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The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program may not be part of a big airline alliance, but it still packs a punch. Thanks to extensive airline transfer partnerships, a generous award chart and a lack of revenue requirement for earning elite status, staying loyal to Alaska can pay off. More importantly, the program makes it easy to earn miles through everyday activities beyond flying and credit card spending.
Here are four benefits of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program.
» Learn more: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Your complete guide
No revenue requirement for earning elite status
While all three of the big U.S. legacy carriers (American, Delta and United) have implemented revenue requirements for earning elite status, Alaska Mileage Plan hasn't. All you have to do to qualify for elite status with Alaska Mileage Plan is fly a certain number of miles or segments:
20,000 elite qualifying miles.
30 segments flown on Alaska or qualifying partners.
Minimum two segments on Alaska in 2021.
Alaska MVP Gold
40,000 elite qualifying miles.
60 segments flown on Alaska or qualifying partners.
Minimum four segments on Alaska in 2021.
Alaska MVP Gold 75K
75,000 miles flown on Alaska.
90 segments flown on Alaska or qualifying partners.
Minimum six segments on Alaska in 2021.
New in 2021: Alaska MVP Gold 100K
100,000 elite qualifying miles.
140 segments flown on Alaska or qualifying partners.
Minimum 24 segments on Alaska in 2021.
Level launches at the end of January 2022 but can be earned starting in 2021.
Great value when redeeming miles
When it comes to redeeming miles, Alaska Airlines has several features that make Mileage Plan a great program. For starters, Alaska has 18 airline partners flying to destinations around the world. That’s more partners than even the Oneworld alliance has. So even though you’re earning miles with a smaller airline, you have a vast network of international destinations you can fly to.
Redemption rates are also reasonable, partly because Alaska Airlines still has an award chart. While programs like Delta and United have implemented dynamic pricing that can vary based on factors like demand, Alaska still charges a set number of miles for flights.
NerdWallet values Alaska miles at 1.1 cents each.
For example, you can fly one-way business class between the U.S. and Asia or Europe for as little as 50,000 miles. Meanwhile, United’s new dynamic pricing model charges upwards of 90,000 miles for a one-way saver award. The stability of a destination-based award chart gives Alaska Mileage Plan a huge advantage.
Additionally, Alaska allows a free stopover on one-way award tickets and two stopovers on round-trips. That’s a great way to maximize Alaska miles and see more of the world for less.
» Learn more: 5 award sweet spots using Alaska Airlines miles
A co-branded credit card
Alaska Airlines has a co-branded personal and credit card through which you can earn points without ever stepping foot on a plane. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card currently has a pretty nice welcome bonus too: Get 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
What’s great about this card is that in exchange for a $75 annual fee, cardholders receive an annual companion fare (it's not just part of the welcome bonus). For just $99 plus taxes and fees, cardholders can bring along a companion on their next flight at minimal cost.
Earning miles through everyday activities
Alaska Mileage Plan only has one personal credit card, but it still offers several ways to earn miles on everyday activities. The Mileage Plan Shopping portal offers bonus miles when you use it to shop at popular online merchants. With so many of us shopping online nowadays, this is a great way to get rewarded for normal activity.
Similarly, Alaska Airlines has a dining rewards program that lets you earn miles when dining at a vast network of participating restaurants. Simply link any rewards card to your account, dine out and earn points.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best airline credit card for you How to earn miles on Alaska Airlines Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies