Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Alaska Airlines throws bonus miles at Northern California fliers

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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By Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY

Alaska Airlines is making a play for passengers in the Northern California market, offering tens of thousands of bonus miles to fliers willing to join its frequent-flier program and take a flight by Oct. 1.

The carrier has launched its "Join. Fly. Fly Free.," promotion, which allows Northern California residents who sign up for Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan to earn up to 25,000 bonus miles when they take a round-trip flight by Oct. 1.

The offer is not open to existing members.

Alaska Airlines says Northern California residents who join Mileage Plan and fly Alaska Airlines between Northern California and Hawaii will get 25,000 bonus miles -- enough for a free round-trip Super Saver Award ticket to anywhere Alaska flies in the continental United States, Alaska or Canada.

MORE: Alaska Airlines aims to keep flying higher (The Oregonian)

Northern California residents who join and and fly Alaska Airlines on a round-trip itinerary by Oct. 1 to a destination other than Hawaii will earn 12,500 bonus miles. That, the airline notes, is "enough for a one-way Super Saver Award ticket" within the continental United States, Alaska or Canada.

"This offer is exclusively for our customers in Northern California and represents one of the most generous Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan offers since the program began in 1983," Joe Sprague, Alaska's vice president of marketing, says in a release.

Alaska Airlines' effort comes as it has grown at several Northern California airports in recent years. Most recently, the airline ramped up Hawaii service out of the Bay Area, adding new routes to Lihue from both Oakland and San Jose.

Alaska Airlines' other recent Northern California routes includes service to Guadalajara from both San Jose and Sacramento.

Alaska Airlines faces a number of strong competitors in Northern California, ranging from legacy carrier United to low-cost carrier Virgin America -- each of which has a hub at San Francisco.

Alaska Airlines also has ramped up service to Hawaii, including from the Bay Area. That has increasingly put it into competition with Hawaiian Airlines.

As for the fine print of the Northern California deal, Alaska Airlines says in its release that to qualify for the offer, "travelers must reside in a ZIP code that begins with 923, 932 or 934 – 961 and sign up for Mileage Plan via Alaska Airlines' website at Qualifying flights must originate, end or connect through one of the following cities: Fresno, Mammoth Lakes, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose or Santa Rosa."

Alaska Airlines adds the offer is "valid only for permanent residents of Northern California area who open a Mileage Plan account for the first time between April 27, 2011, and Oct. 1, 2011 … ." Check out the airline's release for the remainder of the fine print.

Posted May 4 2011 10:35PM

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