- Bonus miles on flight bookings based on rewards tier
- Good co-branded credit cards
- Valuable miles you can use toward free flights
- Lots of different ways to earn miles
- Some blackout dates on award flights
- Miles expire after 24 months of account inactivity
- Miles cost more to buy than they are worth
- Lots of fees compared to other airline rewards programs
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Review Summary
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is the 2nd best frequent flyer program for 2021, according to WalletHub’s review. Some of Mileage Plan’s biggest strengths include miles worth an average of 1.02 cents apiece, lots of bonus miles for MVP members, and many earning options.
Below, you can find all the important details of the Mileage Plan program, including its status levels and perks, as well as how to earn and redeem miles. You can also see how Mileage Plan stacks up against other popular frequent flyer programs.
Mileage Plan Review Scorecard
#3 for Earning Policies
#3 for Rewards Value
#2 for Redemption Policies
#4 for Destination Coverage
#6 for Other Features
|Mileage Plan Miles Needed for a Free Flight:||Min: 5,000|
|Average Mileage Plan Mile Value:||1 mile= 1.02 cents |
1,000 miles= $10.2
|Mileage Plan Airline Partners:||23, including|
American Airlines, British Airways and Japan Airlines
How to Earn Mileage Plan Miles
Category Rating: 12/15
Mileage Plan members earn miles for making purchases through Alaska Airlines and its partners. Below is a list of the types of transactions that accrue miles, as well as the amount they award.
Transactions That Earn Mileage Plan Miles
- 1 Mileage Plan mile per $1 spent: Alaska Airlines flights and flights on partner airlines.
- 1 - 3 Mileage Plan miles per $1 spent: Purchases on an Alaska Airlines credit card.
- 1 - 2 Mileage Plan miles per $1 spent: Stays at hotel partners like IHG, Marriott and Westmark.
- 250 - 10,000 Mileage Plan miles per stay: Stays at hotel partners like Rocketmiles, Coast Hotels, Choice and Best Western.
- 50 Mileage Plan miles per day: Car rentals from partners like Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Thrifty and Alaska Airlines Car Rental. Can earn up to 500 miles per qualifying rental for rentals of 5+ days.
- 5 Mileage Plan miles per $1 spent: Purchases with Mileage Plan Dining (plus a bonus of 1,000 miles on the first meal).
- 0.5+ Mileage Plan miles per $1 spent: Purchases from 800+ stores through Mileage Plan Shopping (earning rate varies by store).
- 0.5 Mileage Plan miles per $1 borrowed/refinanced: Student loans and personal loans with SoFi.
Mileage Plan partners with a few other merchants, such as 1-800-Flowers.com, Rover, Teleflora and Vinesse Wine Clubs to offer miles, too. In addition, you may be able to find special deals on Mileage Plan flights on the Alaska Airlines website. Such deals might let you spend fewer miles than usual on a reward booking or earn more than usual on a regular booking.
Other Key Things to Know About Earning Mileage Plan Miles
Earning limitations: Alaska Airlines does not specify a maximum number of miles you can earn per ticket.
Retroactive flight credit for members: Mileage Plan members can get credited for miles from any Alaska Airlines flight taken in the past 12 months if their frequent flyer number was not on the reservation (as long as they were a member at the time).
Retroactive flight credit for non-members: New Mileage Plan members cannot get miles for flights taken before they became a member.
How Much Are Mileage Plan Miles Worth?
Category Rating: 14/20
Mileage Plan miles are worth 1.02 cents each, on average, according to WalletHub’s research. That means you need about 24,000 Mileage Plan miles to get a free flight, based on the average domestic fare of $245.
Below, you can check out how many Mileage Plan miles you’ll need for some popular round-trip routes, on average.
- New York to Seattle: 60,000 miles (or $496.79)
- Los Angeles to Seattle: 20,000 miles (or $226.80)
- Chicago to Seattle: 40,000 miles (or $396.79)
How to Redeem Mileage Plan Miles
Category Rating: 19/20
|Redemption Method||More Info|
|Flights||Get flights with Alaska Airlines and its partners, like American Airlines, Japan Airlines and British Airways|
|Upgrade your class on Alaska Airlines flights|
|Book hotel stays through the Alaska Airlines Hotels program|
|Trade miles for subscriptions to local or national newspapers|
|Use your miles to make charitable donations to organizations like Make-A-Wish, the Alaska Airlines Disaster Relief Pool and the National Forest Foundation|
Other Key Things to Know About Redeeming Mileage Plan Miles
- There are some booking blackout dates, and Alaska Airlines cannot guarantee the availability of award seats on any flight.
- You can book a flight with miles up to 331 days before departure.
- There is no short-notice booking fee.
- Alaska Airlines allows one layover/stopover on one-way reward flights, and two on round-trip flights. Flights with stopovers can only be booked over the phone.
- There is a $125 award-ticket redeposit/cancellation fee that applies to all changes made more than 24 hours after booking.
Other Features of the Mileage Plan Program
Category Rating: 9/20
The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan rewards program is free to join, but you won’t receive any benefits from it other than earning miles until you qualify for one of the “MVP” levels. Qualification for Mileage Plan “MVP” status is based on:
- Mileage Plan miles earned
- Segments flown (number of flights taken)
The more times you fly with Alaska Airlines, and the more money you spend with an Alaska Airlines credit card, the higher your status level will go. The higher your Mileage Plan status level is, the more benefits you will receive on Alaska Airlines flights and the more you will save when you fly.
