How to earn miles with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program

Jun 25, 2022

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TPG readers and staff members alike are huge fans of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program — even those on the East Coast who never actually fly with the carrier. Even though we’ve seen widespread devaluations of Mileage Plan miles, there are still sweet spots in the program’s Oneworld and non-alliance partners. You can redeem miles on some of the most sought-after premium award seats on airlines like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and many more.

Although Alaska Airlines miles aren’t as easy to earn as those of other programs, there are still plenty of ways to stock up on Mileage Plan miles without stepping on a plane.

Unfamiliar with earning Mileage Plan miles? We’ll show you how you can earn Alaska miles to put your next award trip within reach.

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In This Post

Earn Alaska miles by flying

Alaska Airlines planes.
Alaska Airlines planes. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

The most straightforward way to earn Alaska miles is by flying Alaska Airlines or one of its partners. Alaska is one of the few airlines that still issue miles based on flight distance, not how much money you spent on the ticket. That being said, several factors determine how many miles you’ll earn on a given ticket.

Earn miles by flying on Alaska Airlines

When traveling on an Alaska-operated flight, you’ll earn Alaska miles based on the distance you fly. The good news is that all flights, including Alaska’s basic economy product, earn a minimum of 100% of the miles flown. Meanwhile, tickets booked into higher fare classes earn bonus miles. Here’s the earning chart for Alaska-operated and -marketed flights to determine how many miles you’ll earn on your next trip:

Earning miles on Alaska Airlines flights
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

To figure out your flight distance, we recommend using Great Circle Mapper. Here’s an example: A one-way ticket from Chicago to Los Angeles booked in a C-class first-class cabin would earn 3,052 miles. That’s because these fares earn 100% base miles (1,744 miles flown) and a 75% class-of-service bonus (1,308 miles).

ORD to LAX flight map
(Screenshot from gcmap.com)

Elite status bonus

Additionally, those with Alaska Airlines elite status will earn additional bonuses on their Alaska-operated tickets. Here’s how many bonus Mileage Plan miles each MVP status tier earns on these flights:

  • Alaska MVP: 50% bonus.
  • MVP Gold: 100% bonus.
  • MVP Gold 75K: 125% bonus.
  • MVP Gold 100K: 150% bonus.

These bonuses only apply to the 100% base miles flown, not any class-of-service bonuses for higher fare classes. To continue our example from Chicago to Los Angeles, an MVP member would take home an extra 872 miles (1,744 x 0.5), an MVP Gold member would earn an extra 1,744 miles and an MVP Gold 75K member would earn an extra 2,180 miles. That’s a nice boost for frequent Alaska Airlines flyers.

Related: What is Alaska Airlines elite status worth?

Earn by flying with partners

When flying a partner airline booked on Alaska Airlines ticket stock (a codeshare flight operated by a partner but booked with an Alaska flight number), you’ll earn 100% of the base miles flown. However, the way you earn Alaska miles varies slightly when you book a partner flight on the partner’s ticket stock and add your Mileage Plan number.

American Airlines British Airways London Heathrow Terminal 5
You can earn Mileage Plan miles on most American Airlines and British Airways fares thanks to the partner agreement through Oneworld. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

When you do this, the exact number will vary based on the airline, status tier and booking class. Generally speaking, you won’t earn 100% of the miles flown for every fare class, though flights booked in higher fare classes will still earn more.

To check how many miles you’ll earn on your partner ticket, head to Alaska Airlines’ partner page, find the partner you’re flying and check the chart for your booking class.

Here’s the British Airways earning chart:

Earning Alaska miles on British Airways
(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

Alaska Airlines has been part of the Oneworld alliance for over a year, and you can earn miles on all Oneworld airlines, including:

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

Further, the airline has a plethora of non-alliance partners, including:

  • Aer Lingus.
  • Air Tahiti Nui.
  • Condor.
  • El Al Israel Airlines.
  • Hainan Airlines.
  • Icelandair.
  • Korean Air (SkyTeam).
  • LATAM Airlines.
  • Ravn Alaska.
  • Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance).

Each partner has its own earning chart and applicable flights. Check the individual partner page to avoid any nasty surprises after taking your flight.

Related: How to redeem miles with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Earn Alaska miles with credit cards

Alaska Airlines Airbus A321
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

One of the easiest ways to earn a large chunk of Mileage Plan miles without flying is through the Alaska Airlines credit cards issued by Bank of America.

One option is the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. This card carries a $75 annual fee, but currently offers a limited time sign-up bonus where you buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) and receive 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

If you have a small business, you might prefer the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card. This card has a $50 annual fee for the company and $25 per card  but offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

Note that these cards also waive the fee for a first checked bag for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation and include discounts on inflight purchases and lounge passes.

Transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska

Even if you don’t have Alaska Airlines credit cards in your wallet, it’s still possible to generate miles by transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio. You’ll also earn a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. So you could open cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and move those points to Alaska to book award flights.

Related: Here’s why Alaska Airlines miles are the most valuable

Earn business rewards with EasyBiz

Travelers walking in an airport
EasyBiz helps your business earn bonus rewards on employee travel. (Photo by Nikada/Getty Images)

Alaska Airlines has a business rewards program called EasyBiz. This program rewards businesses for employee travel based on the price of a ticket. Rewards earned with EasyBiz are in addition to the employee’s mileage earnings, so both parties win.

