, both Alaska Airlines and Delta are offering double "elite qualifying miles" due to a little turf war between the two airlines, which are normally allies that as a courtesy typically offer mileage point accrual for each other's competing plans. 

Alaska is offering double “qualifying miles” between Seattle and Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Calif., San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Calif. and Santa Rosa, Calif. Earn the double miles on these flights between now and May 31, 2014. 

For its part, Delta is offering double “Medallion Qualifying Miles” for its SkyMiles program on several new routes this fall, many of which compete directly with Alaska:

Anchorage-Seattle, Seattle-San Diego, Seatte-Las Vegas, Seattle-San Francisco, Seattle-Portland and Seattle-Los Angeles/LAX.

Delta flyers can earn the bonus miles between Dec. 31, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2014.  

These off-season deals on Alaska and Delta help the airlines distinguish between the diehard frequent flyers and the fairweather frequent flyers. The more deeply entrenched a traveler into mileage plan perks, the less likely he or she is to be lured onto cheaper seasonal flights.

Scott McMurren is an Anchorage-based travel marketing consultant who has lived in Alaska for three decades, spending much of that time traveling the far-flung corners of the state. Visit his website at www.alaskatravelgram.com or follow him on Twitter for breaking travel news.