Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Loyalty Program Review

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Loyalty Program

Alaska Airlines Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

There are several credit cards that can help you quickly collect Alaska miles to redeem for some amazing flights.

Alaska Airlines Credit Cards

Bank of America’s co-branded cards with Alaska Airlines allow you to earn Mileage Plan miles directly.

Loyalty ProgramCard Name
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Frequent Flyer ProgramBank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Business Credit Card

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards

While earning Alaska miles directly might seem like the best way to go, we’d actually suggest considering SPG Starpoints. Every chunk of 20,000 points you transfer to Alaska Airlines earns you a bonus of 5,000 Alaska miles.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Our Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Our Review

Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards

A few hotel programs will let you transfer points to Alaska Airlines. However, this is almost always a poor use of hotel points. Unless you are really in a bind, save your hotel points for award stays at your destination, where they’ll likely be worth more.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Hilton HHonors Loyalty ProgramHilton HHonors™ Card from American Express
 Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
Choice Privileges Loyalty ProgramBarclaycard Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card
Hyatt Gold Passport Loyalty ProgramChase Hyatt Credit Card

 

Alaska Airlines Overview

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is an award-winning program that is valued by travelers for a couple of reasons. Frequent flyer miles are earned based on miles flown rather than dollars spent, and premium cabin awards are redeemable on Alaska’s partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

In fact, many travelers use Mileage Plan as a collection point for their travel with these partners—without even flying Alaska Airlines much!

Joining Mileage Plan

To join Mileage Plan, sign up for free.

Alaska Airlines Join Mileage Plan

 

How to Sign in to Your Mileage Plan Account

Sign in on the alaskaair.com homepage. You’ll need to enter your user ID and password.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Log In

Viewing Your Account Activity

You can see your mileage balance and elite progress on the overview and tier status page.

Here, you can view your trips, mileage activity, wallet, and discount/companion certificates.

Points Expiration

Mileage Plan miles expire after 24 months of inactivity.

Any miles earning or redeeming activity counts, so you have many options beyond taking flights. This includes using an Alaska Airlines credit card or using the Alaska Airlines shopping portal or dining program.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Program

Mileage Plan Elite Status

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program has 3 status tiers:

  • MVP
  • MVP Gold
  • MVP Gold 75k

MVP:

  • Complimentary preferred seats
  • Instant complimentary first class upgrades on certain fare classes (Y, S, or Z)
  • Instant complimentary premium class upgrades on certain fare classes (Y, S, B, or Z)
  • Complimentary upgrades 48 hours from departure
  • 2 free checked bags
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • 50% bonus miles on Alaska and Elite Qualifying Partners
  • Alaska Lounge discounted membership (50% off initiation, $25 off annual membership)

MVP Gold:

  • All MVP benefits, plus:
  • Instant complimentary upgrades on more fare classes (Y, S, B, M, or Z)
  • Instant complimentary premium class upgrades on more fare classes (Y, S, B, M, H, Q, L, V, N, K, or Z)
  • Complimentary upgrades 72 hours from departure
  • Complimentary inflight premium beverage if not upgraded
  • 4 one-way companion upgrade certificates
  • Complimentary same-day flight changes
  • Standby and waitlist for full flights
  • Priority security
  • 100% bonus miles on Alaska and Elite Qualifying Partners
  • Alaska Lounge discounted membership (waived initiation, $50 off annual membership)

MVP Gold 75k:

  • All MVP Gold benefits, plus:
  • Instant complimentary upgrades on even more fare classes (Y, S, B, M, H, or Z)
  • Instant complimentary premium class upgrades on all fare classes
  • Complimentary upgrades 120 hours from departure
  • Complimentary inflight entertainment
  • 125% bonus miles on Alaska and Elite Qualifying Partners
  • Gift of 50,000 miles
  • Gift MVP status to a family member or friend
  • 4 annual Alaska Lounge day passes

Lifetime MVP Gold

After flying 1 million miles on Alaska Airlines (excluding bonus miles and partner flights), travelers are granted lifetime MVP Gold status.

Lifetime MVP Gold members receive a complimentary meal or picnic pack whenever they fly in the main cabin.

Check Alaska’s site for the full lineup of benefits.

Virgin America

Virgin America is being integrated into Alaska Airlines. Current MVP members receive:

  • 2 free checked bags
  • Priority check-in and boarding

More benefits will be added in 2017:

  • Access to preferred main cabin seating
  • Main Cabin Select upgrades
  • Advance purchase window for first class upgrades

In 2018:

  • Complimentary first class upgrades on select Airbus aircraft

You can track the integration progress between these programs here.

Partner Elite Status Benefits

Alaska Airlines is not part of a major airline alliance, so they don’t have a consistent suite of partner travel benefits. Instead, there are specific benefits offered on several partners independant of an alliance.

