Alaska is the final frontier! Explore mountain ranges and national parks, and spot wildlife like caribou, reindeer, and grizzly bears. And you could get there cheaply with British Airways Avios points and award flights on partners Alaska Airlines and American Airlines.
You can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and meet the minimum spending requirements. Those points transfer directly to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio for award flights!
There’s also an offer to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card after meeting the tiered spending requirements. That would get you a lot of award flights!
I’ll give you some ideas about how to redeem your points to visit Alaska!
When Should You Use British Airways Avios Points?
British Airways Avios points can be a great deal for folks departing from certain cities to visit Alaska on airline partners Alaska Airlines and American Airlines. And others will get a better deal using United Airlines miles.
You’ll pay the same number of miles when you fly United Airlines, regardless of which city you’re starting from in the continental US or Canada.
That means you’ll pay:
- 17,500 United Airlines miles 1-way in coach
- 30,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class
- 40,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in First Class
United Airlines flies non-stop to Anchorage from Denver, and seasonally from Chicago and San Francisco. But you can connect from most major airports in the US for the same number of miles.
British Airways has a distance-based award chart. That means the amount you’ll pay depends on the length of your flight.
So if you’re flying from say, the East Coast, United Airlines may be a better choice, especially if you need to make a connection.
Folks in the Northwest who are already closer to Alaska will get the best prices on an award ticket to Alaska. You can use British Airways Avios points to fly non-stop on airline partners Alaska Airlines and American Airlines.
And, be aware British Airways charges per flight segment. So if you have to connect, you’ll have to pay for each individual flight.
Note: British Airways is changing the price of the shortest (under 650 miles) partner flights in North America starting February 2, 2016. Flights which currently cost 4,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way in coach will cost 7,500 British Airways Avios points after that date.
You can use the British Airways award flight calculator or Wandering Aramean’s Avios calculator tool to check the cost of each flight. It’s always worth seeing if you can get a more convenient flight with British Airways Avios points, especially if flights cost less (or the same) as United Airlines.
How to Get to Alaska
You can fly non-stop to Alaska using British Airways Avios points 10 US cities.
American Airlines flies non-stop to Anchorage from Dallas (seasonally) and Phoenix.
From Dallas, you’ll pay 20,000 British Airways Avios points to Anchorage. And flights from Phoenix cost 12,500 British Airways Avios points, which is the less than United Airlines charges.
And Alaska Airlines has lots of non-stop routes to Anchorage. From the continental US and Hawaii, you can fly there from:
- Chicago – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
- Honolulu – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
- Kahului – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
- Kona – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
- Las Vegas – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
- Los Angeles – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
- Phoenix – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
- Portland – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
- Seattle – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
You can also fly non-stop from Seattle to Fairbanks for 10,000 British Airways Avios points.
Prices in Business Class and First Class are higher for partner award flights. You’ll pay 2X or 3X the coach price for Business Class. And up to 4X the price for First Class!
And for flights on Alaska Airlines, British Airways charges the First Class rate for Business Class award seats. It’s something to keep in mind if those are the award seats you prefer.
To take advantage of these flights, folks in the South or near the East Coast who have to connect could book an award flight to Portland or Seattle with British Airways Avios points, and then pay 10,000 more points to get to Anchorage.
Folks in New York City area might consider flying from New York – JFK to Vancouver on Cathay Pacific using British Airways Avios points. Then set sail to Alaska by cruise ship!
Or folks with the Southwest Companion Pass could get a good deal by transferring their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest for a flight to Seattle, and then redeem British Airways Avios points to continue on to Alaska.
If you really want to get away, you can book flights around Alaska from Anchorage to Kodiak Island for amazing hikes and views, to Nome for the Iditarod race, or to Barrow to say you’ve been above the Arctic Circle!
How to Book a Flight
You can find American Airlines and Alaska Airlines award flights on the American Airlines website. Look for saver (low-level) award seats because these are the only kind of award seats you can book with an airline partner’s miles.
But for Alaska Airlines flights, you must call British Airways at 800-452-1201 to book your award tickets.
Be sure to take note of the flight dates and times so you can easily book your award ticket. And ask British Airways to waive the phone booking fee because Alaska Airlines flights can NOT be booked online.
Take a Cruise!
