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 Airline 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 but 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 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
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan offers one of the most flexible and valuable award charts, if you are not familiar with it just take at look at how it compares to other airlines. Not only does it offer competitive award prices, but you have the option to fly on great partner airlines including Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Delta, and many more. Still not sold? Similar to Lufthansa miles you can have up to two stopovers per round trip, but what makes Alaska miles possibly better is that you can add stopovers on one-ways!
Maximizing Alaska Miles with Stopovers
When you set out to book an award flight using Alaska Airlines miles there are a few things to consider. The first is whether or not you want to book a round trip or one-way award. Since you can add stopovers to one-way awards, there is essentially no benefit of booking a round trip award unless you just want the simplicity of having one reservation. Secondly you will have to decide which partner airline you want to fly on, and since stopovers have to be en route, this will determine where you can add stopovers.
Once you have settled on the region and partner airline you wish to fly on, the next step is to take a look at the partners routes. You will be allowed to add a stopover within the ‘natural routing’ of the partner airline. This means adding a stopover in any city you connect through, and it may be possible to stretch the ‘natural routing’ rule a bit, but your experience may vary.
Alaska Airlines Stopover and Open Jaw Rules
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has very generous stopover and open jaw rules that allow you to see additional destinations at no extra cost. These rules can let you add a ton of value to your miles and create more unique award tickets.
Quick review: A stopover is when you stay over in any city for more than 24 hours during your itinerary, to learn more about them you can refer to my introduction to stopovers and open jaws.
Alaska’s stopover and open jaw rules are among the most lenient across US carriers and by adding a stopover in each direction you can easily see 3 destinations for the same price as a normal round trip. The caveat is that on partner awards you can only fly on one partner airline in addition to Alaska Airlines AND the stopover must be en route to your destination. Still, with a little flexibility and searching you can add stopovers in some great cities around the world.
Stopovers on International Partner Awards
In short you are allowed 2 stopovers and 2 open jaws per round trip international award. You are also allowed stopovers on one-way awards. That said, there are a few restrictions to keep in mind when adding stopovers to your award.
On partner awards you are allowed to fly on one airline in addition to Alaska Airlines. However, since you can book one-way awards, you can fly in one direction on one partner and return on another. For instance, you can fly to Asia on Cathay Pacific and return on Korean Airlines. Remember that Alaska has a unique award chart for each partner airline so you may pay a different amount of miles depending on the partner you fly with.
You are allowed to add stopovers en route on the partner airline's ‘natural routing’. This essentially just means that you can have a stopover in any city you connect through. Usually these cities will be the airline's international hub.
You are also allowed to add a stopover in a third region as long as it is part of their ‘natural routing’. For instance, you can fly on Emirates from the US to Singapore and have a stopover in Dubai.
Technically you are allowed 10 segments on any Alaska itinerary, but it’s likely you will be hard pressed to price out an award that even comes close to hitting this maximum. Since the stopover can only be en route you are limited to more direct routings.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but some potential stopover ideas include:
- American Airlines - Last US city you fly through
- Delta - Last US city you fly through, Tokyo
- British Airways - London
- Air France - Paris
- KLM - Amsterdam
- LAN - Lima, Santiago, Guayaquil, Quito
- Emirates - Dubai (en route to Asia)
- Cathay Pacific - Hong Kong
- Korean Airlines - Seoul
- Fiji Airways - Fiji (en route to Australia)
- Qantas - Australia (en route to New Zealand)
Each partner airline has specific destinations that are allowed for stopovers and I will cover each more in-depth later in the series.
An example of adding stopovers on a Cathay Pacific partner award to Asia from the US would we be adding a stopover in Hong Kong en route to Bangkok. You could then add an open-jaw and book your return from Singapore to the US and have the option to stopover in Hong Kong an additional time.
You can book awards online on all partner airlines except Cathay Pacific and LAN. For these partner awards and also more complicated routings you will have to call into Alaska Airlines in order to search for stopovers and price out awards that include them. You can easily do this by calling (800) 252-7522. I’ve found that Alaska’s customer service desk is always more than helpful and willing to answer questions or price out awards with stopovers.
Here is a quick recap of Alaska’s partner award stopover rules:
- Stopovers are allowed on round trip and one-way awards
- You can have one stopover in each direction en route to the destination
- The stopover must be in the partner airlines ‘natural routing’
- Stopovers can be in a 3rd region on the way to the destination
- Stopovers are allowed in the ‘region of origin’
Stopovers on Domestic Awards
You are allowed to have stopovers on domestic awards if you fly solely on Alaska Airlines. As mentioned earlier a huge benefit of Alaska miles is that you are allowed to add stopovers on one-way awards, which means stopovers on domestic one-ways. This opens up a number of possibilities on domestic awards and the potential to add free one-ways.
For example, you can book a flight from New York to Seattle (stopover for several months), then complete the award by flying to Los Angeles. Another great option is to fly on Alaska flights to Hawaii and add a free one-way either on the way or on your return.
To top that, you can book one-way domestic awards so you can add a stopover and free one-way in each direction!
By using two one-way awards you can get two open jaws per round trip. When booking a round trip award you will be allowed one open jaw. Again, since you get stopovers on one-ways there is no real benefit of booking a round trip over two one-way awards.
To review more info about Alaska’s policies you can visit their terms and conditions page.
Alaska Airlines' lenient stopover and open jaw rules on one-way awards opens up a world of possibilities and can add a substantial amount of value to your miles. Even with the restrictions, such as adding stopover cities that are en route, with a little flexibility you can easily see more destinations at no extra cost using Alaska Airlines miles.