Alaska Airlines’ mileage Plan program is an award-winning airline loyalty program that allows members to earn and redeem miles for travel on both Alaska Airlines and its suite of worldwide partners like Aer Lingus, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and more.
The airline’s wide-range of partners opens you up to tons of interesting redemptions. Think low-cost American Airlines business class awards to Europe and posh flights to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.
However, Alaska Airlines miles are also some of the hardest airline miles to earn. You can’t transfer in points from any major credit card points programs and the airline’s co-branded credit card offerings have relatively limited welcome bonuses.
But this doesn’t mean that you can’t build up a large Mileage Plan point balance quickly. In fact, with a bit of dedication, you can earn a cool 100,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles within just 90 days of opening an account.
And that’s just what we’ll show you in this article. Here, we’ll run through the fastest ways to earn Alaska miles so you can build up a large balance quickly. But first, we’ll take a look at why you’d want to earn 100,000 Alaska miles in the first place.
Let’s dive in!
So, Why Would You Want to Earn 100,000 Miles?
As discussed earlier, Alaska Airlines has a suite of different international airline partners and is now a member of the Oneworld alliance — coincidentally, most of the program’s sweet spots are for redemptions on these partner airlines.
This means that Alaska Airlines miles are some of the most versatile airline miles on the market as they can be used to book flight tickets to just about anywhere on the planet. Even better, Alaska often offers the best redemption rates for these airlines AND includes free stopovers on both one-way and round-trip tickets.
For example, you can use Alaska miles to book a one-way business class ticket from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Tokyo (NRT) to Hong Kong (HKG) for just 60,000 Alaska Airlines miles. Your stopover in NRT can be for as long as you’d like, giving you a chance to see 2 awesome cities on your trip.
But you’re not just limited to international redemptions. Short-haul Alaska Airlines domestic awards — like Portland (PDX) to Seattle (SEA) — can be booked for as few as 5,000 Alaska miles one-way. This can be useful for booking expensive last-minute and holiday tickets between cities on the West Coast.
So, are you sold on earning Alaska miles? Good! Now, let’s take a look at how to build that 100k balance.
1. Sign up for Alaska Airlines Credit Cards
Alaska Airlines offers 2 co-branded credit cards with Bank of America: the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card.
Both of these credit cards offer a solid welcome bonus as well as other benefits like a free checked bag and even a companion certificate. Of course, you’ll also earn points on all of your everyday purchases.
Here’s a look at both of Alaska’s credit card offerings:
Signing up for one (or both if you’re a business owner) of these credit cards and getting the welcome bonus can give you a nice head start towards your 100,000-mile goal. Just note that these welcome bonuses fluctuate frequently, so make sure that you keep an eye out for the highest possible offer.
2. Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards (and Transfer the Points)
While Alaska Airlines doesn’t have any credit card transfer partners like Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer points to Alaska from Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott points transfer 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. You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points by staying at Marriott hotels or through Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.
By far the fastest way of earning Marriott Bonvoy points is through credit card welcome bonuses. Here’s a quick look at Marriott Bonvoy’s current co-branded credit card lineup:
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
|Credit Card||Benefits & Info|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card|
(at Chase's secure site)
- Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
- New Benefit! Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
- New Benefit! Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
- 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
- Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
- 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Good to Excellent (670-850)
- Annual Fee: $95
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
(at Amex's secure site)
- Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and 1 Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
- Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Good to Excellent (670-850)
- Annual Fee: $450
- Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
3. Give the Gift of Flowers
There’s a reason why flowers are one of the most popular gifts — people love to receive them for all occasions. Better yet, when you send flowers from certain merchants, you can earn Mileage Plan miles at the same time.
You’ll earn a cool 20 miles per $1 spent at 1-800-Flowers.com when you use code AKA3. Additionally, Teleflora awards 10 miles per $1 spent on all purchases to Mileage Plan members, so make sure to price-compare and see which site has the best price for the bouquet of your choice.
That means a gorgeous $100 bouquet can earn you 1,000 to 2,000 miles, putting you even closer to your 100,000 points goal.
4. Become a Mileage Plan Dining Member
If you enjoy going out to restaurants and cafes, you’ll want to join the Mileage Plan Dining program. More than 10,000 U.S. restaurants participate in this free dining rewards program that lets you earn Alaska miles when dining out.
How does it work? Just link a credit card to your account. Then, earn 1x to 5x miles per $1 on your bill, which includes everything: food, beverages, and even the tax and tip!
You’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent if you opt into emails, and you’ll earn 5 points per dollar when you reach VIP status after dining out 11 times with Mileage Plan Dining. Unfortunately, you’ll earn just 1 point per dollar if you opt out of emails from Mileage Plan dining.
To get the most out of each purchase, link a credit card that earns extra miles on dining purchases. One of our favorites is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card that earns 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all other travel purchases – plus a host of other benefits.
5. Earn Miles When Flying With Alaska’s Airline Partners
Since Alaska Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, there are a ton of international mileage partners that you can both redeem points on AND earn points with.
So if you have a flight booked with one of Alaska’s many airline partners, consider crediting your miles to Alaska Airlines by adding your Mileage Plan number to your reservation. In some cases, this will earn you more miles than if you were to credit the miles to the airline you’re flying with.
For example, a $600 round-trip Aer Lingus from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Dublin (DUB) in N-fare economy class would only earn 3 Aer Lingus Avios per $1 spent on the ticket, giving you 1,800 Avios for the flight. On the other hand, you’d earn 50% miles flown if you credit to Alaska. This would give you 3,660 Alaska miles as the round-trip flight is 7,320 miles long.
You can find out how many points your partner flight will earn by locating the airline you’re flying with on this page. Then, find the fare class you’re flying in and multiply the length of your flight (in miles) by the percentage located under the “Base miles earned” to the right of your booking class. Our math for the example above looks like this: 7,230 (miles flown) x 0.50 (50% earned) = 3,660.
You’ll generally earn more miles for tickets in higher fare classes. For example, a D-fare business class fare would earn 100% mileage, plus a 150% additional bonus. This means you’d earn 18,075 miles for a D-class round-trip fare between ORD and DUB.
You can earn even more miles if you have Alaska Airlines status as Alaska gives elites bonus miles when flying on partners. Here’s how much of a bonus each status tier earns:
- MVP: 50%
- MVP Gold: 100%
- MVP Gold 75K: 125%
- MVP Gold 100k: 150%
So if you’re an Alaska MVP Gold member and take the same Aer Lingus flight we mentioned above, you’d earn 7,320 miles for the journey.
Hot Tip: Don’t have Alaska status but have status with another airline? Check out our full guide to Alaska Airlines status matches. Here, we’ll show you how to get free Alaska Airlines status for a year by matching your current airline status.
6. Book Hotels Through Rocketmiles
Alaska Airlines has partnered with Rocketmiles to give Mileage Plan members extra miles when booking hotels worldwide.
You can use the Alaska Airlines Rocketmiles to earn miles on all of your hotel stays. You’ll earn a different number of miles for each hotel, with more expensive hotels generally earning more miles. Further, Rocketmiles offers special mileage bonuses for staying at specific hotels.
To book a hotel with Rocketmiles, just head over to the Alaska Rocketmiles website and input your destination and check-in and checkout dates. You’ll be presented with a list of different hotels alongside how many miles you’ll earn per booking. You can click the green Select Now button to the right of the hotel’s name to book your hotel stay.
Just note that booking hotels through Rocketmiles may make you ineligible for earning hotel points and using any sort of hotel status benefits that you may have. So with that in mind, make sure to consider which miles and benefits are more important to you before you book through Rocketmiles.
You can earn up to 10,000 miles per stay, giving frequent business travelers an easy way to earn bonus Alaska miles on the job. This can put you even closer to your 100,000-mile goal depending on how often you book hotel rooms.
