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Until the end of today it’s possible to stack some great offers in order to fly First Class in one of the best First Class cabins in the sky (Cathay Pacific) for ~ 29 hours (over two separate flights with a stopover of however long you like in the middle) and visit some amazing places for just £620!
As I posted last night, today is the very last day to take advantage of the excellent SPG Starpoints sale and next Friday (6th January) is the last day to then turn those Starpoints into Alaska Mileage Plan Miles at an amazing 1: 1.625 rate (via Virgin America Elevate).
At Insideflyer we spend a lot of time talking about Avios and some of the other more obvious and accessible ways to ‘travel hack’ in the UK, which I love, but I also like to sometimes show what can be achieved with more ‘exotic’ programmes too, as otherwise they don’t really get mentioned much on UK sites and the value can be outstanding.
I think part of the romance of travel (and particularly Points/Miles actually) is that it isn’t always simply about what’s practical, but also what is possible – to let your mind float off and explore those possibilities, even if you never take that particular journey. I therefore decided to make my last post of the year one of these slightly more advanced posts, and I hope you enjoy it and forgive any overly generous assumptions that I make.
I won’t rehash the details of SPG sale and Virgin America Elevate transfer rate again – all that info is in the links above. Suffice to say, I’m taking the (admittedly fairly large) liberty of using the 50% discounted Starpoints price for the calculations below, which means Starpoints cost 1.43p each. 1 Starpoint can get you 1.625 Alaska Mileage Plan Miles, so that works out at effectively buying Alaska Miles for 0.88p each.
Alaska Mileage Plan has many great features, but my favourite is the ability to book a stopover for as long as you like, even on one-way redemptions. It’s difficult to overstate how valuable a perk this can be.
Alaska also has very good award prices for many redemptions, and one of the very best is 70,000 Miles between USA and South Africa ( via Hong Kong…) in First Class.
Put those two things together with the current effective price of Alaska Miles and… things get pretty interesting.
70,000 Miles (x 0.88p) would cost a little under £620. For that you could fly from New York to Hong Kong (8,072 Miles / 16 hours), spend as much time in Hong Kong as you like, and then fly to Johannesburg (6,631 Miles / 13 hours).
That works out at flying more than half way around the world and about 29 hours in Cathay Pacific First Class for £620 – amazing!
Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t charge any ‘surcharges’ on either Cathay or JAL either, so taxes and airport fees are just a few quid.
29 hours in First Class (and the chance to visit some incredible destinations too of course!) for £620 is remarkable.
Yes, you need to get between the USA /Johannesburg and home, but if you have some extra Miles to use (United Miles are good for Africa – 17,500 from South Africa to Morocco with no surcharges, and then you can just use Avios or buy a cheap flight home from there), or can get cheap cash tickets, then you could have an amazing adventure without breaking the bank!
Losing Virgin America as an SPG transfer partner from next week is a blow, but one of the things I really wanted to show here is that there are always alternatives and new opportunities if you think flexibly and stack deals together.
Happy travelling everyone – thanks for reading and commenting (we really do appreciate it) and all the best for the New Year!