How to Redeem the Welcome Bonus from the Alaska Airlines Visa

Ben Nickel-D’AndreaJanuary 7, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...

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.

After you receive your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card welcome bonus, the fun begins. Here's this card's current offering: Get a $100 statement credit, 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

With those miles burning a hole in your pocket and so many options to use them, it can sometimes be hard to make up your mind. Here are a few ideas to make the most out of your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card welcome bonus.

Domestic redemptions

The first redemption that comes to mind is for those wishing to travel within the United States. Alaska structures its domestic redemptions on their fleet in distanced-based tiers. You will be able to redeem your miles for Hops, Skips, Jumps or Leaps. That way, the longer your flight, the more miles you need:

Distance

Minimum cost

Hops (Under 700 miles)

5,000 miles

Skips (701-1400 miles)

7,500 miles

Jumps (1401-2100 miles)

10,000 miles

Leaps (over 2101 miles)

12,500 miles

In many cases, these will not be the most effective redemptions, as Alaska does have very competitive fares on short-distance flights. One example of when these redemptions become very useful is when visiting National Parks near the West Coast.

A revenue ticket from Seattle to Bozeman, Montana, for example, will set you back around $250 on a long weekend — but redeeming 5,000 miles each way will get you there without hurting your pocket.

» Learn more:

International partner redemptions

While Alaska Airlines may be based on the West Coast, the airline is much more far-reaching when we consider the destinations served by its 15 international partners. In some cases, the miles needed for international partner redemptions are only marginally higher than a domestic award redemption.

Alaska will allow an unlimited stopover on one-way redemptions on their partner awards, which means you can get two trips out of the same booking. Let’s look at some of those really good value redemptions.

United States to Europe with a stopover in Iceland

If you wanted to go to Europe but also maybe stay for a few days (or even months) in Iceland, all you’d have to do is search for flights to any of the destinations Icelandair serves to Europe. On that reservation, you will be able to add a stopover so you can spend some time trying to catch the Northern Lights before continuing to another city in Europe. This redemption will cost 27,500 miles in economy before Feb. 1, 2020, and 35,000 miles after.

United States to Morocco with a stopover in Frankfurt with Condor

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could use as few as 35,000 Alaska miles each way to redeem an economy ticket to Morocco flying on Alaska’s partner Condor. You could stop in Frankfurt for a few days to load up on schnitzel before you head to the sunny North African country.

United States to New Zealand with a stopover in Nadi with Fiji Airways

If you want to use up your entire Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card welcome bonus and go across the world, you could redeem an award on Fiji Airways. Stop for a few days in Nadi, Fiji, and then continue onward to New Zealand to do some more exploring — all for the same price as a one-way award.

United States to Mauritius with Condor

If you wanted to sunbathe on a somewhat deserted beach in an exotic African country, then you can do so starting at 35,000 miles on Alaska’s German partner, Condor. As usual, you can enjoy your free stopover in Frankfurt.

Easter Island

Alaska’s partner LATAM will get you to Easter Island — the remote Chilean territory smack in the middle of Polynesia — for 22,500 miles each way in economy when your departure point is South America. LATAM is the only commercial airline with scheduled service to Hanga Roa, the capital of the island, where you can enjoy the sights of the famous Easter Island Moai.

The bottom line

While all of these prices are one-way ticket redemptions, they do give one a good idea of all the possibilities Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles offer. Now that you understand the potential value of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card welcome bonus, it should be a good motivator to get out there to start earning more miles to make some of these trips a reality.

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 2020, including those best for:

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.