When most folks think of cruises, they think of somewhere tropical, like the Caribbean. But did you know you can take a cruise from Seattle to Anchorage, with many stops along the way to see glaciers, mountains, and wildlife?
Along the way, you might see wild caribou, reindeer, or…
…bears in the mountain valleys.
And because you’ll be on the water for the duration of your journey, you may even see whales swimming nearby!
Friends of mine have done cruises like this and told me they had a fantastic time – so this is definitely something to consider!
And, you can use your British Airways Avios points to fly to Alaska, Seattle, or Vancouver before you set sail!
Where Can You Go?
Let’s look at some places to explore in the country’s largest state!
Because it’s a huge state, large sections of wilderness are protected as National Parks. There’s so much to see and each 1 is huge! You could spend several days in each park and still not see it all.
And Denali (the mountain formerly known as Mount McKinley) is the highest mountain peak (~20,000 feet) in North America!
Or you could use 4,500 British Airways Avios points to fly from Anchorage to Fairbanks on Alaska Airlines, which would put you closer to Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve. Keep in mind you can only fly or hike into this park.
Whichever 1 you visit, you can’t go wrong! Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get into the parks, though. Remember, Alaska is a vast state with very long distances between attractions!
If you plan ahead, you can experience hiking and outdoor adventures – and really get off the beaten path! Budget carefully because transport options (flights, accommodations, and outdoor equipment) can be expensive. Research your options and you’ll have the trip of a lifetime!
Anchorage is set along Alaska’s southern coast. From there, you can drive the Kenai Peninsula to Homer or Seward, which makes a fantastic day trip with plenty of opportunities to see whales and glaciers along the way.
Don’t forget to try the local dishes while you’re in Anchorage. Try fresh salmon and trout, or fresh-caught king crab. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you could try reindeer. There’s even reindeer sausage pie!
Here are some other fun ideas about what to do in Anchorage!
Which Offer Is Right for You?
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The biggest reason Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program is because the points are flexible. They transfer 1:1 to airline and hotel partners like British Airways, United Airlines, Southwest, and Hyatt if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold cards.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are easy to earn with everyday spending. For example, you can earn up to 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when shopping at Amazon through December 31, 2015, with the Chase Freedom card if you activated the offer in time.
United Airlines miles may be a better choice if you have to connect, or if you’re in the Northeast or Central US. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll have the option to transfer points to United Airlines, British Airways, Southwest, or any other partner that fits into your travel goals.
Chase British Airways
That’s enough for 5 round-trip flights from Portland or Seattle to Anchorage. Take the family on a wilderness vacation!
If you’re in a city where you’ll pay fewer points to Alaska with British Airways Avios points, you might consider the Chase British Airways card. Just make sure you’re comfortable meeting the full minimum spending requirement. And you may consider opening this card even if you don’t want to earn the full sign-up bonus.
Read my series on how to book British Airways award flights like a pro. And my review of the Chase British Airways card offer to decide if you should sign-up.
Considering Both Offers?
It’s possible to get both cards!
Keep in mind, Chase has tightened up on their approvals for folks who have opened more than 5 new credit cards within the past 24 months.
However, if you have a good relationship with Chase, they may decide to extend new credit to you as long as you have a history of paying your bills on time.
I recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 1st, even if you want both, because Chase’s application rules only seem to apply to personal cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Where to Stay?
Check out my guides about how to get cheap stays or award nights with your hotel points:
- Hotel Hustle Is a Better Way to Search for Hotel Award Nights!
- Save Time Using AwardMapper to Search for Hotel Award Nights
- Travel Smarter With TripAdvisor – Finding the Right Hotel
- How to Choose a Good (and Safe!) Airbnb
You can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spending requirements with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. And transfer your points directly to British Airways or United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio for award flights to Alaska!
You can use British Airways Avios points for award flights on airline partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Although you may be better off using United Airlines miles if you have to connect, or you’re farther from where you want to visit.
If you’re in a city with non-stop service on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines to Anchorage or Fairbanks, you may prefer the Chase British Airways card because you’ll have the opportunity to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points after meeting the tiered minimum spending requirements. Depending on where you are, you can fly a family of 5 (or more!) on an adventure!
You can get both cards. But keep in mind Chase has tightened up on their approvals, although there have been lots of exceptions. I recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 1st if that’s your top choice.