Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan offers some great value partner award ticket options. There are other uses possible too.

Alaska Skywest Embraer E175LR N196SY

Photo: Vincenzo Pace / Simple Flying

Redeeming your miles is the fun part of any frequent flyer program. With good value earning and redeeming, and clear rates and targets, this can be even more so with Mileage Plan. Using miles for flight is the most obvious (with Alaska Airlines and its many partners). If you really can’t find a way to use miles for travel, there are other (less good value) uses.

Using miles for Alaska Airlines flights

Mileage redemption rates for Alaska Airlines flights are now variable and can change based on demand. They are not necessarily directly linked to the underlying price of the flight, but you would expect them to increase as the ticket price increases.

It is no longer the case that shorter flights will always require less mileage (although they often do). Instead, Mileage Plan offers a starting minimum for all Alaska Airlines flights based on cabin and flight length. Maximum levels are usually up to 50,000 miles for main cabin and up to 95,000 miles for first class. The starting amounts are:

  • For flights up to 700 miles: 5,000 miles for main cabin, 15,000 miles for first class.
  • For flights between 701 and 1400 miles: 7,500 miles for main cabin, 25,000 miles for first class.
  • For flights between 1401 and 2100 miles: 10,000 miles for main cabin, 25,000 miles for first class.
  • For flights over 2101 miles: 12,500 miles for main cabin, 30,000 miles for first class.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace / Simple Flying

Using miles for partner airline flights

This is where some of the best value is to be found and where the power of Mileage Plan lies. Mileage Plan publishes mileage rates for all partners. These are based on origin and destination zone and cabin. The rates differ for each airline (confusingly), but there are many similarities. The majority of airlines have fixed price redemption based on zone and cabin.

Some airlines have been moved to variable/dynamic pricing (including Aer Lingus, LATAM, and Qatar Airways). For these airlines, a starting price is published – we recommend experimenting with searches to see how this could change.

There are some great value options here, especially in premium cabins. Mileage Plan offers many chances to fly with some leading airlines for some of the best redemption rates compared to other airlines’ programs. For some ideas of the best options, see our guide to the Perks of Mileage Plan.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800

Photo: Getty Images

Mileage Plan publishes tables for all airlines. You simply search for the starting and ending region, and you will show rates for all possible airlines.

The example below is for flights from North America to Europe, showing just some of the options possible.

Alaska Airlines

Image: Alaska Airlines

There are several key award rules to be aware of:

  • Each award can only have one partner airline. You cannot mix different partners on the same award – this would require separate awards.
  • You can add an Alaska Airlines flight to reach an award starting point if there is award availability.
  • You can add a stopover on each one-way award (two on a return booking). This is very unusual with any mileage program, and is a great way to get extra value or add a bit more to a planned trip.
Alaska Airlines

Photo: Alaska Airlines

Using miles for upgrades

Using miles for upgrades with Mileage Plan is less useful than with many other airline programs. Miles can only be used to upgrade on Alaska Airlines flights. These are good value at just 15,000 miles, but there must be first class award space available, and the original ticket must be booked in higher fare classes (Y, B, H, K, or M).

Alaska Airlines

Photo: Alaska Airlines

Other uses of miles

Use for flight awards (especially with the great value possible on some international partners) is the best use of miles. But there are other possibilities if you need them, including:

Booking hotels. Mileage Plan has its own partnered hotel booking portal, with access to over 400,000 hotels globally. Rates vary, and you should always compare against available the cash prices to ensure you are happy with the value received.

Trade miles for a discount on flights. Miles can also be used at a fixed rate to discount Alaska Airlines flights cash tickets. 10,000 miles will buy a 50% discount for up to $100, and 20,000 will buy one for up to $200. These apply to one-way or roundtrip tickets.

With many partner airlines and good value rates, collecting Mileage Plan miles to use for award tickets is a popular choice. Do you do this, or are you considering starting? Feel free to discuss your uses and the program, in general, further in the comments.


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