Spirit Airlines – Is it that BAD?

We recently needed to book tickets to Las Vegas, and looking around, the ticket prices weren’t all that great.  It seems certain markets cost more than others when booking with Alaska Airlines, our carrier of choice here, and Las Vegas is truly one of those highly priced markets.  I was lucky to be able to book the outbound using British Airways Avios, at just a mere 22,500 points for 3 tickets, but trying to get a return, especially on a weekend using Avios was very tough.  Availability at the saver level on Alaska on a weekend, is almost non-existent from Portland (PDX).  Well, I went to plan B ; a paid ticket on Spirit Airlines. 

Now before you go on, and cuss me out for even thinking of booking a flight on Spirit, read the rest of this post, and you’ll learn a thing or two, and how to make it work for you to make it a pleasant experience.  Here are some tips for booking Spirit Airlines.

  1. Book Early to Save – Like any airline fare, the earlier you book, the more likely you will save money at the end. Spirit is no exceptions. Being a low cost carrier, and depending on the route you are flying, most flights will be full because, the its cheap. If you have to book last minute, don’t count it the savings.  Although, it might be cheaper than the major carriers, or even Alaska Airlines.  The earlier you book, the cheaper it will be, as I have seen in my experience.
  2. Book the BIG FRONT SEAT and BUNDLE  – Depending on the route, the ‘upgraded’ seat is worth it. For us, it was a mere $40 extra, but worth it, as its basically a domestic first class seat, without the cloth napkins, and service. I’d gladly take the additional room any day for that price, and I’ll get to maintain my mental health. Add the bundle at booking, and get all the perks you’re used to with the other airlines, if not more.  For us, it was way cheaper than Alaska Airlines even with the bundles. So Bundle and Save!
  3. Print Boarding Passes at Home or use Mobile – These guys are all about the extra ways they can charge you, and printing your tickets is no exception, so check in online or on your phone, and save some $$$ here too. No biggie, everyone today is on their phones anyway, so after you post a pic of that delicious muffin you just had, check in for your flight. You can use the savings if you want to buy yourself a snack on the plane.
  4. Use Spirit for Short Haul Trips – Would I recommend you to fly from the West Coast to the East Coast on Spirit? No way! A 2 hour flight is probably palatable, in terms of comfort, but being on this airline for hours may realistically suck…..at least for me, and with 2 small kids, even worse. I wouldn’t do it. Unless you can stand that sort of flying (dis)comfort, use Spirit to book small hauls, and avoid the long hauls.
  5. Budget for In-flight Food/Drinks – If you’re like me, you like the experience of warm nuts and a drink before flight. Well, dream on, because that’s a fantasy on Spirit. You can buy on board, and the prices are bit steep, so budget for it, or do what my wife did — buy snacks/drinks at the airport and bring on board. This way, you can choose what you want anyways. We have two small kids, so buying on board could could’ve reduced their college savings a bit.

Big Front Seat is just like First Class

Still cheaper than Alaska, with ALL the perks. $280.58 for 3 travelers!!

Okay, I think this is a good primer for you to use for booking Spirit Airlines, if you really have to.  Quite honestly, my wife said the service was good. The flight attendants were friendly, professional, and the plane was clean. We got to choose a departure time, we wanted, and that was helpful also.  What she really liked about it was that upgrade to the BIG FRONT SEAT.  My twins were comfortable, and they fell asleep quickly, which made Mom really happy. Will I be using them again? Perhaps, or perhaps not, but this experience definition made me take a second look at them, and consider them next time.  Have you flown Spirit Airlines? What was your thoughts and experiences? I’d love to hear ’em.

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Earn More Miles for Holiday Shopping and Beyond

This last holiday shopping season was one of the best on record, if not the best one.  Retailers reported record earnings and the shopping craze is looking to last well past the holiday season online. For me personally, it was an awesome season, as I racked up over 40,000 miles on United and Alaska Airlines taking advantage of holiday shopping bonus offers.  If you aren’t using the portals from the mileage shopping programs, then you aren’t doing it right.  Its an incredible opportunity to rack up huge sums of miles and points, to get you closer to that award ticket of your choice.  Use a strategy like using a credit card that offers 2x on shopping online, or airlines.  Luckily, I have an American Express card, which earns me 3X on airline purchases.  I simply tack it onto the Mileage X app, and buy gift cards for stores like Best Buy, Mayc’s, or whatever, which counts as an ‘airline’ purchase earning 3X points, and United Airlines miles on top. Double dipping my way to that next trip.  If you haven’t been doing that, its never too late to start.  When shopping online, use one of the portals to go through and collect your miles.  Even Chase and other banks have portals, that you can earn points on if you arent into airline miles.  You are going to shop online anyways.

