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Your Guide to the Alaska Airlines Award Chart

Sept. 13, 2019
Loyalty Programs, Reward Optimization, Travel
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Alaska Airlines is one of the few U.S. carriers that still publishes an award chart with set award requirements for any given route. But it can still be a little tricky to navigate, depending on where you’re headed. We help sort it all out in this guide to Alaska Airlines’ award chart.

Things to know about the Alaska MileagePlan award chart

Like other airlines with set award charts, Alaska’s varies based on destination, the seat class and whether you’ll fly with Alaska or a partner airline.

Awards start as low as 5,000 miles each way for domestic travel under 700 miles. For trips longer than 2,100 miles, expect to pay as few as 12,500 miles (for economy) to as many as 70,000 (for first class).

For international travel, a slew of charts are published for various partner airlines. What that means for you is that you can identify which airlines require the least amount of Mileage Plan miles and choose to book those award flights, saving you miles.

For example, an economy flight to Europe on American Airlines costs 22,500 miles, while British Airways economy flights start at 32,500 miles.

Alaska does institute blackout dates and capacity controls on award flights, which may decrease availability.

The stopover benefit

Another benefit of booking with Alaska miles is that you’re allowed one stopover per one-way international flight. The stopover can last a few days or a few weeks, and you can have one for each one-way ticket. For example, you could book a one-way economy flight to Singapore on Japan Airlines and build in a four-day stopover in Tokyo. It would cost you the same number of miles as merely transiting through Japan: 40,000 miles each way.

Earning points with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card offers one of the most rewarding and unique perks on the market: an annual Companion Fare. Cardholders receive one Companion Fare a year that can be applied towards airfare for a companion traveling on the same flight. The total cost? $121 ($99 plus fees starting at $22 depending on your destination).

There are a few caveats, of course. First, it has to be on a paid fare. Second, the booking for the companion must be on the same itinerary. That means you can’t fly from Seattle to Anchorage and use your Companion Fare to fly a friend from San Francisco to Anchorage. Bookings must be made at the same time, in the same transaction and in the same flight class.

It’s also important to note that for Companion Fares issued on or after Oct. 1, 2019, both fares must be purchased using your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card.

Other card benefits include a free checked bag for you and six other people on the same reservation, 50% off day passes to Alaska lounges, 20% off in-flight purchases and 3 points per $1 spent on all Alaska Airline purchases. It does carry a $75 annual fee, but that’s relatively low compared to other airline rewards credit cards.

Don’t have an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card? Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account

» Learn more: Alaska Airlines credit card review: Well worth $75 a year

The bottom line

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plus is one of the most rewarding frequent flyer programs in the industry. Between the free one-way stopover and vast partner network, competitive reward redemption rates and the Companion Fare, Alaska Airlines frequently offers the most bang for your mileage buck.

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 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
How to get the most from the Alaska Airlines Companion Fare
Best airline credit cards

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