Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (2024)

Despite being smaller than the Big Three legacy carriers, Alaska Airlines has gained popularity among American travelers thanks to its loyalty program, Mileage Plan.

As a member of Oneworld, the program offers numerous high-value partnerships with airlines like American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific. Additionally, it has non-alliance partnerships with airlines such as Icelandair, Singapore Airlines and LATAM, providing a wide range of options to earn and use miles.

Moreover, Alaska Airlines is one of the few airlines that still awards miles based on physical miles flown. This means you can still earn a reasonable number of miles on cheap tickets, which is great for budget flyers. This is the case for Alaska flights and flights operated by partner carriers.

This guide will discuss the ins and outs of redeeming Alaska miles. We'll also cover its elite status program and airline partners.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan overview

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (1)

Mileage Plan is Alaska Airlines' frequent flyer program. You earn Alaska miles by flying with Alaska or its partner airlines. The program also offers additional earning partners, such as a shopping portal, dining program and cobranded credit cards. Once you accumulate miles, you can redeem them for travel on Alaska or its partners.

Mileage Plan includes an elite status program with four tiers: MVP, MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K. Each tier includes upgrades, preferred seating and bonus mileage earned on Alaska flights. Elite members also enjoy limited benefits on American Airlines and other Oneworld partners.

Related: 6 great benefits I received as an American Airlines elite flying Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines partners

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (2)

Alaska Airlines is known for its huge suite of airline partners, which includes airlines in Oneworld and other alliances.

Oneworld alliance partners

Alaska joined Oneworld in late March 2021. This means that the airline is now a partner with these airlines:

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (3)

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  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Fiji Airways (Oneworld Connect)
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Non-alliance airline partners

Alaska has partnered with airlines outside Oneworld for years now. We're hopeful these non-alliance partnerships will remain long-term now that Alaska is a Oneworld airline, but only time will tell. Here's the full list of Alaska's other airline partners:

AirlineAlliance
Aer LingusNone
Air Tahiti NuiNone
CondorNone
El AlNone
Hainan AirlinesNone
IcelandairNone
Korean AirSkyTeam
LATAMNone
Ravn AlaskaNone
Singapore AirlinesStar Alliance
Starlux AirlinesNone

Related: 6 things to know about the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program

Alaska Airlines elite status

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (4)

Alaska Airlines has four elite status tiers. In 2024, Alaska changed the way customers earn elite status, and no longer requires members to fly a minimum number of Alaska flights. To qualify, you need to earn a set number of elite qualifying miles.

Status tierRequired number of EQMs
MVP20,000
MVP Gold40,000
MVP Gold 75K75,000
MVP Gold 100K100,000

Read more about all the benefits of Alaska Airlines elite status.

How to earn Alaska miles

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (5)

Though earning Alaska miles used to be more challenging since the airline is not associated with major credit card programs like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, the carrier announced a partnership with Bilt Rewards in March.

Additionally, you can still earn miles by flying with various airline partners. Alaska Airlines also offers a cobranded credit card, a shopping portal and a dining rewards program to help you accumulate more miles.

Earn miles when flying with Alaska Airlines

Mileage Plan is an airline loyalty program, so naturally, you can earn when you fly with Alaska Airlines.

Unlike other major U.S. airlines, Alaska continues to award miles based on the actual length of a flight. You'll earn 1 mile per 1 physical mile flown in standard economy. Saver tickets earn 30% of the miles flown. A one-way flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) earns 2,586 miles in standard economy, as that's how long the flight is.

First-class tickets receive a minimum 50% mileage bonus, resulting in higher mileage earnings. For example, a flight from SFO to JFK would earn 3,879 redeemable miles. Note that this bonus applies only to paid first-class tickets, not upgrades. Elite members also earn bonus miles on all Alaska flights. For instance, an MVP Gold 75K member flying from SFO to JFK in first class would earn 5,818 miles with their 125% bonus.

Bonus miles can accumulate quickly for frequent travelers. Additionally, higher-fare economy classes offer bonus miles, although they may be more expensive than standard economy tickets. You can refer to Alaska's website for more information about earning Alaska miles on Alaska flights.

Related: The airline miles that are hardest to earn — and why you want them anyway

Credit partner flights to Mileage Plan

You can credit partner flights to Mileage Plan, allowing you to earn both redeemable and elite qualifying miles. The miles earned depend on the airline, flight length and fare class. To determine the earning levels, visit Alaska's partner page and locate the earning chart for the specific partner and fare class. Multiply your flight's distance by the percentage in the "Miles earned (total)" column.

For flights operated by partner airlines with Alaska "AS" flight numbers, all flights follow the earning structure below:

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (6)

Spend on an Alaska Airlines credit card

Alaska Airlines has two cobranded credit cards with Bank of America: a personal card and a business card.

These let you earn Alaska miles on your everyday spending and offer solid sign-up bonuses. The cards include other inflight benefits, including an annual Companion Fare that helps offset their annual fees.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card: The Alaska Airlines Visa credit card is Alaska's personal credit card. You can earn 60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Companion Fare ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after making $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. This card earns 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Alaska purchases; 2 miles per dollar on eligible gas, EV charging station, cable, streaming services and local transit (including ride share) purchases; and 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else. You also get a free checked bag on all Alaska flights and 20% back on inflight purchases.

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card: The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card is simply the business version of the personal Alaska card. Get 50,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Companion Fare ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after making $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. The card earns the same 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases; 2 miles per dollar on eligible gas, EV charging station, shipping and local transit (including ride share) purchases; and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Related: Alaska Airlines Visa Business card review: Good for frequent Alaska business travelers

Transfer Bilt Points

Bilt Rewards members can now transfer points to Alaska Mileage Plan at a 1:1 ratio. This is huge news for award travelers, as Marriott Bonvoy points are the only other major transferable currency that transfers to Alaska Mileage Plan.

Later this spring, Alaska Airlines cardholders will start earning 3 miles per dollar spent (on up to $50,000 annually) when using their Alaska Airlines Visa credit card to pay rent through Bilt.

Other ways to earn Alaska miles

You can earn miles using the Mileage Plan Shopping portal when shopping online and the Mileage Plan Dining program when dining out.

On the shopping side, Mileage Plan Shopping awards bonus miles whenever you click through the Alaska portal before making an online purchase. It offers bonus miles with hundreds of different merchants, including Apple and Saks Fifth Avenue. Each merchant awards a different number of miles per dollar spent, and rates can fluctuate frequently.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (7)

Watch out for shopping portal deals offered by Mileage Plan Shopping. It occasionally runs limited-time bonuses where you can earn extra miles by spending a specific amount of money.

Mileage Plan Dining is another opportunity to earn bonus miles. Create an account on the Mileage Plan Dining website and link your credit cards. You'll earn Alaska points and miles from your credit card by dining at participating restaurants. Use a card that offers bonus points on dining for maximum benefits.

The miles you earn depend on your Mileage Plan Dining membership tier. These include:

  • Basic members: 1 mile per 2 dollars spent
  • Select members: 3 miles per dollar spent, earned after you enroll in email communications from Mileage Plan Dining
  • VIP members: 5 miles per dollar spent, earned after you enroll in email communications and dine at participating restaurants 11 times

You can earn 500 bonus Alaska miles after your first purchase. To qualify, spend $30 at a participating restaurant and review it on the Mileage Plan Dining website.

There are other ways to earn Alaska miles, such as booking rental cars and hotel stays with Alaska partners. You can learn more about these earning opportunities in our full guide to earning Alaska miles.

How to redeem Alaska miles

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (8)

You can use your Alaska miles for flights on Alaska Airlines and its partner airlines. The best value is often found when redeeming on partner airlines, especially for international first- or business-class flights.

Awards offered by Alaska Airlines are dynamically priced. Your price for a specific award ticket varies by route and day.

You'll generally find the lowest-priced awards on short flights — think Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Portland International Airport (PDX) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

On the airline's website, you'll see award pricing for all of Alaska's partners, depending on the region you are traveling to.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (9)

All partner awards are now dynamically priced. For instance, American Airlines award flights in the U.S. and Canada now only have starting prices and then "vary depending on demand."

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (10)

You can add stopovers to one-way award tickets

One of the great advantages of booking partner tickets with Alaska Airlines is the ability to add stopovers to one-way award tickets. Booking a ticket with a stopover costs the same as a nonstop flight to your final destination.

You can have a stopover operated by Alaska Airlines or a single partner in its hub city.

For example, you can book a ticket from JFK to London on British Airways, spend a few days in London, and then continue to Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) on British Airways. This should cost the same number of miles as a flight from JFK to FCO, provided the itinerary does not fall into the next-highest band.

Related: How to book free stopovers with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

How to book Alaska Airlines award tickets

You can book most award tickets on alaskaair.com. Log in to your account and enter your search criteria on the home page, ensuring you select the "Use miles" option for award flights. Click "Find Flights" to search and view available options in the center of the screen. If you find a suitable ticket, select it and click "Add to cart" to proceed with booking.

For booking stopovers, click the "All search options" link on the homepage and select "Multi-city" under the "Flight type" header. Enter your flights and search for connecting tickets. All available options will be displayed in the center of the screen. If you find a desirable itinerary, book your ticket as usual.

Mileage Plan redemption sweet spots

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (11)

Now that you know about Mileage Plan, let's explore some top ways to use your Alaska miles.

  • Business class to Fiji and Australia/New Zealand: One-way business-class seats on Fiji Airways now start at 75,000 Alaska Airlines miles. You could fly to New Zealand and Australia, with a stopover in Fiji for just 10,000 miles more.
  • Domestic flights within Australia: Alaska'a Oneworld partner Qantas operates many wide-body services on the "golden triangle" routes between Sydney Airport (SYD), Melbourne Airport (MEL) and Brisbane Airport (BNE). These flights can booked in economy class starting at 7,500 Alaska miles each way for journeys of 1,500 miles or less.
  • Business-class to the United Kingdom: While many flight routes from North America to Europe will fall within the 3,501-5,000-mile range, such as a flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) costing 55,000 miles in business class, there are several routes from the East Coast to the United Kingdom that will only cost 45,000 Mileage Plan miles in business class as they are under 3,500 miles, such as the New York-to-London route.
  • Book South America flights on LATAM: Despite having left the Oneworld alliance, LATAM maintains a partnership with Alaska Airlines. By taking advantage of the free stopover, you can book flights like Miami International Airport (MIA) to Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) to Santiago International Airport (SCL), allowing you to experience two vibrant South American cities in one trip from just 25,000 miles for economy and 50,000 miles for business class each way.

Related: Best Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan sweet spot redemptions you can book

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a top airline loyalty program, thanks to its wide range of partners and reliable award charts.

However, the program has been devalued as it has introduced dynamic award pricing and high rates for new redemption partners. Despite this, it is still worth considering earning miles with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan when flying with its partner airlines.

Updated as of 4/18/2024.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Guide to earning and redeeming miles - The Points Guy (2024)
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