Have you checked summer air fares lately?
I helped a friend get tickets from Los Angeles to travel later this month. He told me he was looking, but gave up after all the tickets were over $1,000 round trip.
But it was a trip he had to take. True confession: It was a family event, so I convinced him to use his miles. It had been sitting on 180,000 miles for two years. I told him that nothing depreciates faster than unused airline miles.
He chose to cash in 90,000 Alaska Airlines miles for a round-trip ticket between Burbank and Anchorage. If that sounds outrageous… well, it is. But compared to the cash price of over $1,710, this trip was a pretty good use of its miles.
Let’s review some popular routes for Alaskans between here and the Lower 48.
If you want to travel from Anchorage to Seattle in June, prices are lower from June 20-28. On Alaska Airlines, most Saver seats have evaporated. So, one-way “main cabin” tickets are available for $169 one-way. This includes pre-booked seat assignments at no additional cost.
Round-trip tickets from Seattle to Anchorage cost between $360 and $408 one-way during this week. But be careful. Each flight is priced differently. Select flights, including all flights departing between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on July 24, cost $799 one way.
Flights are cheaper between Fairbanks and Seattle. Between June 18 and June 27, fares on Alaska Air are approximately $401 round trip. Remember that all rates are subject to change without notice. Mileage tickets from Anchorage or Fairbanks are available on these dates for 15,000 to 20,000 miles one way south and 30,000 miles one way north.
In July, however, some Fairbanks-Seattle tickets are available at a lower price. But you may need to buy one-way tickets in each direction to get the best deal. From July 11-25, Delta is offering southbound tickets starting at $100 one-way. Alaska Airlines offers a cheaper round-trip flight from Seattle, from $226 to $268 one way. But here’s the thing: you have to stop and change planes in Juneau and Anchorage. Moreover, it takes between 14 and 26 hours. One way. I think it’s worth paying $319 for a nonstop flight northbound.
Prices to Seattle from Anchorage and Fairbanks drop in mid-September to around $240 round-trip on Alaska Airlines and Delta.
If you’re flying to San Francisco, United is offering nonstop flights south for $191 one-way from June 16-30. The return is a different story, with one-way northbound tickets costing between $448 and $610. On almost all dates, United offers cheaper nonstop tickets than Alaska Air.
In July, Anchorage-San Francisco tickets are available between $288 and $738 one-way. On almost every date, United was cheaper than Alaska Airlines. For northbound flights, the range is $378 to $610 one way. Again, United’s nonstop routes aren’t exactly cheap. But they are cheaper than those in Alaska. On July 26, for example, United’s nonstop service is available for $610 one-way, while Alaska Airlines wants $899. One way. In carriage. Or, you can bank 40,000 miles from Alaska for the flight.
Minneapolis is a popular destination for Alaskans, which is why three airlines offer nonstop service from Anchorage.
Sun Country Air almost always has the lowest fare, because you have to pay extra for everything, even carry-on baggage. But compare prices nonstop at the end of June for flights to the south. Sun Country charges $182 one way while Delta charges $499 one way. Coming back to Anchorage always costs more. On June 29, Sun Country charges $426 one-way, while Delta charges between $480 and $1,163 one-way, depending on which flight you want.
There are cheaper tickets available in July. Southbound tickets from Anchorage to Minneapolis range from $207 to $418 one way. Sun Country is the cheapest. Delta has the most flights. Alaska flies nonstop five days a week. The cheapest northbound flights range from $183 one-way (July 4 only) and $485 (July 15) on Sun Country.
If you’re flying to Texas, there are a few nonstop routes, both of which cost a small fortune. Between June 17 and July 29, American Airlines charges between $673 and $831 for a nonstop one-way ticket. There are a few days (June 25 and July 9) where the one-way fare exceeds $1,200. Choose another day. For northbound flights most days the price is $859 one way. With American, you can earn Alaska miles.
Between Anchorage and Houston, United charges between $288 and $677 one-way between June 17 and July 28 for a nonstop trip south. To return to Anchorage between June 17 and August 6, United wants between $679 and $809 one way.
Again, rates are subject to change without notice – and they go up and down day by day. If there is more than one flight per day, fares can vary greatly from flight to flight.
Delta’s nonstop flight from Anchorage to Atlanta is a popular flight. Between June 22 and July 29, the flight south costs between $808 and $838 one way. Your round-trip Atlanta-Anchorage ticket will cost $920 one way.
United’s nonstop service from Anchorage to Newark is the fastest route to the East Coast. You could depart today nonstop for $290 one way. But it can reach $925 one way on June 17 or June 25. Most dates in June for southbound flights are available between $425 and $690 one way. In July, fly south from $520 to $954 one way. For the round trip flight between Newark and Anchorage, most dates are priced at $956 one way.
Most prices start falling in September. For example, a round-trip ticket to Portland goes from $636 on July 29 to $347 on August 25.
If you’re planning to fly from Anchorage nonstop to Maui in mid-November, think again. Alaska Airlines has delayed resuming those flights from Nov. 17 to Dec. 16, just in time for Christmas. Early flights are priced at $998 one way. To return to Anchorage on Christmas Day, the price is $289 one way. If you want to return between January 1-9, it’s $999 one way. Nonstop travel from Anchorage to Kona begins a day earlier, Dec. 15. Prices are the same, starting at $998 one way.
If you’re still looking for a bargain after reading about expensive flights, consider a trip from Anchorage to Panama City, Panama, on Delta. Fly south on Delta for as little as $135 one way starting September 24. Return until November 3 for $202 one way. The total price is $335 round trip. It’s cheaper to buy two one-way tickets on Delta. In addition, return flights on Saturdays are the cheapest and fastest.
Currently, the cheapest ticket to Europe is from Anchorage to Stockholm from September 4. Fly from Alaska to Seattle, then connect to Finnair nonstop to Helsinki, then back to Stockholm.
If you’re going to fly this summer, you’re going to pay a lot of money. If you have the miles, now is a great time to use them.