The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan loyalty program is an absolute powerhouse of value thanks to individual airline partnerships. Alaska Airlines joined Oneworld back in 2021, but it maintains partnerships that other Oneworld airlines don’t have — and its award pricing is altogether unique.
Alaska Airlines miles can be incredibly valuable — but they’re also some of the hardest to earn. How can you be sure you’re getting the most value from your awards?
Let’s look at some of this program’s best sweet spot redemptions to ensure you make the most of your hard-earned Alaska miles.
Add stopovers with Alaska miles
ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY
Alaska Airlines offers a free stopover on international award tickets — even on one-way itineraries.
Your stopover is typically limited to the hub city of whichever partner airline you’re flying. That’s because Alaska does not permit you to mix partners on an award ticket. If you’re flying internationally, it must be with one partner (plus Alaska Airlines-operated flights, if necessary). For example, you can tack on a connecting Alaska Airlines flight to an international gateway.
If you’re flying from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT) on Japan Airlines, you can stop in Tokyo before continuing to another city.
Why it’s valuable: Despite these setbacks, reserving a free stopover with each international one-way flight is a lucrative benefit that can turn one vacation into two. This is a rarity among airline loyalty programs.
How to book: Alaska Airlines has one of the most intuitive methods of booking a stopover. Here’s how to book a free stopover:
Step 1. Search Multi-city on the Alaska Airlines website
Use the Multi-city search option to manually input your stopover. Make sure you’ve also checked the “Use miles” box.
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ALASKAAIR.COMStep 2. Choose your itinerary
You’ll then see your one-way flight — including your stopover — as one price.
Business class to Fiji and Australia on Fiji Airways
ZACH HONIG/THE POINTS GUY
Alaska Mileage Plan miles can be a great tool for getting you to the remote tropical paradise of Fiji. One-way business class seats on Fiji Airways cost 55,000 Alaska Airlines miles in business class.
Fiji Airways operates from Nadi International Airport (NAN), the largest airport in Fiji, connecting to destinations in Asia, North America and the South Pacific. The airline offers a reliable business-class experience on flights from the U.S. to Fiji, ensuring a comfortable journey.
You can redeem just 55,000 miles for a one-way business-class flight from the U.S. to Fiji, which is a great deal. What’s more, you can add a stopover to explore other countries in the South Pacific, such as New Zealand and Australia, at no additional mileage cost. Even though Fiji Airways only flies from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), you can connect to these gateways from other U.S. cities served by Alaska Airlines.
Why it’s valuable: Many airlines charge 40,000+ miles to get to Australia in economy class. The fact that it’s possible to book a business class flight to the South Pacific and Australia for 55,000 miles makes this route a steal for Alaska Airlines miles collectors.
How to book: Fiji Airways flies from Nadi to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since Alaska Airlines has a large presence at both airports, you should be able to tack on connecting flights from dozens of other U.S. cities.
Premium-cabin award space on Fiji Airways can be tough to come by — and that’s because it’s such a good deal.
You can book Fiji Airways flights directly through the Alaska Airlines website.
Business class to South America on LATAM
JOHN MILNER/GETTYS IMAGES
Despite leaving the Oneworld alliance, LATAM maintains a partnership with Alaska Airlines.
LATAM’s major hubs include cities like Lima, Peru; Sao Paulo; and Santiago, Chile, making it a convenient option for travel within South America. Alaska Airlines defines South America as anything south of Panama, so numerous opportunities exist for great deals.
LATAM award tickets start at 25,000 miles for economy and 45,000 miles for business class each way. By taking advantage of the free stopover, you can book flights like Miami International Airport (MIA) to Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) to Santiago International Airport (SCL), allowing you to experience two vibrant South American cities in one trip.
Why it’s valuable: Flights to South America are all priced the same, whether you’re going to Santiago, Chile or Bogota, Colombia. That’s rare for an airline program, as northern and southern South America are often priced differently.
You’ll need just 45,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles to fly these same routes in business-class seats. Plus, you can get a free stopover when connecting through Either Lima or Santiago on your way to another destination. That sharply raises the value you’ll get from your miles.
How to book: You can book LATAM-operated award flights via the Alaska Airlines website.
How to earn Alaska Airlines miles
KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY
Now for the bad news. Alaska Mileage Plan miles are some of the hardest rewards to collect. Alaska Airlines isn’t a transfer partner of flexible currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Amex Membership Rewards points.
If you want to earn Alaska miles quickly, your best bet is to consider opening an Alaska credit card.
Alaska Airlines has two cobranded credit cards with Bank of America: a personal card and a business card.
These let you earn Alaska miles on your everyday spending and offer solid welcome bonuses. The cards include other inflight benefits, including an annual Companion Fare that helps offset their annual fees.
Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card
Right now, applicants for the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card can earn 60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after spending $3,000 or more on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening.
The card earns 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Alaska purchases and 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible gas, EV charging station, cable, streaming services and local transit including ride share purchases. You’ll earn 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else. Plus, you’ll enjoy an annual Companion Fare (after you spend $6,000 or more on purchases within the prior anniversary year) to bring a friend or family member with you on a trip starting at $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23). You also get a free checked bag on all Alaska flights and 20% back on inflight purchases.
For more details, check out our full review of the Alaska Visa.
Apply now: Alaska Airlines Visa
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card
Bank of America’s Alaska Airlines Visa Business card currently offers a bonus of 50,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23). To qualify, you’ll need to make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days from account opening.
The card earns the same 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible gas, EV charging station, shipping and local transit (including rideshare) purchases. All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar spent. The card includes a Companion Fare from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) each account anniversary if you spend $6,000 or more on purchases within the prior anniversary year and a free checked bag on all Alaska flights.
For more details, check out our full review of the Alaska Business Visa.
Apply now: Alaska Airlines Visa Business
Alternatively, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points at a rate of 3:1 (3 Marriott points = 1 Alaska Airlines mile). Plus, when you transfer in increments of 60,000 points, you’ll receive a bonus 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles. In other words, 60,000 Marriott points will net you 25,000 miles.
Of course, you can also credit paid Oneworld flights to your Mileage Plan account. Unlike most other U.S. airline programs, Alaska still uses a distance-based formula for calculating how many miles you’ll earn on these flights, so it can be more lucrative than others (especially on longer, inexpensive trips that would earn a comparatively small number of miles in a revenue-based program).
Finally, you can also buy Alaska miles to top up your account and snag any of the above redemptions. We usually don’t recommend doing so unless there’s a promotion (like the current offer to buy Alaska miles with up to a 60% bonus, which drops your price to as little as 1.85 cents apiece). While that’s still above our data-backed valuation of Alaska miles, it can make sense if you’re eyeing a specific award.
Related: The best credit cards for buying points and miles
Redeeming Alaska Mileage Plan miles for maximum value isn’t as complicated as it used to be, as more of the airline’s partners are now bookable online. However, Alaska still has some unique aspects of its loyalty program, and its new award chart isn’t nearly as helpful as the old iterations. Nevertheless, there are some incredible redemptions at your disposal.
No matter where you choose to travel, the free stopover on award tickets is an incredibly generous perk and can effectively give you two vacations for the price of one. In addition, the mix of partners inside and outside the Oneworld alliance opens up many opportunities.