16 Best Ways to Redeem Alaska Mileage Plan Miles for Max Value

Qantas First Class

Full Disclosure: We may be financially compensated when you click on links to credit card products from our advertising partners, such as American Express, Chase, Citi & Capital One. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. Thanks!

Alaska Airlines offers excellent service and a strong link between North America and the Pacific Northwest, which of course includes Alaska.

They have also increased the value of their award redemption options by offering an extra stopover on their own flights, as well as through partnerships with select airlines.

Read on to learn more about how to use your Alaska Airlines frequent flyer program miles for great award travel!

Redeeming Alaska Airlines Miles Using Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines is not a part of an alliance like Oneworld. As a result, they have been able to pick and choose which airlines they want to partner with. That means you can use your Alaska miles in many great ways!

List of Alaska Airlines Partners

You can use your Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book with all of the following:


Alaska Partners
Aer LingusFinnair
American AirlinesHainan Airlines
British AirwaysIcelandair
Cathay Pacific*Japan Airlines
CondorKorean Air
El Al (coming soon)LATAM*
Fiji AirwaysSingapore Airlines (coming soon)
Regional Partners
PenAirRavn Alaska

As you can tell, Alaska Airlines has a slew of aspirational airlines, including Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. To make things better, these award prices are some of the best in the business, which is why Alaska Airlines miles is the currency of choice for so many travelers.

*Note that you will need to call Alaska Airlines at 800-252-7522 to book award flights on a few of the above partners. For instance, you’ll need to call to book on Cathay Pacific and LATAM.

The rest of the partner airlines can typically be booked on Alaskaair.com. You’ll have the chance to redeem Mileage Plan miles by selecting “use miles” when searching for availability.

Notice: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan intra-Asia awards on Cathay Pacific, Hainan Airlines, and Japan Airlines must be booked at least 72 hours in advance. Other routing is not affected and can still be booked last minute.

How To Boost Your Alaska Miles

Alaska Mileage Plan miles can be earned by signing up for their co-branded credit cards offered by Bank of America.

Marriott Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Alaska Airlines at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 Mileage Plan miles bonus.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - for a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Alaska Airlines Award Prices

Alaska Airlines implements a different award chart for each carrier. For the purposes of brevity, we will touch on the award cost under each redemption only. The award chart for Alaska Airlines-operated flights is as follows:

Award levels for travel on Alaska Airlines

Within Contiguous U.S. and AlaskaMiles Required
Trips less than 700 miles
Main Cabin5,000 – 30,000
First Class15,000 – 40,000
Trips between 701 – 1,400 miles
Main Cabin7,500 – 30,000
First Class25,000 – 50,000
Trips between 1,401 – 2,100 miles
Main Cabin10,000 – 40,000
First Class25,000 – 60,000
Trips longer than 2,101 miles
Main Cabin12,500 – 50,000
First Class30,000 – 70,000

*Price ranges are all for one-way flights. Highest price in each range is a refundable award.

Contiguous U.S./Alaska to MexicoMiles Required
Trips between 701 – 1,400 miles
Main Cabin10,000 – 35,000
First Class30,000 – 50,000
Trips between 1,401 – 2,100 miles
Main Cabin15,000 – 40,000
First Class30,000 – 60,000
Trips longer than 2,101 miles
Main Cabin17,500 – 50,000
First Class30,000 – 70,000

*Price ranges are all for one-way flights. Highest price in each range is a refundable award.

Contiguous U.S./Alaska to HawaiiMiles Required
Main Cabin15,000 – 50,000
First Class40,000 – 80,000

*Price ranges are all for one-way flights. Highest price in each range is a refundable award.

The 16 Best Ways to Use Your Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

Alaska’s loyalty program offers excellent deals on one-way tickets, which can be used strategically for booking flights to 2 destinations with the same amount of miles it would take to get to 1.

When searching for reward availability on partner flights, simply search your dates with the “use miles” option checked. After you click to search, you may filter the results by airline using the sidebar that appears to the left of the search display.

Here are 16 suggestions that will maximize the value of your Mileage Plan miles on both Alaska Airline flights and partner flights, especially for those of you who fly in business or first class.

1. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class to Asia

Cathay Pacific 777 first class seat
Cathay Pacific 777 first class offers the widest seats, an astonishing 36 inches! Image credit: Stephen Au

One of the most exciting and best uses of Alaska bonus miles is to fly first class on Cathay Pacific to Asia. For only 70,000 miles, you can experience this amazing first class product and its stellar in-flight service.

If you are connecting in Cathay Pacific’s hub, Hong Kong, you will have the chance to visit 2 first class lounges: The Pier, First and The Wing, First. The Pier just might be one of the nicest airport lounges in the world, but both are spectacular. Check them out if you have enough time!

Is business class more your style? You can use just 50,000 Alaska miles to visit Asia on Cathay Pacific. Business class passengers can also visit one of several Cathay Pacific lounges during a layover, including The Bridge, which is an exceptional way to relax before or between flights.

To really get the most out of your Cathay Pacific experience, remember to utilize Alaska’s stopover policy. Stop in Hong Kong on your way to your final destination and enjoy 2 cities during your trip to Asia. Besides, this means you’ll probably get to visit Cathay Pacific’s lounges!

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Cathay Pacific first class.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • New York City (JFK) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Beijing (PEK) on Cathay Pacific First Class
  • Boston (BOS) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND) on Cathay Pacific First Class

Hot Tip:  You can also fly Cathay Pacific by transferring points to Asia Miles via American Express Membership Rewards. We recommend the American Express® Gold Card which earns you 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines. (Terms Apply)

2. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class to South Africa

Cathay Pacific 777 first class couples picture
Cathay Pacific’s first class is gigantic. It fit both of us comfortably! Image credit: Stephen Au

What if I told you that flying first class on Cathay Pacific to South Africa is the same as flying to Asia? Well, you’re in luck! For only 70,000 Alaska miles you can get all the way to Johannesburg. If you prefer, you can do this trip in business class for just 62,500 miles.

Now, I’ll be honest with you: the Hong Kong to Johannesburg flight doesn’t have a first class, so you will only be able to fly in business.

Still, you can basically use this as a bonus flight! Rather than only visiting Asia, you can stopover in Hong Kong to explore, and follow that up with some fun in South Africa.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Johannesburg (JNB) on Cathay Pacific first class and then Cathay Pacific business class
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Cape Town (CPT) on Cathay Pacific first class and then Cathay Pacific business class

3. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class to Australia or New Zealand

Cathay Pacific 777 first class sleeping
If you want to experience some of the best sleep in your life, check out Cathay Pacific First Class! Image credit: Stephen Au

Cathay Pacific might not be the first airline that comes to mind when visiting Australia or New Zealand, but maybe it should be!

For 80,000 Alaska miles, you can fly first class from the United States. Not only is this a great deal, but it’s on one of the top airlines in the world. You can also take this trip in business class for 60,000 miles.

As with the options above, you will have the opportunity to utilize a stopover in Hong Kong on your way.

Unfortunately, Cathay Pacific doesn’t operate a first class product to Oceania, so it’ll be a mixed cabin award with the first leg in first class and the Oceania leg in business class.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Melbourne (MEL) on Cathay Pacific first class and then Cathay Pacific business class
  • New York City (JFK) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Auckland (AKL) on Cathay Pacific first class and then Cathay Pacific business class

4. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class Between New York City and Vancouver

If you don’t have time for an adventure across the globe, you can still try Cathay Pacific’s amazing first class product. For 35,000 Alaska miles, you can fly between New York City and Vancouver. This nearly 6-hour flight is a great time to enjoy some amazing first class fun.

5. Fly Qantas Business or First Class to Australia and New Zealand

Qantas Business Class Cabin Boeing 787-9
All business class seats on Qantas’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner have direct aisle access. – Image courtesy of ausbt.com.au

If you’re visiting either Australia or New Zealand, you might as well see the other country while you’re there too! Using Alaska frequent flyer program bonus miles to fly Qantas will allow you to do just that.

You can stopover in Sydney on your way to Auckland, and a business class flight will only cost 55,000 Alaska miles. Not a bad deal for a typically expensive destination.

If you are able to book 331 days out, you might (I’ll emphasize might) get lucky and find first class space. A first class flight on Qantas will cost only 70,000 Alaska miles, but it is extremely rare to find the necessary award space, especially for 2 people.

Be sure to check out our definitive guide to Qantas’ direct U.S. routes, which includes the best planes and seats to fly on!

