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National parks enthusiasts, salmon fishers and travelers looking for breathtaking nature encounters in the U.S. will find Anchorage, Alaska, a hot spot for everything they may want to see or do in the northernmost U.S. state. With close access to five of Alaska’s 17 national parks, five types of Pacific salmon and a half dozen ways to experience the famed Alaska railroad tours, Anchorage has something for many types of travelers.
The only "problem" with this incredible destination? It’s not exactly in your backyard. Luckily, we’ve developed a guide for how to not just travel to Anchorage, but to get there by booking travel awards.
Here’s your points and miles guide to Anchorage, showing a step-by-step approach to your (nearly) free Alaskan vacation.
Getting to Anchorage
Planning your Anchorage trip with points and miles? You’ll need to start with the closest airports. Anchorage keeps it simple. The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport serves over 5 million passengers annually and is conveniently located in Anchorage — not outside of the city — making it easy to hail a cab or ride-sharing service to get to your hotel.
Major airlines flying to Anchorage
As expected, Alaska Airlines is your best bet for flying to Anchorage. Alaska partners with American Airlines and others, which provides some flexibility when using miles and points to book an affordable Anchorage trip.
Airlines that fly into Anchorage include:
Flying to Anchorage on points and miles
There are a few cheap ways to get to Anchorage using points and miles, and since there's only one airport and one primary airline, the options and logistics are simplified.
However, because Anchorage is so far from the lower 48 states, finding award flights to Anchorage requires a quick review of flight redemption charts — especially those that don’t hike up the required miles based on distance flown.
If you have Korean Air Skypass miles, you can redeem just 20,000 each way for economy class flights to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. The value of this booking extends beyond the points and miles because you’re allowed a stopover, letting you to extend your trip with extra time in a connecting city on your way to or from Anchorage.
Consider using that stopover to swing by Fairbanks for some additional Alaskan adventures.
Using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles? Alaska’s distance-based system for pricing for their awards means a flight from a U.S. city more than 2,100 miles away can cost up to 50,000 miles each way for a refundable ticket in economy class. A nonrefundable ticket costs 12,500 miles each way, which may include flights on partner American (but booked through the Alaska Mileage Plan).
If you’re using American Airlines AAdvantage miles, you’ll likely need to redeem 25,000 miles each direction in main cabin, though cheaper MileSAAver fares are available for 15,000 miles each direction.
Hotels on points in Anchorage
Alaska doesn’t have a lot of chain hotels, but with a little searching, you can find good value on award stays. Here are our recommendations on hotels to book with points in Anchorage.
Marriott Bonvoy members will find nine hotels in Anchorage where they can redeem points. All are Category 5 properties, meaning they will cost you 35,000 points a night during standard redemption times. Don’t forget you can get your fifth night for free when you use points for the other four nights.
Four Points by Sheraton Anchorage Downtown
The Four Points by Sheraton Anchorage Downtown is in a historic downtown district, making it easy to explore by foot or by car. Parking is complimentary, and the on-site House of Best Brews restaurant offers some tasty breakfast and dinner options.
Cost to book in points: Rooms cost 35,000 points per night for standard rates, 30,000 during off-peak nights and 40,000 during peak nights. NerdWallet values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cent per point.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points: A quick way to earn a stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Anchorage Downtown is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, which has a nice welcome bonus: Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening + 10X total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores within 6 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. This means you can quickly earn a stay in Anchorage.
If you want elite status but don’t want to commit to a Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit card, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with automatic Marriott Gold Status. Plus, the card is currently offering a welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. Those points can typically be transferred to the Bonvoy program at a 1:1 ratio.
Hilton offers several options in Anchorage, mostly in the midtown area. You can’t go wrong with any of the Hilton properties, though none stands out with exceptional luxury or value.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Anchorage/Midtown
Home2 Suites by Hilton Anchorage/Midtown offers an airport shuttle and free breakfast. Be prepared for a $6 nightly parking fee at this pet-friendly hotel. Its in-room kitchens make it easy to fuel up for your Anchorage adventures.
Cost to book in points: Rooms tend to cost between 23,000 and 29,000 Hilton Honors in the off season and go up in the summer to around 50,000 points per night. NerdWallet values Hilton points at 0.5 cent per point.
How to earn Hilton Honors points: You can collect points quickly with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months. Terms Apply. That’s more than enough for a stay in Anchorage. You’ll also earn automatic Gold elite status at Hilton, though Gold member benefits won’t add too much value to your Anchorage vacation. Terms apply.
If you want Gold status or the ability to book with points but don’t want to commit to a Hilton-branded credit card, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which also comes with automatic Hilton Gold Status. Its points can typically be transferred to the Hilton Honors program at a 1:2 ratio, which means 1 American Express point can be turned into 2 Hilton points. Terms apply.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
You’ll find two Hyatt branded options in Anchorage — both among the newer and nicer properties in the area.
The Hyatt Place Anchorage-Midtown goes above and beyond in terms of decor and style. With incredible views, free parking, free breakfast and 24/7 dining options, Hyatt Place is one of the better chain options in Anchorage.
Cost to book in points: Both World of Hyatt properties in Anchorage are Category 3, with rewards starting at 12,000 points per night. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 1.9 cents per point.
How to earn Hyatt points: The quickest way to rack up Hyatt points is the World of Hyatt Credit Card. Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent. Plus, you can earn a free night at any Category 1 through 4 Hyatt hotel each year after your anniversary — perfect for your stay in Anchorage.
» Learn more: Marriott Bonvoy Program: The complete guide
If you want to visit Anchorage with points and miles in 2021
Award travelers will find ample flights and hotels to book with points. Alaska is a long distance from the contiguous U.S., but with some sleuthing, you can find good redemption value on your Anchorage travel.
Unfortunately, using points for hotels won’t get you the most luxurious stay, but it's not like you’ll be spending much time in your room when you have the breathtaking Alaskan landscape to explore.
To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page.
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