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When to Use Alaska Miles to Book Condor Flights to Europe

June 02, 2017
5 min read
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Back in March, we found out that Alaska's Mileage Plan was adding Germany-based Condor as a partner. While you've been able to earn Alaska miles on Condor flights for a couple of months now, award redemptions have been slower to take effect. As of May 15, Condor award flights can be booked with Alaska miles.

Let's take a look at when using Alaska miles for Condor flights makes sense.

The Basics

When booking Condor awards using Alaska miles, you're limited to booking directly from the cities that Condor flies directly to or using Alaska flights to connect to a Condor flight.

Condor flies out of the following airports, so you're going to need to position to these cities either on your own or via Alaska Airlines:

Condor currently flies out of these 16 North American airports.

This is good news if you're based on the West Coast and can take an Alaska Air connecting flight up to Seattle (SEA) or Portland (PDX). But, it's a bummer for most of those on the East Coast.

One of the best parts of the Alaska Mileage Plan program is that you can get a stopover — even on a one-way flight. As explained on Alaska's own blog, you can book these online using the multi-city option.

However, there are specific rules for Condor awards regarding where you can stop over: "one stopover per one-way award permitted at US [Condor] gateway to Europe, most [Alaska] connection cities, Frankfurt airport (FRA)." This seems to cover all bases, but there's one option that's missing from here: Munich (MUC). Sure enough, I was able to confirm with award searches and conversations with Alaska agents that you can't add a stopover in MUC.

Condor's European destinations.
Condor's European destinations.

There's also a strange issue: You can't ticket an award online or over the phone if one segment is in low season and one segment is in high season. For example, we searched two legs with known availability: Honolulu-Seattle on June 21 and Seattle-Frankfurt on July 6. These two segments couldn't be combined.

However, here are some sweet spots you might want to consider:

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Hawaii to Europe (With a Stopover on the West Coast) for 25,000 Miles One-Way

For Condor redemptions using Alaska miles, you can fly from any of the 50 states, Canada or Mexico to Europe using the same chart. That's great news for Hawaii travelers. Even better news: you can add a stopover on the mainland for free.

Considering Alaska charges 17,500-30,000 miles (American/Delta/United charge 22,500 miles) for flights just to the mainland, you're getting an onward flight from the mainland to Europe for next to nothing.

Here's a not-so-creative example:

US to European Beach Destinations (With a Stopover in Europe) for 25,000 One-Way

Want to visit Ibiza, Malta, the Canary Islands or the Greek Islands? Condor's network is designed to connect European travelers with leisure destinations. Using Alaska miles, you can connect from a leisure US destination to a leisure European destination, with a stopover along the way.

You can book a flight from the US to Europe, stop over in Germany for a bit and then head down to a Southern European beach destination. For example:

Condor SEA-FRA-IBZ with stopover

Premium Economy to Europe for 45,000 Miles

There's aren't many reasonable award options for booking premium economy to Europe. American Airlines is flying premium economy across the pond, but it's not bookable with miles. Delta treats its Comfort+ as premium economy for award redemption's sake, but it's far from premium economy. British Airways has premium economy cabins bookable with miles, but you've got to cough up tons in fuel surcharges.

While Alaska's 45,000-mile Condor premium economy option doesn't top Iberia's 25,500-Avios off-peak date pricing, you've got the option with Alaska to add a stopover. And, you can fly all the way from the West Coast to Europe for this price. While business class is just 55,000 Alaska miles, it's a lot easier to find premium economy award availability.

Here's one option with almost 17 hours of premium economy flights and a week-long stopover in Frankfurt (FRA):

SAN-TFS premium economy

Bottom Line

From reasonable pricing — especially for economy awards — to a free stopover even on a one-way, it's not hard to find value in Alaska's new partnership with Condor.

I'd recommend digging into Condor's European destinations to see if one looks good to you. Then, figure out if you'd rather stopover in the US (most options are limited to Seattle and Portland) or in Frankfurt (FRA) on your way there to get a two-in-one trip.

Have you booked any Condor awards using Alaska miles?