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Qantas first class.

Hot Tip:  You can also use Membership Rewards points to fly Qantas by transferring your points directly to Frequent Flyer. Try The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express for points.

6. Fly Emirates Business Class on the A380 to the Middle East and India

emirates business class
Try Emirates business class on the A380! Image courtesy of emirates.com

If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy a fully stocked bar on a flight, look no further than the Emirates A380. Not only can you experience a comfortable flight to the Middle East or India for 82,500 Alaska miles, but you can spend much of the flight mingling in the bar at the rear of the cabin.

An award flight booked with Alaska loyalty program miles wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t include a stopover, so take some time to explore Dubai before continuing to New Delhi or Mumbai.

Need help booking? See our step by step guide to booking Emirates business class.

7. Fly Japan Airlines First Class to Asia

Japan Airlines First Class Seat
The Japan Airlines First Class seats feature an an amazing 33 inches in width! Image credit: Stephen Au

A recent addition to Alaska Airlines’ set of partner airlines is Japan Airlines. Known for having a great first class product and amazing in-flight service, you won’t want to miss this experience.

For 70,000 Alaska miles, you can enjoy Japan Airlines’ luxury first class on your way to Asia. Wherever your destination, don’t forget to include a stopover in Tokyo along the way!

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • New York City (JFK) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – Delhi (DEL)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Seoul-Incheon (ICN) 

The countries included in the Asia region are Japan, South Korea, and India. If you want to travel to any other country within Asia, you’ll pay the price for Southeast Asia, which is 75,000 miles each way.

8. Fly Korean Air Business Class to Asia

korean air business class
Enjoy a comfortable flight in Korean Air’s business class. Image courtesy of koreanair.com.

Unlike most of Alaska’s partners, booking a one-way ticket on Korean Air costs the same amount of miles as a round-trip ticket. So if you’re considering an award flight on Korean Air, make sure you book a round-trip award!

You can fly to Asia in business class for 125,000 Alaska miles round-trip. Not a bad way to journey across the world! While you’re at it, you might as well enjoy a stopover in Seoul on your way.

Hot Tip: Be sure to choose the best seats on Korean Air, which we outline in our definitive guide to Korean Air’s direct U.S. routes.

9. Fly Hainan Airlines Business Class to China and Beyond

Hainan Airlines 787-9 New Business Class Seats
Hainan Airlines has new reverse herringbone seats! Image credit: businesstraveler.com

If you’re looking for a solid business class option to China, look no further than Hainan Airlines, the largest privately owned airline in China.

A one-way award flight on Hainan in business class will cost 55,000 Alaska miles. Hainan also has many routes to Southeast Asia, so you can easily build a fun trip to that includes China and a second country thanks to Alaska’s stopover rules.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • New York City (JFK) – Chengdu (CTU) – Urumqi (URC)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Beijing (PEK) – Bangkok (BKK)

10. Fly Fiji Airways Business Class to Oceania

Fiji Airways Business Class
Fiji Airways has a great business class product.

If you’re going to travel across the world, you may as well do it in style and see as much as you can. Using 55,000 Alaska loyalty program miles to fly business class on Fiji Airways allows you to do just that.

Sure, you could just visit Fiji, but why limit yourself? Make Fiji a stopover on your way to Australia or New Zealand to really get the most out of your miles.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Nadi (NAN) – Auckland (AKL)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Nadi (NAN) – Sydney (SYD)

11. Fly American Airlines Business Class to Southern South America

American Airlines 787-9 Business Class
Fly American Airlines’ 787-9 Business Class on your way to South America. Image credit: Stephen Au

If you’re looking for an adventure to a place like Buenos Aires, Argentina or Santiago, Chile, you can use 50,000 Alaska frequent flyer program miles to fly business class on American Airlines.

As a region, South America doesn’t have the exciting airline products like the Middle East or Asia, but on American Airlines you can get a nice lie flat seat.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Buenos Aires (EZE)
  • Miami (MIA) – Santiago (SCL)

12. Fly American Airlines Business Class to Northern South America

American Airlines also provides a great way to fly to Lima, Peru. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Machu Picchu, you’ll be going through Lima so take note!

