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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Program: In-Depth Guide for 2022

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Program: In-Depth Guide for 2022

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The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a highly rated airline loyalty program with award flights that start at just 5,000 miles. Participants can use their miles to fly Alaska or its partner airlines to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide.

Based on our research, we found the overall average value of Alaska miles to be $0.012. Alaska miles are also good for hotel stays at more than 400,000 properties, or for first-class upgrades on eligible flights, but you'll get more bang for your buck if you redeem miles for flights over other options.

Alaska Mileage Plan quick facts
Where does Alaska Airlines fly?115 destinations in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica
Hub airports
  • Alaska
  • Anchorage
  • Los Angeles
  • Oregon
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
Airline allianceoneworld Alliance
Airline lounges
  • Lounges are located in
    • Anchorage
    • Los Angeles
    • New York - JFK
    • Portland
    • San Francisco
    • Seattle
Number of miles needed for a free flightStarting at 5,000 miles
Average value of Alaska miles$0.012 each

Is Alaska MileagePlan worth it?

Since the Alaska Mileage Plan is free to join, it's definitely worth it. You might as well earn miles when you fly with the airline. If you fly often enough to reach elite status with Alaska, that's even better.

Joining is easy. It only takes a few minutes to create an account through the Alaska Airlines website. You can also join through Alaska's mobile app, which lets you book flights, monitor your itineraries and more with your mobile device.

With that being said, it never hurts to compare other airline programs that offer flights where you travel most often. Alaska Mileage Plan is typically best for people who live near their west coast hubs, so this program may not be the best fit for everyone.

How much are Alaska miles worth?

A good average estimation for Alaska miles is $0.012 each.

Compared to other airline miles — such as American Airlines AAdvantage, worth around $0.01 each, and JetBlue TrueBlue miles, worth about $0.016 — Alaska miles are of average value.

As a general rule, longer, pricier flights offer a better value for Alaska miles than shorter, cheaper flights, though this is not always true. For example:

One-way flight
Price in cash (before tax)
Miles required
Point value
Overall Average$0.012
Los Angeles to Anchorage (mid-April) in economy$14512,500$0.012
Los Angeles to Maui (mid-April) in economy$11310,000$0.011
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How do you know if using Alaska Miles is worth it?

We value Alaska miles at $0.012 per mile. If the airfare is worth about $0.012 a mile, then it’s worth using miles. But, if it’s much less, then it might be better to save your miles and pay cash instead.

To calculate the values of miles, use this simple equation:

Cash price (minus taxes and fees) / Number of miles needed for fare = Miles value for that specific fare

As an example, let's say you want to book a flight that costs a) $250 or b) 12,500 miles plus $6. Here's the equation you would use to find the point value:

($250 - 6) divided by 12,500 miles = $0.019

In this case, you're getting $0.019 for each mile you redeem. That's a great deal, so you can rest assured you're getting good value for the miles you earned.

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Pros and cons of Alaska Mileage Plan

The Alaska MileagePlus definitely has its share of pros and cons. Before you choose this plan over another or sign up for a co-branded Alaska Airlines credit card, it helps to understand this program's strengths and weaknesses.

Pros:

  • Multiple ways to earn Alaska miles. You can earn Alaska miles with their co-branded credit card and by booking travel with their hotel and airline partners. You can also earn miles with their Alaska Mileage Plan dining or shopping programs.
  • Redemptions start at just 5,000 miles. This is an excellent starting point for free flights with Alaska, and it applies to eligible main cabin economy flights that are less than 700 miles.
  • Alaska is a oneworld® partner, so you can use your miles to fly to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide. Partner airlines include popular options like American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and more.
  • Alaska Mileage Plan award tickets are fully refundable. You can cancel your award ticket and get your miles back provided you notify the airline before your flight departs.
  • Alaska offers an excellent stopover policy on award tickets. Alaska makes it easy to book stopovers in additional destinations within an award ticket, and they even promote the policy.

Cons:

  • Using your miles can be a challenge if you live on the east coast. All of Alaska's hubs are on the west coast, so using your miles can be a challenge if you live elsewhere. There are partner airlines to rely on, but you won't have as many options as you would if you lived in a city like Anchorage, Los Angeles or Seattle.
  • Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity. You need to earn or burn Alaska miles within any 24-month period or you'll forfeit your mileage balance.

How to earn Alaska miles

There are many ways to earn miles with Alaska Airlines, regardless of how often you fly. Here are the top ways you can use to earn Alaska miles.

Alaska Airlines credit card

Alaska Airlines also offers a co-branded credit card that lets you earn miles. Below you'll find the major details of the card, but make sure to keep in mind that miles you earn with your credit card are offered on top of the miles you earn for flying with Alaska.

Card
Sign-up bonus
Earning rate
Annual fee
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card50,000 bonus miles with this limited time online offer. To qualify, make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your accountEarn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.$75
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Transfer credit card miles

In addition to earning miles with an Alaska Airlines credit card, you can also transfer points to Alaska Airlines from other cards. The Marriott Bonvoy program allows you to transfer points to Alaska Mileage Plan at a 3:1 ratio. This means you'll get one Alaska mile for every three Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer.

If you want to transfer Marriott points to Alaska miles, here’s several credit cards that can help you rack up Marriott points:

Card
Welcome offer
Annual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
On Chase's Secure Website
Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card!$95
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You can earn miles with Alaska when you fly with the airline, although how many miles you'll earn depends on the itinerary for your travel and the fare class you book. With this airline loyalty program, you'll earn 1 mile for each mile flown at a minimum. As a side note, you also earn bonus miles depending on the fare class you purchase and your loyalty status.

The chart below shows many miles you can expect when you fly on Alaska Airlines flights and Alaska-marketed flights:

Flight ranges
Cabin
Fare class
Base miles
Bonus miles
1 - 1,999

2000-2999 ?

3300-3499 ?

4000-4799, 6000-6999, 8001-8100 ?

First classJ100%100%
C100%75%
D or I100%50%
1 - 1,999

2000-2999 ?

3300-3499 ?

4000-4799, 6000-6999, 8001-8100 ?

Main CabinY or B100%50%
H or K100%25%
M, L, V, S, N, Q, O, G, or X100%0%
5000-5499 ? Main CabinY, B, H, K, M, L, V, S, N, Q, O, or G100%0%

Alaska Airlines is part of the oneworld® airline alliance, which includes the following partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Ravn Alaska
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

You can earn miles with Alaska when you fly with these partners and include your Alaska Mileage Plan number. However, the number of miles you'll earn with partners varies from airline to airline.

As an example, this chart shows many Alaska miles you can earn by flying Cathay Pacific depending on the fare class you book.

Cabin
Purchased fare class
Base miles
Bonus miles
Miles earned (total)
Elite-qualifying miles
First ClassF, A100%250%350%150%
Business ClassJ, C, D, I, P100%125%225%125%
Premium economyW100%10%110%100%
Economy classE, R100%0%100%100%
EconomyY100%0%100%100%
EconomyB, H, K50%0%50%50%
EconomyL, M, V, Q, O, S, N, G25%0%25%25%

There are other ways to earn Alaska miles that don't require you to fly at all.

  • Alaska Mileage Plan dining: This dining program lets you earn Alaska miles when you sign up and dine out at more than 10,000 participating restaurants nationwide.
  • Mileage Plan shopping: Mileage Plan shopping is an online shopping portal with over 850 partner retailers, including Macy's, Best Buy, Walmart and more. When you use the shopping portal, you can earn miles for shopping. Miles may be a fixed amount per transaction or range from .5 miles per dollar to 9 miles per dollar, and will be posted to your mileage plan within approximately 15 days.
  • Hotel partners: Earn miles when you book participating hotels through the Alaska website. The number of miles you'll earn varies based on your booking.
  • Rental car partners: Earn Alaska miles when you book a rental car with participating partners like Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz and more.
  • Other Alaska Airlines partners: Other partners that let you earn miles include 1-800-FLOWERS, GetYourGuide.com, Rover.com and more.
  • Refer a friend: Earn miles with the Alaska Airlines refer-a-friend program. Simply refer a friend for the card, wait for it to be approved and collect 5,000 bonus miles within 60 days of the referral email date. Earn more miles by referring multiple friends.
Alaska Hotel Partners
Earning Alaska Miles With Partner Hotels
Alaska Airlines HotelsEarn 500 to 10,000 miles a night.
Best WesternBest Western Rewards members earn 250 miles per stay.
Choice HotelsEarn 250 miles per eligible stay at participating hotels.
Coast HotelsEarn 500 miles per qualifying stay.
InterContinental Hotels GroupEarn 2 miles per $1 paid in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as at all Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide. Earn 500 miles per qualifying stay outside those areas or at InterContinental Alliance Resorts worldwide. Earn 1 mile per $1 paid at eligible Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
Marriott BonvoyEarn 2 miles per $1 spent or 1 mile per $1 spent depending on the hotel brand. Click here for more details.
RocketmilesEarn 500 to 10,000 miles a night.
Westmark HotelsEarn 2 miles for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations, and 1 mile for every $1 spent on food and beverage purchases (excluding alcohol) at the hotel. You must be enrolled in the Westmark Guest Rewards program.

Buy one get one free with Alaska's famous companion fare

Alaska's famed companion fare is a perk that comes with the Alaska Airlines credit card. This benefit lets you secure a buy-one-get-one deal on an Alaska flight provided you pay a minimum of $121 ($99 base fare plus applicable taxes and fees from $22 depending on your flight itinerary).

This buy-one-get-one fare is good for an economy flight when traveling with another guest on a paid economy fare on the same itinerary.

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How to use Alaska miles

Redeeming Alaska miles for flights will generally give you the best value for your Alaska Airlines miles. There are other redemption options for Alaska miles outside of airfare, but they won’t offer as much value per mile.

Book airfare with Alaska miles

Alaska makes it fairly easy to figure out how many miles you'll need for the flight you want. They publish an interactive miles awards chart, which helps you check the mileage requirements by world regions.

Economy/main flights offer some of the best redemption options, starting at only 5,000 miles for continental U.S. flights and starting at only 22,500 for flights to Europe. By contrast, redemptions for first-class or business-class tickets to Europe start at more than double the amount of miles.

Here’s the miles required for trips from the U.S. and Canada to various countries and regions.

Destination
Miles required for economy/main
Miles required for business/first
Contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Canada5,000–50,00015,000-95,000
Hawaii15,000–50,00095,000
Mexico10,000–50,00030,000-95,000
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Partner airlines

You'll notice in the chart above that some of the destinations fall outside of where Alaska Airlines actually flies. That's due to the fact Alaska is part of the oneworld airline alliance, which lets you use miles to book flights to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide.

The same online awards chart allows you to refine your search by partner airline to see how many Alaska miles you'll need to redeem for a partner flight.

Traveler tip: Booking a stopover with Alaska miles

Alaska Airlines allows you to book a stopover flight with miles. Because many international flights involve making a connection, a stopover allows you to visit an entirely new destination without having to book a separate award flight.

Alaska is unique among major airlines because it allows you one stopover for each one-way ticket, which means two stopovers in a round trip. Not only does this let you see more of the world, but adding a stopover to your itinerary doesn't add to the number of miles you have to use, although taxes and fees associated with your itinerary can vary.

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Money & Miles awards program

Alaska Airlines let you book award flights with a combination of money and miles. In this case, you can qualify for a maximum discount of $100 off the base fare for 10,000 miles, or $200 off the base fare for 20,000 miles. With this option, your miles are only worth 1 cent each.

However, the upside of Money & Miles is that you will earn 100% of the miles flown when traveling on this award. Award travel otherwise does not earn miles.

First-class upgrades

You can also upgrade to first class with 15,000 miles if you select an eligible itinerary when shopping for your flight. Once your original flight is paid for in cash, you can use miles for a first-class upgrade award by calling Alaska Airlines reservations at 1-800-252-7522.

Buy Alaska miles

You can also purchase Alaska miles, but prices change over time. We don't suggest buying miles for more than their average value of $0.012 each, or more than you can redeem miles for the itinerary you want to book.

That said, an exception can be made when you need to "top off" your account with a few thousand miles for a specific redemption you want.

Other ways to redeem Alaska miles

Other ways to redeem Alaska miles include magazine subscriptions and Alaska Airlines "extras," such as in-flight internet access, tickets to shows, nights at participating resorts and more.

You can use miles for 400,000 Alaska Airlines hotels, although you'll typically get a lot less value for your rewards when you do.

For example, for a June 2022 booking for Aruba, we found that it costs 91,600 Alaska miles per night for this award, yet paying cash on this date would only set you back $499 plus taxes and fees (for a total of $626.17). You would only be getting $0.006 per mile for this booking.

Alaska airlines MVP benefits

Like other airline programs, Alaska Mileage Plan has several levels of elite status you can earn. One perk of Alaska's elite status is that it is reciprocal when you fly with partner airlines. Each tier of Alaska status correlates with an alliance status level.

The chart below shows the different tiers of elite status with Alaska, the status you'll get with alliance members at each tier, how to earn each level of status, and the mileage bonus you'll receive as an elite member.

Status level
Oneworld status level
How to earn
Mileage bonus
MVPoneworld Ruby20,000 miles + 30 segments

(miles or segments must include at least two flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines)

50%
MVP Goldoneworld Sapphire40,000 miles + 60 segments

(miles or segments must include at least six flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines)

100%
MVP Gold 75Koneworld Emerald75,000 miles + 90 segments

(miles or segments must include at least 12 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines)

125%
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MVP

How to qualify: Fly at least 20,000 miles and 30 segments with at least two flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines included.

Benefits of MVP status:

  • 50% bonus on miles earned
  • Automatic first-class upgrades on Y and B fares
  • Automatic premium-class upgrades on Y, B, or H fares
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Preferred seating
  • Two free checked bags
  • Express security at select airports
  • Alaska Lounge membership discount
  • Priority call routing
  • Elite Leave for new partners
  • oneworld Ruby status

MVP Gold

How to qualify: Fly at least 40,000 miles and 60 segments with at least six flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines included.

Benefits of MVP Gold status:

  • 100% bonus on miles earned
  • Automatic first-class upgrades on Y, B, H, or K fares
  • Automatic premium-class upgrades on Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S or N fares
  • Companion upgrades to first class and premium class
  • First class guest upgrades (four per year)
  • Complimentary premium beverage or chocolate in main cabin
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Preferred seating
  • Two free checked bags
  • Express security at select airports
  • Standby and waitlist for full flights
  • Alaska Lounge membership discount
  • Priority call routing
  • Elite Leave for new partners
  • Complimentary same day flight changes
  • oneworld Sapphire status

MVP Gold 75K

How to qualify: Fly at least 75,000 miles and 90 segments with at least 12 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines included.

Benefits of MVP Gold 75K status:

  • 125% bonus on miles earned
  • Automatic first-class upgrades on Y, B, H, K or M fares
  • Automatic premium-class upgrades on all fares except Saver fares
  • Companion upgrades to first class and premium class
  • First class guest upgrades (four per year)
  • One one-way international upgrade certificate on American Airlines
  • Complimentary premium beverage or chocolate in main cabin
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Preferred seating
  • Three free checked bags
  • Express security at select airports
  • Standby and waitlist for full flights
  • Alaska Lounge membership discount
  • Four Alaska Lounge day passes
  • Priority call routing
  • Elite Leave for new partners
  • Complimentary same day flight changes
  • oneworld Emerald status

MVP Gold 100K

How to qualify: Fly at least 100,000 miles and 140 segments with at least 24 flights marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines included.

