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

Cathay Pacific First Class Seat

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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 - Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10x total points on eligible purchases in select categories. 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 total Bovoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card at at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, and 2x Bonvoy points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 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.

Earn 6x per $1 at hotels participants in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x on all other eligible purchases. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in 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.

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.

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 cabin
Cathay Pacific 777 first class is phenomenal. 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 Boeing 747 Business Class Seat without Mattress Pad
Qantas Boeing 747 Business Class Seat without Mattress Pad. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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 A380 Business Class - Snack
Emirates A380 Business Class – Snack. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

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.

Note: As of April 1, 2021, Emirates first class awards can no longer be booked with Alaska miles.

7. Fly Japan Airlines First Class to Asia

Japan Airlines First Class Seat
The Japan Airlines First Class seats feature 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 Bed
With direct aisle access and a lie-flat bed, you can rest peacefully when flying business class on Korean Air. Image credit: 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 Business Class
Hainan Airlines A350 Business Class. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

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 Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin from Front
Fiji Airways Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin from Front. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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

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.

Final Thoughts

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 great value with your Mileage Plan miles.

Happy redeeming!

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Frequently asked questions

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).

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


    • 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

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

        Thank you!


        • 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.


          • Hi, Stephen,

            Not clearly understand about the “cannot backtrack b/c not logical” part. Can a stopover be done using Alaska miles for anywhere east coast i.e JFK-SIN-TPE (or JFK-TPE-SIN) by Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines?

            Thank you for your time.

          • Hi Jame,

            You can’t backtrack unless it’s through an airline hub. Since SIN is a hub for Singapore Airlines, you can technically backtrack through there. For Cathay Pacific, you must backtrack through Hong Kong if you’re going to backtrack at all. Remember that awards can only contain 1 airline partner + Alaska Airlines, so you can’t book a flight on Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines on 1 ticket.

  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.


    • 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?


        • Edgar,

          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.


          • Thanks for the helpful tips Stephen!! One question though, my husband is trying to book me a flight on American Airlines, and on the AA website they have the award flight available on the date I want to travel, but like you mentioned it’s not showing on the Alaska site. When he calls Alaska Airlines will they be able to see this AA flight on their system? My husband tried calling them and she told him whatever is on the website is what’s available. Is there a flight number or other info that we can give them so they can verify that there is in fact award availability or is it a matter of getting the right person on the phone? Thanks for all your help!

          • It depends. American Airlines will not release all of their own award space to partners. The only way to find out is to try calling them and booking. If it doesn’t show on Alaska’s website, then the probability is very low. Thanks for reading.

  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. 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?


    • 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.


    • 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. 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?


    • 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

    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!


    • 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!


      • 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


  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?


    • Ryan,

      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


  10. Dale Cuthbertson July 13, 2019

    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.


    • Dale,

      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

    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?


    • 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?


    • 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.


  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?


  15. 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.


    • 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:



    • Totally agree with you! Pathetic.


  16. Robert Zacharuk October 10, 2019

    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.


  17. Cheryl Bauer October 25, 2019

    How do you chose the “stop over” option, I am not seeing it on Alaska’s website. Only “multi city” or “one-way”. Thanks!


    • Hi Cheryl!

      Select “Multi-City” and “Use Miles” and then input your travel dates. From there, the flight results will show available flights with a stopover in between your dates of travel.


  18. sebastian seron November 19, 2019

    HI! Great article.
    One of my dreams is fly in Cathay First class!
    I have one question: Now I see it is possible to book award flights with Cathay Pacific online with American Airlines. But if I want to book Cathay First with Alaska miles, is best to keep using the BA website to find availability or can I use the AA website to find awards? I ask because I see that on the AA website there is plenty of space for first class but when I try to find the same availability on BA, it’s impossible.


    • Hi Sebastian,

      Generally, you’ll want to search using British Airways. American Airlines flies routes to Hong Kong, and they’re known to selectively hiding/showing/choosing what is displayed on your results screen. Once you’ve confirmed that, you can call Alaska Airlines to book.


  19. MANAN SARDANA November 27, 2019

    Great article! Wondering if you have booked JAL before? I booked an award flight for JAL but it has not been ticketed for over a week. Status on JAL shows on hold. Do you know how long it takes? Anything to worry about? And who should I contact in case I don’t see any updates?


    • Hello! Thanks for reaching out — we highly recommend that you contact Alaska Airlines to check on the status of your JAL ticket. They should be able to get you sorted quickly. In my experience, JAL tickets have ticketed within 24 hours when booking with Alaska Airlines.


  20. David Cortez December 6, 2019

    Thank you for the great resource! I was searching on BA for first-class space on Cathay Pacific. I am hoping to use Alaska Miles. I had some quick questions, and hoping to get some assistance if at all possible.

    When searching for 1 person, I found some first-class space (5 actually). However, when I changed it to 2 people, the spaces disappeared. I switched it back to 1 person and the spaces reappeared once again. If I have enough points for two first-class seats, can I still call and book 2 seats? Or how does this work?

    Also, I wanted to stop over in HKG, but I am not sure how this works, since I wasn’t able to look up ‘stop over’ on the BA website. Maybe I am missing something. Do I just mention I want a stop over, over the phone, and they help with this?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!