For only 30,000 Alaska miles, you can get to Lima in business class. You can also make this trip in economy for 17,500 miles during peak season, or 15,000 miles during off-peak times.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • New York City (JFK) – Lima (LIM)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Lima (LIM) – Bogota (BOG)

13. Fly LATAM Business Class to South America

LATAM Business Class
LATAM can be a great way to fly to South America using your Alaska miles. Image courtesy of luxurytraveldiary.com

If you want to keep it simple, you can fly LATAM business class to anywhere in South America for 45,000 Alaska miles. The Los Angeles to Santiago route is particularly exciting since they fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

If you’re traveling south, be sure to give LATAM a look. See if you can book a stopover in Santiago on your way to one of many other South American cities.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Orlando (MCO) – Sao Paulo (GRU)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Santiago (SCL)

14. Fly Icelandair to Iceland

Without a doubt, Iceland is one of the most popular destinations in the world right now. However, there are not many airlines that provide year-round service to the island.

Fortunately, Alaska partner Icelandair does, so you can use your Alaska miles to visit at your convenience.

For 50,000 Alaska miles, you can fly business class on Icelandair to Iceland. If you’re looking for the cheapest way to visit Iceland, you can use 22,500 Alaska miles during low season. For an extra special vacation, time it right so you can see the Aurora Borealis.

Unfortunately, the business class product is a simple recliner seat, so it may not be worth it to pay the extra premium.

15. Fly American Airlines Economy Class During Off-Peak Months

If you’re an economy flyer, Alaska miles provide a great opportunity to fly with American Airlines during off-peak months.

An off-peak economy award ticket from the U.S. to Europe only costs 20,000 Alaska miles.

If Asia is more your style, you can fly to South Korea or Japan in economy during off-peak months for only 25,000 miles.

Look no further if you need a cheap award flight across the Atlantic or Pacific. Alaska miles have you covered.

16. Cheap Domestic Flights with a Stopover

Alaska Airlines’ award chart for Alaska-operated flights is a distance-based chart that allows stopovers on the way to your destination. They have cleverly named the tiers: Hop, Skim, Jump, and Leap.

A “Hop” is any flight less than 700 miles. These flights will cost between 5,000 and 30,000 Alaska miles each way.

A “Skip” includes trips between 701 and 1,400 miles and will cost between 7,500 and 30,000 miles each way.

If you’re looking to fly a little further across the country, you might fall into the “Jump” tier. Flights between 1,401 and 2,100 miles will cost 10,000 to 40,000 Alaska miles.

Finally, if you’re looking for a transcontinental, you will fall into the “Leap” tier. This include all flights over 2,101 miles and will cost between 12,500 and 50,000 miles.

In Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about the best ways to use your Alaska miles. Use Mileage Plan miles on flights to get a free stopover on one-way tickets all around North America, including to Hawaii.

You’ll also maximize the value of your loyalty program miles when you book one of the top first class experiences in the industry on Cathay Pacific, one of Alaska Airlines’ partners.

Other Alaska Airlines partners have excellent international award flight availability too. Fly to South America, Asia, the South Pacific, or Australia to get a great value with your Mileage Plan miles.

Happy redeeming!

Photo Credits:
Featured photo courtesy of qantas.com


What are Alaska Airlines miles?

Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer program is called Mileage Plan. The miles you earn, redeem, and transfer are Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles.

Which credit cards earn Alaska miles?

Both the personal Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Business Credit Card can help you earn additional Alaska miles.

How much are Alaska Airlines miles worth?

The value of Alaska Airlines miles depends on the ticket you are getting. You’ll usually always get somewhere between 1-2 cents per point. For example, a lowest fare first class ticket will give you a value up to 1.6 cents per reward point.

However, if you book first class on partner airlines with extremely expensive tickets such as Cathay Pacific or Emirates, you can receive upwards of 20 cents per point!

At 1.6 cents per point, that’s like getting a $100 ticket for the equivalent of about 6,250 Alaska Airlines miles. At 20 cents per point, that’s like getting a $100 for the equivalent of about 500 miles!

What is Alaska Airlines Club 49?

This club was set up to benefit Alaska residents as a thank you for 80 years of loyalty. Alaska residents can enroll to receive special benefits like discount fares with Alaska Airlines.

How do I use Alaska Airlines companion tickets?

Redeem your Alaska Airlines companion fare from your Mileage Plan account online.

