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socks and cat

It sounds too good to be true but...

While on the flight home from LA, Alaska Airlines talked me into signing up for one of those frequent flier credit cards. I never opened one before because personally I don't spend enough on anything to earn any miles. But I suddenly realized that my business spends a TON. And I could be putting all of that on the credit card and paying it off in full at the end of every month and getting free flights for it so I can visit the pole schools and fabulous shopping in LA more often.

I think the biggest selling point was that for signing up you automatically get 20,000 bonus miles. This strikes me as too good to be true. That's about 6 free round trip flights to and from LA just for opening the account. And every year, on the anniversary you opened the card, you get a $75 companion ticket. So your sweetie flies with you for $75 extra. No date restrictions or blackout dates. The miles never expire. You can use them on 2 other airlines other than Alaska And you get 1 mile for every dollar spent. Holy cow that sounds good.

Now if I could only figure out a way to put my rent on my new card, I could earn one free trip to Los Angeles every single month!!

Comments

http://www.alaskaair.com/as/mileageplan/onlineawardchart.asp

according to this chart, it's 25000 miles for a free ticket, and nowadays most airlines charge taxes/fees even when using frequent flier miles for a flight.
What does that mean, 25000 miles for a free ticket? So since it comes with 20,000 miles, I have to spend at least $5,000 to earn 5000 more miles before I'm allowed to redeem any miles?
A lot of credit card companies give out checks so you can pay your rent with it. Also, you can write those checks to yourself and get cash. At least that is how it was back when I used credit cards.
True. But the checks from credit cards have a mandatory interest rate. When I use the card, I always avoid paying interest by paying the balance off every single month. With the checks, you are required to pay interest on the check even if you pay it back right away. However, the interest might be low enough to make it worth a free flight to LA.
The above chart isn't the accurate one (those miles are good only if you are leaving from Dutch Harbor). The current one is at:

http://www.alaskaair.com/as/mileageplan/AwardsUSACanada.asp

Alaska is pretty good with redeeming miles and the taxes usually run only about $25 or so. That said, 25000 miles gets you a round trip ticket in the continental U.S. but only for the "saver" tickets. You need 40000 to fly any time you want. 20000 free miles gets you less that a free limited ticket and you need to spend another $20000 on the credit card to earn a ticket if you want to redeem it for whenever.
With them being called "miles" it's a bit misleading. It's better off to think of them as "points". ;)
Just so you understand why they are called "miles" you acrue them while flying as a member of their frequent flyer plan, based on how many miles the trip you flew was.

A 678 real-world mile flight, get you 678 new miles in your account. And yes, after you've earned them, then they're "points" with a redemption value as shown above.

Allowing you to earn them by using a credit card was a later addition to all the various mileage plans.

The miles do add up, but yes, flights are 25,000 miles or more. The buddy pass thing is worth it when you consider that Alaska flies to Mexico, Hawaii and the east coast as well.

Alaska recently instituted a policy that if your miles remain dormant (unused/added to) for 18 months then you can lose them. But if you use the Alaska Visa then you are adding miles every month, so it's not an issue.

There is an annual fee also, but I think it's about $50. You can also "gift" miles to other people.

I am a big advocate of their program overall.