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5 vacation-worthy flights you can book with just 5,000 Alaska miles

April 17, 2021
8 min read
Walkway and view of the Pacific Ocean at Heisler Park, in Laguna Beach, California.
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Alaska Airlines has been in the headlines after joining the Oneworld alliance, with many wondering whether Alaska miles will become more valuable or less once Oneworld redemptions become available in the summer. While that remains to be seen, Alaska miles are still valuable for its domestic and international airline partnerships outside of Oneworld.

Some of the best ways to redeem Alaska miles include international flights to Asia, which is largely closed off to Americans. Even redeeming miles on European carriers is largely off the table. Luckily, Alaska offers a lot of value for domestic award redemptions. In fact, these flights start at just 5,000 miles each way. So if you’re limiting your travel domestically, there are still plenty of ways to put that 40,000 mile welcome bonus plus a $100 statement credit and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) from the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card to good use. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of account opening.

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Alaska award redemption rates

Alaska MileagePlan awards start at just 5,000 miles each way for domestic flights. That can be a terrific value if you're looking to stretch out the welcome bonus from the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card:

  • Trips less than 700 miles: 5,000 – 30,000 miles each way.
  • Trips between 701 and 1,400 miles: 7,500 – 30,000 miles each way.
  • Trips between 1,401 – 2,100 miles: 10,000 – 40,000 miles each way.
  • Trips longer than 2,101 miles: 12,500 – 50,000 miles each way.

If you’re looking to travel in a first class, Alaska’s award rates can still be competitive when compared to other airlines. While I don’t think first class is worth it on shorter flights, I understand some people prefer the bigger seats and others may not have the flexibility to change their travel dates when

  1. Trips less than 700 miles: 15,000 – 40,000 miles each way.
  2. Trips between 701 and 1,400 miles: 25,000 – 60,000 miles each way.
  3. Trips between 1,401 – 2,100 miles: 25,000 – 60,000 miles each way.
  4. Trips longer than 2,101 miles: 30,000 – 70,000 miles each way.

Trips on partner airlines such as American and Ravn Alaska can also be a great use of points. That’s because economy class flights on American require a flat 12,500 miles each, way while business class costs 25,000 miles.

Meanwhile, Ravn Alaska offers intra-Alaska flights for 7,500 or 17,500 Alaska miles each way.

Related reading: How to redeem miles with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Program

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Where to fly with 5,000+ Alaska miles

Now that we know how cheap these domestic Alaska awards can be, let’s look at where 5,000+ miles can take you:

Southern California

Bay Area residents looking for a weekend escape can always head to Los Angeles for some theme park fun. A trip to Disneyland, Universal Studios or any countless nearby attractions are just a short one-hour flight away. The best part? It could cost you as few as 5,000 Alaska miles.

(Photo by Getty Images)

A trip to California wine country

There are still amazing deals on Napa hotels, spa packages and activities. Throw in a cheap Alaska award ticket and you’ve got plenty of reasons to pack your bags for a weekend getaway.

Visitors can fly into Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS), which both Alaska and American Airlines service. Direct flights out of Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Seattle and Portland start at just 5,000 miles each way.

Napa Valley. (Photo by Andrew Gunners/Getty Images)

See the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon has got to be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Sure, you might end up having a “now what” moment once you get there, but the journey can be as memorable as the destination. March to May happens to be the best times to visit the Grand Canyon and with Alaska’s low redemption rates, this is a great way to put the welcome bonus from your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card to use.

Alaska partner American Airlines services Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG), which is ideal for visiting the park’s South Rim. Direct flights are available from Dallas/Forth Worth and Phoenix-Sky Harbor. All American Airlines flights price out at 12,500 miles in economy class, regardless of distance.

View from Pipe Creek Vista on the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA. (Photo by: MyLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a great domestic destination for travelers of all ages. If you’re up for an adventure, Alaska offers some really terrific award rates out of the West Coast and beyond. Direct flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) start at just 5,000 miles each way.

Flights out of Portland (PDX), Everett’s Snohomish County Airport (PAE) and Seattle (SEA) cost slightly more at 7,500 miles each way. If you’re traveling from further east (or south), you may still be able to score an economy class ticket for 12,500 miles by redeeming miles on American Airlines.

Aerial view of Las Vegas strip in Nevada as seen at night USA (Photo by f11photo / Getty Images)

Explore the Last Frontier

Alaska isn't exactly a major tourist hub, but its natural beauty makes it a great destination for adventure travelers. Alaska Airlines and its partners, American and Ravn Alaska, operate lots of flights to Anchorage.

While Ravn Alaska is ideal for intra-Alaska flights priced as low as 7,500 miles, American and Alaska Airlines will get you to Anchorage for as few as 10,000 miles.

Direct flights between Anchorage and the continental U.S. include Los Angeles (12,500 miles each way), Seattle and Portland (10,000 miles). Starting April 21, 2020 Alaska flyers can enjoy seasonal direct flights out of Chicago O'Hare, Phoenix Sky Harbor and San Francisco.

Denali National Park, Alaska (Photo by Brett Maurer / Getty Images)

Related reading: What to do with 5,000 or fewer Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles

How to book Alaska awards

How do you book these 5,000-mile Alaska awards? Lucky for you, it can be done online. Alaska has an incredibly robust and intuitive award search tool. Simply head to the home page, enter your travel information and check off “use miles.”

The search result page will show award availability on your desired date as well as departures three days before and after. Mileage rates are clearly displayed at the top, so you can adjust your travel dates based on the cheapest option.

If you’ve got some flexibility, you can switch over to the “Calendar” view and see the lowest redemption rates every month.

Simply select the date that works for you, choose your desired flight and continue to the booking page. Alaska Airlines has no close-in booking fees, so you won’t be penalized for last-minute award bookings.

Bottom line

While one of the best uses of Alaska Miles has always been for international flights, fears around Coronavirus have some travelers choosing domestic travel. Luckily, there are plenty of incredible destinations to explore within the U.S. and they're not expensive to get to with points and miles.

So if you've recently acquired the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, you still have lots of ways to put the welcome bonus to good use on a domestic award ticket. Not to mention, the card's Famous Companion Fare can make domestic travel even more affordable.

Apply here for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card with a 40,000-mile bonus.

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Updated on 5/4/22.

Featured image by Shutterstock
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.