Benefits of MVP Gold 100K status:

  • 150% bonus on miles earned
  • Automatic first-class upgrades on Y, B, H, K or M fares
  • Automatic premium-class upgrades on all fares except Saver fares
  • Companion upgrades to first class and premium class
  • First cass guest upgrades (four per year)
  • Two one-way international upgrade certificates on American Airlines
  • Complimentary premium beverage or chocolate in main cabin, plus a snack
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Preferred seating
  • Three free checked bags
  • Express security at select airports
  • Standby and waitlist for full flights
  • Alaska Lounge membership discount
  • Four Alaska Lounge day passes
  • Priority call routing
  • Elite Leave for new partners
  • Complimentary same day flight changes
  • oneworld Emerald status

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Alaska Mileage Plan miles expire?

Alaska miles expire after 24 months of inactivity, so you need to earn or spend miles at least once every two years in order to avoid forfeiting your mileage balance.

How does Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan work?

Like other frequent flyer programs, the Alaska Mileage Plan awards members with loyalty miles when they fly with Alaska or its partners or participate in other qualifying activities. Members can redeem miles for free flights, upgrades to first class, Alaska Airlines hotels, and more.

How do I find my Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number?

You can find your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number here. You can also call the airline's customer service department at 1-800-654-5669 to get it.

Is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan free?

The Alaska Mileage Plan program is free to join.

How do you change your name on Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan?

You can change your name and update other account information with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan through your online account management page. You can also call 1-800-654-5669 to update your information.

How do I link my Alaska Airlines credit card to Mileage Plan?

When you apply for the Alaska Airlines credit card, you can add your Alaska Mileage Plan number to your application. If you apply for the card over the phone, make sure to share your Alaska Mileage Plan number during the application process.

How do I sign up for Alaska Mileage Plan?

You can join the Alaska Mileage Plan program here. To get started, you'll create an account by sharing your name, your address, your date of birth and your phone number. You'll also need to create a password for your account.

How do I request Mileage credit?

If you forgot to enter your Mileage Plan number when you booked your flight or don't get credit for miles flown, you can add miles before your trip by calling the Alaska Airlines reservations department at 800-252-7522. Or you can fill out the Alaska Airlines online mileage credit request form after you fly by simply entering your Mileage Plan number and ticket number. You must wait at least seven days after an Alaska flight to submit a request. Submissions must be within the last 12 months. Claiming miles for flying on a partner airline is allowed.

How do I earn elite-qualifying miles on Alaska Airlines?

Elite-qualifying miles are miles flown that count toward qualifying for Mileage Plan elite status, which earns you bonus miles and other perks. You earn elite-qualifying miles based on base miles flown on Alaska Airlines and select partner airlines and fares. You do not earn elite-qualifying miles on bonus miles or double-miles offers.

Can I get Alaska miles from a family member or friend?

Mileage Plan members can donate Alaska miles to another member at a cost of $10 per 1,000 miles.

What's the fastest way to earn Alaska miles?

Buying miles is the quickest way to earn Alaska miles, although not the most cost-efficient. Only buy miles if you need Alaska miles almost immediately and have no other options to get miles fast.

How do I avoid losing my Alaska Airlines miles?

Alaska Airlines miles don’t expire, so there is no risk of losing them. However, your account (and your miles) will be deactivated if it's not active for two or more years and will need to be reactivated. You can avoid this either by earning or redeeming Mileage Plan miles before that time period.

How much is 50,000 Alaska miles worth?

Because we value Alaska Airlines miles at about 1.4 cents per mile, 50,000 Alaska miles is worth around $700.

For rates and fees of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, please click here

The information related to Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card and Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).