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Alaska Airlines has been on a roll with novelty promotions lately, giving priority boarding for ugly sweaters in December, and now offering discounts on flights to Alaska based on the intensity of the Northern Lights.

That’s right: You can save more money depending on the intensity of solar radiation and the fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetic field. What a world.

Here’s the deal:

  • The promotion runs through Jan. 17, 2020 (that’s your last day to book).

  • Flights must be from the contiguous 48 states to Anchorage (ANC) or Fairbanks (FAI). (Fairbanks is a better bet for spotting the Aurora Borealis, because of its higher latitude and lower light pollution.)

  • Both departure and return dates must be before Feb. 12, 2020. That’s pretty tight, especially since flights in the next two weeks are fairly expensive.

  • Search for availability on the Alaska site or app and use the discount code “BOREALIS.” Click the “all search options” link if using the site:

  • Your discount will be 15%-35% depending on the highest forecast Kp index (which measures the intensity of activity) for the promotional period. Therefore it might be a good idea to wait until Jan. 17 to check prices, as this gives the most time for the Kp index to spike.

The best deal we found (at the current 20% discount) was a nonstop flight from Seattle (SEA) to Fairbanks (FAI) from Feb. 4-11 for $168 in basic economy. That’s a great deal for two four-hours flights, but … it also means spending a week in Alaska during the dead of winter.

The bottom line

We applaud Alaska for gameifying their promotions and giving us an excuse to learn how the Northern Lights work. Yet only dedicated Aurora fans will likely appreciate these moderate discounts. The rest of us are probably satisfied staying put in our (relatively) warm homes.

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