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With a little planning, some strategic spending, and maybe a new credit card or two, you can watch the Alaska Airlines miles in your account soar.
There are many great ways to redeem your Alaska Airlines miles, which is why you'd love to boost your earnings. Here's a guide to how to earn Alaska Airlines miles, including an overview of the best Alaska Airlines credit cards that offer welcome bonuses to help you earn miles even faster.
In this article:
How to earn Alaska miles
Way to earn No. 1: Join Mileage Plan
Simply join the Alaska Airlines frequent-flyer program — Mileage Plan — book a flight, and earn at least 1 mile for each mile you fly. You earn at least 500 miles on eligible flights each time you fly, even if your flight is shorter than 500 miles.
Sign up for the free Mileage Plan by completing a simple online form. You will need to enter basic information such as your name, address, date of birth, email address and the city you fly from the most. You'll then create a username and password for your account. Once you've signed up, you can save your travel preferences to make it easier to book a flight.
When booking a flight on Alaska Airlines, add your Mileage Plan member number to your reservation to ensure that you earn miles.
If you want to track your mileage earnings and your progress toward Alaska Airlines elite status, you can log in to your account and use the online dashboard.
Bonus miles Elite Mileage Plan members and customers who buy premium fares can earn bonus miles — between 25% and 125% — besides the standard one-mile-per-mile flown. Elite members can earn up to 125%.
Earn based on elite status
You can earn Mileage Plan elite status by flying frequently on Alaska Airlines or its partner airlines. The program has three elite tiers:
- MVP Gold
- MVP Gold 75K
The higher your elite tier, the bigger bonus you earn for each flight. Here are the Alaska miles bonuses by tier:
- MVP: 50% miles bonus
- MVP Gold: 100% miles bonus
- MVP Gold 75K: 125% miles bonus
As a Mileage Plan elite member, you also get other benefits, such as free checked bags, priority boarding and cabin upgrades.
Earn based on premium cabin fares When you book certain flight fares, you will earn bonus miles on top of your base miles:
- First-class flights earn a 75% bonus
- Main-cabin economy fares with a class of Y or S earn a 50% bonus
- Main-cabin economy fares with a class of M or B earn a 25% bonus
There are some caveats, so you may want to check with the Alaska Airlines reservations department to make sure a particular flight earns bonus miles before you book.
Way to earn No. 2: Fly Alaska partner airlines
You can also earn miles by flying with any of Alaska's 18 airline partners. While Alaska isn't a member of any airline alliance, it has formed partnerships with airlines around the world, extending its reach to more than 800 destinations.
With most partner airlines, you can book your flight on AlaskaAir.com. Or, some partner airlines allow you to enter your Alaska Mileage Plan number when booking on their site.
Either way, the easiest way to ensure you earn your miles is to enter your Mileage Plan number when making your reservation. If you forget, you'll need to call the partner airline directly or provide your Mileage Plan number when you arrive at the airport.
Savvy traveler tip: Keep a copy of your Alaska Airlines or partner airline flight booking receipt and boarding pass until your miles have posted to your account. If there's an issue, you may need to produce these documents to get credit for your miles. And you don't want to miss out on miles because you left your boarding pass in the seatback pocket or threw it in an airport trash can.
Partner airlines With help from Alaska partners, Mileage Plan members can earn miles while flying to more than 800 destinations worldwide. Here's a look at how to earn miles on Alaska partners:
Alaska Airlines Partner
Earning Mileage Plan Miles With Partner
|Aer Lingus||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 25% to 50% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 25% to 50%. Additional bonus of 100% for business class fares.|
|American Airlines||Until Feb. 29, 2020, miles can be earned on international and domestic flights. After that date, miles will only be earned on domestic flights with an Alaska Airlines flight number. Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 25% to 75% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 10% to 100%.|
|British Airways||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 25% to 50% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 50% to 200%. Additional bonus of 100% to 200% for select fares.|
|Cathay Pacific||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 25% to 50% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 10% to 50%. Additional bonus of 100% to 200% for select fares.|
|Condor||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 50% to 75% of the base miles). Can earn cabin bonus of 25% to 100%. Additional bonus of 100% for business class fares.|
|EL AL Israel Airlines||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 25% to 60% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 35% to 100%. Additional bonus of 100% for business class fares.|
|Emirates||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 25% to 50% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 25% to 50%. Additional bonus of 100% to 200% for select fares.|
|Fiji Airways||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 50% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 25%. Additional bonus of 100% for business class fares.|
|Finnair||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 25% to 50% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 25% to 100%. Additional bonus of 100% for certain business class fares.|
|Hainan Airlines||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 30% to 80% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 25% to 150%. Additional bonus of 100% for business class fares.|
|Icelandair||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy fares earn 25% to 50% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 25% to 50%. Additional bonus of 100% for select fares.|
|Japan Airlines||Earn 1 mile per mile flown (though certain economy and business class fares earn 30% to 70% of the base miles). Can earn class-of-service bonus of 25% to 50%. Additional bonus of 25% to 200% for select fares.|
Way to earn No. 3: Sign up for a relevant credit card
If you're serious about earning miles on Alaska, you could consider applying for an Alaska Airlines credit card. These co-branded credit cards can offer generous sign-up bonuses, as well as extra rewards for spending with Alaska Airlines and miles for everyday purchases.
Another option is to consider a co-branded hotel credit card from an Alaska Airlines hotel partner. Some partner hotels offer you the option of transferring your points to your Mileage Plan account.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card is a great option for travelers who want to earn extra miles for booking flights, as well as earn miles toward their next trip even while they're on the ground. The card has an annual fee of $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $75, which is offset by an array of perks.
How to earn miles with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card: Earn 50,000 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. You can also 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. Other perks include a free checked bag for you and up to six guests, as well as the ability to purchase a companion fare ticket for $99 plus taxes and fees.
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card
The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card is a great tool for small-business owners who fly Alaska Airlines regularly.
How to earn miles with the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card: This card has an annual fee of $50 for the company and $25 per card. Get 40,000 bonus miles when you make at least $2,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account When using your card to buy Alaska Airlines flights, you earn 3 miles for every $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines purchases, 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. This card also includes a free checked bag for you and up to six guests. Great business travel perks also come with the card, including auto rental insurance, lost luggage assistance and $1 million in travel accident insurance.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card
If you stay in hotels frequently, getting a Marriott credit card may be a good way to earn points that can be turned into Alaska miles.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card offers the following welcome bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn 3X points for every $1 spent at 7,000+ hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains). You automatically qualify for Silver Elite status with Marriott. The card comes with baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and trip delay reimbursement.
How to transfer your Marriott points to Alaska: There is a downside to getting a Marriott credit card to earn Alaska miles. Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to the Alaska Mileage Plan at a 3:1 ratio, which means you lose significant value when you turn your points into miles. But transferring 60,000 points will earn you a 5,000-mile bonus. Despite the loss in value, transferring Marriott points to Alaska can come in handy when you're a bit short of the miles you need for a big trip.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card lets you Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™ and 2X points on all other purchases. Note that there is a $95 annual fee. You automatically get Marriott's Silver Elite status and can earn Gold Elite status with $35,000 in yearly spending on the card.
Way to earn No. 4: Stay at a partner hotel
Alaska Airlines has eight hotel partners, so you can earn Mileage Plan miles with hotel stays. The number of miles you will earn varies based on the partner:
Alaska Hotel Partners
Earning Alaska Miles With Partner Hotels
|Alaska Airlines Hotels||Earn 500 to 10,000 miles a night.|
|Best Western||Best Western Rewards members earn 250 miles per stay.|
|Choice Hotels||Earn 250 miles per eligible stay at participating hotels.|
|Coast Hotels||Earn 500 miles per qualifying stay.|
|InterContinental Hotels Group||Earn 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 Bonvoy||Earn 2 miles per $1 spent or 1 mile per $1 spent depending on the hotel brand. Click here for more details.|
|Rocketmiles||Earn 500 to 10,000 miles a night.|
|Westmark Hotels||Earn 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.|
Way to earn No. 5: Miscellaneous
There are many other ways to rack up miles without having to take to the skies. Here are eight other options that will allow you to quickly accumulate miles and get closer to that free vacation.
Go on an online shopping spree Earn miles by shopping at more than 850 retailers, including Macy's, Walmart and Best Buy. Just sign in to the Mileage Plan shopping portal to get started. Then, go there each time you want to make a purchase, and you can take advantage of special discounts. You can earn 1 to 4 — or more — miles for every dollar you spend at the mall. Boost your earnings even more by making the purchases with your co-branded Alaska Airlines credit card.
Take a road trip Earn at least 50 miles per day when you rent a car from any of Alaska Airlines' car rental partners. Your options include Alamo, Avis, Budget and Hertz, among others. There are also options to earn up to 500 miles when you rent a car for five days or more. Again, you can earn even more miles by renting the car with your co-branded Alaska Airlines credit card.
Savor a meal out You can earn miles by dining at one of more than 10,000 bars, clubs and restaurants that are part of the Alaska Mileage Plan Dining program. If you haven't joined the program already, you can earn 1,000 miles by joining and spending at least $30 at participating restaurants in your first 30 days as a member. After that initial meal, you can earn up to 5 miles per dollar spent on your entire bill, including drinks, tax and tip. You can find participating restaurants by visiting the Mileage Plan rewards network and searching by location or name. You can also see customer reviews and average prices for dishes. Feel like collapsing onto the couch and watching TV tonight? You can earn by ordering carryout, too.
Offer your opinion If you are a person who likes to sound off about products and services, you'll probably be happy to learn that you can earn Alaska miles by taking surveys. The Opinion Terminal is an online survey community that will give you 400 miles just for joining for free. Then, you can earn additional miles by completing surveys about everyday products and services. However, it is not currently accepting new members, so you have to check back if you aren't already a member.
Help your pup get some exercise Does your dog need some extra TLC while you're at work? You can make your dog's day and earn miles toward your next trip. Sign up for Rover, an online service that connects users with local pet sitters and dog walkers. Then, register your Mileage Plan number and earn 3 miles per dollar spent on your first booking of pet services, plus a $30 credit to spend on the site. If you want to continue using the service, you will earn 1 mile per dollar spent on all additional bookings made through Oct. 1, 2020.
Drink your favorite vino If you're a wine lover, you can earn Alaska miles while you tip back some of your favorite vintages, or try new ones. Sign up for Vinesse Wine Clubs and use the offer code ALASKA to earn 2,250 miles for signing up. You will also earn 5 miles per dollar spent on future wine purchases through the club.
Brighten a day Do you know someone who could use a floral pick-me-up? Alaska Airlines has partnered with two floral delivery companies. With 1-800-Flowers.com, you can earn 20 miles per dollar spent when you enter the promo code AKA3. With Teleflora, you can earn 20 miles per dollar spent when you use the promo code BAAAL10.
Refer a friend for a card Do you already have and love an Alaska Airlines credit card? You can help a friend get a sign-up bonus and earn miles at the same time with the Alaska Airlines refer-a-friend program. You simply refer a friend for the card, wait for their approval and collect 5,000 bonus miles. You can earn even more miles by referring multiple friends.
There are other ways to earn Alaska Airlines miles, such as taking out a loan or signing up for telephone or internet service with a partner merchant. It pays to keep an eye out for specials and promotions that can allow you to earn extra miles for a limited time.
How to request miles on Alaska
Did you forget to enter your Mileage Plan number when booking a flight or not get credit for miles flown?
If you forgot to enter your Mileage Plan number when you booked your flight, you can add it before your trip by calling the Alaska Airlines reservations department at 800-252-7522. If you already took your flight and didn't get credit, don't worry. You can fill out the online mileage credit request form to ask for your miles.
It helps to have some basic information ready before you request your miles. You'll need your:
- Mileage Plan number
- E-ticket number
- Email address
- Screenshot of your ticket receipt and boarding pass
Not sure if you're eligible for a retroactive mileage credit from Alaska? To qualify, you must have been a Mileage Plan member at the time you traveled, and you must wait at least seven days after an Alaska flight or 14 days after a partner flight. You must also submit the request within 11 months from the date of travel.
How do I redeem my Alaska miles?
You can redeem your miles for flights on Alaska Airlines or for flights with most partner airlines. You can also use the miles for redemptions such as hotel stays and shopping.
You cannot transfer your miles to airline partners, so you will need to book most partner award flights through AlaskaAir.com, making sure your Mileage Plan number is on that flight reservation. Award travel with Cathay Pacific and LATAM must be booked by calling the Alaska Airlines reservations department at 800-252-7522.
The number of miles you need for an award flight varies based on the airline you are flying with and where you are traveling. There are some flights that can be booked for as little as 5,000 miles.
Earning Alaska miles FAQ
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 buy Alaska Airlines miles? Yes, you can buy Alaska Airlines miles, though it may not always be the best way to get the miles you need for an award trip. You need to be a Mileage Plan member, and the cost will depend on the offer available to you and your elite status. Miles purchased are nonrefundable and do not count toward elite status. If you're not an elite Mileage Plan member, the maximum number of miles you can purchase is 60,000 miles per transaction or 150,000 miles per calendar year. MVP members have no purchase limits. This may be a good option if you are a few hundred or a few thousand miles short of total miles needed for an award booking and you don't have time to earn the miles. However, purchasing miles is generally the least cost-effective way to get miles.
Can I get Alaska miles from a family member or friend? Yes, you can get Alaska Airlines from another Mileage Plan member. In fact, this may be a much better option than buying miles if you know someone who has extra miles in their account. The cost to donate Alaska miles to another member is $10 per 1,000 miles.
What's the fastest way to earn Alaska miles? Buying miles may be the quickest way to earn Alaska miles, but it's not necessarily the most cost-efficient. Only buy miles if you need Alaska miles almost immediately and have no other options to get miles fast. If you have a few months before you need to book award travel, getting an Alaska Airlines credit card with a sign-up bonus may be the best way to get a lump sum of miles into your account quickly. Referring friends for an Alaska Airlines credit card is another good way to earn miles fast.
The information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.