Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Loyalty Program Review

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Loyalty Program Review
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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:

Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

While earning Alaska miles directly might seem like the best way to go, we’d actually suggest considering Marriott Bonvoy points. Every chunk of 60,000 points you transfer to Alaska Airlines earns you a bonus of 5,000 Alaska miles.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 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. Plus, earn up to 17X points per $1 at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn up to 14X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Expires 5/12/2021.

Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 of eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 5/12/21.

This is a solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards

A few other 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.

 

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
Image Credit: Alaska

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
Image Credit: Alaska

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 and 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)
  • Oneworld Ruby status

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)
  • Oneworld Sapphire status

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 (now limited to member and companions traveling with the member)
  • Oneworld Emerald status

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.

Partner Elite Status Benefits

Alaska Airlines is part of the Oneworld alliance, and its benefits with the Oneworld member airlines are as follows:

MVP:

  • Priority check-in
  • Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating
  • Priority on waitlists and when on standby
  • Access to Main Cabin Extra seats when flying American Airlines 24 hours before check-in
  • 1 complimentary checked bag when flying American Airlines

MVP Gold:

All MVP benefits plus:

  • Priority boarding
  • Access to Oneworld business class lounges
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Access to Main Cabin Extra seats when flying American Airlines at booking
  • 2 complimentary checked bags when flying American Airlines

MVP Gold 75K:

All MVP Gold benefits plus:

  • Access to Oneworld first class lounges
  • Fast track at security lanes
  • Access to Main Cabin Extra seats when flying American Airlines at booking
  • 3 complimentary checked bags when flying American Airlines
  • Complimentary access to domestic upgrades when flying American Airlines
  • Complimentary same-day flight changes with American Airlines
  • International upgrade certificates with American Airlines

Additionally, Alaska Airlines elite members receive the following benefits with these non-Oneworld partners:

  • Complimentary access to Emirates business class lounge in Dubai (DXB)
  • Complimentary access to select Hainan lounges in Beijing (PEK), Xi’an (XIY), Haikou (HAK), Guangzhou (CAN), and Ürümqi (URC)
  • Complimentary access to Icelandair Saga lounges at Reykjavík (KEF)

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.

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

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

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

Annual Qualification Period
January 1 to December 31
MVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75K
Miles on Alaska and Qualifying Partner Airlines20,00040,00075,000
Segments on Alaska and Qualifying Partner Airlines306090
Minimum Number of Segments Flown on Alaska to Earn/Retain Status246

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 Oneworld & Other Partners

Alaska Partners
Alaska Airlines partners. Image Credit: Alaska

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

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • EL AL
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

The Alaska Signature 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 Marriott Bonvoy points with one of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. Every transfer of 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points 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!

Award Levels for Travel on Alaska Airlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 to 1,250$50
1,251 to 2,500$100
2,501 to 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.

To locate the pricing for each partner, head to the award charts page on the Alaska Airlines website, punch in your destinations, and you’ll see all the pricing for each available partner.

American Airlines:

One-Way Trip DistanceCoachBusiness/First
Continental U.S. only12,50025,000

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

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


The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.


Frequently asked questions

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 part of the Oneworld alliance, but features a handful of non-alliance partners, too.

These partners include Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Condor, EL AL, Emirates, Fiji, Finnair, Hainan, Iberia, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, Korean, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and SriLankan Airlines.

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan login?

You can sign in to your Mileage Plan account here.

How do I join Mileage Plan?

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 Signature card and Alaska Airlines Business card are Bank of America cards.

You can also utilize Marriott Bonvoy credit cards to transfer miles to Alaska.

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 cardholders get 1 free checked bag and Mileage Plan elites get 2 free checked bags. For more information, check out our detailed guide to Alaska Airlines baggage fees.

What is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan phone number?

Alaska Airlines can be reached at 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.

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

Travel prices are about to surge from pent-up demand.

Use this points strategy to lock in pennies-on-the-dollar pricing in 2021, all without being a frequent flyer...

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4 comments

  1. Be aware that when you make a reservation considering the Alaska Airlines frequent flyer miles you’ll get, Alaska Airlines may change their rules before you travel and negate those miles. That happened to us with KLM flights we booked last January for round trip travel from Portland to Rome in July. It turned out that the Portland to Amsterdam legs were “operated by” Delta. Alaska Airlines ended their relationship with Delta in May and as a result, they denied the nearly 10,000 miles that should have been credited to both my account and to Ruth Wiram’s account.

    Reply

  2. Robert Herschbach February 1, 2021

    As an Alaska Airlines credit card holder, can I receive mileage credit for flying on American Airline flights?

    Reply

    • Hi Robert,

      The Alaska Airlines card only earns 3x miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines purchases. That said, it still earns 1x miles per $1 on all other purchases, so if you pay for your American flight with your card you’ll earn 1 Alaska mile per $1 spent.

      Reply

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