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- The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a good choice for anyone who regularly flies to or from the West Coast
- The Mileage Plan boasts a vast partner network of airlines, hotels, rental car companies and everyday shopping sites — all of which can help you earn miles more quickly
- Reward flights with the Mileage Plan can be redeemed for as little as 5,000 miles
You may believe you can only fly Alaska Airlines to, from or within the state, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, Alaska Air Group offers flights to more than 115 destinations within the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica.
According to an airline fact sheet, Alaska Airlines boasts more flights to more destinations from the West Coast than any other airline. Also, keep in mind that Alaska has a long list of partner airlines — including those within the Oneworld alliance — which lets you earn and redeem miles for travel to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide.
If you fly from the West Coast often or you want to in the future, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is worth looking into.
What is Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan?
Like other major airlines, Alaska Airlines has its own frequent flyer program. This program lets basic members earn a mile for each mile flown with Alaska Airlines, and you can redeem them for flights starting at just 5,000 miles.
Joining Mileage Plan is free, and you can climb the ranks to elite status to score benefits like priority boarding, free checked baggage and preferred seating.
How to earn Alaska Airlines miles
Where some airlines make it difficult to rack up miles in their frequent flyer programs, Mileage Plan gives you a plethora of options. Note, you can use multiple strategies from this list to boost your mileage balance even further.
Earn miles by flying
The number of miles you can earn on Alaska Airlines flights depends on your flight’s range and the fare class you purchase. You may also earn a combination of base miles and class of service bonus miles, though government fares and other discounted fares may not be eligible for the full bonus.
Be aware that you can also earn miles with Alaska Airlines when you fly with its partners on Alaska-marketed flights to more than 800 destinations around the world. You can redeem your miles to fly with partners, which we’ll cover in more detail below.
Book hotel stays and rental cars
Alaska’s hotel and rental car partners offer another way to earn miles in the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. You can earn miles while you sleep, although the number of miles you’ll earn per night (or per stay) varies depending on the partner you book with.
When it comes to rental car partners, you may be able to earn miles per day or per rental period, depending on the partner.
Shop with partners
If you shop online with major retailers, earning miles on your spending is a breeze. First, download the Mileage Plan Shopping button to your computer desktop and earn miles when you shop with more than 1,100 online and local retailers, including Best Buy, Macy’s and Walmart.
Other partners you can earn miles with include 1-800-Flowers, Rover.com, SoFi, Teleflora, Vinesse Wine Club, GCI, Diners Club International and Carrs-Safeway.
Join the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan dining club
The Alaska Mileage Plan Dining, which is free to join, gives you miles each time you dine with a participating restaurant and pay with a linked credit card or debit card. When you sign up, you can even earn 500 bonus miles with your first meal.
Sign up for an airline credit card
Finally, don’t forget about the easiest way to earn airline miles with Alaska Airlines. By signing up for the right travel credit card, you can earn miles for each dollar you spend regardless of how often you fly.
Best credit cards for Alaska Airlines
There are a handful of rewards credit cards that let you earn miles that work directly within the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan rewards program. These options also come with frequent flyer perks, including Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare.
Alaska Airlines Visa credit card
The Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card is the flagship credit card offering from Alaska Airlines. This airline card starts you off with 50,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) when you spend at least $2,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account. You also get the chance to earn 3X miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines and partner flight purchases; 2X miles per dollar on eligible gas, cable, streaming services and local transit purchases; and 1X mile per dollar spent on everything else.
The card’s frequent flyer benefits are pretty basic, but they’re still worth noting. You’ll get a free checked bag for you and up to six guests on your itinerary, and you’ll also receive 20 percent back on all in-flight purchases. The $95 annual fee seems reasonable when you consider all you get in return.
Alaska Airlines Visa Business card*
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card also offers a generous initial bonus and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare, with a relatively low minimum spending requirement of just $3,000 within 90 days of account opening. You’ll get the same earning rate of 3X miles on Alaska Airlines purchases; 2X miles on eligible gas, shipping and local transit; and 1X miles on everything else — and you’ll get the free checked bag for you and up to six companions on your itinerary.
Other card benefits include 50 percent off day passes at the Alaska Lounge and 20 percent back on all Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases. A $70 annual fee for the company is required, in addition to the separate fee of $25 for each employee card.
How much are Alaska Airlines miles worth?
According to recent Bankrate valuations, miles in the Alaska Airline Mileage Plan rewards program are worth approximately 1.1 cents each. This makes them more valuable than miles from competing programs like the American Airlines AAdvantage program.
How to redeem Alaska Airlines miles
The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan offers some flexibility regarding how you can redeem your earned miles. For example, you can use your miles to book flights to more than 1,000 destinations with Alaska Airlines or its partners, but you can also cash in your miles for hotel stays at more than 400,000 properties worldwide.
