Top Mistake Fares

Top Mistake Fares

I love a good deal on airline tickets and hotels.  I travel around the world to destinations I had no reason to visit except for an adventure, just because the deal was too good to pass up.  I receive alerts on my phone through IFTTT to notify me of deals I might be interested in.  I check the FlyerTalk forums more often than I should.  I am addicted to Twitter.

I designed a trip for myself this summer that bookends the Cathay Pacific First Class mistake fare I purchased out of Hanoi, Vietnam (coming soon).  In preparation for my upcoming trip, I decided to look back at some of my favorite mistake* fares I was able to take advantage of.

*There is controversy about whether or not to use the term “mistake fare”.  Some prefer to call it an extremely good, limited time sale.  For this post I’ll be calling them mistake fares for ease of understanding.  I define a mistake fare as airfare or hotel rate that is most likely in error due to the fact that the price is multitudes lower than historical pricing.  

Washington DC to Beijing RT – AA Business Class – $462

In 2015, this was one of my first mistake fares and proved to be an extremely popular sale that was honored by American Airlines.  I had to position from Seattle to DC for the flight.  The old AA Business Class seats were angle-flat, meaning it was difficult to sleep.  Still, I received nearly 20,000 Elite Qualifying Miles on Alaska Airlines and my first visit to China.

Cost: $462
Elite Qualifying Miles: 19,637 Alaska Airlines
Value: 2.4 cents per EQM
Total Miles Earned: 27,312 Alaska Airlines Miles as MVP

Read more about my trip here.

Weekend in Beijing

Los Angeles to Auckland RT – AA Economy Class – $225

24 Hours in Auckland

I was able to choose a Main Cabin Extra seat for no additional cost on a new AA 787 plane.  I only had to position from Seattle to LAX.  The flight, being on a 787 and in a bulkhead, was actually somewhat comfortable.  Unfortunately, the flight only credited at 25% to Alaska.  Bonus: Selena Gomez and her entire tour crew were on my return flight.

Cost: $225
Elite Qualifying Miles: 3,252 Alaska Airlines
Value: 6.9 cents per EQM
Total Miles Earned: 7,316 Alaska Airlines Miles as MVP Gold 75K

Read more about my trip here.

American Airlines 787-8 Main Cabin Extra LAX-AKL

Portland to Los Angeles (via New York) RT – VX Economy Class – $161

I booked a few of these (or similar routings) right after Alaska acquired Virgin America.  They were relatively cheap and easy ways to earn a lot of miles with Alaska.  It wasn’t so much a mistake fare as a fare that allowed for creative routing.  PDX-LAX for $161 RT isn’t particularly good, but when you can add in two trips to the East Coast, it becomes a lot better for a mileage run.  As a bonus, I was able to book Main Cabin Select which included free food and drink.

Cost: $161
Elite Qualifying Miles: 11,722 Alaska Airlines
Value: 2.1 cents per EQM
Total Miles Earned: 28,410 Alaska Airlines Miles as MVP Gold 75K

Read more about my trip here.

Seattle to Port-Au-Prince RT – AA First/Business – $322

While Haiti definitely was not near the top of my list for vacation destinations, this deal was able to be routed through LAX-MIA on American’s internationally configured 777.  This made for a comfortable transcontinental flight with no positioning needed.

Cost: $322
Elite Qualifying Miles: 11,070 Alaska Airlines
Value: 2.9 cents per EQM
Total Miles Earned: 20,295 Alaska Airlines Miles as MVP Gold 75K

Read more about my trip here.

Hyatt Regency Trinidad – Presidential Suite – $202

For a period of time, all the rooms at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad were loaded into the reservation system at the same rate.  This meant you could book any room for the cost of the standard room; including the penthouse Presidential Suite.  I was able to book it for a holiday weekend.

Four Seasons Silicon Valley – $35

I was able to add even more value by booking through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts that included a $100 spa credit and free breakfast.  Review of my stay 

El San Juan (Hilton Curio Collection) – Two Bedroom Suite – $130

A great rate in a beach front property that gave me an excuse to visit Puerto Rico (before the hurricane).  The room was huge and the property quite nice.  Breakfast included as I was a Hilton Diamond member.  Review of my stay

Have you ever jumped on a mistake fare or rate?  Share your experience in the comments.

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