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Alaska Airlines miles have long been coveted as one of the best when it comes to scoring luxury flights on the cheap. The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ lets you take award trips to the other side of the globe in the world’s best first class cabins, and it also lets you add in free stopovers in top vacation destinations.
Even if you tend to fly domestic or prefer the economy cabin, you can find good flight deals with Alaska miles if you know where to look. Thanks to the long list of partner airlines Alaska allows you to redeem your miles with, you can fly to just about any region in the world using your Alaska Airlines miles. So where do you go?
This guide will help you figure out the best ways to redeem your Alaska Airlines miles. We’ll cover everything from how to earn and redeem Alaska Airlines miles to maximizing their value and working around some of Alaska’s redemption rules.
The 19 best ways to redeem Alaska Airlines miles
With all of the partner airlines available to you, Alaska Airlines miles are extremely versatile. This can make finding an award redemption that maximizes your miles an overwhelming feat. We did all the work for you and came up with a list of the best ways to redeem your Alaska Airlines miles.
1. Fly to Australia with a stopover in Fiji on Fiji Airways
This redemption is one of those dream trips that rewards collectors target, and for good reason. By redeeming your miles with Alaska Airlines partner Fiji Airways, you can visit both Fiji and Australia for just 40,000 miles each way. Business class is just 55,000 miles each way, but with very limited availability.
Flights to Fiji depart from LAX and SFO, and you can tack on an extra Alaska Airlines flight to the departure point for the same cost. Book this by doing a multi-city search from your home airport to Nadi, Fiji (NAN) and then from Nadi to either Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane, Australia.
2. Fly business class to India or the Middle East with a full in-air bar on Emirates
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime flight experience, flying business class on the Emirates A380 is it. You’ll get a lie-flat seat in a spacious area with your own widescreen television and access to one of the best airport lounges in the world at the Dubai airport. The real kicker, though, is something you’re unlikely to find anywhere else: an onboard lounge with a full bar.
Booking a business class flight to the Middle East or India with Emirates costs 82,500 miles and can include a stopover in Dubai. You can book this trip on the Alaska Airlines website by doing a multi-city search.
3. Shower in the sky with a first-class ticket to the Middle East on Emirates
If you want to take your trip on the Emirates A380 to the next level, you can book the same trip to the Middle East via Dubai in first class for 150,000. Keep in mind that award availability is limited for first class, so book well in advance.
In addition to the full in-air lounge you get in business class, the Emirates first class cabin gets you a private suite and access to an onboard shower and spa.
4. First or business class to Asia with a stopover in Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific
Whether you prefer a getaway to Bali or a walk along the Great Wall of China, redeeming Alaska miles for a first class flight on Cathay Pacific is an economical way to get to a number of Asian destinations in style, especially if you throw in a stopover in Hong Kong. The cherry on top is that Cathay Pacific’s first class lounges in the Hong Kong airport (The Wing and The Pier) are two of the best airport lounges in the world.
Unfortunately, award availability to certain destinations is extremely limited on Cathay Pacific, even more so in first class.
If you can snag it, though, it’s a great deal at just 70,000 miles each way. If not, business class is 50,000 miles, and economy is a mere 30,000. Since it’s Cathay Pacific, you’ll have to search for availability through British Airways, and once you find a flight you want to book, you can call Alaska at 1-800-252-7522 to book it.
5. First class to South Africa with a stopover in Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific
Getting to South Africa in first class costs a small fortune, unless you have 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles to spare—that will get you a one-way ticket to Johannesburg with an optional stopover in Cathay Pacific’s hub, Hong Kong.
First class offers the best redemption value, but if you prefer something more budget-minded, you can also get there in business class for 62,500 miles each way or economy for 50,000 miles each way. Again, you’ll have to search for availability on British Airways and call Alaska in order to book this flight.
6. First class to Australia or New Zealand with a stopover in Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific’s first class flights with a stopover in Hong Kong offer a range of destination options, and going all the way to Australia or New Zealand will squeeze a lot of value out of your miles.
You’ll need 80,000 miles each way for this flight, or you can do business class for 60,000 miles and economy for 40,000 miles, which are also a steal. There aren’t many rewards programs left that will get you from the U.S. to Australia for 80,000 miles round-trip, much less with a free stopover.
7. Business class from New York to Vancouver on Cathay Pacific
While Cathay Pacific’s business class cabin doesn’t include an in-air lounge and bar like Emirates, it’s still one of the more luxurious travel options.