The most prominent partner is American Airlines. Unfortunately, these benefits end December 31, 2017:

  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Complimentary preferred seating
  • Express security lines at select airports
  • Main Cabin Extra seating: 50% off for MVP, free for MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K
  • Checked baggage: 1 free for MVP, 2 free for MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K

Other partner airlines with status benefits:

  • British Airways: London Heathrow T3/T5 Galleries Lounge access (MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K)
  • Hainan Airlines: Lounge access in Beijing, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Haikou, and Urumqi (MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K)
  • Icelandair: Lounge access in Reykjavik (MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K)
  • Qantars: International lounge access at select airports for international itineraries on Qantas (MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K)

Value of MVP Elite Status

Mileage Plan elite status is one of the highest-regarded programs among travelers for its mileage earning rates and benefits.

Compared to competitors, Mileage Plan is lucrative for earning miles by distance rather than spending.

Mileage Plan elite status is especially strong on companion benefits and customer service.

However, since it lacks membership in a traditional airline alliance, Mileage Plan struggles with sparse benefits on partner airlines.

Earning Mileage Plan Elite Status

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status is more straightforward than some of its competitors, and there is no dollar spend threshold.

You can earn status by any 1 of 3 ways:

  • Eligible miles on Alaska and Virgin America
  • Eligible miles on a combination of Alaska, Virgin America, and qualifying partner airlines (all airline partners except PenAir and Ravn)
  • Segments flown on a combination of Alaska, Virgin America, and qualifying partner airlines (all airline partners except PenAir and Ravn)

Eligible miles include class of service bonuses, but they exclude elite status bonuses.

Class of service bonuses range from 0%-50% in economy and are 75% for first class. This means cheap first class fares can be a shortcut to earning elite status.

MVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
Miles on Alaska/Virgin America20,00040,00075,000
Miles on Alaska/Virgin America and Qualifying Partner Airlines25,00050,00090,000
Segments on Alaska/Virgin America and Qualifying Partner Airlines306090

 

How to Earn Alaska Miles

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan boasts many partnerships that attract members who don’t even fly Alaska Airlines itself. For those who do fly Alaska Airlines, Mileage Plan is a rare U.S. airline program that continues to treat a mile flown as a mile earned.

Earning Miles by Flying Alaska Airlines

When flying Alaska Airlines, you’ll earn miles by flight distance and fare class. On short flights, travelers earn a minimum of 500 miles.

CabinClasses of serviceBase mileage earnedBonus miles
First ClassF or P100%75%
Main (Economy)Y or S100%50%
Main (Economy)M or B100%25%
Main (Economy)H, Q, L, V, K, G, T, or R100%

Earning Miles by Flying Virgin America

Alaska Airlines has acquired Virgin America, and the transition of Virgin America Elevate to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is proceeding in 2017. You can already earn and transfer miles.

CabinClass of serviceBase miles earnedClass of service bonus
First ClassJ, C, D100%75%
Economy (Main Cabin Select)W, Q, Z100%50%
Economy (Main Cabin)Y, V100%50%
Economy (Main Cabin)B100%25%
Economy (Main Cabin)H, E, U, M, I, L, S, N100%

Hot Tip: You can now transfer Virgin America Elevate points to Alaska at a 1:1.3 ratio. You cannot transfer back to Virgin, so plan carefully! Transfer here.

Earning Miles by Flying Airline Partners

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Partner Airlines

Alaska Airlines has numerous airline partnerships for earning miles; check their partners page for earning rates by partner and flight:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • PenAir
  • Qantas
  • Ravn

Changes are coming to the American Airlines partnership on January 1, 2018:

  • No miles earned on AA-coded U.S. domestic flights
  • Miles still earned on AA-code international flights
  • Miles still earned on AS-coded flights operated by American Airlines

Note that the partnership with Delta ended April 30, 2017, though some previously purchased tickets will still earn miles:

Delta Air Lines earned flight miles table
Tickets bookedFor travelEarn miles?
Through December 18, 2016Any dates already ticketedMiles earned
On or after December 19, 2016Through April 30, 2017Miles earned
On or after December 19, 2016Beginning May 1, 2017No miles earned

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

The Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card (and its business version) both earn 3 miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar everywhere else. The card includes an annual $99 + taxes companion certificate and a free checked bag.

For everyday spending, your best option is earning SPG Starpoints with one of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards. Every transfer of 20,000 Starpoints to your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account earns you a bonus of 5,000 miles.

Earning Bonus Miles in Other Ways

We have step-by-step guides for the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan shopping portal and dining program, which can both earn you quick bonus points.