Happy Travels!

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HURRY! Cheap Alaska Airlines Fares!

Currently, there are some cheap Alaska Airlines round-trip fares from Los Angeles to San Francisco, or vice versa for only $76. This includes the taxes! This is a great way to achieve MVP Gold status, if you are with Alaska Airlines.  This fare is in coach, and upgrades may not be possible.  Play round with the dates to see if you can get this fare. However at this price, who can complain!

Travel Availability:
Departs SFO: June 5-7, 10-14, 16, 18-21, 23, 25-28; July 3-12, 14-15, 17-19, 24-26, 31; Aug 1, 5-8, 12, 14-23, 25-30; Sept 1-15, 17-22

Departs LAX: June 5-6, 9-14, 16, 18-21, 23, 25-30; July 2-5, 10-12, 14, 17-19, 22, 24-26, 29-31; Aug 1-2, 7-8, 12-15, 19-23, 25-30; Sept 1-15, 17-22

Perfect fare for a mini-vacation and bundle it with a hotel for greater savings.  This price is available from Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, and even Alaska Airlines website. If you have the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa card, you get 3 miles per dollar, and your 1st bag is checked free.

Happy Travels!

 

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How to Get a Free Passport

Qantas is running a promotion currently, which is discounting your tickets to Australia by $135 for each ticket.  Apparently, they took notice that not a lot of Americans have passports, and they want to help fix that.  Simply go to qantas.com/passportredeem and enter the promo code “PASSPORT”, and select your flights.  Depending on where you are flying from, the savings could be real, or they may be more expensive than competitor flights.  You will either way, save $135 for most flights selected.  If you happen to have a passport already, you still get the promotional savings.  Just make sure you enter the promo code when making the booking.  This is a great offer, if you were heading over to the land down under in the coming month or so. Getting a discount of $135 for each passenger is pretty good. You can also credit your miles to American Airlines, or Alaska Airlines if you like, since they are partners. Check your dates and make the booking, and let me know how much your flights came to. From Portland, Oregon, it was still too expensive for me to drop on a trip to Sydney. However, originating at a gateway city such as LAX, or SFO might yield lower prices.  Happy Travels!

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Trip Report: Air France Flight 83: SFO-CDG Business Class

A friend of mine recently pinged me on helping her get to Venice and Croatia, but also to experience Air France’s A380 Business Class, using Alaska  miles, and of course, I couldn’t resist.  It was kinda tough to put this itinerary together and it involved checking Alaska’s website almost numerous times a day to find availability.  However, at the end, we managed to find her something suitable, that was doable and she loved the experience.  Her routing was as follows: SLC-SFO-CDG on Air France, flying in an A380.  Total redeemed miles were 125,000 , and $120 in taxes.  Not a bad way to get to Venice via Paris, and comfortably.  She accumulated the miles from spending on her Alaska Airlines Signature Visa card, which is one of my favorite cards. Enjoy these snapshots of her first time on the A380!!

Dubble Decker Delight

Amenity Kits

 

What’s for dinner?

Portobello mushroom with vegetables & polenta for starters

 

Classic Appetizer Selection

Chicken with sherry vinegar sauce, with semolina and oven dried tomatoes

 

dessert trio of fine sorbets, opera cake, finishes off the meal.

Snack assortment of fruit, cookies, and drink throughout the flight.

 

 

 

 

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Alaska Airlines Visa Card Promo: Earn 3X Miles on Entertainment Purchases

Looks like Bank of America (finally) jumped on the changing category spend bonus bandwagon. They introduced a promo for their Alaska Airlines Signature Visa cardholders, which nets you 3X the miles spent on qualifying entertainment purchases. So the next time you go check out that new flick at the movies, (this includes major chains such as Regal, and AMC), play a round of golf at the country club, or just fancy up yourself, with a manicure or pedicure, you get 3X the miles when you use your card for purchases  I will not be letting my wife know about this deal, as it could be dangerous to our bank account.  However, its nice to know that you can finally use your Alaska Airlines Visa card, and not just store it in the  drawer after getting the sign-up bonus.  If you have the card, check your email for the offer.

If you don’t have this card, you should try to get it, as Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles are some of the best out there.  Upon approval, you get 25,000 miles and a $110 companion ticket you can use.  They partner with Emirates, and you can redeem Alaska miles for flying their amazing first class!!  I also have a link for the card offer that will give you a statement credit of $100. That will offset the $75 annual-fee for the card. As of today, the link is still good and the offer stands, so if you want it, get it soon! You snooze, you lose!  Happy Travels.

 

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Why British Airways Avios Miles Are Awesome!