Below, you can see exactly what you’ll need to do to achieve and maintain each Mileage Plan status level, along with the perks that come with it.
|Mileage Plan Levels||How to Qualify||Miles Bonus||Other Notable Perks|
|MVP||20,000 miles earned|
30 segments flown
|50%||Priority check-in and boarding|
2 free checked bags for you and companions on the same reservation
Discounted Alaska Lounge membership
Access to preferred seating
First Class and Premium Class upgrades, when available
Dedicated phone lines for reservations and customer service
|MVP Gold||40,000 miles earned|
60 segments flown
Express security line at select airports
Complimentary same-day flight changes
Complimentary same-day standby when a confirmed flight change isn't available
Unlimited First Class and Premium Class upgrades when available for the member and a companion
Complimentary premium beverage in the Main Cabin
Four First Class guest upgrades per year
Waivers for Mileage Plan service charges and ticket-change fees
|MVP Gold 75K||75,000 miles earned|
90 segments flown
|125%||MVP Gold Benefits|
Four complimentary Alaska Lounge day passes
Opportunity to give MVP status to one person per year
Members must satisfy a given status level’s qualifying requirements between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 to reach or maintain that status level and enjoy its benefits. Once you earn any Mileage Plan status level, you will keep it for the rest of the current calendar year and all of the next calendar year.
Other Key Features
- Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity (no earning or redemption).
- You can reactivate expired miles for a fee.
- You can transfer miles between accounts, for a fee of $10 per 1,000 miles.
- Buying miles costs more than they’re worth, as Mileage Plan miles are sold at a 85% markup, on average.
Where Can Mileage Plan Miles Take You?
Category Rating: 10/25
Alaska Airlines flies to 104 U.S. destinations and 15 international destinations. In addition, Alaska Airlines has 15 partner airlines from the oneworld Alliance and 8 non-alliance partners, which collectively visit 385 U.S. destinations and 2,036 international destinations.
You can’t directly transfer miles from the loyalty programs of these partners to Mileage Plan or vice versa. For example, you can’t turn Mileage Plan miles into American Airlines miles. However, you can earn and redeem Mileage Plan miles on flights with all Alaska Airlines partners.
Summary: Alaska Mileage Plan Scores by Review Category
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Credit Cards
Opinions and ratings are our own. This content is not provided, commissioned or endorsed by any issuer. Some offers are from WalletHub partners.
Applying for an Alaska Airlines credit card is worth considering if you have good credit or better and fly with Alaska Airlines at least a few times per year. There are two Alaska Airlines credit cards, one for consumers and one for businesses. You can some more details about both offers below.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Credit Card Offers Compared
|Alaska Airlines Credit Card||Annual Fee||Initial Bonus|
|Alaska Airlines Credit Card||$75||40,000 miles|
|Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card||$75||60,000 miles|
8 Tips for Mileage Plan Members
- The best way to redeem Mileage Plan miles is for Alaska Airlines flights. Miles are worth 1.02 cents apiece that way.
- Pool or transfer miles if it makes sense. Mileage Plan allows members to pool their miles together for easier redemption, but there is a fee of $10 per 1,000 miles
- Avoid buying Mileage Plan miles, if possible. Mileage Plan miles cost more to purchase than they are worth when redeemed, on average. However, it could be worth buying a small number if it puts you over the top for a free flight.
- Take advantage of status perks. One of the biggest reasons that airline rewards programs are worth joining is that their status levels tend to provide a wealth of benefits, such as bonus miles, free checked bags and complimentary upgrades. Make sure you take advantage of everything Alaska Airlines MileagePlan offers.
- Consider applying for an Alaska Airlines credit card. The best Alaska Airlines credit card could save the average person well over $1,000 during the first two years of use, according to WalletHub’s calculations.
- Try the Island Approach with your credit cards. Alaska Airlines credit cards offer competitive rewards on Alaska Airlines flights, but different credit cards may provide better terms on other types of transactions. Using a collection of cards for specialized purposes can enable you to get the best deal on everything you buy.
- Make sure to read Alaska Airlines reviews & Mileage Plan FAQs. Learning from experts and fellow travelers will help you pick up some helpful tips as well as avoid tricks and pitfalls.
- Compare your flight options if you’re not wedded to Mileage Plan. Alaska Airlines is not the only airline with a rewarding loyalty program. You can see how Mileage Plan compares to a couple of popular alternatives below. You can also check out WalletHub’s rankings of the Best Frequent Flyer Programs to learn more.
Mileage Plan vs. SkyMiles vs. AAdvantage
|Category||Alaska Mileage Plan||Delta SkyMiles||American Airlines AAdvantage|
|Average Mile Value||1.02 cents||1.21 cents||1.27 cents|
|Average Daily U.S. Departures||383||1,569||1,583|
|Mile expiration||After 24 months of inactivity||Never||After 18 months of inactivity|
|Credit Card to Consider||Alaska Airlines Credit Card||Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||American Airlines AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red Credit Card|
Mileage Plan Review Methodology
Overall program rankings are based on the same methodology as WalletHub’s annual study on the Best Frequent Flyer Programs. Editor’s ratings reflect the sum of each rewards program’s scores across the study’s 6 major categories – airline coverage, partner coverage, rewards value, earning policies, redemption policies and additional features & policies – adjusted to a 5-point scale, to create a representative distribution of ratings.
WalletHub calculated Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan mile values by comparing flight rates between U.S. cities and popular travel destinations – both domestic and international – to the number of miles needed to book a flight. We applied the process to round-trip flights from Friday to Monday for each destination’s high and shoulder tourist seasons.