Somewhere between the multitude of flight choices from Orange County / Santa Ana Airport to Seatac International, and the various opportunities for mileage points earned on my Bank of America credit card, I got hooked up on the Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer program. There’s something to say about unlimited upgrades to first class, TSA pre-check setup through Alaska’s website, complimentary cocktails, no luggage fees, priority seating and the list goes on and on. It’s true that some of these perks are only a payoff of countless inflight hours but I could have chosen to learn the interior tapestry on one of their competitors’ planes.
Early on, when I was new to my two thousand miles commute, I test-flew other companies and they came short. Maybe JebBlue is cheaper, but they only fly from Long Beach and their planes feel more like a bus than an aircraft. Virgin Airlines is chic and offers some great service, but I’d rather not have a layover and a five hour flight when I can get there comfortably in just over two hours. American Airlines is operated by Alaska on this route so I’ll leave it at that.
Once hooked, the experience the mileage plan has only brought me benefits, so much so that I only go to alaskaair.com when I buy my tickets. Yes, I’m a loyal customer and they don’t forget to thank me for it through all the big and little things which help me forget the trouble of so many flights and have me check their offers first when flying anywhere else in the country and abroad. No, they don’t fly to Europe or anywhere else internationally outside of North America, but have I mentioned I could get tickets for as few as 40,000 miles for a roundtrip flight to Rome, Cape Town, or Rio de Janeiro? Not to leave out the wonderful after-close dinner experience shared with my son and a group of other constant travelers at San Diego Zoo, on Alaska’s coin. I don’t know if they paid for that evening in mileage points, bitcoin, or dollars, but it was a great token of business appreciation.
My favorite touch: on a few recent flights, the captain came out to thank us personally for flying with him!
On my next regular trip to Seattle, maybe I’ll take a break from Alaska’s free in-flight entertainment, the latest addition to their customer satisfaction package, and I’ll write down some notes of thanks to their employees, those who make it safe, comfortable, and possible for me to continue my not so-short commute.
What kind of reward programs are you interested in? Please share your experience.