Businesses earn 1 Alaska mile for every dollar spent on employee airfare. You also get access to features like 24-hour reservation holds, travel management tools and ticket reports. Tools like this help your business better manage employee travel and get more value from the money you’re already spending.

You can enroll in EasyBiz on Alaska’s website. After doing this, you’ll receive an EasyBiz number that you, your employees or your travel agent can attach to Alaska bookings.

Related: Airline loyalty programs for small businesses

Earn Alaska miles with travel partners

Rental cars at STL airport
You can earn bonus Alaska miles when booking hotels and rental cars with Alaska partners. (Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

You can also earn Alaska miles with other travel partners. This lets you earn Alaska miles on other aspects of your trip, like hotels and rental cars.

Book hotels with Alaska partners

You can earn bonus Mileage Plan miles by booking with Alaska Airlines Hotels powered by Rocketmiles and rental cars with eligible Mileage Plan partners. Just know that you may not earn hotel or car rental points on your booking if you go this route. In other words, you’ll need to decide which points currency you value most.

Further, you can earn Alaska miles instead of hotel points when you book with a handful of hotel groups. Here’s a table that shows your options and their respective earning rates at the time of writing.

Hotel Earning rate
Best Western Earn 250 miles per stay.
Choice Privileges Earn 250 miles per stay.
Coast Hotels Earn 500 miles per stay.
IHG One Rewards Earn up to 2 miles per dollar spent, depending on the property.
Marriott Bonvoy Earn up to 2 miles per dollar spent, depending on the property. Points transfer at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus awarded for every 60,000 transferred.
Westmark Hotels Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on accommodations and 1 mile per dollar spent on food and beverage.

Related: 10 ways you could be earning airline miles other than credit cards

Rent a car and earn Alaska miles

Like hotels, you can earn Alaska miles when booking car rentals through Alaska Airlines Car Rental. The miles you’ll earn depend on how much you spend on a rental. You won’t earn rental car points on these bookings and prices may differ compared to booking direct.

You can also book directly with rental car companies and earn Alaska miles instead of rental car points. Here’s a quick look at how much you’ll earn with each partner.

Hotel Earning rate
Alamo 50 miles per day.
Avis 50 miles per day, 500 miles on rentals five days or longer.
Budget 50 miles per day, 500 miles on rentals five days or longer.
Dollar 50 miles per day, 150 miles on rentals three days or longer.
Hertz 50 miles per day, 500 miles on rentals five days or longer.
National 50 miles per day.
Thrifty 50 miles per day, 150 miles on rentals three days or longer.

Related: How to never pay full price for a rental car

Earn Alaska miles with other partners

Additionally, you can earn Alaska miles through several Alaska Mileage Plan partners for everyday purchases like dining out, shopping online and even staying at hotels.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Shopping

Alaska Mileage Plan Shopping is a great way to earn bonus Alaska miles on your online purchases in addition to the miles you already earn with your credit card. Just sign up for a Mileage Plan Shopping account and find your merchant on the mall before purchasing. Just for clicking through the link on the Mileage Plan portal, you will earn a set number of miles per dollar spent.

Do note that each participating merchant offers a different amount of miles per dollar spent and their rates fluctuate frequently. Be sure to use a shopping portal aggregator like Cashback Monitor to compare earning potential across various sites.

Mileage Plan Shopping periodically offers promotions for spending a set amount of money or buying products from a specific merchant. So, keep an eye out for promotions.

Related: The beginners guide to airline shopping portals

Mileage Plan Dining

Man taking photo of food with a smartphone
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a great way to earn bonus miles when eating out. (Photo by RyanJLane/Getty Images)

Dine out a lot? Make sure you’re a Mileage Plan Dining member. The program is free to join. Just sign up, link a credit card and you’ll earn extra Alaska miles when dining at participating restaurants. These miles are in addition to the rewards you already earn with your card, so make sure to use one of the best credit cards for dining out.

The number of points you earn on purchases depends on your Mileage Plan Dining elite status. There are currently three status tiers: basic, select member and VIP. You become a select member by signing up for email alerts (though you’ll need to read them). Once you dine 11 times in 12 months, you’ll be upgraded to VIP status.

Select members earn 3 miles per dollar, while VIP members earn 5 miles per dollar. On the other hand, if you don’t sign up for email alerts, you will remain a basic member and earn 1 mile per $2 spent.

Related: Maximizing restaurant spending with dining rewards programs

Buy Alaska miles

One other way to earn Alaska miles is by purchasing them outright. It’s typically a terrible value proposition to buy miles without a promotion.

But Alaska frequently runs promotions for buying miles with bonuses of up to 50%. With a 50% bonus, your effective purchase price is 1.97 cents apiece, and while that is slightly above TPG’s most recent valuations (which pegged Mileage Plan miles at 1.8 cents each), it can still unlock some great value.

Related: You can currently buy points and miles with up to a 120% bonus — but should you?

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles are some of the most sought-after in the miles and points game. Even though earning Alaska miles is generally harder than earning other airline miles, the methods above can beef up your account balance and put you closer to your next award ticket.

Additional reporting by Jasmin Baron and Kyle Olsen.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Updated on 6/28/22.

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