This sale price comes and goes. Round-trip from Austin to the four northern cities is $177, one way is $89. Round-trip to San Diego is $157. You may have better luck finding a date pair at these airfares by specifying a 7-day (or longer) stay.
Dates in January, February and March. Virgin America / Alaska Airlines.
This EscapeATX post gives the details to San Jose, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. This EscapeATX post gives details on the Austin-San Diego fare.
If you have status on one airline or hotel chain, you may be able to have another airline or hotel chain match it. So, for example, if you are Gold on American Airlines and are a nobody on AirBerlin, you can request a status match on AB before your next flight and receive the privileges that your new (temporary) AB status grants.
This post from Dan’s Deals is a very useful summary.
Credit card bonuses are the driving force behind the miles-and-points game that many play. Card issuers offer huge numbers of frequent-flyer miles and hotel loyalty points to those who sign up for and use certain credit cards. But, the signup bonuses aren’t the only benefit of those cards. This blog post lists nine more:
Of the nine listed, I believe that these are the most valuable to many frequent flyers:
– American and JetBlue airlines and IHG hotels, a 10% rebate on awards
– American Airlines, reduced mileage awards on certain (changing) routes
– Several airlines, free in-flight wi-fi
– United Airlines increased award availability
– United Airlines upgrades on award travel
– Virgin America, waived cancellation and change fees
The blog post linked above has the details and tells which credit cards give which benefits.
Virgin America has Elevate Silver and Elevate Gold levels, and will match you into one of them if you have status on American, Delta, Southwest or United.
The Southwest Airlines rule is peculiar…VAm will match you into Elevate Gold if you have a Companion Pass on SWA. Many of us don’t think of the Companion Pass as a status level, but evidently VAm does.
In my case, due to my AAdvantage status there is no or low charge for changes and cancellations. But to the ordinary flyer, perhaps with family in tow, these charges are serious money.
They should investigate Southwest Airlines, which has NO CHANGE FEES and NO CANCELLATION FEES.
A second airline has decided to be almost as friendly as Southwest…Virgin America. When purchasing a ticket online at Virgin America, you will see an option for their $25 “Plans Change Pass.” If you select it, then you can change your reservation later at no cost.
There is no universal answer, because the value of a point/mile depends strongly upon whether you prefer to fly Coach, Business or First Class; whether you prefer upscale or downmarket hotels; and whether you have status in a particular program.
Given all that, here is the updated list of values from The Points Guy: