Recently, Alaska Airlines has been getting a lot of attention and after the United and Delta devaluations their miles can be considered among one of the best (in my opinion) miles to earn and redeem for both domestic and international trips.
Alaska Airlines miles are some of the best miles to accumulate for domestic and international travel. Alaska is not part of either of the major alliances, but it has 14 partner airlines that you can redeem your miles with.
You can redeem your miles on Alaska flights, but also on any of their partner airlines for both domestic and international travel!
With all of the Alaska Airline partner airlines, you have (almost) endless travel opportunities, including almost any international destination you can think of! One of the best perks is that Alaska does not charge fuel surcharges on flights with any partner airline awards except for British Airways.
Alaska Airlines charges some of the lowest fees on partner award flights — you will only pay $12.50 fee each way or $25 for a round trip.
Part 2 | Earning Alaska Airlines Miles
Part 4 | Alaska Airlines Award Costs & Fees
Part 5 | Mileage Plan Elite Status
Part 9 | Best Ways to Get To Europe
Part 10 | North America Alaska Airlines Awards (Including Canada, Hawaii, and Mexico)
Part 11 | Best Ways to Get to The Caribbean, Central & South America
Part 12 | Best Ways to Get to Australia, New Zealand, & South Pacific
Part 13 | Best Ways to Get to Japan, North Asia & South Asia
Part 14 | Best Ways to Get to Africa, Middle East, and India
Booking awards with Alaska Airlines miles is made easy with their user-friendly website, but there are a few things to pay attention to when your goal is to maximize your miles. By adding stopovers and booking separate one-ways you can take advantage of the partner airlines you want and add value to your trips.
In general, the Alaska Airline’s website has a very simple interface and even makes it possible to book airline awards with most of its partner airlines. Many airlines require that you book over the phone for partner awards, which also often comes with a fee so this is a great feature that can save you time and money.
The step-by-step process of booking Alaska Airline awards online is simple. While it is simple to book an award, you should make sure that you’re aware of all the rules for redemptions as well as all of the options to maximize your awards.
Before you search for an award, sign in to your mileage account by clicking on My Account, which is on the top right hand corner. You will need to know your User ID or mileage account number to sign in, but if you can’t remember it you can request it by selecting “Forgot ID” or “Forgot Password.”
Once you are logged in, click on ‘Plan & Book’ to make a flight search.
If you’re going to book an award flight, select ‘Use Miles’ under the ‘Flight Type’ section and also select your ‘Award Type’. You can choose to get results displaying redemptions for Miles Only as well as Miles and Cash.
One of the best ways to maximize awards is by taking advantage of stopovers and Alaska allows you to have them on one-way awards. You can have stopovers on domestic flights, but you limited to flying on Alaska’s metal (Alaska’s own planes). However on international flights you can add stopovers anywhere the partner airline flies to. Alaska Airlines considers a stopover any connection over 24 hours and allows up to one stopover per one-way (two per round trip).
To book a stopover, select the ‘Multi-city’ option and enter the city or airport you’re originating from, the stopover city, and the final city with the dates included. If you’re unable to book it online (you’ll get an error message), you will have to do it through an Alaska Airline call center.
When booking complex routings I have sometime run into a error message when I know the route is valid. By calling into Alaska I was able to price out and get the award booked.
Alaska Airline partners include American Airlines, Aeromexico, Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, Emirates, Era Alaska, Fiji Airways, KLM, Korean Air, LAN, PenAir and Qantas. The airlines that Alaska Airlines are partnered with make it possible to redeem your miles for a broader range of locations and cabin choices.
Alaska Airline allows you to book with partner airlines on their website with the exception of Cathay Pacific and LAN. To book awards with LAN or Cathay Pacific you have to call Alaska Airline’s reservation line at (800) 252-7522. To book over the phone there is a $25 fee.
In addition to booking with partner airlines, you can also book with mixed partners airlines by booking one-way flights with one airline going one way and a different airline going back, for example flying on American Airlines to France and returning on a Delta flight. You cannot mix airlines on round trip awards so booking your award as 2 one ways would be the best choice in terms of maximizing your miles.
Alaska Airlines has unique award charts for each partner airline which you can find here. You can book partner awards on one partner airline in addition to Alaska Airlines. For instance, you can fly to Europe on Alaska and Air France, but you won’t able to add flight segment on a third airline.
Comparing the different award charts for the same route can help you decide which airline you would prefer to redeem your miles on based on a) seat availability b) cost of the award and c) cost of taxes and fees. The search results easily break down the award price in miles and taxes and fees, so it’s easy to choose the best value and airline you prefer.
If you are going to book with partner airlines rather than Alaska Airlines, there is a $25 fee for round trip awards or $12.50 for one way.