In your Alaska Airlines account, select “Valid” under Discount Codes on the left side of your account page. On the loaded page, select “Shop” and use the code listed to find flights. Note the expiration date for this code.

Choose your desired flights for 2 people, and then go through the checkout process ensuring your discount code was applied (it should appear in the summary of the total price for 2 travelers).

Can Alaska Airlines miles be transferred?

Alaska Airlines program cannot be transferred to other airlines. They can, however, be redeemed for flights on other carriers, hotel stays, car rentals, and more.

Does Alaska Airlines partner with United?

No. See their partners here.

Does Alaska Airlines partner with Delta?

No. See all current airline partners here.

Is Alaska Airlines partners with American?

Yes. See a full list of airline partners here.

When do Alaska Airlines miles post in your account?

Alaska Airlines miles should post to your account within 7 days. Miles from partner airlines’ activity can take 2-3 weeks to post.

If miles do not post in this time frame, you may request missing credit.

Are Alaska Airlines miles refundable?

Yes. The “refundable” coach and first class award tickets have no cancellation or change fees, but regular award tickets do.

When do Alaska Airlines miles expire?

Alaska Airlines miles expire after 24 months of inactivity. Earn or redeem at least 1 mile every 24 months to keep your account from expiring.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).


American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
  • From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That’s why you’ve got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power§.
  • Just remember, the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 15.49%, 18.49%, or 21.49%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. Can I use my Alaska mileage points to book a rental car?

    • Christine Krzyszton · October 3, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Brian! While you can earn Alaska Airline Mileage Plan miles on car rental partners, you can redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles only for flights on Alaska Airline partners, hotel partners, and for magazine subscriptions.

      • Cameron West · April 23, 2019 · Reply

        Could I utilize a stopover using Alaska miles from DFW-SYD-HNL OR HNL-SYD-DFW?

        Thank you!

        • Stephen Au · April 24, 2019 · Reply

          Hey Cameron,

          I can help answer your question here. You generally cannot backtrack. You have to fly a routing that is logical. For example, going from the continental U.S. to Hawaii via Australia is not a logical route and vice versa.

          However, you can still book two one-way award flights to satisfy this goal. You just have to pay for each segment separately.

  2. In using the AS search feature, I rarely see AA award space open. Is there an option to call AS to book AA awards? Similar to what you need to do for Cathay? Thank you.

    • Stephen Au · February 13, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Linden,

      Yes, you will want to use British Airways (ba.com) to search for award availability on American Airlines. You’ll want to call Alaska Airlines after you’ve confirmed availability. The same procedure is true for Cathay Pacific flights. Thanks for reading!

      • So you’re saying to go on BA.com and check availability there for award flights using Alaska miles? Because I too can never find any business class/ first class seats using alaskaair.com searching under “miles”…Sorry if its a silly question but why go on british airways website to check for flights using alaska miles?

        • Stephen Au · June 13, 2019 · Reply


          The short answer as to why you should search on a different website than Alaska Airlines is the simple fact that Alaska Airlines’ search engine can’t populate results from all their partners. Instead, you’ll need to search on a provider than can show availability and then call Alaska to book. Alaska Airlines may not have access to key APIs or search engine sharing from their partners, which often accounts for the discrepancy among different websites. It seems backwards, but the development of these search platforms and applications is very complicated.

  3. Helpful, thank you Stephen! I’ve called Alaska to use Cathay (via BA) but I am surprised at the same tactic for American. I guess I was assuming the Alaska folks couldn’t book AA flights via call center. I’m glad I’m mistaken!

  4. DaninMCI · February 22, 2019 · Reply

    Good write up. I would take some issue with the Icelandair example. I seldom find Iceland business available on Alaska award searches. I’m sure it might exist but I wouldn’t count on it on most routes. Maybe for close in booking that changes at times?

    • Stephen Au · February 24, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Danin,

      Icelandair is not generous with award availability at all times. There are some instances where they release lots of award availability, but those are rare. Just keep looking and you might find something, especially close-in availability!

  5. I just checked US (LAX, SFO, JFK, ORD, SEA) to Australia and NZ, and there is ZERO availability in premium cabins on Qantas between now and March 2020. Forget the advertised 70K miles US to Australia on Qantas F published in the Alaska award charts. You’ll have to shell out at least 125K (and 225K in first) and fly EK or KE with long or awkward connections. Alaska award charts on QF = false advertising.

