For those of you who live in Alaska or the west coast (or want to visit there), you’ll want to consider Alaska Airlines. Operating from main bases along the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find plenty of flights to go to a variety of destinations across the United States.
But it doesn’t stop there. They’re also partnered with 16 airlines from around the world. If international air travel is your game, there’s an airline you’ll be able to use your miles on.
And with Alaska’s Mileage Plan program, you can use your miles to fly on any of these airlines.
For earning miles on day-to-day purchases, there’s a credit card for you to earn miles – and it can save you money while you’re flying on Alaska Airlines too.
So let’s explore the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program and see how it can work for you.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan at a glance
|Value of a Mileage Plan mile:||High: $0.032 for magazines
Low: $0.0094 for hotels
|Ways to redeem Mileage Plan miles:||* Flights – 1.6 cents per mile (CPM)
* Hotels – 0.94 CPM
* Magazine subscriptions – 3.2 CPM
* Charitable donations
|How to earn Mileage Plan Miles:||* Flights
* Car Rentals
* 1 credit card
|Who these rewards are good for:||* World Travellers|
|Frequently Asked Questions:||* Level of flexibility? Low
* Blackout dates? Yes
* Do rewards expire? No
* Do rewards cover taxes and fees? No
* Can these rewards be transferred? No
* Is there a way to earn rewards faster? Yes
* Will I lose my miles if I cancel an award flight? No
* Alaska Airlines customer service
Calculating the value of a Mileage Plan mile
There are only a handful of ways you can use your miles with Alaska Airlines.
However, all the main ways you’ll want to use your miles for travel are here, as well as one pretty unique option.
Here’s a low down on how you can use your miles, and the value you can expect.
Redeem Mileage Plan miles for flights – 1.6 CPM
Like any airline program, if you’re collecting miles, you’re probably looking to get a free flight. And it’s the best way to use your miles as well.
We surveyed 14 flights – 7 on Alaska Airlines, departing from their hubs, and another 7 on their various partners. We came to an average value of 1.6 cents per mile on our flights.
On the whole, there wasn’t much difference in the averages.
Generally speaking though, you’ll get the best value when travelling on Alaska Airlines itself – they had the smallest range of difference in value. The taxes across all flights in the U.S. were also the standard $11.02 (our flight to Mexico was higher).
Booking international flights with miles
When it came to international flights, it was definitely more hit or miss.
We excluded a couple of low-value flights because they had high taxes and fees (IcelandAir) or really low savings (Hainan).
Our British Airways flight had the highest taxes and fees bill of the group. And while it still provided decent value because the cost of the flight was so high, it’s definitely best to be leery anytime you’re booking with them.
Now with that said, there was a lot of great value in our international flights. The other carriers we looked at had low taxes and fees bills to pay, so you’ll be paying less out of pocket for those flights.
And some even had great value. Our Dallas – Seoul Trip on Korean Air provided top value at 2.6 cents per mile.
However, a very surprising top flight was booked on Fiji Air from Los Angeles to Nada, Fiji. It only needed 40,000 miles – less than a trip to Hawaii. And coupled with the low taxes and fees, it was an incredibly attractive flight.
So, when booking flights with Alaska’s partners, be sure to check out what you have to pay, otherwise it might not be worth it.
To learn more about Alaska’s partners, you can find them here.
Redeem Mileage Plan miles for hotel stays – 0.94 CPM
There’s only one other way to redeem your miles for travel – hotel bookings.
Alaska’s hotel booking tool has over 400,000 properties you can book.
We test booked hotels in 14 different major cities across the U.S., and came to a value of 0.94 cents per mile.
While less than the flights, there was some good value to be found – as high as 1.4 cents per mile.
It might not be your first choice when it comes to redeeming miles, but it can be worth a quick check, just to see if there’s something there for you.
Redeem Mileage Plan miles for magazine subscriptions – 3.2 CPM
You’re not going to be able to use many miles, but the best overall value is by getting magazine subscriptions – double the value when compared to flights.
