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How you can use Alaska Airways Miles

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Alaska Airways miles are among the most beneficial, even for those who’ll by no means truly fly the airline.

The West Coast-based provider isn’t but a member of any airline alliance (although they intend to affix Oneworld in 2021), however don’t let that idiot you. By particular person partnerships, the Alaska Airways Mileage Plan loyalty program is extra helpful than most airways. Alaska miles is usually a whole lot for home journey inside the U.S. and even to Hawaii – however you’ll get essentially the most bang in your rewards by flying on worldwide companions like Cathay Pacific or Japan Airways – and profiting from a free stopover en path to your last vacation spot.

We'll present you how one can use Alaska Airways miles for almost free flights and journey everywhere in the world.

When you understand how to make use of Alaska Airways miles, you will get neat redemptions like visiting Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific! (Picture by FS11 / Shutterstock)

How you can use Alaska Airways miles

Alaska Airways miles worth is abnormally excessive for a lot of causes, not the least of which is flexibility. To begin, you're allowed to ebook one-way awards (not all carriers permit this). This implies you may fly from the U.S. to Asia on American Airways, and return on Cathay Pacific by reserving two totally different awards.

Remember that Alaska makes use of a special award chart for every of its accomplice airways. Which means that even on the identical route (just like the U.S. to Hong Kong) costs can range by three-fold or extra relying on the airline.

Whereas you are able to do 99% of the reserving work your self immediately on the Alaska Airways web site (even for those who're reserving a stopover or an advanced multi-city itinerary), I've discovered Alaska Airways to have among the friendliest and most competent cellphone brokers in your complete business. I redeemed 70,000 Alaska miles for a Cathay Pacific top notch flight to Hong Kong, and your complete cellphone name begin to end, together with studying out my bank card information and dealing via the automated system to get to a stay agent, took precisely 10 minutes. How’s that for effectivity?

In case you're brief on Alaska Airways miles, you may earn them immediately from these playing cards:

Take a look at our submit on how one can earn Alaska Airways miles for extra choices to spice up your account stability.

Alaska Airways companions

The very best makes use of of your Alaska Airways miles come from redeeming on accomplice airways. Right here’s the complete listing of companions:

The excellent news is you may ebook most of Alaska’s accomplice airways on-line. If you wish to ebook flights on these airways, you need to use a special oneworld award search engine, just like the British Airways or Qantas web site, then name Alaska as soon as you discover the seat you need.

The place can Alaska Airways miles take you?

Whereas these companions cowl nearly each continent, you’ll discover there are strengths and weaknesses. You will have essentially the most choices for flights to Asia between Cathay Pacific, Japan Airways, Korean Air and Singapore Airways, whereas Europe is way more restricted, Certain, you may fly American Airways (if you will discover award house) or British Airways (for those who're prepared to pay extreme gasoline surcharges) however your selections usually are not pretty much as good.

That mentioned, it's potential to go to each inhabited continent with Alaska Airways miles. And the award costs are very affordable.

Every airline has a special award chart

Let's take a look at a number of methods you may use Alaska Airways miles to journey to Bangkok, a preferred metropolis amongst vacationers of every kind. Alaska Airways doesn't fly from the U.S. to Thailand, however accomplice airways can get you there.

This instance demonstrates how a lot the value varies relying on which accomplice you fly. It's additionally essential to notice you may't combine companions on a world award ticket, which means you may't fly American Airways from Los Angeles to Hong Kong after which change to Cathay Pacific to get all the way down to Bangkok. You possibly can, nevertheless, add a home flight on Alaska Airways to place to a world gateway airport in the beginning or finish of your journey.

Let's begin with Cathay Pacific, my favourite use of Alaska miles. One-way flights from the U.S. to Asia value:

  • Coach: 30,000 miles
  • Premium economic system: 35,000 miles
  • Enterprise: 50,000 miles
  • First: 70,000 miles

Cathay Pacific top notch tickets are among the most costly on this planet, routinely clocking in at $ 20,000 or extra. In case you ebook one for less than 70,000 miles, meaning your Alaska miles can be price a whopping 30 cents every!

With Cathay Pacific, Alaska Airways treats all of Asia as a single area so your awards value the identical for those who cease in Hong Kong, or for those who proceed on to different locations like Singapore or Bangkok.

In the meantime, Japan Air Strains (my second favourite Alaska Airways accomplice) has totally different award pricing for flights to “Asia” and “Southeast Asia.” These areas aren't outlined on the Alaska web site, however I've discovered Southeast Asia to incorporate China and all the things south of it.

JAL gives an unbelievable premium cabin expertise, with among the finest meals and drinks within the sky in top notch and superb suites in enterprise class, however you’ll pay an additional 5,000 to 15,000 miles to fly JAL over Cathay Pacific, relying in your route and cabin.

For a similar U.S. to Asia route, different choices embody redeeming 180,000 miles for Emirates top notch or 70,000 miles for Korean Air coach, in every case twice as costly (or extra) than Cathay Pacific.

Not solely do award charts range by airline, additionally they range by route – so that you’ll must do your personal analysis earlier than reserving.

So, ensure that to learn the fantastic print. For instance, whereas Alaska Airways provides you an possibility for flying from Asia to the Center East utilizing your miles, it’s solely legitimate for journey to and from Hong Kong (not the remainder of the continent).

Flying with Alaska Airways

After all you might need to use your miles to remain nearer to dwelling, and Alaska Airways makes that straightforward, too.

Flights operated by Alaska Airways inside the continental U.S. or between the continental U.S. and Alaska are priced based mostly on distance: you may both take a “hop, skip, soar or a leap.”

You'll additionally see a variety of pricing for every distance. Whereas Alaska Airways doesn't use dynamic award pricing the best way United Airways or Delta does, it does have totally different pricing tiers so that you may see variations, particularly for those who're touring at a busy time.

The “hops” is usually a nice worth at solely 5,000 miles every approach in coach, for flights like San Francisco to Seattle. Alaska additionally operates a sturdy route community from the West coast to Hawaii, and flights begin at solely 15,000 miles every approach in coach.

Award charges

My Cathay Pacific top notch award got here with a complete of ~ $ 75 in taxes and charges, which I used to be completely happy to pay for such a fantastic redemption.

Along with the ~ $ 48 taxes and charges for this ticket, Alaska costs a $ 15 cellphone reserving charge, which is unavoidable since Cathay Pacific awards must be booked over the cellphone. The Alaska web site additionally lists a $ 25 accomplice award reserving charge, although that seems to be based mostly on round-trip tickets since each one-way award I've booked has solely had a $ 12.50 accomplice award charge. If it is advisable to change or cancel your award greater than 24 hours after reserving, you’ll even be charged a $ 125 probability / cancellation charge.

Be aware that taxes and charges range based mostly on which airline you fly. However you’ll all the time pay the accomplice award reserving charge and cellphone reserving charge (if relevant) on each redemption.

One-way awards, open jaws and stopovers

Free stopovers are one of the vital priceless issues about Alaska miles, and you may try our full assessment of Alaska Airways Mileage Plan for extra info on how one can redeem them. Listed here are the essential issues to recollect:

  • Stopovers are legitimate on one-way or round-trip tickets
  • You possibly can solely cease over on the hub of your accomplice airline (i.e. Hong Kong for Cathay Pacific, Sydney for Qantas, and so on.)

The excellent news is you may ebook these on-line your self, except you're flying Cathay Pacific or LATAM, wherein case you’ll have to name in.

Reserving a stopover is so simple as looking for a multi-city award ticket, although I like to recommend looking phase by phase at first to search out the award house you want. Not solely do stopovers offer you two locations for the value of 1, however they make it simpler to search out award house since you will be extra versatile along with your dates.

As a result of Alaska permits you to ebook one-way awards, it's additionally straightforward to assemble an open-jaw. An open jaw is only a fancy approach of claiming you aren't flying an ideal spherical journey. Perhaps you fly from metropolis A to metropolis B, and return from metropolis B to metropolis C. Or perhaps you fly from A to B, then hop on a prepare or bus to a special metropolis C earlier than flying again to metropolis A.

A sensible instance of this could be somebody who lets the award house dictate their trip plans. If you wish to fly Cathay Pacific top notch round-trip in your trip, you may have to fly out of Los Angeles and again into San Francisco relying on the supply. This may be an open-jaw, and simple to ebook as two one-way awards.

Piecing all of it collectively: Routes and availability

The toughest a part of redeeming your miles and factors is discovering the award house you want, particularly if you wish to journey in top notch or with a bigger group.


Whereas Alaska has essentially the most companions flying to Asia, you’ll all the time need to begin by looking for Cathay Pacific availability. Not solely is it the most cost effective possibility, however Cathay Pacific has the broadest U.S. route community so that you’ll have a neater time discovering seats.

Cathay Pacific has a six-seat top notch cabin, and can launch one seat on every flight a 12 months prematurely when the schedule opens. You may get fortunate and see one other seat launched nearer to departure, but it surely's actually not a assure which makes this tough for {couples} to ebook collectively.

Cathay Pacific top notch to Asia is without doubt one of the finest methods to redeem your Alaska miles. (Picture by wkst / Shutterstock)

After that I might take a look at JAL (don’t overlook to seek for flights to each Tokyo Narita and Tokyo Haneda airports). You’ll typically see one or two seats launched far prematurely, however the true gold mine comes within the week or two main as much as departure.

I've seen Japan Air Strains launch as many as 5 top notch award seats on a single flight for last-minute vacationers! After all when you’ve got your coronary heart set on a selected route, you need to use ExpertFlyer to seek for award availability and set alerts if it opens up. ExpertFlyer doesn't assist searches for JAL and Cathay Pacific, but it surely's a fantastic instrument for many of Alaska's different companions.

You may additionally verify American Airways and get fortunate. I typically ignore Korean Air and Emirates due to the excessive costs.


Alaska companions with Qantas, and whereas it's powerful to search out premium cabin award house on the continuous flights between the U.S. and Australia, coach house is extra available. You can too break up your journey by flying Cathay Pacific and having fun with a free stopover in Hong Kong. Don’t overlook to search for American Airways award house as properly… however don’t get your hopes up right here.


British Airways is your easiest possibility right here, and it may be price sucking it up and paying the excessive taxes. You can too take a look at Condor for those who're touring a route they serve, or Finnair.

South America

LATAM has an intensive route community each from the U.S. and inside South America. Bear in mind you’ll have to make use of both the British Airways or Qantas web site to seek for award house right here, then name Alaska to ebook.


Alaska will allow you to fly "the mistaken approach around the globe," and route via Hong Kong en path to Africa. Cathay Pacific is your finest wager right here, and don’t overlook about that free stopover in Hong Kong. A first-class flight to South Africa through Hong Kong is nearly the easiest way to get your cash’s price for a virtually endless luxurious flight.

Learn our information on one of the best methods to redeem Alaska Airways miles for extra concepts to squeeze the largest worth out of your miles.

Backside line

Alaska Airways miles can supply outsized worth to the suitable sort of traveler. In case you're heading to Asia and trying to fly in a premium cabin you merely can't do higher than this, however even individuals touring inside the home U.S. or to Australia or South America ought to give Alaska Airways miles critical consideration.

I’ve by no means as soon as flown on or been to Alaska, but Alaska Airways miles proceed to be my favourite frequent flyer program.

If it is advisable to top-off your Alaska Airways account, think about the Alaska Airways Visa Signature® bank card or Alaska Airways Visa® Enterprise bank card.

Up to date on February 28, 2020

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Editorial notice: We're the Million Mile Secrets and techniques staff. And we're happy with our content material, opinions and evaluation, and of our reader's feedback. These haven’t been reviewed, authorized or endorsed by any of the airways, resorts, or bank card issuers which we regularly write about. And that's simply how we prefer it! 🙂

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