Plus, there are other retail and travel partners that earn miles. See our article on the Best Ways to Earn Lots of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles for more.

How to Redeem Alaska Miles

Alaska Airlines has multiple ways to redeem your miles once you have earned them.

Awards on Alaska Airlines Flights

Alaska Airlines recently lowered the price of short-distance domestic flights. These are now as cheap as 5,000 miles one-way!

One-way Trip DistanceCoach Non-refundableCoach RefundableFirst Non-refundableFirst Refundable
0-7005,000-20,00030,00025,00060,000
701-1,4007,500-20,00030,00025,00060,000
1,401-2,10010,000-20,00030,00025,00060,000
2,101+12,500-20,00030,00025,00060,000

Free Stopovers – Even on One-ways!

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan allows free stopovers on awards, which is a benefit eliminated by almost all other airline programs. Even better, you get a free stopover on a one-way, or 2 on a round-trip booking!

First Class Upgrades

Within 24 hours of departure or at check-in, you can request an upgrade with miles or cash. Miles upgrades cost 15,000 miles regardless of trip distance. Cash upgrades can be better value for short flights:

One-way Trip DistanceUpgrade Price
0-1,250$50
1,251-2,500$100
2,501-3,750$150
3,751+$200

Money & Miles

Use miles for up to a 50% discount off Alaska Airlines coach airfare.

Award typeOne-wayRound-trip
Money & Miles – 50% discount up to $10010,00010,000
Money & Miles – 50% discount up to $20020,00020,000

Hot Tip: You earn 100% of miles from Money & Miles awards!

Awards on Partner Airlines

Each Alaska Airlines partner has its own award chart. Only award routes listed on the chart can be booked.

Not all partners are searchable online, so you may need to call Mileage Plan at 800-252-7522 to book these awards on Cathay Pacific and LATAM, for example.

Hot Tip: Alaska Airlines awards can only have 1 partner airline combined with Alaska Airlines on a single booking. Book one-ways instead of round-trips to use different airline partners.

American Airlines:

One-way Trip DistanceCoachBusiness/First
Continental U.S. only12,50032,500

Virgin America:

One-way Trip DistanceCoach Non-refundableCoach RefundableFirst Non-refundableFirst Refundable
Continental U.S.12,500-20,00030,00025,00060,000
Intra-state7,500-12,50017,50015,00030,000

Other Airline Partner Awards:

Alaska Airlines has fantastic partner awards that are among the most sought after by travelers. Each partner has its own award chart and available routes.

See our article on the Best Ways to Redeem Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan for ideas.

Non-flight Awards

Alaska Airlines vacation packages also allow you to use an Alaska Airlines award for the flight portion of the package while earning miles on the vacation portion.

Finally, miles can be used outside of the airline, including for magazine subscriptions and other household and travel goods.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

FAQ

What is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan? Is it worth it? What are the benefits?
Mileage Plan is Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer program. By signing up for free, you gain access to a range of travel benefits and can earn and redeem Mileage Plan miles.

Elite status members receive bonus miles, complimentary upgrades when available (even for companions), free premium beverages, free checked bags, priority check-in, preferred seating, and more. The elite status levels are MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75k.

Who are the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partners?
Alaska Airlines is not part of an official alliance. Instead, Alaska Airlines has partnered with a number of the various airlines from each of them.

These partners include American AirlinesDeltaBritish AirwaysAir FranceCathay Pacific, Aeromexico, Emirates, Fiji, Hainan, Icelandair, KLM, Korean, LATAM, and Qantas.

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan login?
You can sign in to your Mileage Plan account here.

How do I join Mileage Plan?
You can join Mileage Plan here.

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan dining program?
Alaska Airlines has a dining network partnership that allows members to earn miles in their loyalty accounts for dining out. You just need to register your credit card(s) with the dining program, use registered cards at participating restaurants, and miles will automatically accumulate.

You can sign up for the Alaska Airlines dining program here. Note that each credit card can only be registered with 1 dining program at a time. If you link a card with a different program, it will automatically be de-linked from other programs.

Is there an Alaska Airlines credit card?
Yes, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card is a Bank of America card. You can also utilize other credit cards to earn miles on Alaska.

You can get creative and use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express to earn British Airways points and utilize them to book on Alaska as well.

By earning miles in AAdvantage with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you can use them to book partner flights on Alaska.

What are Alaska Airlines baggage fees?
The first and second checked bags are $25 each, while a third is $75. Travel entirely within the state of Alaska gets 3 free checked bags. Alaska Airlines credit card holders get 1 free checked bag, and Mileage Plan elites get 2 free checked bags.

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan phone number?
1-800-252-7522

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan award chart?
You can find the award chart here. Flights start at 5,000 miles one-way on Alaska. You can have 1 stopover on each one-way award.