7. Rent a Car With One of Alaska’s Partners
Alaska Airlines also has a wide range of rental car partners. The airline has partnered with these companies to offer bonus miles and discounts on rental cars worldwide, so no matter where your travels take you, you can score an excellent deal on a rental car.
Hot Tip: Make sure to pay for your next rental car with a credit card that offers complimentary rental car insurance.
Here’s a look at all of Alaska’s rental car partners and their respective points-earning and discounts:
|Rental Car Partner||Miles Earned||Discount|
|Alamo||50 miles per day||N/A|
|Avis||50 miles per day, 500 miles on 5+ day rentals||Up to 35% off base rates using code AWD K197800|
|Budget||50 miles per day, 500 miles on 5+ day rentals||Up to 30% off base rates using code BCD U072200|
|Dollar||50 miles per day, 150 miles per day on all 3+ day rentals||N/A|
|Hertz||50 miles per day, 500 miles on 5+ mile rentals worldwide. 4x miles up to 2,000 miles on rentals in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico||Varies, use code CDP 321739|
|National||50 miles per day||N/A|
|Thrifty||50 miles per day, 150 miles per day on all 3+ day rentals||N/A|
You can earn miles on your next rental by going to Alaska’s rental car partner page, clicking on your rental car partner of choice, and clicking the Book Now button. You’ll then be redirected to your rental car partner and can book your car as normal; the points will post to your Alaska account shortly after you return the car.
Alternatively, you can book airport rental cars through Alaska Cars.
You can use this portal to search for rental cars across all major rental car companies, and you’ll earn points when you book through them. You may even be able to score special deals through this portal, so it’s worth comparing prices and points earning here before you book through one of the above partners.
8. Refinance Student Loans Through SoFi
Like Southwest Airlines, you can earn Alaska miles when you refinance your student loans through SoFi.
You’ll earn 1 Alaska mile per $2 in refinanced student loans, up to 50,000 Alaska miles per person. This means that you’d have to refinance $100,000 in student loans to take advantage of the full 50k offer.
Taking advantage of the offer is pretty simple — just head over to SoFi’s Alaska Airlines landing page and click the “Find My Rate in 2 mins” button at the center of the screen. You’ll be taken to a page where you can enter your existing loan info, personal information, and — of course — your Alaska Mileage Plan number. Then, SoFi will run a credit check and give you an APR.
We only recommend taking advantage of this offer if SoFi gives you the best interest rate on your refinance. It’s not worth refinancing just to earn Alaska miles, so make sure to shop around with other banks and loan companies to find your best rate.
9. Shop Through the Mileage Plan Shopping Portal
If you shop online frequently, you can rack up a ton of Alaska miles by shopping through the Mileage Plan shopping portal.
This portal gives you miles for every dollar you spend at one of Alaska’s participating merchants — including the Apple Store, Bed Bath and Beyond, Staples, and hundreds of others.
The number of miles you’ll earn per dollar fluctuates regularly, but most merchants offer somewhere between 1 and 4 miles per dollar spent.
Additionally, the portal offers frequent bonuses during holidays that will give you extra miles for spending a specific amount of money. For example, a holiday bonus offered 1,500 bonus miles after spending $500 in combined purchases during the promotional period.
Using the Mileage Plan shopping portal is simple. Just head over to the portal, sign in using your Alaska Airlines credentials, and search for your merchant of choice to see how many miles it’s offering per dollar spent. Then once you’re ready to shop, click the Shop Now button to be redirected to the merchant and you can shop as you normally would.
Hot Tip: Use CashBack Monitor to check rates for specific merchants on all major airline shopping portals at once — this will help you maximize points earning for all of your online purchases.
Points will be credited to your account between 5 to 15 days from purchase. Just note that if you return a purchase, the miles will be debited from your account.
Depending on how often you shop online, you can make some serious progress towards your 100k goal using the shopping portal alone. This is especially true if you make reimbursable purchases for a business or are in the midst of holiday shopping.