Using your Alaska miles, you can book a flight from New York to Vancouver in business class for just 25,000 miles each way on Cathay Pacific. This will give you six hours to enjoy world-class dining and some excellent champagne while on board.
8. Business class to Australia or New Zealand on Qantas
One of the best deals on business class flights to Australia or New Zealand using Alaska Airlines miles, flying Qantas will only cost you 55,000 miles each way. For economy class, you’ll just need 42,500 miles each way. While you can book first class for 70,000 miles each way, it’s nearly impossible to find award availability.
The best part of this deal is that because Sydney is a hub for Qantas, you can book a stopover in Sydney and then continue on to Auckland, fitting both Australia and New Zealand in for the price of one flight.
9. First class to Asia with a stopover in Tokyo on Japan Airlines
If you want to combine two major Asian cities in one, redeeming with Japan Airlines is a great way to do this as you can get a stopover in Tokyo. Their first class award flights to North Asian cities like Shanghai and Seoul, if you can find one, offer the best deal at 70,000 miles each way. At 60,000 mile business class ticket or 35,000 mile economy ticket offers slightly lower value than some of Alaska’s other partners, but is still a good choice if you want a stopover in Tokyo.
You can also stopover in Tokyo and head to a Southeast Asian destination such as Bangkok, Manila, or Hanoi. It’ll cost you 5,000 miles more than the flights to North Asia, but if you’re looking to end your trip on a tropical beach, this is the way to do it.
10. Business class to Southeast Asia with a stopover in China on Hainan Airlines
If you’d rather stopover in China on your way to another Asian destination, you can save a few miles by flying Hainan Airlines. Based in China, their flights from the U.S. to Asia cost just 30,000 for economy and 50,000 for business class.
You might find a better deal with Cathay Pacific, but Hainan does have ample awards available for business class if you can’t find availability with other partners. You will end up having to pay a couple hundred dollars in fuel surcharges to redeem with Hainan.
11. Business class to Peru on American Airlines
American Airlines offers a great business class deal to Lima, Peru for just 30,000 miles each way and minimal surcharges.
Flights depart from Miami, although you can add on American Airlines flights from your home airport to Miami for no extra cost. Economy is only 20,000 each way if you want to save some miles, although award availability is more limited.
12. Business class to South America on LATAM
You can also fly to Argentina or Chile with American Airlines for 57,500 miles each way in business class, but LATAM offers a better deal at just 45,000 miles each way. If you go during off-peak season, you can also get a coach flight for 25,000 miles each way.
Unlike American Airlines, LATAM charges the same amount of miles regardless of where you’re going in South America. This makes it a better deal for flights to southern South America, whereas American Airlines is often preferable for flights to northern South America. Also, like Cathay Pacific, you’ll have to book award flights on LATAM over the phone by calling Alaska.
13. Book a South American adventure on LATAM with two stopovers
The best part about booking LATAM is the ability to add a stopover, which means you can book a whole South American adventure for the price of one award ticket.
Stop in Peru to climb Machu Picchu before heading over to Buenos Aires to learn tango, and then on your way back, do a stopover in Chile on the way back so you can explore Patagonia.
14. Business class to Europe on Icelandair
For 55,000 miles each way, you can fly business class to Europe on Icelandair. While business class on Icelandair can’t compare to some of Alaska Airlines’ more luxury-focused partners, this can be a worthwhile redemption.
Alaska’s stopover policy makes Icelandair even more worthwhile. Spend some time soaking in the jaw-dropping scenery in Iceland before moving on to another destination in Europe.
15. Fly to Europe during off-peak months on American Airlines
For folks who prefer quantity over quality when it comes to flights, you can really make your miles stretch by booking economy flights to Europe on American Airlines—especially if you book during off-peak months.
A one-way flight to Europe in economy costs 22,500 miles during off-peak season, which is hard to beat. British Airways, the other major Alaska Airlines partner with ample flights to Europe, charges 32,500 miles each way year-round. On top of that, the fees on American Airlines flights to Europe are minimal (think $19), whereas British Airways is notorious for fuel surcharges that add up to hundreds of dollars.
16. Fly short and medium-haul domestic flights on Alaska
As mentioned, domestic redemptions on Alaska Airlines charge by distance rather than charging a flat rate for flights within all contiguous states. Their “Skip” and “Jump” flights, 701 to 1,400 miles and 1,401 to 2,100 miles respectively, can be a better deal than redeeming miles through other loyalty programs that charge a flat rate no matter where you’re going in the United States.
