Air miles hack: How to buy flights worth thousands – for hundreds

Flying business or first class is always an eye-wateringly expensive activity – or is it?

A frequent flyer who runs a flight-tips website has revealed how it’s possible to make utterly sensational savings on top-tier tickets – for example snaring a US$10,000 first class seat on a Qantas flight for just over US$1,300, an US$18,000 first class Cathay Pacific flight for the same, and buying business class seats for mere hundreds.

It sounds almost criminally cheap – but there’s nothing illegal afoot. The secret, it turns out, is to use an incredible air miles offer from Alaska Airlines, MailOnline Travel reports.

The frequent flyer, London-based Gilbert Ott, who runs, explains that Alaska is currently offering a 50 per cent bonus when you buy points.

Mr Ott says that this is the highest bonus that Alaska has ever publicly offered.

So you can purchase 60,000 points for US$1,182 ($1751) or 70,000 for US$1,389 ($2058).

That’s a lot of points – enough to snag incredible savings on business class and first class seats on its partner airlines around the world – Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, for example.

Mr Ott said: “If you want to experience flat beds without the US$2,500 and up price tag, this is your opportunity.”

The catch? Your account needs to be open for 10 days before you can book, but the sale is on until December 21 and you can book flights up to 355 days away.

Here’s how you can grab jaw-dropping deals.

Asian bargain

Mr Ott, writing on his site, said 25,000 points means you could ‘fly from anywhere in Southeast Asia served by Japan Airlines to Tokyo, stopover for as long as you want in Tokyo, and then carry on to wherever else in Asia you want to go, even including India’.

The cost? Mr Ott says that these two flat-bed flights would cost around US$3,000 ($4470) ordinarily – using your 25,000 points, you’d have paid just US$467 ($692).

To book, search to see if what you want is available on JAL by searching “multi city” and “using miles” on

Mr Ott added: “It’s that simple. The JAL flights will show up if any are available on the dates you want. Key operating principle: Don’t buy points unless you find what you want.”

Hong Kong to New Zealand round trip

For 30,000 or 60,000 points Mr Ott claims you can snare a deal that is “nothing short of incredible'”.

Spend US$1,200-worth of Alaska points and you can get a US$5,000 ($7400) Cathay Pacific Business Class seat from Hong Kong to Auckland, which is a saving of 75 per cent.

To book it is a strange process, though.

Mr Ott explains all: “Only certain airline seats using points appear on certain airline websites. Alaska is unable to display Cathay seats most often, but BA or Qantas can.

“So if I wanted to do this deal I would make a free account with BA or Qantas. I would then use their “search using points” feature to search on this route, for example HKG-AKL, looking only for Cathay Pacific flights. If I find something I want available, I’d buy the points and call Alaska, and give them the dates I found for available seats using points on the Cathay Pacific flights. I’d book the seats over the phone, stating that I’d like to use my miles for flights on Cathay between AKL-HKG, or vice versa and make the booking.”

But he has a word of warning: “This one is high stakes and for a novice the best advice would be to use a booking service like AwardExpert or JuicyMiles to find the seats and actually do it for you.”

The unicorn seats

Use the “search using points” feature on BA or Qantas to search for seats – and remember, they both show Cathay Pacific flights.

Then buy the points, call Alaska and give them the dates you’ve found for available seats.

Then book the seats over the phone, stating you want to use your miles for the booking.

Again, AwardExpert and JuicyMiles can help.

Mr Ott adds: “You might be lucky to find two seats in a month – so it’s important never to buy miles until you’ve found something you can actually use – but move on it immediately.

“For 93 per cent off, it was never going to be a cakewalk.”

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