Unforgettable Arctic Adventure – Introduction

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Barrow, Alaska is one of the coldest, cloudiest , most expensive and most remote places on earth.  It takes about 30 hours each way to get there from the East Coast. There is very little to do, few places to stay, few places to eat and no bars.  Miserable place to visit, right?  Little did I know this illogical, impractical, ridiculous weekend trip to Barrow would turn out to be the most memorable trip I have ever taken.

Trip Report

  1. Introduction
  2. Initial Impressions of Barrow
  3. Exploring Barrow
  4. An Unforgettable Encounter


The Background

Several years ago I came across an excellent BBC series called Stephen Fry in America, a 6 part mini-series which follows Stephen Fry as he explores all 50 United States.  I enjoyed most of his stops, but what left a lasting impression with me was the lifestyles of the Inupiat people he met on his journey to Barrow, Alaska.  Let’s go!

I called up my parents and asked what they thought about me flying 60 hours in coach to spend less than 24 hours in subzero temperatures in late Spring. I also mentioned that there is no alcohol served. Their response…….Can we come too? If you cover the flights, we’ll bring the wine!  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The Flight

One of the most fundamental concepts of effective award redemption is that most award charts are region-based therefore costs are uniform within the region.  Alaska Airlines defines the lower 48 and Alaska all as one region therefore a round trip redemption from Baltimore to Philadelphia (180 miles) costs the same as a round trip flight from Baltimore to Barrow (9194 miles). It’s the simplest way to let your miles take you farther, literally and figuratively.

I used alaskaair.com to piece together three awards on Alaska Airlines, two originating in Minneapolis and another from Chicago. The Alaska Airlines award booking engine for flights on their own metal is excellent. I was also able to schedule a full day stopover for myself in Anchorage to do some additional exploring, all without having to make a phone call!  The total for the three flights came out to 75K Alaska miles along with 30 dollars in taxes.  I transferred 60K SPG points to Alaska Airlines which came over as 75K Alaska Airlines miles after the standard 5K transfer bonus for every 20K SPG points transferred.  Not too shabby to fly a total of 22204 miles!

BRWIt’s a long way to the top of the world!

If you are crazy enough to fly to Barrow, I would recommend looking for award space as rates hover around $1200-1500 round trip.  It goes without saying, there is plenty of award availability throughout the year, especially in the winter when the Sun doesn’t rise for 65 days!

The Logic Used and Practicality of Trip


DSCN0310Ummm…The North Pole is closer than Seattle?!



Please stay tuned for my upcoming arctic trip report on Barrow, Alaska and one unforgettable encounter.

Trip Report

  1. Introduction
  2. Initial Impressions of Barrow
  3. Exploring Barrow
  4. An Unforgettable Encounter

footprintWhat in the world is that?

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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

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  1. Having spent our honeymoon in Alaska, it has captured our hearts. We never made it that far North but hope to visit again. Looking forward to your report.

  2. If it is still there, I had a good yet rather inexpensive meal at Arctic Pizza in Barrow, which is within walking distance of the Top of the World hotel, where I had an ocean view room and watched the sun not setting at 2:30 in the morning – but that was back in 1996…

  3. Been in Barrow more times than I can count. What do you mean no bars?!! I guess you didn’t know where to look…

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