For example, a flight between Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles would cost 7,500 miles in economy each way, and a flight between Portland, Oregon and Chicago would cost 10,000 miles each way. If you can’t find a one-way between Portland and Chicago for under $200, redeeming 10,000 Alaska Airlines miles instead gets you a value of $0.02 per mile.
17. Fly economy to Hawaii from the east coast
Using Alaska Airlines miles for a flight to Hawaii isn’t a bad option, especially if you’re flying from the east coast. While other airlines will charge you more to fly to Hawaii from New York than from Los Angeles, Alaska charges the same amount regardless of where you’re coming from in the United States.
It’ll cost you 15,000 miles each way to fly from the contiguous U.S., or Alaska, to Hawaii. The best way to do this trip is to book a stopover along the way—maybe add a trip to California on your way to Honolulu.
18. Visit four cities for the price of one
With any of these high-value redemptions, you can add in two stopovers to visit three cities altogether. If you’ve really got the travel bug, try booking two one-way tickets, each with a different stopover, and an open jaw, for a grand total of four cities on one award ticket.
For example, you could book a one-way Fiji Airways flight to Melbourne with a stopover in Fiji, make your way from Melbourne to Sydney, and then fly home from Sydney on Cathay Pacific with a stopover in Hong Kong.
19. Book a long stopover at your home airport for a free one-way flight
Here’s a tricky way to use stopovers to your advantage if you don’t want to do a real stopover.
Let’s say you book a Fiji Airways flight from your home in New York to Sydney with a stopover in Fiji, but on the way back you don’t have time to add in a second stopover and just want to go straight home. However, you have a trip to Los Angeles coming up a few months after you get home. Book the return flight to Los Angeles with a several month stopover in your home city of New York, and you just scored yourself a free one-way for your upcoming Los Angeles trip.
Between its long list of partners and stopover policy, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan gives you endless options for award redemptions. Add in the fact that first class redemptions on some of the world’s most opulent airlines are often a steal, and it’s not hard to see why so many rewards fanatics stockpile Alaska miles.
How do you earn Alaska Airlines miles?
In some ways, Alaska Airlines miles are harder to earn than those from airline loyalty programs that offer a wider range of credit cards and participate in major transfer programs like Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards. However, flying with Alaska Airlines is still an excellent way to earn miles, and transferring points, buying points, and opening a credit card are also options for accumulating extra miles.
Most airline loyalty programs have switched to rewarding frequent flyers based on the dollars they spend rather than the miles they fly. The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the few that’s still distance-based, so one mile flown equals one mile earned. You’ll even earn this rate by flying with one of Alaska’s many airline partners, as listed below.
While Alaska isn’t a transfer partner with any of the major credit card rewards programs, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Alaska Airlines at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000 point bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. In other words, transferring 30,000 Marriott points gets you 10,000 Alaska Airlines miles, while 60,000 Marriott points gets you 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles.
It usually doesn’t make sense to purchase miles, as the cost tends to outweigh any value you can squeeze out of them. However, Alaska runs promotions pretty often, and if you can get a 50% discount, it might be worth considering—especially if you’re eyeing an award redemption that can get you a value of $0.02 per mile.
Opening a credit card
Probably the quickest way to accumulate additional miles, Alaska Airlines co-branded credit cards offer two ways to earn: through your regular spending, and through sign-up bonuses.
There are a couple different options for Alaska Airlines credit cards. You can also earn Alaska miles by opening one of Marriott’s co-branded credit cards and then transferring your Marriott Bonvoy points over to Alaska.
The best credit cards for earning Alaska Airlines miles
If you’re looking to boost your Alaska miles by opening a credit card, these cards offer the best sign-up bonuses and rewards rates.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
- 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from just $22). To qualify simply make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
- Earn 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.
- Get another companion fare each year on your cardmember anniversary
- Free checked bag on Alaska
- $75 annual fee
This credit card offers a generous sign-up bonus for a relatively low minimum spend requirement. The free checked bag will also pay for itself if you fly on Alaska a few times each year, and if you’re a frequent flyer with Alaska, you’ll earn even more with their ongoing rewards rate.
The information related to the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card
This credit card is very similar to the personal Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card but with a lower annual fee. If you run a business or even have a side gig, consider looking into the business version instead.
The information related to the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
- Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2X points on all other purchases.
