Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Juan Ruiz
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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 Oneworld partners like American Airlines and British Airways and non-alliance partners like Aer Lingus and Singapore Airlines.
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 first class 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 outside of Marriott Bonvoy and the airline’s co-branded credit card offerings have relatively limited welcome bonuses and spending categories.
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!
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 (ORD) to Tokyo (NRT) to Hong Kong (HKG) for just 60,000 Alaska Airlines miles. Your stopover in Tokyo can be for as long as you’d like, giving you a chance to see 2 awesome cities on your trip without having to pay for 2 separate flights.
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 100,000-mile balance.
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.
Provides the potential to earn plenty of miles to fly with Alaska Airlines or over a dozen partners. Plus, get an annual companion fare from just $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23)!
With the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card in your wallet, you could get great perks and earn miles at the same time. This is a win-win if Alaska is the airline you prefer to fly with! Plus, its annual companion fare is a great benefit for traveling couples.
Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Alaska Airlines at a transfer ratio of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer, you’ll receive a bonus of 5,000 miles — that means if you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska you’ll end up with 25,000 Alaska miles. You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points by staying at Marriott hotels or through Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.
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
A great option for Marriott hotel fans who want a no annual fee card and automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Casual travelers who like to frequent properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy collection of brands may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.
The Marriott Bold card rewards cardholders for Marriott stays and gives them a boost towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual free night award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.
If you’re a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, there’s a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple options for redeeming points.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.
A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.
So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?
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 compare prices 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-mile goal.
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 miles per dollar spent if you opt into emails, and you’ll earn 5 miles per dollar when you reach VIP status after dining out 11 times with Mileage Plan Dining. Unfortunately, you’ll earn just 1 mile 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 bonus miles or points on dining purchases. One of our favorites is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card which earns 3x points on dining, plus a host of other benefits. The points you earn from your credit card are on top of the miles you get from Mileage Plan Dining.
Since Alaska Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, there are a ton of international partners that you can both earn and redeem miles 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 (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 miles your partner flight will earn by locating the chart for the airline you’re flying with. 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 can find the length of a flight route by using a tool like Great Circle Mapper.
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:
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.
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.
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 includes rental car insurance.
Here’s a look at all of Alaska’s rental car partners and their respective mileage-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 miles 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 miles when you book through them. You may even be able to score special deals through this portal, so it’s worth comparing prices and mileage-earning here before you book through one of the above partners.
You can earn Alaska miles when you take out a personal loan through SoFi.
You’ll earn 1 Alaska mile for every $2 of your funded loan amount, up to 50,000 Alaska miles. This means that you’d have to take out a $100,000 personal loan 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 personal information, and — of course — your Alaska Mileage Plan number. Then, SoFi will run a credit check and give you your potential loan terms.
We only recommend taking advantage of this offer if SoFi gives you the lowest interest rate on your personal loan and if you actually need to take out a personal loan. If you do need to finance a large purchase, and can put that purchase on a credit card, it may be wiser to use a credit card with an introductory 0% APR as you’ll potentially save a lot on interest fees.
It’s not worth taking out a loan with SoFi just to earn Alaska miles, so make sure to shop around with other banks and loan companies to find the best rate.
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 other retailers.
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.
Miles 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 100,000-mile 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.
Link your Lyft account to Mileage Plan and select Mileage Plan as your earning preference. You’ll then earn Alaska Airlines miles by using Lyft, with 1 mile for every $1 spent.
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 purchase 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 (JAL) 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.
What will you do with your 100,000 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:
If Asia has been on your bucket list, now’s your chance to go. For just 35,000 (or 60,000 in business class) miles 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 miles 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.
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.
LATAM operates several routes from the U.S. to South America, including routes departing Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), 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.
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.
And as always: safe travels!
The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Your miles will never expire as long as you earn or redeem at least 1 mile every 24 months to keep your account active.
Yes, with the Alaska Signature card or Alaska Airlines Business card, you earn Mileage Plan miles for your purchases.
Another option is to earn points or miles with a Marriott Bonvoy credit card. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Alaska at a 3:1 ratio, and you’ll get a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.
Contact Mileage Plan customer service by calling 800-654-5669.
Earn up to 5 miles per $1 spent on meals out as part of the Mileage Plan Dining program. It’s free to join and you can earn bonus miles just for enrolling and eating at your first restaurant.
More than 10,000 dining establishments participate in the program.
You can add a stopover to any Alaska Airlines award ticket by searching for a multi-city ticket. Just enter your stopover as the first destination and the final destination as your second destination.
Remember, stopovers are available on both one-way and round-trip bookings!
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Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City.
He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt. Andrew formerly worked for The Points Guy and is now Senior Money Editor at CNN Underscored.
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.