    • Stephen Au · April 28, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Gio,

      Thanks for reading. As you are well aware, Qantas availability is very limited, especially in first class. However, if you plan extremely far in advance, you will generally luck out and find at least 1 award seat available. Keep searching! The best rewards come to the most dedicated.

  6. Jaberou · May 2, 2019 · Reply

    I’m looking to fly to HKG on CX in first. If I’m lucky I can find only 1 seat available. Is it possible to book 1 first and 1 business class seat and upgrade the biz for first with extra miles, if the seat becomes available?

    • Stephen Au · May 2, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Jaberou,

      You won’t be able to upgrade the business class seat. However, what you can do is cancel the business class seat and confirm the second first class seat. You’ll have to pay for the difference along with any cancellation fees. Keep in mind that the mistake fare from Cathay Pacific meant that there’s a lot less first class space available this year.

  7. Wendrika Olofson · May 18, 2019 · Reply

    I’d like to use Alaska Awards to travel from PDX or SEA to Greece for June 2019; how far in advance does should I have searching for there to be any availability online? I’ve searched for the past two months and there is never any availably online (the trip was only recently planned). I had hoped something would open up, but I think my tactic was wrong and that award seats actually sell out very far in advance. Do I simply need to call into the call center? Is 2019 summer travel with AA awards a lost cause? Thanks!

    • Stephen Au · May 21, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Wendrika,

      Yes, getting award travel is generally pretty tough within your time frame unless you’re flexible. Our best advice is to keep looking and to be flexible. Thanks for reading.

    • Hi, thank you for the great post. Can you really backtrack with Cathay (for example: Boston-HK-Tokyo)? I’m planning to fly from SFO, stop over in Hong Kong for a few days, and then proceed to Tokyo. I plan to fly Cathay business class from SFO and return on JAL first class. Thanks!

      • Andrew Kunesh · August 13, 2019 · Reply

        Hey Tommy, SFO-HKG-NRT is bookable using Mileage Plan miles as the stopover is within the same region and is considered a “logical routing”. You will be fine to book this ticket so long as there is award availability on the route. Safe travels!

  8. Hi Stephen,
    I’m new with the Alaska miles.
    I’d like to ask how do I go about redeeming flights for Cathay please?
    I have to search the flights on BA.com ?
    But it doesn’t seem to show Cathay flights ?
    Thank you

    • Stephen Au · July 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Kate,

      Not every day will have award availability, so keep searching! Thanks for reading.

      • CericRushmore · August 10, 2019 · Reply

        To confirm, you recommend using BA to search for Cathay availability? Is that correct?

        • Andrew Kunesh · August 12, 2019 · Reply

          That’s correct! British Airways’ website is the best way to find Cathay Pacific availability online.

  9. Alaska’s Award booking website can be infuriating. For example from SEA to Melbourne it says I can use 225,000 miles for a First class award on Emirates, BUT, the details show that the Seattle to Dubai portion would be in Coach. Do you know any way to weed out these insulting offers? Who would use that many miles to fly in coach over half the way?

    • Stephen Au · July 16, 2019 · Reply


      You can search segment-by-segment and use the Award Calendar on Alaska Airlines’ website to help. Thanks for reading.

      • I can search for SEA-DXB, but when I search for DXB-MEL it says:
        We could not fulfill your request. This could be due to one or more of the following reasons:
        – There are flights, but all award space is taken.
        – There are no flights for the city pair entered.
        – There are no flights operating on the specific day of the week entered.
        – The routing requested may not be allowed.
        Please change your search.
        Error Code: -1580

        • Stephen Au · July 17, 2019 · Reply


          Try searching on other search websites such as ExpertFlyer and Emirates.

  10. Dale Cuthbertson · July 13, 2019 · Reply

    Great article, clearly though some options, while conceivably possible, are highly unlikely. Can you say which airlines/options are the most probable to book?

    thank you.

    • Stephen Au · July 17, 2019 · Reply


      Remember that airline award space is subject to the terms, conditions, and policies of the operating airline. They will not release seats that they feel will sell, so they purposely limit the number of seats especially in first and business class that you can book. Some airlines that have excellent award availability and are Alaska Airlines partners are Korean Air, British Airways, and Fiji Airways. The others you’ll have to work much harder to book, such as Qantas and Emirates.