10. Buy Alaska Miles From Points.com
Finally, you can opt to purchase Alaska miles through partner Points.com. While this can be a costly feat, it can be helpful if you need to get those last few miles needed to book a high-value award. Purchased miles appear in your account instantly, meaning that you can book your award in no time at all.
Oftentimes Alaska Airlines runs special Points.com promotions that lower the cost of miles significantly. For example, a holiday promotion gave a 50% mileage bonus when members purchased between 40,000 and 60,000 Alaska miles. This meant that 60,000 miles (40,000 plus a 20,000 bonus) cost just $1,182.50 after taxes.
During these promotions, it might actually make more sense to buy the miles needed for an award ticket than actually purchase a paid ticket outright. One good example of this is a one-way ticket in business class from the U.S. to Asia. This award costs 60,000 Alaska miles on Japan Airlines and includes a free stopover in Asia.
Buying the 60,000 miles for $1,182.50 during this promotion is significantly cheaper than paying around $5,000 for the same one-way ticket when booked directly through JAL. Just make sure the award space is available on Alaska’s website before you purchase the miles.
Hot Tip: Check out our complete guide to buying miles with Points.com to see when you should and should NOT buy Alaska miles.
Using Those 100,000+ Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles
What will you do with your 100k Mileage Plan miles? To help you decide, we’ve put together an extensive list of redemption ideas that truly has something for everyone.
Here’s a quick sampling of our favorite Alaska redemptions:
Book a Mini-Tour of Asia
If Asia has been on your bucket list, now’s your chance to go. For just 35,000 (or 60,000 in business class) points one-way, you can book an economy class ticket with a stopover on Japan Airlines. This means you could book something like Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT) to Seoul (ICN) and stopover in Tokyo for a few days.
On the return, you can book Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Hong Kong (HKG) to Los Angeles (LAX) on Cathay Pacific with a long stopover in Hong Kong. This flight would cost 30,000 points in economy class, 35,000 in premium economy, 50,000 in business class, or 70,000 in Cathay Pacific’s ultra-posh first class.
We highly recommend booking this as 2 one-way tickets. This will make the ticket easier to book as the Alaska Airlines booking engine can get a bit wonky when you’re booking multiple partners on a round-trip ticket.
Fly to Australia (With a Stopover in Fiji)
Fancy a trip to Australia instead? Consider booking your trip on Alaska partner Fiji Airways and you can add a free stopover in Nadi (NAN) in Fiji along the way. A ticket like San Francisco (SFO) to Nadi (NAN) to Melbourne (MEL) would cost just 40,000 miles one-way in economy or 55,000 in business class, and your stopover in Nadi can be for as long as you’d like.
Fiji Airways flies from 2 U.S. hubs: Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). If you don’t live in these cities, simply search from your home airport. Alaska doesn’t let you mix partners on one-way award tickets, but you can add a connection on Alaska Airlines. This means a ticket like Chicago (ORD) to San Francisco (SFO) to Nadi (NAN) to Melbourne (MEL) would be a perfectly valid ticket, and you can still have a layover in Nadi.
Fly to South America on LATAM
LATAM has several routes from the U.S. to South America, including routes departing New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), and Orlando (MCO). You can book any of LATAM’s flights from the U.S. to South America for 30,000 and 45,000 one-way miles in economy and business class respectively. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to find off-peak award availability, you can book an economy ticket for just 25,000 miles one-way.
One great example of this is a one-way ticket from Orlando (MCO) to Lima (LIM). Flying to Peru can be pricey, so having this low-cost award ticket available to you can be a huge help when planning a South American adventure. Plus, LATAM has an extensive Lima hub, so you can add a flight to elsewhere in South America from there on the same award ticket.
As we discussed at the beginning of the article, Alaska miles are some of the hardest miles to earn, but they’re also some of the most valuable. You can use your miles to get to just about any corner of the globe in luxury, so make sure to tell us your best Alaska Airlines redemption in the comments.
Once you have 100,000 miles in your account, make sure to check out our full guides to both earning and redeeming Alaska miles for more inspiration on both earning and burning miles.
And as always: safe travels!
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.