Alaska Airlines, based in Seattle, is an airline operating flights within North America – the US, Mexico, Canada, and select international destinations such as Costa Rica. The longest Alaska flights are those that can be operated with a Boeing 737, since they only have those (and now Virgin’s Airbus fleet, too). The beauty of Alaska Airlines is their fantastic mileage programme, which offers incredible redemption rates on most of their partners.
Alaska Airlines Partner Airlines
Alaska Airlines partners with many airlines and you can earn and redeem miles on all of their partners (with a few exceptions – for example, you can only earn miles on American Airlines flights if you booked a codeshare flight with an Alaska flight number). Their newer partners such as Singapore Airlines aren’t available for award travel yet, but you already earn miles on those flights. Alaska is partners currently with:
- Air France (partnership ending soon)
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (partnership ending soon)
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- Ravn Alaska
- Singapore Airlines
To find award space on these airlines, simply use Alaska’s website. The only two exceptions are Cathay Pacific and LATAM Airlines – for these, use the British Airways Executive Club website to check award space. Keep in mind that Alaska may not always see the same award space that British Airways shows (Cathay releases more award seats to oneworld partners).
Alaska Airlines Award Routing Rules
Alaska Airlines only allows one partner airline + Alaska on an award ticket. You cannot mix partners. For example, you can fly Seattle – Los Angeles on Alaska and Los Angeles – Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, but you cannot fly Seattle – Los Angeles on American Airlines and later connect on Cathay Pacific. Only one partner airline is allowed. As of now, Virgin America is still considered a partner airline and cannot be mixed.
Alaska Airlines is generous in that you can have a stopover on an award ticket, even on a one-way. So you could fly Vancouver to Hong Kong to Singapore on Cathay Pacific and stop in Hong Kong for however long you’d like. Most stopovers are limited to hub cities of their partner airlines, however, sometimes when calling to book an award over the phone other cities can be inserted as a stopover as long as the routing is direct.
Alaska doesn’t charge any close-in booking fees, but they do charge a $12.50 partner booking fee and a $15 phone booking fee. The cost to cancel or change an award ticket is $125 and if you’re outside of 60 days before departure, you can cancel or change for free.
Collecting Alaska Airlines Miles
Alaska Airlines miles are very easy to collect. Due to Alaska’s unique partnerships and generous routing rules on award tickets, Alaska miles are valued very high. Here are a number of ways to earn Alaska Airlines miles:
- Flying with Alaska Airlines
- Flying with Alaska’s Partner Airlines (listed above)
- Purchasing or Sharing Miles (frequently on sale)
- Tip: Buy miles at a discount when purchasing a revenue ticket on Alaska (Fly & Buy Miles)
- Alaska Airlines Signature VISA Credit Card
- Personal and Business versions
- Transfer Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points to Alaska Airlines
- Transfers can take a few days
- For every 20k SPG points you transfer, you get a 5k bonus in miles (20k SPG points = 25k miles)
The quickest way to earn miles is either buy purchasing them (or transferring them from a different Alaska account). The second quickest way (if you have a few days) is to transfer SPG points to Alaska.
Miles from Alaska flights generally post to your account a few days after the flight. Miles from partner airlines can take up to 14 days to post.
All in All
Alaska Airlines miles are very valuable. Being able to fly Cathay Pacific First Class with a stopover in Hong Kong for just 70k miles one-way is a great deal. You can also fly Cathay Pacific to Africa via Hong Kong for the same price in First Class… that’s amazing.
It is important to note that Alaska miles may sometimes not be redeemed on all routes operated by the partner airline. For example, you cannot fly Emirates exclusively between the Middle East and Europe – you must also fly to/from North America on the same ticket. Another example is that you can’t fly British Airways Europe to Asia – only Cathay Pacific.
If you have any questions about earning or redeeming Alaska miles, please post them below! Happy Booking!