Here’s a small sampling of what’s available, and how much these various subscriptions are worth.
|Magazine, number of issues||Miles Required||Cost with sales tax||Value (cents per mile)|
|People – 54 issues||1,600||$89.10||5.6|
|Sports Illustrated – 78 issues||900||$40||4.4|
|Travel + Leisure – 24 issues||600||$10||1.7|
|Better Homes & Gardens – 24 issues||500||$10||2.0|
|Golf Digest – 11 issues||900||$20||2.2|
If you’re someone who gets magazines delivered to your door, or have some spare miles lying around, it’s definitely worth using a few of your miles to get them through Mileage Plan instead.
You can see the full selection of what’s available here.
Redeem Mileage Plan miles for charity donations
Lastly, you can redeem your miles towards donations to charity.
There’s a variety of charities to choose from, however you won’t know the actual dollar amount donated.
How to earn Alaska Airlines miles
So now that you know how you can redeem your miles, how do you go about earning them?
There are 2 ways – through traveling and using a credit card.
Earn through flights
The fastest way to earn miles is by flying – both on Alaska Airlines, as well as their partners.
On Alaska Airlines (and Alaska marketed flights), you’ll earn 1 mile for every actual mile flown. You’ll receive bonuses depending on the fare class as well. The details are in here.
For their partners, their airline partner page lists all airlines you can earn and redeem with. Click on a partner, and you’ll see how many miles you’ll earn with them while flying.
Earn through hotel stays
To earn miles on hotel stays, you have 2 choices.
The first is by booking hotels directly through Alaska’s hotel booking portal. You’ll earn anywhere from 500 to 10,000 miles per night.
Many hotel chains also allow you to collect Alaska miles in lieu of the hotel chain’s points.
To find out more, this page has all the options available.
Earn when renting a car
Finally you also have the option for earning on rental cars.
Similar to hotels, you have 2 choices when it comes to earning your miles.
You can either use Alaska’s own portal, or forgo the rental car agency’s points for Alaska miles.
You can see all the details here
Alaska Airlines credit card
To earn miles on every purchase you make, you’ll want the
You’ll earn 1 mile for every $1 spent, which is boosted to 3 miles on purchases through Alaska Airlines.
It also comes with some great benefits when you’re flying with Alaska. The biggest is the annual companion voucher. Simply book a flight for yourself, and bring someone else with you for $99 plus taxes and fees (which is $11.20 for flights within the U.S.).
You’ll also get a first checked bag free for yourself and up to 6 others traveling on the same reservation.
You’ll also enjoy some savings while traveling. Get 50% off one day lounge pass purchases, and 20% off inflight purchases.
For the person who flies Alaska Airlines, this card has a lot to love.
Related: Best Travel Credit Cards
Mileage Plan questions and answers
Here are some common questions and answers about the Alaska Airlines program:
How flexible are these rewards?
These aren’t the most flexible rewards you can get. You can only fly to/from the U.S. West coast, and the only travel redemptions are for flights and hotel stays.
Are there blackout dates?
Yes, there are blackout dates for flights.
Do these rewards expire?
No, provided you make a transaction on your account at least once every 2 years.
Can you use points to cover taxes & fees?
No, points cannot be used to cover taxes and fees for flights.
Can these rewards be transferred?
No, these rewards cannot be transferred.
Is there a way to earn rewards faster?
Yes, by earning miles by flying with Alaska Airlines and other airline partners, staying at hotel partners, using an Alaska Airline credit card, and renting cars.
Do you lose your points if you cancel a booking?
No, however a service fee will be charged to redeposit miles into your account.
Contact Alaska Airlines customer service
To contact Alaska Airlines, they can be reached at 1-800-252-7522 (1-800-AlaskaAir) when you’re in the U.S. or Canada.
The bottom line
For travel to and from Alaska and the West coast, Alaska Airlines is a great option. And the Mileage Plan program will also let you redeem on a variety of international carriers if you want to scratch your travel itch.
What are your thoughts on the program?
Let us know in the comments below.