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Because of airline partnerships, travelers can redeem miles for flights on partner airlines to travel to destinations all around the world. For example, you can now redeem Alaska miles to fly Qatar Airways to the Maldives or redeem American miles to fly Air Tahiti Nui flights to Tahiti.
However, there's a limit to the flexibility of these programs. Airline partnerships typically don't let travelers transfer miles between the programs. Instead, you're limited to redeeming miles with that particular partner program. So, if you’re hoping to transfer Alaska miles to American or vice versa, there are some things you’ll want to know.
Can you transfer American Airlines miles to Alaska?
American Airlines AAdvantage miles can't be transferred to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. Not only can you not transfer miles from American to Alaska, but American miles can't be transferred to any other airline or hotel loyalty program.
Instead, you're limited to redeeming American Airlines miles for:
Or, if you don't want to redeem miles for travel, you can redeem miles for magazines or for charitable donations.
However, just because you can't turn your AAdvantage miles into Alaska Mileage Plan miles through a transfer doesn't mean you can't use American miles for travel on Alaska Airlines.
» Learn more: How do airline miles work?
Booking Alaska flights with American miles
Here's how you can redeem AAdvantage miles for Alaska flights even though you can't directly transfer American Airlines AAdvantage miles to Alaska.
When searching for a flight on the American Airlines site or app, select “Redeem miles.” Search results will include award travel on any available partner airline flight, and you can choose to filter the results for Alaska Airlines flights. From there, continue with your normal booking process to reserve an Alaska flight with your AAdvantage miles.
Within the contiguous 48 U.S. states or Canada. Fly Alaska Airlines for 12,500 AAdvantage miles each way in economy or 25,000 miles each way in first class — which codes as business class for the sake of award redemptions. Or fly to Hawaii for 22,500 miles each way for economy or 55,000 miles for business/first class.
Between the contiguous U.S. and Alaska. You can book an Alaska Airlines flight for 15,000 AAdvantage miles each way in economy or 30,000 miles each way in first/business class. (That might seem a bit steep for a flight between the West Coast and Alaska, but you can also pair it with a flight from the East Coast for the same price.)
The contiguous U.S. and the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Fly Alaska Airlines for 17,500 AAdvantage miles in economy or 27,500 miles in business/first class each way.
Can you transfer Alaska miles to American?
Similarly, Alaska Mileage Plan miles can't be transferred to American Airlines AAdvantage miles. As with American, Alaska members can't transfer Mileage Plan miles to any other airline or hotel loyalty program.
To reiterate: While these two companies exist as partner airlines (as in, you can book a flight on the partner via the other's booking site), they are not transfer partners. This means you cannot transfer your points between the two loyalty programs.
Alaska is one of about a dozen airline and hotel programs that you can track through Points.com. For a handful of participating programs, you can use Points.com to "exchange" points between programs. However, Alaska Mileage Plan members can't currently transfer points to American or any other airline or hotel program through Points.com.
Even without a transfer to AAdvantage, Mileage Plan members can redeem Alaska Airlines miles for award flights on both Alaska or its partner airlines (including American). Miles can also be redeemed for hotel bookings, to get a discount on cash fares, to upgrade to first class on Alaska flights, to purchase magazines or to donate to charities.
Booking American flights with Alaska miles
To use Alaska miles to book an American flight, select “Use miles” while searching for a flight on the Alaska Airlines site or app. The results will include award travel on any available partner airline flight, and you can filter the results for American Airlines flights. Select the American award flight you want to book and continue the booking process to use your Alaska Mileage Plan miles.
Alaska Mileage Plan redemption rates depend on which partner airline you fly and what regions you're traveling between. Here's how those redemptions break down:
Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Canada. Fly American Airlines for 12,500 Alaska miles each way in economy or 25,000 miles each way in business/first class. Or fly to Hawaii for 22,500 miles in economy or 40,000 miles in business class.
Caribbean, Central America or Mexico. Fly American Airlines for 17,500 miles each way in economy or 27,500 miles each way in business/first class.
Europe. Redeem as few as 22,500 Alaska miles in economy, 57,500 miles in business class or 85,000 miles in first class to fly American Airlines with Mileage Plan miles.
Asia. Fly American flights to Japan or Korea starting at 32,500 Alaska miles each way in economy, 60,000 miles each way in business class and 80,000 miles each way in first class. Alternatively, you can fly American to China, Hong Kong or other parts of Asia starting at 35,000 Alaska miles each way in economy, 70,000 miles each way in business class and 110,000 miles each way in first class.
Oceania. Fly American Airlines to Australia or New Zealand (if you can find these rare award flights) for 40,000 Alaska miles each way in economy, 80,000 miles each way in business class and 110,000 miles each way in first class.
Advanced points hack: Earn Alaska and American miles elsewhere
Both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines offer great credit cards for earning airline miles. However, if you feel stuck with airline miles that you don't know how to use, consider changing your earning strategy. Instead of earning airline miles directly through each specific airline, you may want to earn transferable points.
There are five major transferable point programs:
Of the transferrable currencies, only Marriott Bonvoy allows point transfers to both American and Alaska. Bonvoy members can transfer points to either airline at a 3:1 transfer ratio. Plus, you can earn a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring at least 60,000 points. That means a 60,000-point transfer would yield 25,000 Alaska or American miles.
You also have options when you fly. Since American and Alaska are partners, you can credit American flights to Alaska Mileage Plan or Alaska flights to American Airlines AAdvantage. The same is true for flights on other partner airlines. The choice of which airline miles to earn from your flights can be a complicated one, but some research can really pay off.
You can’t transfer miles between American and Alaska, but you can use points with either airline to book flights with the other
Unfortunately, most airline programs don't allow transfers to other airline or hotel programs. So, no, you can't transfer miles from Alaska to American or from American to Alaska. However, travelers can redeem Alaska miles for flights on American and vice versa. And you have the option to earn miles from flights on a wide variety of airlines through the Oneworld alliance.
Just choose carefully when earning miles through airlines directly or through transfer partners, as you'll be limited in how you can redeem those miles.
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 2022, 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