Skip to content

How to earn miles with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program

Sept. 09, 2022
13 min read
Alaska Airlines plane
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current information and card offers.


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.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Earn Alaska miles by flying

Alaska Airlines planes. 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:

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. These fares earn 100% of base miles (1,744 miles flown) and a 75% class-of-service bonus (1,308 miles).

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:

Sign up for our daily newsletter
  • 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.

You can earn Mileage Plan miles on most American Airlines and British Airways fares thanks to the partner agreement through Oneworld. ZACH GRIFF/THE POITNS 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:

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

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® credit card. This card carries a $95 annual fee, but currently offers a limited time sign-up bonus of 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion; from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $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 Famous Companion Fare™ from $121($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer after making $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

EasyBiz helps your business earn bonus rewards on employee travel. 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

You can earn bonus Alaska miles when booking hotels and rental cars with Alaska partners. 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.

HotelEarning rate
Best WesternEarn 250 miles per stay.
Choice PrivilegesEarn 250 miles per stay.
Coast HotelsEarn 250 miles per stay.
IHG One RewardsEarn up to 2 miles per dollar spent or up to 500 miles per stay.
Marriott BonvoyEarn 250 miles per stay.
Westmark HotelsEarn 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.

HotelEarning rate
Alamo50 miles per day.
Avis50 miles per day, 500 miles on rentals five days or longer.
Budget50 miles per day, 500 miles on rentals five days or longer.
Dollar50 miles per day, 150 miles on rentals three days or longer.
Hertz50 miles per day, 500 miles on rentals five days or longer.
National50 miles per day.
Thrifty50 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

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a great way to earn bonus miles when eating out. 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.

Updated 1/18/23

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
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.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees