A complete guide to Alaska Airlines’ mileage plan

a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky: Serjio74/Getty Images

© Serjio74/Getty Images
Serjio74/Getty Images

As the fifth-largest U.S. airline (by passenger traffic), Alaska Airlines could be an excellent option for frequent travelers looking to cash in on travel rewards. The Alaska Air Mileage Plan comes with a global partner network connected to more than 800 destinations around the globe, several easy-to-attain elite status levels and additional ways to earn miles through other popular purchase types.

a large air plane flying in the sky: Alaska Airlines plane

© Serjio74/Getty Images
Alaska Airlines plane

How to sign up for Alaska Airlines’ mileage plan

Signing up for Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer program is a straightforward process that takes just a few minutes online. Just visit the sign-up page on the Alaska Airlines website, input some basic information about yourself and join the program – for free. You’ll also create a username and a password so that you can track and access your earned mileage from all of your flights.

How to earn Alaska Airlines miles

It’s easy to earn Alaska Airlines rewards, and they come with a lot of flexible options. You’ll earn miles for flights with Alaska Airlines, flights through the global partner network, hotel and rental car purchases through partners and through several everyday partner companies.

Best credit cards for Alaska Airlines

Additionally, you can earn a ton of extra bonus miles through the Alaska Air Mileage Plan by signing up for one of the company’s partner credit cards. Currently, there are three options available – one for everyday users in the U.S., one for business users and one for Canadian residents looking to cash in.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature(R) credit card*

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card is the flagship offering from Alaska Airlines. You’ll get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion FareTM from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you spend at least $2,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account. Additionally, you’ll earn 3 miles for every $1 you spend on Alaska Airlines and partner flight purchases and 1 mile for every $1 you spend anywhere else.

Not only that, but you’ll get the first checked bag free every time you fly for yourself and for up to six guests flying with you on your reservation. You’ll also receive 20 percent off all in-flight purchases and 50 percent off lounge day passes when you pay with your card – all of this for a $75 fee per year (waived the first year) and no mileage cap.

Alaska Airlines Visa(R) Business credit card*

Business travelers looking to cash in on can earn the same bonus 40,000 for applying for the Alaska Airlines Visa Business credit card* through the airline – and earn all the same travel, savings and point benefits as the consumer card. To sweeten the deal, your company can get all of this for a low annual fee of $50 for the company and $25 per card.

For Canadian residents: Alaska Airlines World Elite(R) Mastercard(R)*

Canadian residents can take advantage as well with the World Elite Mastercard offer from Alaska Airlines and get 30,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion FareTM from $121 USD ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) deal after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days.

Additionally, you’ll get the same mileage earning rate (3 miles for each $1 of Alaska Airlines and partner purchases and 1 mile for every $1 you spend elsewhere) and the complimentary checked bag for you and up to six people on your reservation. The card is available for an annual fee of $99 CAD.

How to redeem Alaska Airlines miles

The Alaska Air Mileage Plan offers a lot of flexibility regarding how you can redeem your earned miles. You can book flights, reserve hotels, upgrade to first-class accommodations, book stopovers or purchase magazine subscriptions. If you’re a few miles short for a reward, you’re not out of luck – the program allows you to buy Alaska miles to reach your point goals.

Additionally, you can transfer Alaska miles to friends or family as a gift or donate the miles to a charitable cause. You must book reward travel and accommodations through Alaska Airlines to qualify.

Alaska Airlines transfer partners

With Alaska Airlines, you’ll have access to 16 global airline partners, two domestic airline partners, eight rental car partners and eight hotel partners. With each partner, you can use your Alaska Airlines points you’ve earned or earn additional points toward future rewards. As an added bonus, you’ll earn a minimum of 10,000 points round trip for eligible flights between North America and a non-North American location through global partners.

Alaska Airline transfer partners

  • American Airlines
  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATM Airlines
  • PenAir (domestic partner)
  • Ravn Alaska (domestic partner)
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines

Alaska Airlines hotel partners

  • Alaska Airlines Hotels
  • Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  • Best Western
  • Choice Privileges Rewards
  • Choice Hotels
  • Coast Hotels
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Rocketmiles
  • Westmark Hotels Alaska Yukon
  • Westmark Hotels

Alaska Airlines rental car partners

  • Alaska Airlines Car Rental
  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Thrifty

Alaska Airlines shopping partners

  • 1-800-Flowers.com
  • Carrs-Safeway
  • Diners Club International
  • GCI
  • The Opinion Terminal
  • Rover
  • SoFi
  • Teleflora
  • Vinesse Wine Club
  • More than 10,000 participating restaurants
  • More than 850 local and online stores

Alaska Airlines elite status and memberships

What’s really nice about the Alaska Air Mileage Plan is that earning elite status is quite easy. With some other programs, you have to basically live at the airport to earn enough points to get any sort of recognition.

With this program, you reach Alaska Airlines MVP status at only 20,000 miles (25,000 on partner airlines) and the maximum MVP Gold at 75,000 miles (90,000 on partner airlines). And if you end up flying 1 million miles on the airline you’ll get MVP Gold status for life. Additionally, you can get complimentary first-class upgrades, lounge passes and elite benefits through many of the airline’s partners.

Club 49

If you happen to live in Alaska you can get some exclusive perks and benefits through Alaska Airlines Club 49. This free program offers freight shipping discounts, two free checked bags, weekly fare sales and Travel Now discounts. There’s no downside to joining the free program if you live in Alaska.

Alaska Airlines MVP

Alaska Airlines’ MVP program features three tier levels – MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K. Each tier comes with faster ways to earn points, additional free checked bags, preferred seating and dedicated customer service. Alaska goes the extra mile to recognize travelers who are loyal to the brand.

The bottom line

The Alaska Air Mileage Plan is a viable travel rewards option for frequent domestic and international travelers. Additionally, the company offers several great airline credit cards that can turbocharge your points, rewards and benefits. If you fly domestically or internationally (and no, not just to Alaska), you should certainly consider enrolling in the Alaska Air Mileage Plan today.

*The information about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, Alaska Airlines World Elite(R) Mastercard(R) and the Alaska Airlines Visa Business credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

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