    • Hi David,

      Your interaction with British Airways will be simply to search for award availability.

      If you’re interested in booking a stopover, you’ll want to search each flight one-by-one.

      After finding availability, you will call Alaska to book over the phone.

      If you still need additional assistance using an ultra-personalized points wealth management and travel concierge to take the guesswork out of your points travel, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] to inquire about a risk-free and contract-free monthly subscription service.

      Thanks for reading!


  21. Hi, I don’t see any Cathay Flights on Alaska air websites, even if I search for flights to HKG 1 year out.
    Was there a change?


    • Hi Johnny,

      You won’t be able to search for Cathay Pacific award availability using Alaska Airlines’ website. Please use a oneworld carrier such as British Airways or American Airlines to search for these flights. Thanks for reading.


  22. Can you clarify the amount of points needed to fly from the US to the Maldives in business class one way? I can’t seem to confirm this on Alaska website as their world map is so small. Thank you!


  23. Is is possible to book an award flight from HKG-ZRH or HKG-FRA? Basically should the award contain North America in origin or destination or can I just book HKG to Europe? Please


    • Rajat,

      It depends on the partner you’re booking. With Emirates, you’re not allowed. But with Cathay Pacific (it seems like you want to book Cathay Pacific if you’re flying to/from Hong Kong), the answer is yes you can book even if North America isn’t part of your routing.


  24. Stephen or anyone else,

    Have you tried using Alaska Miles to book to Paris/Europe in Business or First? I just tried looking at SFO-CDG (end of April/beginning of May) and all the domestic connections are First or Business BUT then every long-haul leg on every airline to CDG is all coach! It’s unbelievable. I feel totally scammed. Is there something I’m missing?? Please help. Thanks.


    • Vince,

      You can’t try to use an airline’s miles to book a flight if they aren’t partners with the right airline.

      If you want to fly to Europe, one of your options is British Airways (a terrible deal, plus massive taxes and fees). Unfortunately, the best currency to use to get to Paris is Air France’s own mileage system, called Flying Blue miles.

      You should consider saving your Alaska miles to fly to Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, or Dubai.


  25. hello, I wanted to know if this routing fulfills the AS booking rules. HNL – SFO – HKG – BOM. wherein the first segment HNL – SFO is by Alaska Airlines, while SFO – HKG – BOM is by Cathay. I can see good availability. Thanks


    • Aaron,

      The short answer is it depends, but this is probably not a valid itinerary. Here’s why.

      You’re backtracking to SFO, which is not an airline hub airport. You can only backtrack on a carrier if it involves backtracking to the carrier’s hub. For example, Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong International Airport.

      If you end up trying to book it anyway, please let us know the results.


  26. Hi
    Firstly, I love reading your blogs, which are very informative and helpful …secondly, I have a few questions if you could help as I am new to using miles/points for booking first class flights;

    I live in London and want to book First Class award seats on Emirates and wanted know if I should pile all my miles into the Alaska or JAL frequent flyer programmes ?

    Or do you recommend another frequent flyer programme ?

    Can I book award flights from London directly to Dubai and then Dubai to another destination (say Auckland) on Alaska or is this only possible from the US ?


    • Sophia,

      You can only book Emirates awards with Alaska miles if it includes the United States. Therefore, your only option is Japan Airlines miles.

      Another option is to collect Emirates miles, which are easier thanks to a great number of transfer partners.

      You can book flights with stopovers using Emirates as the easiest way to do it.


  27. Hey Stephen,
    How do I book 1st class on Jal from JFK or ORD to SIN with a 7 days stopover in TYO? Can I do this booking online? I understand that there is no 1st class from TYO to SIN. I tried playing around but wasnt not successful. The Business class is showing for me no problem. Do I need to call in?


    • Hi Stephen,
      I poked around abit more and found it can be done online. I see a few available in June. Thanks for your post! I do see some 1st available to ORD -TYO and Business TYO to SIN when searched by each segment but didnt show up as available when searching as ORD to SIN with stopover in TYO.


  28. Sally Hess June 20, 2020

    Do you know if I can turn in my British Airways Avios points for merchandise?


  29. If I book a hotel stay with my Alaska Airline points, do any of you know if I need to show the card at the hotel desk?


    • Hi Alex,

      You don’t necessarily need to show your Alaska credit card, but you will need to put some credit card on file when you check-in for a security deposit.


  30. I”m confused about how to search the British Airways site to look for Cathay Pacific availability. Do you use the links for redeeming Avios miles to search or use some other link?


  31. For booking JAL First Class, does the flight have to show up on the AS website as being available, or can we search the JAL website and call AS to book?


    • Hi Will,

      No, the flight does not have to show as available on the AS website. I recommend you try searching on the British Airways website as they are usually the best for Oneworld availability.


  32. Is it still possible to book JAL First Class through AS website these days?


  33. Is it possible to tack on an addtional (Alaska Metal?) LAX-WAS(IAD or DCA) flight to this itinerary using 60K Alaska miles to fly JAL with a free stopover in Osaka?
    Seoul GMP (Gimpo) → ITM (Osaka), stopover for ~5 nights, then KIX (Osaka) → LAX
    2) KIX-LAX, ***LAX→WAS?***


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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