  11. Leon Janks · July 26, 2019 · Reply

    I need help please. I want to book a one way with a stopover on Cathay
    Tel Aviv to Hong Kong then stopover for 6 months. I would then continue on to Madrid
    6 months later. I want to do this for the 42,000 Alaskan miles (same routing as your example).
    Is this still available and how do I go about booking it?

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Leon, good question.

      Unfortunately, this is not possible. Alaska Airlines requires that a partner award chart be published in order for an award to be bookable. In this case, Alaska Airlines doesn’t have an award chart for Cathay Pacific flights between the Middle East and Europe, so you’d need to book separate tickets for TLV-HKG and HKG-MAD.

      You can view all of Alaska Airlines’ award charts here: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/use-miles/award-charts


  12. Thanks for the valuable information.

    Have you attempted to book the backtracking example DXB-Europe via HKG with Cathy Pacific?

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Gina, thanks for reading. Unfortunately, it’s no longer possible to book a Middle East – HKG – Europe award with Cathay Pacific using Mileage Plan miles. We’ve updated the article to reflect this.

  13. You are mistaken on Tip #4 “Backtrack on Cathay Pacific Business Class from Asia to Europe via Hong Kong”

    Unless you continue on to North America, all CX awards terminate in Hong Kong. If you want to fly DXB-HKG-LHR, that requires 2 awards. DXB-HKG terminates in HKG so a second award HKG-LHR is required.

    If you look at the CX Charts for Asia, The Middle East, South Africa, South Asia & India and Australia the miles shown are for redemptions TO Hong Kong where it will terminate unless adding on North America which has published rates for CX awards. MEL-HKG in J is 30K, (Australia to Asia) HKG-BOS in J is 50K (Asia to Canada/Contiguous United Staes & Alaska) while MEL-HKG-BOS in J with or without a stopover is 60K. (Australia to Canada/Contiguous United States & Alaska)

    AS does not publish rates for CX award redemptions between the Middle East and Europe just like it doesn’t publish CX rates between North America and Europe via HKG which is also two awards.

    Also, you can use the stopover in North America too.

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi James, thank you for bringing this to our attention! We’ve confirmed this and updated the article accordingly.

  14. I’m based in HNL and would like to look into the Fiji flights using AS miles. What’s the best way to search for award availability on Fiji?

    • Stephen Au · October 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hi James,

      The best way to search is using Alaska Airlines’ online website. Thanks for reading.

  15. Molly Jay · October 9, 2019 · Reply

    Like most airline loyalty programs, Alaska miles are pretty useless these days. The award charts indicate all sorts of things are possible, but you will never, never, NEVER find availability for business or first-class flights internationally. It’s pretty much false advertising to suggest that these are legitimately available awards when only one or two first-class seats become available in a year (looking at you, Qantas), and the average program member has no real chance of ever finding one. I’m trying to figure out how to unload my 600K Alaska miles at this point since there’s never any business or first-class award travel available to destinations I want to travel to. I signed up for this program years ago expecting to be able to use these miles to upgrade to classes I couldn’t straight out afford to buy tickets in … my knees simply cannot take the ever-decreasing leg space in coach. I feel that I’ve wasted literally years stocking up points I may never be able to use. It’s insulting to see marketing articles about the program highlighting all the wonderful first-class and business-class experiences that don’t, in reality, actually exist.

    • Stephen Au · October 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Molly,

      You’re absolutely correct in saying that Qantas is difficult to find availability for. However, Alaska has so many rich partnerships with other airlines such as Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines. If you just do the work to research availability up-front, you’ll be rewarded with some amazing seats. Alternatively, if you need ongoing help with award bookings, maximizing your points, or even earning more miles, be sure to check out my consulting services at:


  16. Robert Zacharuk · October 10, 2019 · Reply

    Can my wife transfer miles from her account to mine?

    • Hi Robert,

      Yes, you can transfer miles between accounts at a rate of $10 per 1,000 miles plus a $25 processing fee per transaction. You may transfer up to 30,000 miles per transaction and up to 100,000 miles per year.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Email needed if you'd like comment updates. It will NOT be published.

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. For more information on our advertisers, see here.