Maximizing redemptions with Alaska Airways Mileage Plan

Editor’s word: We have up to date this put up with present info.

In case your principal expertise within the factors and miles world comes from a U.S. legacy provider, adjusting to Alaska Airways’ Mileage Plan program has a little bit of a studying curve. With some unimaginable award candy spots, miles which might be virtually all the time extra invaluable on accomplice airways than on Alaska itself and a novel stopover program, the Alaska Mileage Plan program has its justifiable share of quirks.

Nonetheless, Alaska’s Mileage Plan might be extraordinarily useful as you intend your subsequent award journey. Right now we’ll talk about some methods to maximise your redemptions with Alaska Airways Mileage Plan.

Incomes Alaska Airways Mileage Plan miles

Qatar Airways flights will help you earn Mileage Plan miles. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Since Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t take part within the main transferrable level currencies like Chase Final Rewards and American Specific Membership Rewards, there are three major methods to develop your Mileage Plan steadiness with out touring.

First, you would join a brand new Alaska Airways bank card. The Alaska Airways Visa Signature® bank card presently provides 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Well-known Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and charges from $22) after you make $2,000 or extra in purchases inside the first 90 days of opening your account. TPG values Alaska miles at 1.8 cents every, making the 50,000-mile bonus value a powerful $900.

Second, you may switch factors from Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio. For now, you may get a 5,000-mile bonus for each 60,000 Marriott factors transferred. However this bonus could also be short-lived, as Marriott lately minimize its 5,000-mile bonus for a number of different airways.

You may apply for a brand new Marriott bank card to earn extra Marriott factors. For instance, the Marriott Bonvoy Sensible® American Specific® Card presently has a welcome bonus of 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy factors after you employ your new card to make $5,000 in purchases inside the first three months of card membership.

Third, you would reap the benefits of one in all Alaska’s frequent gross sales on bought miles. Whereas we do not suggest shopping for miles speculatively, shopping for Alaska miles can symbolize a strong worth when you’ve already discovered the award area you need.

Lastly, Alaska Mileage Plan additionally has a purchasing portal and eating program. These applications allow you to earn miles when purchasing on-line and eating at choose eating places.

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Associated: The way to earn miles with the Alaska Airways Mileage Plan program

Decide your accomplice fastidiously

Singapore Airways Mileage Plan awards are typically on the costly facet. BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

Most frequent flyer applications make the most of a zone-based or distance-based award chart, the place the price to journey between two cities is usually the identical irrespective of which accomplice airline you fly. With Alaska, the alternative is true. Choosing your accomplice is important; deciding on one accomplice over one other might prevent a major variety of miles.

Alaska has been pivoting away from award charts, a development according to the opposite main U.S. carriers. Nonetheless, Alaska has an award chart web page that reveals beginning award costs.

Let’s take into account a easy instance of a one-way economy-class award from Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX) to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Worldwide Airport (MNL) within the Phillipines. A simple search on the Alaska web site reveals availability for 2 carriers: Singapore Airways and Japan Airways.


The pricing makes it clear that Japan Airways is a greater redemption worth than Singapore Airways.

Worth discrepancies might be much more vital on different routes, significantly in premium cabins. For flights from the U.S. to Australia, a one-way first-class award might be had for as few as 70,000 miles when you fly with Qantas, 80,000 miles with Cathay Pacific and 110,000 with American Airways.

Beforehand, Alaska did not present Cathay Pacific awards on-line, however the airline lately added Cathay Pacific and LATAM awards to its web site.

Associated: Final information to looking award availability for the most important airways

Don’t count on to ebook all accomplice flights

Alaska Airways Airbus A320. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Although Alaska is a member of Oneworld, you should utilize your Mileage Plan miles with an array of carriers throughout all three main alliances (you may see a full checklist right here).

