Why You Shouldn’t Redeem Miles with Alaska’s Mileage Plan Hotel Program

May 29, 2018

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Alaska Airlines has added a new way to redeem miles with its frequent flyer program, Alaska Mileage Plan. Unfortunately it’s a pretty horrid use of miles.

Mileage Plan has expanded its partnership with Rocketmiles to allow Mileage Plan members the opportunity to redeem their miles for hotel stays through a new portal: Mileage Plan Hotels. It’s essentially a rebranding of the normal Rocketmiles website, just with the added ability to redeem miles for hotel bookings. For those unfamiliar with Rocketmiles, it’s an online travel agency run by Priceline that allows travelers to earn airline miles on hotel bookings.

You can still earn 500 to 10,000 Alaska miles per night when paying with cash at Rocketmiles or through Mileage Plan hotels, and earn rates appear to be the same through both portals.

However, the option to redeem Alaska miles for hotel rooms leaves something to be desired. Let’s take a look at booking a room for one night at the Park Hyatt New York on October 16, 2018 (all prices include taxes and fees, even the mileage rates). Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card holders will have access to discounted redemptions though Mileage Plan hotels, so we’ve included that rate as well:

Hotel Cash Rate (RocketMiles) Cash Rate (Hotel Website – Standard Rate) Mileage Rate Mileage Rate (With Alaska Credit Card) Cash and Miles
Park Hyatt New York $1,495 (+Earn 10,000 Alaska Miles) $1,495 218,500 197,000 86,300 miles + $733

Without a credit card, you’ll be getting about 0.68 cents per mile — which is a pretty horrible redemption considering TPG values them at 1.9 cents each. As an Alaska credit card holder, you’d be redeeming at a slightly better but still miserable 0.76 cents per mile. Finally, you’d be getting a slightly better rate when booking with cash and miles, achieving a colossal 0.88 cent per mile.

Any of those redemptions are pretty horrible, no matter how you slice it, and other redemptions options through the Alaska portal bring similar value. It’s likely best to pay for the hotel with a credit card and earn points for the purchase and airline miles through Rocketmiles. Keep in mind that when booking through Rocketmiles, you’ll likely forfeit any right to earn hotel points and elite credits during your stay.

Then save your Alaska miles for a better redemption, like flying to Asia in Cathay Pacific business for 50,000 miles one-way or from the US to Australia in Qantas biz for just 55,000 miles.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 Business class. Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

Featured image by Jeroen Stroes Aviation Photography / Flickr.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska miles are extremely valuable because you can book awards on partners like Emirates, Icelandair, Korean Air and Japan Airlines. The current bonus of 40,000 miles can book you a roundtrip ticket on Alaska Airlines from Boston to San Diego or New York to Seattle, for example.

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More Things to Know
  • Now - 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ Offer.
  • Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Save with a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation.
  • Get Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ every year! Each year on your account anniversary get a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com with no blackout dates.
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don't expire on active accounts.
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  • Redeem miles with no blackout dates on any of Alaska's 1,200 daily flights or choose from over 900+ destinations with more than a dozen global airline partners. Plus, get exclusive access to discounted redemption levels when you redeem miles for hotel stays at over 400,000 properties using Alaska Airlines Hotels.
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $75 annual fee.
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.49% - 25.49% Variable APR on purchases
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
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