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Remember when it was weird to get subscriptions for music, movies and groceries? Now you can add Alaska Airlines flights to that list.
Now, Alaska Airlines has introduced their new Flight Pass program, which lets travelers take a certain number of flights per month for a fixed monthly fee. But it’s not as simple as paying a fee and taking a trip, though; you gotta know the rules.
We love saving money with Alaska Airlines — even using their programs to fly to Disney for free (twice). But is the Flight Pass worth it? Check out these 7 facts about the program to help make your decision:
1. Alaska Airlines’ Flight Pass only works at 16 airports — most of them in California.
Although Alaska flies to 115 destinations, the Flight Pass only works on the 100 or so daily flights between 16 airports in California, Arizona and Nevada.
That means if you’re from outside that area, you’ll need to make your way to one of the airports to use the Flight Pass.
To use the Flight Pass, both your departure city and arrival city must include the following airports:
- Burbank, CA
- Fresno, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Los Angeles, CA
- Monterey, CA
- Orange County, CA
- Palm Springs, CA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Reno, NV
- Sacramento, CA
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- San Jose, CA
- San Luis Obispo, CA
- Santa Barbara, CA
- Sonoma, CA
2. How much is Flight Pass? It all depends on how many flights you want.
There are actually two kinds of Flight Pass: the standard Flight Pass, and Flight Pass Pro.
The standard Flight Pass lets you book a Main Cabin flight 90-14 days before you travel, and then you can choose:
- 1 roundtrip flight every 2 months for $49/month
- 1 roundtrip flight every month for $99/month
- 2 roundtrip flights every month for $189/month
Flight Pass Pro gives travelers some more freedom to be spontaneous and lets you book a Main Cabin flight 90 days to 2 hours before you travel. Then you choose:
- 1 roundtrip flight every 2 months for $199/month
- 1 roundtrip flight every month for $399/month
- 2 roundtrip flights every month for $749/month
Whichever plan you choose, a 12-month commitment is required and you can’t cancel early.
3. You’ll still pay taxes and fees on Flight Pass flights.
Flight Pass subscribers get flights credited to their account every month (or every other month for the base plan).
When it’s time to book a flight using credits, you’ll get most flights for $0.01 — although Alaska hinted at higher prices during peak travel periods — plus taxes and fees that’ll cost just under $30.
Flight Pass bookings still earn you Alaska miles and count toward Elite status.
4. You can’t store Flight Pass credits; if you don’t use them, you’ll lose them.
Yeah, this is kind of a bummer. As soon as you get credits added to your account, you’ll have to use them before Alaska adds more credits to your account.
For the one-flight-per-month plan, you’ll need to book a flight before the next month’s credits hit your account. If you don’t, you’ll lose your unused credit.
That’s especially hectic for people who have the two-flights-per-month plan.
If you cancel your Flight Pass flight booking before you get new credits, the credit will be added back to your account.
5. Flight Pass doesn’t work on one-way flights.
You can’t get two one-way flights out of your credits; round-trip only.
6. With Flight Pass, you get Main Cabin flights cheaper than Saver fares.
Get this: I found a round-trip flight from San Francisco to Phoenix for $357.20 in the Main Cabin, and $297.20 with the cheapest Saver fare.
With the Flight Pass, you’d get the same flight for as little as your $49/month subscription fee (plus taxes and fees) — and you’d be in Main Cabin. That’s 83% cheaper than the Saver price!
It’s easy to save 55% percent on last-minute flights, too. Flight Pass Pro members would pay $199 for San Fran to Phoenix flight they could book 2 days in advance vs. $436 without the pass.
You can also pay extra to book premium class seats.
7. Always check the price of your round-trip ticket, though; some flights aren’t worth using your credits.
I found round-trip tickets from Burbank to Las Vegas — just two weeks in advance — for only $78.
Those are Saver fares (not Main Cabin), but since you’re paying at least $98 for a round-trip ticket with the Flight Pass, you might be better off paying outright for this ticket and saving your Flight Pass credit for a more expensive trip — like San Jose to Reno, which at 14 days out, costs more than $300 round-trip.
It’s a little trickier when you find something like the San Francisco to Los Angeles trip I found that costs $88 for the Saver fare, and $113 for Main Cabin. In that case, you get to decide if Main Cabin is more important to you than saving $10.