Although not a heavy hitter as far as the airline credit card scene goes, but Alaska Airlines miles are among 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.

Guide to Alaska Airlines - Best Tips and How to Search for Award Seats_01

The normal offer for the Alaska Airlines Visa is 25,000 miles

You can redeem your miles on Alaska Airline flights, but also with any of their partner airlines for both domestic and international travel. With all of the Alaska Airline partner airlines, you (almost) have an endless amount of travel opportunities, including (almost) any international destination you can think of! However, you’ll be limited to specific routes with Alaska’s partners with most of them being direct flights to/from the US.

Guide to Alaska Airlines - Best Tips and How to Search for Award Seats_02

You can book awards on any of Alaska Airlines partners

One of the best perks of Alaska Airlines is that it does not charge fuel surcharges on flights with any partner airline awards with the exception of 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.

The Ultimate Guide to Alaska Airlines Miles Series Index

Part 1 | Introduction to Alaska Airlines Miles

Part 2 | Earning Alaska Airlines Miles

Part 3 | Understanding The Alaska Airlines Award Charts

Part 4 | Alaska Airlines Award Costs & Fees

Part 5 | Mileage Plan Elite Status

Part 6 | Using The Alaska Airlines Website To Book Awards

Part 7 | Stopovers, Open Jaws And Free One Ways

Part 8 | Best Tips and How to Search for Award Seats

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

Finding Alaska Airlines Award Space

Although booking awards with Alaska Airlines miles is made easy with their user friendly website, 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.

—–image of award calendar—-

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.

How to Search for Award Seats

Using the Alaska Airlines websites is easy and in my view it’s among the most straightforward mileage program websites. You can search for award flights directly from Alaska Airlines homepage.

Guide to Alaska Airlines - Best Tips and How to Search for Award Seats_03

One nice aspect of searching for awards on AlaskaAir.com is that you can have the results displayed as an award calender. This shows the cheapest award price each day in a month view. This can be an easy way to narrow down which days have the cheapest awards, but the drawback is that you cannot see which partner airline you’ll fly on until you select a particular day.

Guide to Alaska Airlines - Best Tips and How to Search for Award Seats_03

Once selecting a travel date you can also browse through available awards day-by-day and also view award prices in a week view. All of these small features make it super easy to find the best dates to book an award and fly the airline you want.

Alaska Airlines Partner Awards

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.

You can book awards on any of Alaska Airlines partners

You can book awards on any of Alaska Airlines partners

 

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 on 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 a 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 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.

One nice thing is that you can filter search results by airline and also connections. However, you cannot search award flights by partner airline you want to fly on. That would be the ultimate award search!

Tips for Award Searching on AlaskaAir.com

Searching for awards online on AlaskaAir.com is for the most part simple and painless. The website is very easy to use and all but two of the partner airlines (Cathay Pacific and LAN) are bookable online using miles for award redemptions.

When you search for awards you can choose to search a specific date or view an award calendar for the lowest price awards over a month time period.

Guide to Alaska Airlines - Best Tips and How to Search for Award Seats_04

In either case after you select a travel date you will get the full list of available award redemption options on one page in a table view. Here you can choose you flights by airline, but remember you can only fly on one partner in addition to Alaska Airlines.

Guide to Alaska Airlines - Best Tips and How to Search for Award Seats_05

Filter By Airline & Number of Stops

From the award search results you can filter by number of stops and airline. Personally I love the airline filter tool and it saves looking through a long list to find flights on a specific partner airline.

Add Stopovers

To add stopovers to an award itinerary just search using the ‘Multi-city’ function and add a stopover city. You can add stopovers on one ways on all partner airlines except Delta and Korean Air.

In general you can add a stopover en route with partner airline awards. The best way to find out which stopover cities are valid is by taking a look at partner airline route maps. This will tell you which cities they have connections in.

For example, Emirates flies from the US to Asia with a connection in Dubai. This makes it possible to fly from the US to Bangkok with a Stopover in Dubai. You can also add a stopover on the return leg if you like!

Quick Recap

Alaska Airlines miles are among the most valuable and flexible airlines out there for domestic and international awards starting from the US. They have great airline award partners which for the most part are all bookable online, and award availability is generally straightforward.

For some more complicated multi-city awards with stopovers it may take calling in to Alaska’s customer service to book such awards. If you think the award may be valid but the online award search gives you an error you can always call in a double check.

1 Comment