- 1 free night award every year after your account anniversary, valid for a redemption value up to 35,000 points
- Automatic Silver Elite benefits, with the ability to earn Gold Elite Status
- 15 Elite night credits each calendar year
- Free premium Wi-Fi when staying at Marriott properties
- $95 annual fee
Because of the annual fee, this credit card is only worth having if you stay at Marriott hotels regularly. If that is the case, earning 6 points per $1 on your stays is equivalent to earning 2.5 Alaska miles per $1.
The information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
This credit card offers a higher rewards rate on common purchases made by business owners, so if you spend a lot on gas, telephone services, or shipping, you could accumulate points quickly. However, the higher annual fee means this credit card is only worth it if you stay at Marriott hotels often.
Alaska Airlines partners
Alaska Airlines has a generous list of airline partners, and this is often where the best value award redemption options can be found. The following airlines all offer flights that can be booked using Alaska Airlines miles.
- Aer Lingus
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific*
- EL AL Israel Airlines
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines*
- Ravn Alaska
- Singapore Airlines
*Award tickets on Cathay Pacific and LATAM Airlines must be booked by phone at 1-800- 252-7522.
How many Alaska Airlines miles do you need for a free flight?
Alaska Airlines makes it incredibly easy to figure out how many miles you’ll need for an award ticket, even if you’re planning to book with one of their airline partners.
If you’re flying domestically with Alaska Airlines, their distance-based award chart has four levels: hop, skip, jump, and leap.
- Hop: Flights of 700 miles or fewer cost 5,000 to 30,000 miles
- Skip: Flights of 701 miles to 1,400 miles cost 7,500 to 30,000 miles
- Jump: Flights of 1,401 miles to 2,100 miles cost 10,000 to 40,000 miles
- Leap: Flights of 2,101 miles or greater cost 12,500 to 50,000 miles
If you’re flying internationally, each Alaska Airlines partner airline uses a different award chart, which can be confusing. Luckily, Alaska Airlines offers a convenient search tool that allows you to look up award flights with all of their airline partners except Cathay Pacific and LATAM.
Rules and fees when redeeming Alaska Airlines miles
There are several quirks to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program, some of which make it better and some of which are a little inconvenient. Here are some important rules and fees to keep in mind.
You’re allowed one stopover on each one-way ticket, with some caveats.
The stopover allowance is one of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan’s most exciting features. On each one-way ticket, you’re allowed to include one stopover, with no limit to how long you stay. The major caveat here is that if you’re booking with a partner airline, the stopover has to be in one of their hubs. Still, booking two stopovers on a round-trip ticket gets you three cities for the price of one. You will have to call Alaska Airlines to book these stopover trips, so a call fee will apply.
You can only book with one partner airline per award flight.
You can’t mix multiple partner airlines on one award ticket. For example, if you wanted to book British Airways from New York to London and then Icelandair from London to Iceland, you’d have to book and pay for two separate award tickets. However, flying Alaska Airlines domestically to get to a departure point for a partner airline does count as one award ticket. This means that you could book a flight that goes from Houston to Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines and then Los Angeles to Fiji on Fiji Airways for the price of one award flight.
Taxes and fees
Alaska Airlines charges a partner booking fee of $12.50 and a call center fee of $15. You only have to pay the call center fee if you reserve your flight over the phone instead of online, but there are some award flights in which redeeming by phone is the only option.
How to book an award flight with Alaska Airlines miles
For the most part, booking award flights with Alaska miles is simple and can be done online.
Booking flights with Alaska Airlines and most partner airlines
Unless you’re booking a flight with Cathay Pacific or LAN, you can book award flights with any Alaska Airlines partner or with Alaska Airlines by following the steps below.
- Go to AlaskaAir.com and log into your account.
- In the booking window, select “Use miles.”
- Search for the flight you want and click “Find flights.”
- Select your flight and add it to your cart.
- Follow the checkout process to complete your order.
Booking flights with Cathay Pacific and LATAM
If you want to book an award flight with Cathay Pacific or LATAM, you’ll need to first search for award availability on BritishAirways.com and then call Alaska Airlines at 1-800-252-7522 and book your flight over the phone. Keep in mind that this will result in a $15 phone booking fee in addition to the $12.50 partner airline booking fee.
Booking flights with a stopover
To book flights with a stopover, you’ll need to do a multi-city search. Follow the steps above for booking flights with Alaska Airlines and partners, but during step two, click on “All search options” in the booking window. This will take you to a window that allows you to search for multi-city trips.
For “Departing flight,” enter your departing airport and the airport where you want to do a stopover. For “Connecting flight,” enter your stopover airport and your destination.