5 Proven Tips to Fly to Alaska for Cheap in 2024 (from Continental US)

by Jon Miksis
Airplane flying over Alaska for cheap
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Finding cheap flights to Alaska can feel like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve spent years exploring budget travel tips and have discovered some proven methods to help you save big. Whether you’re planning a summer adventure or a winter escape, flying to Alaska on a budget is totally doable.

In this guide, I’ll share my top five tips to fly to Alaska for cheap in 2024. These tips come from personal experience and countless hours of research. From using budget airlines to booking during off-peak times, these strategies will help you find the best deals.

Stick around, and you’ll learn how to make your dream trip to Alaska affordable. Let’s get right to these tips and get you flying to the Last Frontier without emptying your wallet!

Travel tips to fly to Alaska on a budget

1. Sign up for Going.com Premium

If you’re anything like me, you love finding a great deal on airfare. For the past few years, Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) has been my secret weapon. This service has saved me so much money on flights, and it can do the same for you, especially when planning a trip to Alaska.

Here’s how it works: Going is a membership site and app that sends you alerts when there are discounted flights from your chosen airports. You’ll get notifications about deals, including rare mistake fares and unique points and miles offers. It’s like having a personal assistant who’s always on the lookout for the best flight deals!

There are three membership levels: Limited, Premium, and Elite. The free version (limited) is decent for finding deals within the continental US. But if you’re eyeing an Alaskan adventure, the Premium version at $49 per year is the sweet spot. Trust me, you’ll recoup that fee with just one booked flight. I even have a code, JON20, for a 20% discount if you decide to upgrade after trying the free trial.

If you’re looking for flights to Alaska in business class, I recommend upgrading to the Elite version. Priced at $199 per year, the service offers insane discounts on business and first-class tickets. Last year, I saved thousands on business class flights thanks to Going!

In short, Going.com Premium is a fantastic tool for finding cheap flight deals to Alaska. Sign up, and start getting those deal alerts. Your wallet will thank you!

2. Choose the right airline to save big

Flying to Alaska doesn’t have to break the bank. One of my favorite hacks is to choose airlines wisely. They can offer some seriously good deals if you know where to look!

Alaska Airlines is often your best bet for cheap flights from the US to Alaska. Alaska has hubs in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and LAX – making it a popular airline on the West Coast. They frequently have sales and, if you’re planning to fly often, getting their credit card could save you even more. Don’t worry, we’ll dive into those details later.

Another great option is Sun Country Airlines. They’re a budget-friendly airline that offers affordable flights from Minneapolis to Anchorage. Sun Country has direct flights to over 50 destinations across the US, making it accessible for many. Their service is no-frills, but if you’re focused on saving money, it’s a fantastic choice. 

Now, let’s talk strategy. As someone living in Boston, I’ve found that mixing and matching airlines can lead to significant savings. For example, I might fly with Sun Country from Boston to Minneapolis. From there, I can catch a cheap Delta flight to Anchorage. This way, I split my trip between a budget airline and a major carrier, maximizing savings. Alternatively, I can stick with Sun Country on both legs of the journey to save extra cash.

Delta operates flights to Alaska from several hubs, including Seattle, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and Detroit. United Airlines is another option if you’re flying from Washington DC, Denver, or Chicago. They occasionally have affordable flights to Alaska that are worth snagging.

Sun Country Airlines is increasingly becoming a dominant player in providing cheap flights to Alaska
Sun Country Airlines is increasingly becoming a dominant player in providing cheap flights to Alaska

3. Book flights from cheaper airports

Finding a good deal on flights to Alaska often starts with selecting the right departure or connecting airport. Here’s a quick look at how choosing specific airports can lead to significant savings:

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): As a major hub, SEA frequently offers some of the most competitive fares to Alaska. Travelers can often find round-trip tickets for as low as $300-350, especially during sales. Alaska Airlines and Delta are your go-to carriers here.
  • Paine Field Airport (PAE in Everett, WA): Just north of Seattle, Everett’s smaller airport is a hidden gem for affordable flights to Alaska. It’s worth checking out, as prices can be surprisingly lower, especially with Alaska Airlines. I’ve found deals to Anchorage for less than $400 roundtrip.
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Honolulu, HI): This might surprise you, but flying from Honolulu to Alaska can be very affordable! Alaska Airlines operates this route, and despite the long 6-hour flight, fares can be quite reasonable. I’ve seen deals for as low as $405 round-trip.
  • O’Hare International Airport (Chicago, IL): Chicago is another great option for budget-conscious travelers. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines frequently offer competitive prices. You can often find round-trip flights ranging from $400 to $500.
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP): Sun Country Airlines offers some of the best deals from Minneapolis to Alaska. Look for round-trip fares around $400, especially during their promotions.

By choosing these departure airports, you can significantly cut down your travel expenses to Alaska. Again- Going makes it easy to set up departure airports, so I recommend signing up to make this process easier. This strategy has saved me hundreds of dollars, and it can do the same for you! 

Sample flight deal to Anchorage via Skyscanner
Sample flight deal via Skyscanner

4. Take advantage of airline miles programs

I highly recommend using airline mileage programs if you want to save money on Alaska flights. Let’s explore the benefits of United, Alaska, and Delta mileage programs and how they can help you snag affordable tickets.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a favorite for frequent flyers. It’s got an extensive partner network and offers free stopovers on award tickets, which is a huge perk. With hubs in Seattle, Anchorage, and Portland, you’ve got great coverage. 

Their credit card is worth mentioning briefly: for a $95 annual fee, you can get 60,000 bonus miles and a Companion Fare™ after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days. 

Delta SkyMiles

Delta’s SkyMiles program is flexible with no blackout dates and miles that never expire. Hubs like Seattle and Minneapolis give you solid options for flights to Alaska. SkyMiles members enjoy priority boarding and seat selection. 

If you hit Medallion Status, perks include free checked bags and complimentary upgrades. A one-way economy flight to Alaska typically costs around 17,500 miles. Earning miles through flights or a Delta co-branded credit card can help you rack up those points quickly.

United MileagePlus

United MileagePlus is great for those who fly frequently with United and its Star Alliance partners. With hubs in Chicago and Denver, you’re well-covered for Alaskan routes. Benefits include priority boarding and access to Economy Plus seats. 

United’s one-way economy flights to Alaska can be as low as 12,500 miles. Using a United credit card or shopping through the MileagePlus portal can boost your miles balance.

Bottom line

In my opinion, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan offers the best value, especially with its free stopovers and lower mile requirements for one-way economy flights. Plus, the Companion Fare can save you a bundle if you travel with a buddy. But honestly, all three programs have their perks. It’s worth signing up for each to see which works best for you.

Epic view of Alaska from an airplane

5. Book your flight to Alaska during off-peak times

Timing is everything when it comes to scoring cheap flights to Alaska. Booking during off-peak times can save you a ton of money and help you avoid the crowds.

First, let’s talk about the best times to visit. Alaska’s peak tourist season is from mid-June to mid-August. While this is when you’ll find the warmest weather and long daylight hours, it’s also the most expensive time to fly.

To find the cheapest flights to Alaska, aim for the shoulder seasons – late April to early June and late August to mid-September. During these months, you can still enjoy decent weather and some great deals on flights and accommodations.

For Anchorage specifically, traveling in the off-season, such as October or early spring, can yield even better deals. Sure, it might be a bit chillier, but Alaska’s beauty shines year-round. This is a great time of year to see the Northern Lights! 

Now, when it comes to booking your tickets, aim to book about three to six months in advance. Airlines often release their cheapest seats around this time, and you can catch sales and promotions.

From my experience, booking mid-week flights (like Tuesday or Wednesday) can also help you snag lower fares. Avoid booking on weekends when most people are searching for flights.

By booking during off-peak times and planning ahead, you can make your dream trip to Alaska more affordable.

  • Pro Tip: To avoid having to spend hours upon hours looking for cheap flights to Alaska, I highly recommend signing up for Going Premium. While the free version is great for continental US economy deals, the Premium version is what you’ll need to find best-value flights to AK, including credit card points and airline mile deals.
Flying to Alaska on the cheap
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