Nevertheless, these agreements don’t all the time embrace unilateral award entry to each flight operated by these accomplice airways. As a substitute, Alaska’s award chart is restricted to designated routes and areas. Even when a accomplice flies between two cities, you will not be capable of ebook that itinerary with Mileage Plan miles if Alaska’s web site would not present an award chart.

For instance, let’s say you need to journey from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Seoul’s Incheon Worldwide Airport (ICN). It’d be straightforward to imagine that you would redeem Alaska miles to fly on Korean Air. Nevertheless, if you search Europe to Asia, you may discover that Korean Air will not be listed as an choice.


Should you’re touring from Europe to Asia and need to use Mileage Plan miles, you are restricted to Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Malaysia Airways and Singapore Airways.

Associated: Your full information to incomes and redeeming with Alaska Airways Mileage Plan

Make the most of one-way redemptions

One-way awards on Korean Air awards are tough as they value the identical variety of Alaska miles as round-trip itineraries. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Earlier than the pandemic, a giant draw back to one-way redemptions was that prospects needed to pay two $125 redeposit charges in the event that they needed to cancel their journey. Now, nonetheless, Alaska waives redeposit charges for all Mileage Plan members.

Since Alaska doesn’t allow you to mix companions on a single award ticket, there’s a straightforward means round this that permits you to expertise two completely different airways: Ebook two one-way awards as a substitute of a single round-trip. You continue to get a free stopover when reserving one-way awards (extra on that in a minute). And because you’re allowed to ebook one-way awards on almost all of Alaska’s companions, there’s no incentive to ebook a round-trip award.

Word that flights on Korean Air are the one exception right here. Korean flights are costly to start with when utilizing Alaska miles (so in all probability not your finest redemption choice), however you’re solely allowed to ebook round-trip awards. Should you attempt to ebook a one-way, it is going to value the identical as a spherical journey. This naturally defeats the purpose of reserving a one-way award, so that you’ll need to keep away from Korean Air when you’re making an attempt to mix one-way awards.

Associated: Greatest candy spots with Alaska Airways Mileage Plan

Don’t miss a free stopover

Why not cease in Jordan for just a few days earlier than persevering with onward? BRENDAN DORSEY/THE POINTS GUY

Alaska’s award chart might be nice for reaching extra distant locales like India, Australia and Southeast Asia with out breaking the financial institution. You may discover {that a} free stopover on the best way will allow you to arrive at your vacation spot higher rested and allow you to see a second metropolis for no added value.

A first-rate instance of this may be flying from John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport (JFK) in New York to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) on Cathay Pacific. This journey would set you again 50,000 miles every means in enterprise class or 70,000 in top notch. You may fly from JFK to Hong Kong Worldwide Airport (HKG), cease for just a few days, and proceed to Bangkok, all for a similar variety of miles.

On the return, you would route again via Hong Kong (with or with out one other stopover). Or you would leverage the advantages of reserving one-way tickets to go to a distinct stopover metropolis. For instance, you would choose to return in Japan Airways enterprise class or top notch. This may require no less than 60,000 miles for enterprise class or no less than 70,000 miles for top notch, however you would get pleasure from time in Tokyo on the best way dwelling.

With a liberal stopover coverage, we suggest contemplating Mileage Plan stopovers if you plan your journey. Even when you solely spend a day or two exploring your stopover metropolis, it’s an outstanding alternative to see a vacation spot and break up an extended journey with out spending further miles.

Use the multi-city search function to ebook a stopover on Alaska’s web site. Should you’re touring on a accomplice airline, your stopover should typically be on the accomplice’s hub (e.g., Helsinki for Finnair).

Associated: Maximizing stopovers and open jaws on award tickets

Backside line

The Alaska Mileage Plan program is a favourite at TPG, however it’s good to do some planning to take full benefit of it.

We suggest familiarizing your self with the completely different accomplice award costs, routing guidelines and free stopover alternatives. As is the case when looking for award area, flexibility is the important thing to scoring high-value Alaska Mileage Plan redemptions.

Further reporting by Kyle Olsen.

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