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How to redeem Alaska Airlines miles

Put in a little work to reap generous rewards.

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Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan offers reward miles based on distance — an excellent opportunity for frequent travelers. However, taking full advantage of those reward miles is a fairly complex process compared to other airline reward programs. But the effort is well worth it. Here’s what you need to know to push your miles to the limit.

How much are Alaska miles worth?

As of our current calculations based on the Alaska miles site, the average value of a single Alaska mile is worth around 1.8 cents. The value you see can fluctuate rather wildly compared to other airline loyalty programs, however. That’s because Alaska’s awards charts aren’t standardized across all of its airline partners. Visit our guide to learn more about how the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan works.

Alaska Airlines Awards chart

Unlike many airline reward programs, the exact number of miles you need to redeem an awards flight isn’t based on the distance traveled when choosing between each partnered airline. Instead, each mile requirement will differ based on each airline and other typical factors, such as the time of year.

This means instead of simply transferring your points to your favorite airline, you’ll want to compare flights from ALL available Alaska Airlines partners to find the flight with the cheapest mileage requirement.

For example, here are the current flight routes between US/Alaska and Europe.

Awards chart for a flight from US/Alaska to Europe

Class Miles needed each way
Economy 30,000-80,000
Business 60,000-280,000

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Class Miles needed each way
Business/First 57,500
First 85,000
Contiguous May 16 – Oct. 14 – Main 30,000
Contiguous Oct 15 – May. 15 – Main 45,000

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Class Miles needed each way
Economy 32,500
Premium Economy 42,500
Business 60,000
First 70,000

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Class Miles needed each way
Economy 25,000-40,000
Premium 45,000
Business 55,000

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Class Miles needed each way
Economy 47,500
Business 105,000
First 180,000

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Class Miles needed each way
Economy 30,000
Business 70,000

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Class Miles needed each way
Economy (before February 1, 2020) 22,500 and up
Economy (on or after February 1, 2020) 30,000 and up
Business 55,000

Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Alaska partnered flights are limited

You might have noticed in the above examples that there aren’t any listed awards flights for Alaska. Sure enough, what you see is what you get when redeeming awards flights with Alaska.

Even if you know Alaska typically provides flights between the United States and Europe, if you don’t see it on Alaska’s award chart, you can’t book the flight with points. This is just another reason you’ll want to thoroughly explore your airline options using Alaska’s awards chart.

How to redeem Alaska miles for maximum value

Since Alaska offers at least one reward mile for each mile you fly, redeeming your miles for best value comes down to booking flights that cost less in miles than they would in cash. However, there are a few methods you’ll want to employ to get the most out of your hard-earned miles.

Fly one-way, not roundtrip

It’s a little bit of extra work, but booking several one-way flights can prove a better use of your Alaska Miles than booking a single round-trip flight. That’s because if you book a round-trip flight, you’ll be locked into a single airline for your departure and return (and likely miss out on a free stopover).

As we’ve discussed, the cost of a single flight can vary greatly between Alaska partnered airlines. While flying with American Airlines might be your cheapest option for flying from the US to Ireland, a different airline might prove the cheaper option for your return flight. By booking two one-way flights — one trip from the US to Ireland, and one trip from Ireland to the US — you’re keeping yourself open for maximum savings.

Take advantage of stopovers

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan offers free stopovers on one-way awards — a rarity when it comes to airline reward programs. This means you can book a flight to your destination and spend a few hours, or even several days, at the airline’s stopover city, free of charge. Think of it as a vacation within a vacation.

You can’t just stopover wherever you like, of course. Generally, your stopover will be at the hub associated with your airline. For example, a flight to Europe by way of Aer Lingus means your stopover will be in Dublin. Similarly, a flight from Ireland to Australia by way of Condor will result in a stopover in Frankfurt.

