Guide to Alaska Airlines Partners: Earning, Redeeming, Elite Perks

Sam KemmisSeptember 13, 2019

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Unlike many domestic airlines, Alaska Airlines is not part of an official alliance. Instead, Alaska offers a unique combination of partner airlines from across the globe:

  • Aer Lingus.

  • American Airlines (international flights only).

  • British Airways.

  • Cathay Pacific.

  • Condor.

  • El Al.

  • Emirates.

  • Fiji Airways.

  • Finnair.

  • Hainan Airlines.

  • Icelandair.

  • Japan Airlines.

  • Korean Air.

  • LATAM Airlines.

  • PenAir.

  • Qantas.

  • Ravn Alaska.

  • Singapore Airlines.

You can earn miles on Alaska when flying with these airlines or use your Alaska miles to book flights with them. In fact, using Alaska miles in this way offers some of the most valuable redemption options of any domestic airline’s frequent flyer program.

Earning miles with partners

You can earn miles on Alaska’s partners by crediting the flight to your Alaska Mileage Plan account. That is, if you book a flight on British Airways, you must enter your Alaska number in your itinerary in order to earn miles.

Alaska miles are earned based on the number of miles flown with the partner airline, though not always at a 1:1 ratio. Most partner economy tickets only earn 25% of flown miles. For example, if you fly 4,000 miles on British Airways in the cheapest fare class, you’ll earn 1,000 Alaska miles.

» Learn more:

On the flip side, many partners offer bonus miles for flying in their premium cabins. In British Airways’ highest fare class (F), you’ll earn 100% of flown miles plus a 200% class of service bonus plus a 200% additional bonus. Flying 4,000 miles in this fare class will earn a whopping 20,000 Alaska miles.

Note that the “additional bonus” applies to redeemable miles (which can be used to book award flights) but not elite-qualifying miles (which earn elite status).

Here is how many miles you’ll earn for each partner in the cheapest economy fare class:

Partner

Miles earned in lowest fare class

Aer Lingus

25%

American Airlines (international flights only)

25%

British Airways

25%

Cathay Pacific

25%

Condor

50%

El Al

25%

Emirates

25%

Fiji Airways

50%

Finnair

25%

Hainan

30%

Icelandair

25%

Japan Airlines

30%

Korean Air

50%

LATAM

25%

PenAir

100%

Qantas

100%

Ravn Alaska

100%

Singapore Airlines

50%

For a full breakdown of earnings based on partner airlines and fare classes, check Alaska’s partner page.

Note: The flight must be sold and operated by the same partner airline in order to qualify for Alaska miles. What does that mean? If you book a flight through British Airways that is operated by Iberia Airways, you will not earn Alaska miles. This can get tricky, especially for partners in the Oneworld alliance, so keep an eye out when booking your ticket.

Redeeming miles

Alaska only operates a handful of international routes, so redeeming miles on their partner airlines are the best way to travel the globe.

Searching for available partner award flights is fairly straightforward. Use the flight search tool on the website or app and select the “use miles” box.

Once you search, you’ll see the available partner routes for the destination you selected.

Each partner serves different regions and has its own award chart. Some partners (British Airways, most notoriously) charge massive fuel surcharges that are not published in the award chart. The best way to find the “real” cost of a given itinerary is to search and compare.

NerdWallet values Alaska miles at 0.9 cent each.

Most Alaska partners allow free stopovers on award itineraries, which means you can stop for several days (or weeks) at the airlines’ hub on your way to your final destination. This is a great way to extend the value of your miles, especially when booking premium cabin awards.

To book stopovers, use the “multi-city” search tool.

Make sure the stopover is in one of Alaska’s partners’ hubs (in this case, Japan AIrlines’ hub in Tokyo) or the search will fail.

Note: Some partners, like LATAM, are only bookable by calling Alaska directly.

Elite benefits

A few of Alaska’s partners extend lounge access to MVP Gold and Gold 75K members:

  • British Airways (London-Heathrow).

  • Icelandair (Keflavik).

  • Hainan Airlines (multiple airports in mainland China).

  • Qantas (multiple airports in Australia).

Alaska elites do not receive any other partner perks, which is a major downside compared to the alliance-wide benefits for other elite status programs.

Make sense?

Alaska is not your typical airline, and their alliance-free partnership program takes some getting used to. However, they offer some of the best partnership earning and redemption options out there.

Now that you’ve mastered their partnership program, you’re ready to learn more about Alaska’s Mileage Plan program.

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