Maximizing value from the Alaska Mileage Plan program

Alaska Airlines MileagePlan miles can provide some of the best value of any miles in the industry. In 2016 and 2017 many airlines including United, American, and Delta implemented a huge devaluation to their mileage currencies and many foreign carriers followed their lead shortly thereafter. This effectively raised the industry standard award prices for almost every single award route. Fortunately, Alaska Airlines did not devalue their program at the same time. This means that by redeeming Alaska miles rather than miles from another carrier, you can often still pay the pre-devaluation award rate which is universally better; often by tens of thousands of miles in the case of premium cabin redemptions. Alaska Airlines is also not part of an alliance which means that they have been able to pick and choose their partners. This provides a unique medley of airlines that often wouldn’t be accessible with only miles from a specific airline or alliance. Finally, many airlines in recent years have done away with allowing free stopovers; but Alaska still allows stopovers even on one-way awards which provides great opportunities for seeing multiple destinations in the same trip.

Highest Value Redemptions of Alaska Airlines MileagePlan Miles

  • Cathay Pacific First Class to 3 Continents

    Cathay Pacific has one of the best First Class products in the world, and their Business Class product is great as well. There are other options for redeeming miles to fly either of these products, but since Alaska award rates didn’t change in 2016, Alaska miles are an extremely good value for this award. Cathay Pacific is based out of Hong Kong, but amazingly, it actually costs the same number of miles to first fly to Hong Kong and then continue on to South Africa. Alternatively, it costs only 10,000 more miles to tack on a leg to Australia or New Zealand after Hong Kong. Furthermore, Alaska allows you to enjoy a free stopover on any award ticket; so this would be a great way to visit several continents in one trip for an incredibly reasonable number of miles in an excellent premium cabin.

    How to book: Search for award availability on BA.com and then call Alaska to book

    Cost: 70,000 miles to Hong Kong/Johannesburg in First, 80,000 miles to Australia/New Zealand in First

  • Emirates Business Class to Dubai and Beyond

    Emirates has long had the reputation of being the glitziest and most luxurious airline out there, but since it is not a member of one of the big three airlines alliances, it has become fairly difficult to redeem miles on their flights. Fortunately, Alaska Airlines partners with Emirates, which makes redeeming Alaska miles one of the easiest ways to access Emirates’ famed premium cabins.

    How to book: Search and book on alaskaair.com

    Cost: 82,500 miles in Business from the US to the Middle East or India

  • Japan Airlines First Class to Asia

    While you could also redeem American Airlines miles or miles from pretty much any other Oneworld Alliance member to fly Japan Airlines’ superb First Class product, you won’t find a better deal than with Alaska miles. Add this to the fact that Alaska will also allow you a free stopover in Tokyo if your final destination is elsewhere, and it’s clear that Alaska Airlines miles are an excellent choice for booking award flights on Japan Airlines.

    How to book: Search and book on Alaskaair.com

    Cost: 70,000 miles in First Class

  • Qantas First or Business Class to Australia or New Zealand

    Qantas is another Oneworld Alliance airline, so naturally your first instinct might be to try to book their award flights with miles from another Oneworld Carrier. However, American Airlines for example would charge 10,000 more miles for a Business Class ticket than Alaska would charge for First Class. First Class booked with American would be 40,000 miles more than First Class booked with Alaska. Don’t forget you can also add a stopover, which you can’t if you book the same ticket through American.

    How to book: Search and book on Alaskaair.com

    Cost: 70,000 miles in First, 55,000 miles in Business

  • Off Peak AA Economy Class to Europe, Northern South America or Asia

    Flying on off-peak dates to Europe, Northern South America or Asia with Alaska miles on American Airlines allows you redeem the same number of miles that American would have charged before their unfortunate devaluation in 2016. This will usually provide about a 25-35% discount over what American Airlines would now charge.

    How to book: search and book on Alaskaair.com

    Cost: 20,000 miles in Economy to Europe, 15,000 miles in Economy to Northern South America 25,000 miles in Economy to Asia

  • Icelandair Business Class to Iceland

    Iceland is an extremely popular travel destination at the moment, but unfortunately WOW Air, Iceland’s budget airline, just went out of business; making the task of getting to Iceland far more difficult and expensive. Fortunately, Icelandair, which is not part of an alliance, does partner with Alaska and offers quite a good Business Class product.

    How to book: Search and book on Alaskaair.com

    Cost: 50,000 miles in Business

  • LATAM Business Class from the US to South America

    LATAM has perhaps South America’s best Business Class product, and redeeming Alaska miles for this product is phenomenal value. Once again, it is possible to redeem American Airlines miles or miles from any other Oneworld Alliance member, but you will get the best value by doing so with Alaska miles. This can be a great option to fly free to Colombia or to use miles to get to Peru.

    How to book: Search for award availability on BA.com or LANPASS.com and then call Alaska to book.

    Cost: 45,000 miles in Business

  • Fiji Airways Business Class from the US to Fiji and Beyond

    Oceania has always been a tough part of the world to access with miles simply because there are not that many international airlines operating into the area, and even fewer airlines offering award flights. Fiji Airways however is an exception, and even more excitingly, they partner with Alaska and offer very good value Business Class awards flights from the US to Fiji and beyond to the rest of Oceania or even Australia and New Zealand.

    How to book: Search and book on Alaskaair.com

    Cost: 55,000 miles in Business

  • Korean Air Business Class from the US to Asia

    Another way to enjoy Korean Air’s excellent Apex Suite design in Business Class is to redeem Alaska miles. As with many of Alaska’s award opportunities, this will get you a better value than redeeming miles with most other Korean Air partners. The only catch with Korean is that you must book a round trip itinerary.

    How to book: Search and book on Alaskaair.com

    Cost: 125,000 miles in Business round trip