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Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan is one of the best travel loyalty programs around, with plenty of ways to earn miles. But what about when it comes to redeeming them?
We currently value Mileage Plan miles at 1.4 cents each and a look back shows that they've only increased in value over the years:
If you've banked a significant number of Alaska miles, then it pays to know how to make the most of them. Here's how to redeem miles for maximum value:
» Learn more: Your complete guide to Alaska Airlines mileage plan
Book an award trip with Alaska or its travel partners
The first and most obvious choice for squeezing value out of your Alaska miles is redeeming them for flights. Award flights start at just 5,000 miles for a one-way ticket.
Here's the full list of airlines Alaska partners with:
The key to stretching your miles is to get familiar with the award charts to see the airlines with flights to the destinations you want to visit. From there, you can compare which one will offer the most value.
Alaska's award charts are distanced-based with award rates for flights on Alaska starting at 5,000 miles in economy for the shortest ditance band.
Distances less than 700 miles
Economy starting at 5,000 miles.
First class starting at 15,000 miles.
Distances of 701 - 1,400 miles
Economy starting at 7,500 miles.
First class starting at 25,000 miles.
Distances of 1,401 - 2,100 miles
Economy starting at 10,000 miles.
First class starting at 25,000 miles.
Distances of over 2,101 miles
Economy starting at 12,500 miles.
First class starting at 30,000 miles.
By comparison, partner redemption rates for flights within the United States and the Americas are as follows:
Economy starting at
Premium economy starting at
Business starting at
First starting at
Under 700 miles
2,101 - 4,000 miles
4,001 - 6,000 miles
6,001 miles and above
» Learn more: How much is 40,000 miles worth
Book with money and miles
If you don't have enough miles to cover your flight, you can also use a combination of money and miles.
Money & Miles awards are good for up to a 50% discount on coach and first-class fares. You just can't use them along with Saver fares; maximum discount limits apply.
Here's a snapshot of how you can apply Money & Miles awards:
50% discount up to $100
50% discount up to $200
You still earn 100% of miles flown when using Money & Miles awards.
» Learn more: How to earn miles with Alaska Airlines
Use miles to book hotels
Another way to put Alaska miles to work is by booking hotels. You can redeem miles at more than 400,000 properties worldwide. You also have the option of booking with a combination of cash and miles.
The best way to maximize your miles is to use the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card to pay for your stay. Doing so allows you to take advantage of discounted redemption levels, meaning you can book hotel stays with fewer miles, leaving more miles to use elsewhere.
Upgrade to first class
If you want to make your next trip with Alaska Airlines more comfortable, you can use your miles to upgrade to a first-class fare. Upgrades require a flat 15,000 miles.
Of course, if you would rather save your miles for another redemption, you can always purchase a first-class upgrade. Upgrade fees range from $23 to $199 depending on the length of the trip.
Request a free stopover
Another way to extend the value of your Alaska miles is by booking a free stopover. You can get a free stopover per one-way ticket, which is basically a way to visit two cities for the price of one. You can do this online or you can get help from an Alaska Airlines agent at 1-800-252-7522.
Technically, you could use the stopover option for any destination where it's available, but it's typically most valuable on international flights. Just watch out for variations in taxes and fees, especially when booking with partner airlines.
Other ways to use your Alaska Airlines miles
You can also redeem your Alaska Airlines miles for:
Gifts to friends and family (for a fee).
While these options are nice if you want more flexibility, overall, your best bet for making miles count is using them for flights, hotels, first-class upgrades or stopovers.
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 2023, 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