How to Earn Alaska Airlines Miles

Alaska gives you plenty of ways to earn miles through flights and spending.
Nov 24, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan offers some of the best value in the skies. While other programs devalue their miles and switch to revenue-based earning models, Alaska has upheld the value of its program. In 2021, Alaska joined the Oneworld airline alliance, greatly expanding options for flyers to use Mileage Plan miles to travel the globe.

So how can you earn Alaska miles? In this article we explain nine ways to do so.

Note: This article covers how to earn redeemable Alaska miles only. For information on how to earn elite-qualifying miles, check out our MVP elite status program guide.

1. Fly with Alaska

This one isn’t rocket science. If you take a flight on Alaska Airlines and credit it to your Mileage Plan account, you’ll earn miles based on distance.

For most discounted economy fares, including the cheapest “saver fares,” you’ll earn 100% of miles flown. Refundable fares (those in fare classes M or B) earn a 25% bonus on flown miles, and the highest economy fare classes (Y or S) earn a 50% bonus. First class fares earn a 75% bonus.

MVP elite status members earn an additional bonus on top of the base mileage (not including the fare class bonuses above). This bonus is 50% for MVP members, 100% for MVP Gold and 125% for MVP Gold 75K.

Check out the calculator below to see how these bonuses work.

Note: The minimum mileage earned for any segment is 500 miles. So even if you take only a short 100-mile hop, you’re guaranteed to earn 500 miles.

2. Fly with Alaska’s Oneworld alliance partners and other partner airlines

Alaska has partnerships with 23 airlines, 13 of which are Oneworld alliance members. You can earn miles by traveling on these partner airlines and crediting the flight to your Alaska Mileage Plan account.

Just like Alaska-operated flights, you’ll earn miles based on the distance flown. However, most discounted economy tickets will earn less than 100% of miles flown. In fact, for deeply discounted economy fares, you’ll earn only 25% of flown miles on most partners.

Partner

Miles earned in lowest fare class

Partnership

Aer Lingus

25%.

Non-alliance.

Air Tahiti Nui

25%.

Non-alliance.

American Airlines

25%.

Oneworld.

British Airways

25%.

Oneworld.

Cathay Pacific

25%.

Oneworld.

Condor

50%.

Non-alliance.

El Al Israel Airlines

25%.

Non-alliance.

Fiji Airways

50%.

Oneworld.

Finnair

25%.

Oneworld.

Hainan

30%.

Non-alliance.

Iberia

25%.

Oneworld.

Icelandair

25%.

Non-alliance.

Japan Airlines

30%.

Oneworld.

Korean Air

25%.

Non-alliance.

LATAM Airlines

25%.

Non-alliance.

Malaysia Airlines

25%.

Oneworld.

Qantas

25%.

Oneworld.

Qatar Airways

25%.

Oneworld.

Ravn Alaska

100%.

Non-alliance.

Royal Air Maroc

25%.

Oneworld.

Royal Jordanian

25%.

Oneworld.

Singapore Airlines

50%.

Non-alliance.

SriLankan Airlines

25%.

Oneworld.

On the flip side, premium cabin travel (first and business class) can be especially valuable on partner airlines. The bonus miles earned for premium fares differ by partner, but many offer double miles or more.

Check Alaska’s partner page for a full breakdown.

3. Use the Alaska Airlines credit card

Alaska has only one co-branded personal credit card, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. We consistently rate it one of the best travel credit cards thanks to its companion fare and relatively low annual fee ($75), but it’s also a good way to earn extra Alaska miles.

The card has a welcome offer: Buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) and receive 40,000 bonus miles with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

In addition, you earn 3 miles for every $1 spent with Alaska Airlines, including airfare and in-flight purchases like food. It also earns 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.

The Alaska shopping portal includes rotating offers to earn bonus miles when using the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card at participating retailers. These offers range from underwhelming to highly valuable and are worth checking periodically or before making a major purchase.

It takes a lot of spending on this card to earn award flights given that they start at 5,000 miles, but the card still offers a good way to supplement miles earned from flying.

4. Use Marriott credit cards and transfer Bonvoy points to Alaska

File this under the “only when desperate” category of rewards transfers. Marriott lets you transfer Bonvoy rewards points to Alaska at a 3:1 ratio, meaning 3 Bonvoy points become 1 Alaska mile. We value Bonvoy points at 0.7 cent and Alaska miles at 1.1 cents, so mathematically, this is not a good use of Marriott points.

That said, if you’re trying to clear out a few remaining Bonvoy points, or are reaching for a specific Alaska redemption and need just a few more miles, keep this transfer partnership in mind.

Credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points

Marriott has three personal cards and one business credit card:

5. Use the Mileage Plan shopping portal

Shopping portals offer a nifty, if sometimes cumbersome, way to earn extra rewards points and miles. The Alaska shopping portal lets you earn extra Alaska miles when you shop at certain retailers (on top of whatever rewards you receive from the credit card you use to pay).

Various retailers, including GNC and Macy's, let you earn at least 1 mile per dollar spent.

Most offers let you earn 1 or 2 Alaska miles per dollar spent. Since we value these miles at 1.1 cents each, this adds a small cherry on top of your earnings — but doesn’t provide tons of value unless you use the shopping portal to shop online often.

Additionally, Alaska often rotates through various promotional offers, such as the 4x miles per dollar spent at GNC pictured above, which can provide plenty of bang for your rewards buck.

Sign in through your Mileage Plan account to see the current offers.

6. Sign up for Mileage Plan dining rewards

The Alaska dining rewards program lets you earn extra redeemable miles when eating at specific restaurants. That might sound a lot like the shopping portal described above, but it’s slightly different.

To take advantage of this program, you’ll connect a credit card to your Alaska dining account. Then, when you dine at a participating restaurant and pay with that card, you’ll automatically earn the bonus miles.

Keep in mind that the attached credit card doesn't need to be an Alaska co-branded card (even if the website makes it look otherwise). Also, it’s usually easier to “set and forget” this kind of promotion, rather than determine where you’ll eat based on the few extra miles you might earn. Every once in a while you’ll dine at a participating restaurant and — voila — miles will appear in your account.

7. Use Alaska’s hotel, car rental and everyday partners

Visit Alaska's website for details on how to earn miles with these partners.

Hotel partners

Alaska allows you to earn miles for qualifying stays with the following hotels.

Earn rate

Best Western

250 miles per qualifying stay.

Choice Hotels

250 miles per qualifying stay.

Coast Hotels

500 miles per qualifying stay.

IHG

Earnings rates vary by destination, from 1-2 miles per $1 spent or 500 miles per qualifying stay.

Marriott Bonvoy

Earn 1-2 miles per dollar spent depending on the specific hotel brand.

Rocketmiles

500 to 10,000 miles per night on every reservation booked through Rocketmiles.

Westmark Hotels

2 miles per $1 spent on qualifying stays.

Car rental partners

You can also earn Mileage Plan miles with Alaska’s car rental partners.

Earn rate

Alamo

50 miles per day.

Avis

50 miles per day, up to 4 days. 500 miles total on rentals that are 5 days or longer.

Budget

50 miles per day, up to 4 days. 500 miles total on rentals that are 5 days or longer.

Dollar

50 miles per day. 150 miles per day on all rentals of 3 or more days.

Hertz

50 miles per day, up to 4 days. 500 miles total on rentals that are 5 days or longer.

National

50 miles per day.

Thrifty

50 miles per day. 150 miles per day on all rentals of 3 or more days.

Note: The following car rental partners offer discounts on base rates with use of a promo code:

  • Avis: Up to 35% off base rates using AWD# K197800.

  • Budget: Up to 30% off base rates using BCD# U072200.

  • Hertz: Unspecified savings using Mileage Plan discount code CDP 321739.

Everyday shopping partners

In addition to earning miles by traveling, you could earn Mileage Plan miles by completing everyday activities like buying flowers and wine. Here’s a list of Alaska’s shopping partners:

Earn rate

Mileage Plan™ Dining

Up to 5 miles per $1 spent at participating restaurants.

Mileage Plan™ Shopping

Variable miles per $1 spent at participating stores.

1-800-Flowers.com

20 miles per $1 spent.

Carrs-Safeway

100 miles for every $300 spent at participating locations in Alaska.

Diners Club International

Receive Club Rewards for every $1 spent on eligible purchases when using your Diners Club membership. Club Rewards points convert into Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1 ratio.

GCI

1 mile per $1 spent on eligible GCI plans.

GetYourGuide

4 miles per $1 spent when booking online with GetYourGuide.

The Opinion Terminal

400 miles when you join The Opinion Terminal and complete your first survey. Variable miles for all subsequent surveys.

Rover

First time customers receive a $30 credit to spend on Rover services, then earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all bookings.

SoFi

  • Student loans: 1 mile for every $2 you refinance, up to 50,000 miles.

  • Personal loans: 1 mile for every $2 of your loan amount, up to 50,000 miles.

Teleflora

20 miles per $1 spent.

Vinesse Wine Club

5,000 miles with your first two boxes and 5 miles per $1 spent on subsequent wine purchases through the program.

Note: The following merchants require promo codes to earn miles on spending:

  • 1-800-Flowers.com: AKA3.

  • Teleflora: BAAAL10.

8. Reach MVP Gold 75K status

Those lucky few who fly enough to earn Alaska’s top elite tier automatically receive 50,000 extra miles. That’s on top of the 125% bonus earned by Gold 75K members, making it one of the more valuable airline elite statuses.

Note that the 50,000-mile bonus doesn't kick in for those who receive status matching from another airline; you have to put in the miles to earn these miles.

Alaska has made it easier for customers to achieve status for 2022 by offering a 50% bonus on all elite-qualifying miles earned through Dec. 31, 2021. So, if you’re thinking of going for Gold 75K, taking advantage of the 50% bonus could help you get there faster.

9. Buy Mileage Plan miles directly

You can always buy Alaska miles directly through Points.com, but this is usually not a good idea. The value of those miles rarely exceeds the cost, even when Alaska runs exciting-sounding promotions like 50% bonus miles.

NerdWallet values Alaska miles at 1.1 cents each.

There are a few cases when buying miles directly makes sense:

  • You need only a few more miles to make an award reservation.

  • You have a specific premium cabin redemption in mind.

  • Alaska runs a promotion that knocks the cost per mile well below our estimated value.

Frequently asked questions
How do I earn miles on Alaska Airlines?

In addition to earning miles by flying with Alaska and its partners, you can earn Alaska miles by signing up for and using the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, renting cars through its car rental partnerships, and by using the Alaska Airlines dining program and shopping portal.

How many miles do I earn on Alaska flights?

You earn miles based on the number of miles actually flown with Alaska or its partners, not the cost of the ticket. For main cabin flights on Alaska, you usually earn one mile per mile flown. You can earn more for flying in premium cabins, or less for flying with partners.

Can I get miles for past flights on Alaska Airlines?

Yes. If you forgot to apply your Mileage Plan number to a flight or are missing miles you should have earned, you can use the information on Alaska’s website to claim any missing miles.

There are many ways to earn Alaska miles

Alaska offers plenty of ways to earn Mileage Plan miles. Signing up for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card and earning the welcome offer is the fastest way to boost your Mileage Plan balance. If you fly often with Alaska or its partners, crediting your flights to Alaska’s rewards program would also help accelerate your earnings.

If you don’t have any trips planned, you can earn Alaska miles through the shopping portal or dining program.


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:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.