Other redemption options include booking a stopover or using your miles to upgrade to a premium cabin. You can even use your miles to purchase magazine subscriptions or share your miles with someone else.
Best redemption options for your wallet
For the most part, you’ll get the most bang for your buck out of Alaska miles if you redeem them for flights. This airline even offers a handy mileage tool that helps you figure out how many miles you’ll need for the flight you want.
Note that award flights start at just 5,000 miles, which is an exceptional value. Some sweet spots in the award charts include:
- Fly Cathay Pacific from the mainland U.S. and Alaska to Australia in Business class for 60,000 miles one-way
- Fly American Airlines from the mainland U.S. and Alaska to Hawaii for 22,500 miles one way (in economy)
- Fly Alaska Airlines from the mainland U.S. and Alaska to Mexico in economy for as little as 10,000 miles one-way (flights of 1,400 miles or less)
- Fly American Airlines from the mainland U.S. and Alaska to New Zealand for 40,000 miles one way (in economy)
Redemption options to steer away from
Generally speaking, non-flight options offer the lowest value for your Alaska miles. This includes hotel stays, upgrades and magazine subscriptions.
Alaska Airlines travel partners
Alaska Airlines partners make it possible to earn more miles or redeem your miles in another way. The current list of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partners is featured below.
- American Airlines
- Aer Lingus
- Air Tahiti Nui
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- EL AL Israel Airlines
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Ravn Alaska
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- Singapore Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
- STARLUX Airlines
Mileage Plan miles can also be earned (but not redeemed) on flights with Cape Air, Kenmore Air, Mokulele Airlines and Southern Airways Express.
- Alaska Airlines Hotels
- Best Western Hotels and Resorts
- Choice Hotels
- Coast Hotels
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Westmark Hotels
- Mileage Plan Shopping
- Mileage Plan Dining
- Diners Club International
- The Opinion Terminal
- Vinesse Wine Club
Alaska Airlines elite status and memberships
The following table shows what you need to earn in 2023 to keep each tier of elite status for the rest of the year, as well as the main benefits you’ll receive when you get there.
|MVP Gold 75K
|MVP Gold 100K
|How to earn it
**Eligible miles and segments must include at least 2 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines
**Must include at least 6 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines
**Must include at least 12 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines
**Must include at least 24 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines
|125%, plus a 50,000-mile bonus
|Oneworld reciprocal status
|First and premium class upgrades on Alaska non-qualifying fares
|120 hours; Highest waitlist priority
|First class upgrades at the time of booking
|Y, B fares
|Y, B, H or K fares
|Y, B, H, K or M fares
|Y, B, H, K or M fares
|Premium class upgrades at the time of booking
|Y, B or H fares
|Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S or N fares
|All fares except Saver fares
|All fares except Saver fares
|Companion upgrades to first class and premium class
|Complimentary premium beverage or chocolate in main cabin
|Complimentary snack or meal in Main Cabin
|Complimentary same-day flight changes
|Elite leave for new parents
MVP status with Alaska Airlines gets you basic benefits like a 50 percent mileage bonus, reciprocal status with the Oneworld alliance and the ability to qualify for upgrades. You’ll also qualify for priority check-in and boarding, two free checked bags, preferred seating and an Alaska Lounge membership discount, among other perks.
The next tier of status, known as MVP Gold, takes your benefits up a notch. You’ll get the same frequent flyer benefits as MVP offers, as well as standby access and waitlists for full flights. You’ll also get a 100 percent mileage bonus at this tier.Important: Alaska Mileage Plan members who fly one million miles on Alaska Airlines are granted MVP Gold status for life.
MVP Gold 75K status makes it easier to earn miles with a 125 percent mileage bonus. You also get added benefits like a 50,000 mile bonus upon reaching this tier, four Alaska Lounge day passes, better access to upgrades and waivers for service charges and ticket change fees.
Earning MVP Gold 100K elite status with Alaska’s Mileage Plan isn’t easy, as you’ll need to fly more than 100,000 miles with Alaska and its partner airlines (or complete at least 140 segments). Once you do, however, you’ll become eligible for the program’s 100K Choice Benefit options, which entitles you to 50,000 bonus miles, an Alaska Lounge+ membership, the ability to gift MVP Gold status or complimentary WiFi on every flight.
Alaska Airlines FAQs
Signing up for the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is easy. All you need to do is head to AlaskaAir.com and click the “Mileage Plan” tab to join the program. Information you’ll need to enter includes your name, date of birth, gender, phone, email address and physical address.
Flights booked with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program start at 5,000 miles.
The bottom line
The Alaska Air Mileage Plan is a viable travel rewards option for frequent domestic and international travelers, and especially those who fly from the West Coast. Additionally, the company offers several great airline credit cards that can help you earn miles faster while being rewarded with frequent flyer perks.
If you plan to fly with Alaska Airlines or one of its partners in the future, there’s no reason to ignore this free program.
*The information about the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.