I recently booked a somewhat last minute trip on Alaska Airlines. It wasn’t so last minute that I have already taken said trip. But it was so last minute that I am unable to reserve a seat on each of the flights. I was poking around Alaska Airlines’ website and I stumbled upon an interested benefit available to all passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines. It turns out that they offer last minute paid upgrades. Alaska lets passengers check-in for their flights up to 24 hours in advance. At that time, if there are first class seats available the passenger can upgrade their seat. Fares that are eligible are Full Flex and Value fare categories are booked in Y, YAS, S, B, M, or H classes of service. You can find out which class of service you have booked in your confirmation email you received after you book your flight(s). If you want to know before you book, it might be easier to just call the airlines, but normally Full Flex and Value fares should be in the class of service I mentioned above.
Through November 2012, the cost to upgrade is pretty good:
|One Way Upgrade For Select Destinations||Price|
|Between California and Guadalajara||$50|
|Between California and Hawaii||$150|
|One Way Upgrade For All Other Destinations by Trip Miles||Price|
|0 – 1250 miles||$50|
|1251 – 2500 miles||$100|
|2501 – 3750 miles||$150|
|3751 or more miles||$200|
Effective December 1, there are no more upgrades by destinations and the thresholds have changed. While it will cost more for most trips, there is still good value in shorter distance trips.
|One Way Upgrade by Trip Miles||Price|
|0 – 1000 miles||$50|
|1001 – 2000 miles||$100|
|2001 – 3000 miles||$150|
|3001 or more miles||$250|
View the details and terms here. As you can see on that web page, you can use miles to upgrade but at 15,000 miles its not a very good deal, at least in my opinion.
I believe that these upgrades will get you the bonus miles that go with flying in first class. On Alaska Airlines the amount of bonus miles is 50% above the base miles earned. So for a 1000 mile flight, you’ll actually earn 1500.
Alaska partners with American Airlines, Air France, British Airways, Delta, and more. Each partner airline has their own earning rate so check with your preferred airline to see how many miles you’ll earn!
Unfortunately I did not know about this when I bought my ticket and did not book in a fare class that I can pay to upgrade. But I am looking forward to my vacation no less than I was before. Can’t wait to fly away!