Airline Location of main hub(s)
Aer Lingus Dublin
American Airlines
  • Phoenix (PHX)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
  • New York-JFK (JFK)
  • New York-LaGuardia (LGA)
  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Washington-Reagan (DCA)
British Airways
  • London-Gatwick
  • London-Heathrow
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
Condor
  • Dusseldorf
  • Frankfurt
  • Hamburg
  • Hannover
  • Leipzig/Halle
  • Munich
  • Stuttgart
El AL Israel Airlines Ben Gurion
Emirates Dubai International
Fiji Airways Nadi International
Finnair Helsinski Airport
Hainan Airlines
  • Beijing-Capital
  • Frankfurt
  • Hamburg
  • Hannover
  • Leipzig/Halle
  • Munich
  • Stuttgart
Icelandair Keflavik International
Japan Airlines
  • Gimpo
  • Incheon
  • Incheon
LATAM Airlines
  • Santiago
  • Lima
  • Bogota
Qantas
  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Adelaide
  • Perth
Singapore Airlines Singapore

Not every one-way flight will offer a stopover, so you’ll want to poke around at your flight options if you’re interested in checking out a new city during your travels.

Fly first and business class

Several of Alaska’s airline partners offer some great deals on first- and business-class flights, provided you have access to an eligible hub. For example, you can catch a first-class, one-way flight from the US to Japan for a mere 60,000 miles when you fly American Airlines.

Meanwhile, the same itinerary through Alaska costs 60,000 miles for business class.

Redeem Alaska Airlines Miles Image 1
Data obtained July 2020. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Book far in advance

This is pretty tried-and-true advice when it comes to booking cheap flights. But with so many variables affecting the cost of an Alaska award flight, you want to give yourself as much time as necessary to find that perfect sweet spot. The more time you give yourself and the further ahead you book, the more you stand to save.

A handy way of getting your research started is looking at the calendar view when searching through your flight options. This gives you a look at the lowest fares available across a given month. As a quick example of how fares can change over several months, here’s a look at a trip from LAX to Alaska in July 2020.

Redeem Alaska Airlines Miles Image 2

And here’s a look at that same trip in December 2020.

Redeem Alaska Airlines Miles Image 3

That’s a big difference just for booking a few months ahead. Granted, not many travelers are looking to go to Alaska during winter, but you’ll find similar savings throughout the year, depending on where you’re traveling.

Airline transfer partners

You can redeem your Mileage Plan miles with any of Alaska Airlines’ partners. Alaska’s current partners as of July 2020 include:

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Latam Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines

As of April 5, 2020, former partners Ravn and PenAir have both closed operations and are no longer available for booking.

Alaska Airlines is joining the oneworld alliance

Alaska Airlines has announced it will join the oneworld alliance starting summer of 2021. This means that the entire structure of how your Alaska miles will interact with partners may very well change.

We’ll keep you posted on the important details of the move and it might affect the value of the Alaska Mileage Plan program as we know more information.

How to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles

woman on a cruise ship in Alaska

While you’ll earn miles for each mile you travel through Alaska Airlines and partnered flights, using an eligible credit card is the fastest way to accumulate points. For more information on ways you can earn Alaska miles, check out our complete earning guide.

Consider a card from another airline

United℠ Explorer Card

  • $0 first-year intro annual fee, then $95.
  • Signup bonus: 60,000 miles after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus an additional 10,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months.
  • 2x miles on United purchases, hotel stays and restaurant purchases.
  • Credit every four years for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • 25% back as statement credit on United inflight purchases. Plus, priority boarding and your first checked bag free on United-operated flights.
  • 2 United Club one-time passes each card anniversary.
Read less
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See Rates & Fees
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Compare cards for earning Alaska miles

One of the most efficient ways to earn Alaska miles is spending with an eligible credit card. You have two options when it comes to earning miles: Alaska’s cobranded credit cards and general travel cards that can transfer points to your Alaska Mileage Plan account.

To find a card that best suits your spending, choose your credit score below and click Show cards to start a side-by-side comparison.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Hilton Honors American Express Card
80,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
With a massive welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card and up to 7x points at Hilton, this is a solid pick for Hilton fans and occasional travelers. Rates & fees
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
130,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$95
With a big welcome offer worth up to $650, up to 12x points on spending, and free Gold status, this is an upgrade from the entry Hilton card. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card
40,000 miles and companion pass after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days
3x miles on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$75
40,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card
40,000 miles plus companion fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days
3x miles on direct Alaska Airlines purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$50
Earn 40,000 miles plus companion fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days of your account opening.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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Bottom line

Alaska’s strong lineup of airline partners — along with a mileage reward system based on distance flown — means frequent flyers can find terrific deals. Even if you don’t fly Alaska Airlines often, Alaska’s Mileage Plan could be worth joining just to take advantage of partnered flights.

Frequently asked questions

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