One of the best uses of British Airways miles is to use them to fly Alaska Airlines to Southern California.  My brother had accumulated a boatload (or should I say a plane-load HAR HAR) of them during the Chase British Airways 100,000 miles promotion, as well as my sister in law. One of the beauties of the Avios program is the ability to ‘merge’ family accounts. Therefore, the family account was 200,000!! This is a lot of miles and if you know how to use them, they can be very lucrative.
I helped him find availability on Alaska using the American Airlines website, as British Airways does not show you Alaska flights (yet).  Plug in your dates and check Redeem Miles, and whatever it shows at the 12,500 mile saver award, should be available to you using your British Airways miles on Alaska, as well.  That will be your indicator flights are available on Alaska Airlines.

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After you find, the flights you want, you must call British Airways call centre in the U.K. at 1-800-247-9297 to book it.  There will be a $25.00 charge for EACH reservation made, so if 3 people are flying, you will be charged $75.  Once in awhile you will get a kind and gentle rep who will waive the fees, but don’t count on it. Their call center is full of obnoxious, and somewhat rude agents.  They will then book the tickets, and give you a British Airways confirmation code…..which can be useless since you are flying Alaska Airlines, so ask them for the Alaska Airlines confirmation code.  I was able to book 3 tickets PDX- BUR for 45,000 miles + $90 in taxes/fees. He charged the taxes/fees onto his Barclays Arrivals World Mastercard, so he could redeem his points to pay off the $90.00. Zero out of pocket! Not bad… If you think about it, this is actually a steal! Usually it costs 25,000 miles PER ticket.  You can also use the Avios points to book your hotel and car as well, though I got other plans for those.
I highly recommend anyone getting British Airways Avios points, because even with them devalued, they can still be awesome for domestic and short haul trips.  Also, there are so many ways to get them, that’s its almost impossible NOT to get any.

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Alaska Airlines Adds PDX-SLC Non-Stop

Lately, there seems to be a lot of competition brewing for slots between Alaska Airlines and Delta.  The recent uppercut jab to Delta, is Alaska Airlines offering non-stop service between Portland and Salt Lake City. Currently, the only non-stop to SLC is on Delta, but that has changed now with this addition.  This is great news for award ticket redemptions, as it allows for greater flexibility in getting to a Sky Team hub like SLC. As you can see from the chart below, this service will begin in June, so looks like the ski season to Utah will have to be serviced by Delta for now. This partnership is a rather strange one, as each of them are competing with each other pretty fiercely these days.  Just recently, Alaska Airlines started non-stop service between Portland and Atlanta, which is also a major Delta hub.  It’s going to be interesting to see what comes out of this, if anything.  Remember, Alaska Airlines is NOT part of any major airline alliance, but has partnerships with Delta, which is a Sky Team member, and American Airlines, which is part of One World.  For this reason, Alaska Airlines is my favorite airline, because the reward redemptions can be very lucrative.  Alaska  has not made any major devaluations (yet) to their award chart, so you can get to a lot of destinations for a decent amount of miles.

Currently, there is a sale on their website for travel starting at $99 each way. 

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Alaska Airlines New Online Shopping Mall

Alaska Airlines has re-introduced their online shopping portal  – Mileage Plan Shopping.  This is a great way to rack up Alaska Airlines miles, for online shopping that you would normally do.  Just log into the portal, and start shopping.  Most of the famous retailers are available at the portal, such as Home Depot, Nordstrom’s, Groupon, and much much more… This is a great way to double dip on mileage, and if you have the Alaska Airlines VISA card, it’s even better, because you get more miles. Currently they are running a ‘grand opening’ promo, in which you get 250 miles for signing up for their emails, and then an additional 500 for your first purchase from the mall, for a whopping 750 miles!!  I know..I know..that’s not a lot, but consider this –those free miles, could also save your existing miles, if they are about to expire. Also, the holiday season will creep on us soon, so this is a great way to do your gift shopping, and score something for yourself!

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Alaska Announces Improved In-Flight Catering

Alaska Airlines is one of the best airlines out there, but I must admit, their in-flight catering options aren’t all that great.  Apparently, they are attempting to show some improvement in this arena by announcing the introduction of a new menu.  Starting September 4th, every flight over 2 1/2 hours long will offer a hot meal for purchase in coach, and may be purchased with any credit card. Most meals look to be about $6.00, which isn’t too bad, considering your options for food are limited at 30,000 feet up.  They are also allowing you to pre-order your meal option on select flights. Take a look below and see if it appeals to your senses.  It may be worth ordering something, especially for an early morning Alaska flight, which you left the house at without breakfast.  There are changes for First Class passengers, as well.  A three-course meal consisting of wild Alaskan salmon on transcontinental flights sure sounds good!

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