Skip to content

How to redeem miles with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program

July 10, 2022
13 min read
Alaska Airlines Airbus A321
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 is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


Despite recent devaluations, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles are some of the most sought-after in the points and miles game — but not because of redemptions on Alaska-operated flights.

As a Oneworld member, Alaska offers redemption opportunities throughout the alliance. Additionally, Alaska has partnerships with a handful of other airlines. This means that Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles have a huge amount of flexibility.

Today I’ll show you how to redeem your Alaska Airlines miles. I’ll look at how to book Alaska Airlines and partner award flights and then dive into a few of the best redemption options.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

Alaska Airlines award chart overview

Alaska Airlines has a separate award chart for each partner. (Photo by Sundry Photography/Shutterstock)

Alaska Airlines has different award charts for its flights and each partner. Thankfully, most of these are very reasonable, which is a large part of why we value Alaska miles highly.

Let’s start with the Alaska Airlines award chart. A year ago, Alaska had a published award chart. Now, the charts only show starting award prices, meaning Alaska could devalue redemption rates without notice. You’ll have to run a search on Alaska’s website to find the exact price for your specific award ticket.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

You’ll notice a section for “Money & Miles” award tickets. These let you take a discount off a cash fare for a set number of miles, but these are rarely a good deal.

Partner award charts, on the other hand, are unique to each airline and region pair. You can find a specific award chart by heading to this page on the Alaska website and inputting your desired region pair.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

You’ll then see each airline’s award chart at the center of the screen. Pricing may differ within each region pair depending on the airline you decide to book with. For example, a flight from the U.S. to Asia on American costs as little as 60,000 miles in business class. On the other hand, the same ticket costs 50,000 miles on Hainan Airlines.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

This can be confusing, but the great pricing on partner flights makes the award chart worth learning. I recommend bookmarking this page on the Alaska website and referring to it whenever you need to book an Alaska partner award flight.

Related: Your complete guide to earning and redeeming with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Redeem on Alaska flights

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Alaska Airlines has a huge flight network on the West Coast, with hubs in Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle. Travelers based in those cities can fly just about anywhere in the U.S. and to some cities in Central America and Canada.

As discussed, Alaska Airlines doesn’t have a fixed mileage award chart. Instead, the carrier breaks its award levels into four distance-based bands. Each type of trip has a published range of how many miles you need for the flight.

Unfortunately, these ranges allow Alaska to adjust award flight prices within each one. We’ve found that most Alaska-operated flights require more than the 5,000-mile minimum, so you’ll have to be flexible if you want to get the most value from your Mileage Plan miles.

You can view how many miles you’ll need for a specific flight by running a search on the Alaska website.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

Because of this, I don’t recommend using Alaska miles to book Alaska flights. Doing so generally presents a poor value when compared to international flight redemptions. Plus, you can usually get a better deal on Alaska flights when booking with partner programs, like British Airways Avios.

Further, Alaska and its partner American Airlines operate a handful of the same routes. American offers a better deal on longer routes. For example, you’ll save 7,500 miles by booking Los Angeles to Honolulu on American on specific dates. Still, you'd be best off booking this flight to Hawaii using British Airways Avios, which would set you back just 14,000 Avios. Additionally, you can transfer credit card points to British Airways from Chase Ultimate Rewards, Captial One Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

You can sometimes get good value when using Alaska miles to book flights under 700 miles. You can book these flights for as few as 5,000 miles in economy class, so it’s a good option if cash fares are expensive. Some of these routes include San Francisco to Portland and Seattle.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

You also can use your Alaska miles to upgrade paid tickets to first class, but I don’t recommend it. You’ll need 15,000 miles each way to do so, regardless of the length of your flight. This is more expensive than a one-way economy class redemption on some routes.

Related: You can get a ton of value by booking these domestic awards with Alaska miles

Redeem on partner flights

Alaska has a great network of international airline partners. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has an incredible set of international airline partners. While it took some time, you can now earn and redeem Alaska miles across the Oneworld alliance.

Alaska Airlines also has partnerships with a handful of non-alliance airlines, including some of our favorites like Korean Airlines and Singapore Airlines. These airlines include:

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

Related: How to earn miles with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program

You should be aware of some quirks when redeeming Mileage Plan miles for partner flights. We discussed the first in the last section — each Alaska partner has a distinct award chart. Remember, you’ll want to use Alaska’s helpful online award chart tool to price out awards on different airlines.

You can’t redeem Alaska miles on every flight operated by its partner airlines. If the carrier you want to book isn’t listed when you input your origin and destination into Alaska’s award chart, it’s not eligible for awards using Alaska miles.

For example, El Al offers nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, but only British Airways and Iberia appear when you search for award prices from the West Coast to Israel. So, you can’t book those El Al flights using Alaska miles.

Further, you can’t combine more than one partner on a single award itinerary. If you want to fly from Chicago to Hong Kong, you can’t fly American to Los Angeles and then connect to a Cathay Pacific flight. However, you can include an Alaska-operated flight to connect to an international partner. That same itinerary would be fine if your Chicago to Los Angeles leg is an Alaska flight.

There’s only one thing to look out for when booking an Alaska partner award ticket: mixed cabin awards. Alaska will often show business- and first-class availability despite only having first- or business-class availability on short domestic legs. If you book a multi-segment award ticket and at least one of the segments is in first or business class, the entire itinerary will price at the higher-cabin mileage rate and appear in the premium cabin column of the search results.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

Thankfully, Alaska denotes mixed cabin awards by a small recliner logo to the right of the mileage cost. Keep an eye out for these when booking your next partner award ticket.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Redeem for hotels

Redeeming Alaska miles for hotel stays usually yields a poor value. (Photo by Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock)

In addition to flights, you can redeem your Alaska Airlines miles for hotel rooms and magazine subscriptions. However, I don’t recommend these redemptions as they usually yield a poor value.

For example, we priced out a one-night stay at the Swissotel Chicago using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. A one-night stay in August costs roughly 56,400 Mileage Plan miles for the most basic room. However, a one-night paid stay costs just $450.63 for the same night, giving you a value of just 0.79 cents per mile.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

This is significantly lower than TPG’s latest valuations that peg Alaska miles at 1.8 cents each. I always recommend using your miles for their maximum value, and in the case of Mileage Plan miles, this is almost always found on flights.

Related: Should you use points or cash to book hotels?

Best uses of Alaska miles

So, it’s finally time to redeem your Alaska miles — here’s a look at a few of the best redemptions.

Add a free stopover to your booking

One of Mileage Plan’s best perks is that you can add a free stopover to one-way international award tickets. Generally, this stopover must be in the partner airline’s hub city. For example, you can add a stopover in Hong Kong if you’re flying Cathay Pacific from New York to Bangkok via Hong Kong.

Related: 8 tips for strategically booking your first stopover

Singapore Airlines business class

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

From gourmet dining to a spacious suite-style seat, there's a lot to love about the new business class on the Singapore Airlines A350. As you might expect, it's not easy to book. Outside of using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, you can redeem 65,000 Alaska miles for a one-way flight from Singapore to Sydney.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

Related: 7 takeaways from my 1st Singapore Airlines business-class experience

Japan Airlines first and business class

Japan Airlines first class. (Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy)

Japan Airlines flies from many major U.S. airports to its hubs in Tokyo. This is a convenient way to fly to Japan or connect to other major cities in Asia. You’ll pay more miles if you’re headed to Southeast Asia instead of East Asia, but the prices are reasonable. Here’s a look at the award chart:

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

One of the best sweet spots in Alaska's award chart for Japan Airlines is flying from Tokyo to Delhi for 25,000 miles one-way. That's nearly a 10-hour flight in a lie-flat seat.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

Cathay Pacific first and business class

Cathay Pacific first class. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Cathay Pacific has one of the best first-class products and a pretty solid business class. You can book these from the U.S. to Asia for a reasonable 70,000 and 50,000 miles, respectively. This is an excellent way to book Cathay Pacific premium cabin flights — especially if you maximize the redemption with a free stopover.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

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

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan FAQ

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Now that you know the basics of redeeming Alaska miles, here are answers to some of the most common Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan questions.

How to join Alaska Mileage Plan

Head to the Alaska Airlines website and click the “sign up” button in the page’s upper right-hand corner. You’ll then be redirected to the signup page. Fill out the requested information, and you will be signed in to your new Alaska Airlines account. You can view your Mileage Plan number on the account page.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

When do miles expire

Alaska miles do not expire, but accounts that have been inactive for more than two years will be locked. You will have to contact Alaska to verify your identity and reactivate your account.

Can I transfer points to Alaska Airlines?

The only major transferrable currency you can transfer to Alaska is Marriott Bonvoy points. These transfers process at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus awarded for every 60,000 points transferred. This means 60,000 Marriott points could become 25,000 Alaska miles.

Related: When does it make sense to transfer Marriott points to airlines?

Bottom line

You can make incredibly valuable redemptions with your Alaska Mileage Plan miles. Even better, nearly all of the carrier’s travel partners show up in its online booking system, so it’s easy to book award flights on the airlines you want to fly when you want to fly them. When you combine this flexibility with low taxes and fees, the Mileage Plan program may be a good fit for your next international trip.

Additional reporting by Kyle Olsen.

Feature photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Featured image by (Photo 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 card for premium perks while traveling
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

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023