Best Uses Of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

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Alaska Mileage Plan miles are one of my favorite mileage currencies out there, given their wide array of partners and reasonable premium cabin redemption rates. So I figured I’d write a post about the basics of redeeming Alaska miles.

What are the best ways to rack up Alaska Mileage Plan miles?

Alaska frequently offers a bonus on the purchase of miles. For example, they’re offering up to a 40% bonus on the purchase of Mileage Plan miles. To find the best promotions available for the purchase of Mileage Plan miles going forward, check out the “Buy/Share Miles” page on alaskaair.com.

Alaska has a personal and business co-branded credit card, which anecdotally are churnable (meaning you can earn the sign-up bonuses on the cards multiple times):

Alaska Mileage Plan is also transfer partners with Starwood Preferred Guest, meaning you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points you transfer you get a 5,000 point bonus.

That makes the Starwood Preferred Guest Card the best for racking up Alaska miles through everyday spend, since you’re essentially earning 1.25 miles per dollar spent:

How do you book an Alaska Airlines partner award ticket?

The following Alaska Mileage Plan partner airlines can be booked online at alaskaair.com:

American AirlinesDelta Air LinesKLM
AeromexicoEmiratesKorean Air
Air FranceEra AlaskaPenAir
British AirwaysFiji AirwaysQantas

Meanwhile the following partners have to be booked by phone:

Cathay PacificLAN

If you have a complicated itinerary or an itinerary involving travel on Cathay Pacific or LAN, you’ll want to call Alaska’s Mileage Plan partner award desk, which can be reached at 800-252-7522 daily between 5AM and 12AM PT.

What kind of fees does Alaska charge for Mileage Plan award tickets?

Alaska charges the following fees on partner award tickets:

  • $15 nonrefundable call center booking fee – for new awards booked over the phone
  • $25 nonrefundable partner award fee ($12.50 for a one-way) – applies to all awards using one of their airline partners
  • $125 change/cancellation fee – applies to changes/cancellation made within 60 days of travel (changes fees are waived if changes are made at least 60 days prior to travel)

Alaska doesn’t have any close-in ticketing fees for bookings made close to departure, unlike American and United.

Does Alaska Mileage Plan allow holds on award tickets?

Alaska no longer allows holds on award tickets, unfortunately. That being said, Alaska does let you cancel award tickets within 24 hours, and make a free change to an award ticket within 72 hours of ticketing (though more than 60 days before travel commences you can do that for free either way).

Does Alaska Airlines let you mix airlines on an award ticket?

The one major downside is that Alaska doesn’t let you mix airlines on an award ticket, with the exception of Air France and KLM (they’re considered the same airline for the purposes of redemption).

You can include Alaska on an award ticket with any partner airline, though, to get you to the international gateway city. Keep in mind that Alaska now allows one-way awards on all partner carriers, so at least you can fly one airline on the outbound, and then on a separate award fly another airline on the return.

Ultimately not being able to mix partners is my biggest gripe about Alaska miles, since it really limits being able to get to some destinations.

What is Alaska’s Mileage Plan stopover policy?

Alaska is one of the most generous airlines when it comes to stopovers, since they allow stopovers on one-way awards. So you’re allowed one stopover per direction, and if you book a ticket as two one-ways that means you can basically get two stopovers on a roundtrip.

Does Alaska have a Mileage Plan award chart?

Another thing that makes Alaska unique is that they don’t have a traditional award chart. This is to say that there’s not a single chart with different rates for all regions, where the prices are the same regardless of which carrier you fly.

Instead they publish different award rates for different airlines by region. It’s worth noting that Alaska doesn’t publish award rates for all regions, and if they don’t publish a chart between regions you can’t redeem miles for that route. A lot of their award charts are simply for travel originating or terminating in the US.

Here are the Alaska award charts by region:

Intra-StateContinental U.S. and CanadaHawaii
MexicoCaribbean Central and South America
EuropeAfrica – Middle East – India Australia – NZ – South Pacific
Asia

What are the best uses of Alaska miles?

Alaska Mileage Plan is one of those programs with a few partners that really “make” the program. Specifically, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, and Qantas, in my opinion.

CATHAY PACIFIC

Alaska doesn’t let you just route to Asia on Cathay Pacific, but to several other regions as well. Here are the one-way redemption costs:

Business ClassFirst Class
US to Asia50,000 miles70,000 miles
US to Africa/India/Middle East62,500 miles70,000 miles
US to Australia60,000 miles80,000 miles

Those are amazing redemption rates. Keep in mind that you get a stopover with each of those awards, meaning you can fly from the US to Hong Kong, have a stopover, and then continue to Africa, India, or the Middle East, all while paying 70,000 miles in first class.

Cathay Pacific has one of my favorite first class products out there, as it’s incredibly “solid” all around — amazing hard product, great service, and good lounges and food.

Cathay_Pacific_777_First_Class75
Cathay Pacific first class

EMIRATES

While Alaska and Emirates have been partnering for a couple of years now, Alaska only published an award chart for travel on Emirates in early 2013. The one-way rates are as follows:

Business ClassFirst Class
North America to India/Middle East82,500 miles150,000 miles
North America to Asia105,000 miles180,000 miles
North America to Europe105,000 miles180,000 miles
North America to Africa120,000 miles200,000 miles
North America to South Pacific120,000 miles225,000 miles

To a large degree Emirates might be style over substance, but my gosh it’s a lot of style/bling. Between the onboard showers, bar, and room service phone, it’s a jaw-dropping experience.

Emirates flies the longest A380 route in the world, between Los Angeles to Dubai, so on a single award for 100,000 miles in first class you can fly A380 first class from Los Angeles to Dubai and then connect to either Europe or Asia, after a stopover in Dubai (if you’d like).


Emirates first class

QANTAS

So Qantas first and business class award space can be really tough to come by. That being said, if you’re booking far in advance and can find the space, it’s tough to beat Alaska’s rates. Not only are they lower than American’s redemption rates for travel on Qantas, but you can also get a stopover in each direction, while American no longer allows stopovers at all.

So for example, you can fly from Los Angeles to Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane, have a stopover, and then continue to New Zealand a few days or a week later.

Qantas-Award-Availability

Alaska’s one-way redemption rates for travel on Qantas are as follows:

  • US to Australia business class: 55,000 miles
  • US to Australia first class: 70,000 miles

If you can find award space, this is the single best value for premium cabin Qantas redemptions, assuming you desire a direct routing. And Qantas A380 first class is a damn solid product, though finding award space can be a real challenge.

FIJI AIRWAYS

So maybe I’m in the minority, but I really want to visit Fiji. The only practical way to get there from North America is on Fiji Airways’ flight out of Los Angeles. American also partners with Fiji Airways, and charges 62,500 miles for one-way business class. As usual American doesn’t allow a stopover aside from the North American gateway city.

Meanwhile Alaska charges 55,000 miles one-way for travel between the US and Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. What this means is that for 55,000 miles you could fly something like Los Angeles to Fiji, have a stopover for a while, and then Fiji to Australia or New Zealand.

Fiji-Airways-Award-Availability

That’s a hell of a deal, and a great way to visit Fiji without having to fly Fiji Airways both ways (they actually have a new business class product on their A330s, which looks very similar to Singapore’s A330 business class).

Fiji-Airways-Business-Class

LAN

Alaska charges just 45,000 miles for one-way business class between the US and South America on LAN, and the great thing is that you’re getting a stopover on a one-way. Not only would you not get a stopover if booking through American, but they won’t even let you route through Lima if flying to “South America Zone 2,” which includes Santiago, Buenos Aires, etc.

So for 45,000 miles you could do something like Los Angeles > Lima, have a stopover, and then Lima > Buenos Aires. Then on the return for another 45,000 miles you could do something like Buenos Aires > Santiago, have a stopover, and then Santiago > Los Angeles.

While American’s distance based OneWorld awards are also great for this type of itinerary, it’s tough to beat Alaska for a straightforward redemption.

Bottom line

Despite some of the frustrating rules associated with redeeming Alaska Mileage Plan miles, there’s a ton of value to be had as well if you redeem on the right partners.

Alaska’s “gem” award redemptions are among the best in the industry, and when you combine that with their generous stopover policies it’s a program that’s tough to beat.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

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Comments

  1. lucky, you write “Alaska has a personal and business co-branded credit card, which anecdotally are churnable (meaning you can earn the sign-up bonuses on the cards multiple times)”

    Could you go into detail on how this actually would work?

  2. @ John DELTA — Basically even if you have the card already you can apply (and receive the bonus) again. So I got the Alaska Visa Card, and then a few months later again got approved without canceling the previous card.

    There don’t seem to be any “hard” limits as to how many you can have, how long you have to wait between applications, etc.

  3. Ben, how is the award availability on Fiji airlines out of LA? That looks like a very nice business class product and 55k miles to the South Pacific is one hell of a deal.

  4. i do love their miles but trying to find 1st class to europe on anything besides BA and possibly delta is a pain in the ass. Also when booking AA to europe they tend to do mixed cabins…and its strange because its always the economy cabin over the ocean and business in the us IE DFW-MIA-MXP is DFW-MIA in F and MIA-MXP in eco…

  5. @ derick — Yep, Europe is oddly a weak spot for them. If you want to go the long way you can’t beat flying Emirates there, though.

  6. @Lucky

    what’s with Emirates availability? I can’t find any JFK-DXB-VIE fligths for the end of June at all. 🙁

  7. Great post……this is definitely a print and keep and use to turn the ship in the direction of Alaska………..makes Starwood that much more critical in the mix……

  8. Just a heads up. A friend and I just returned from an Alaska miles funded LAX-DXB trip (He in J and I in F) and we were both grilled about how we acquired our tickets in LA and DXB. We were also both initially denied lounge access in both LA and DXB before a supervisor granted in both locations. Weird.

  9. @ Kevin — For what it’s worth this is a common issue and has nothing to do with the origin of the miles, per se. Instead, for whatever reason Alaska award tickets show up in their computer as staff travel. No clue why, but that’s why there are sometimes issues over lounge access.

  10. @lucky – besides AS miles for travel on Cathay, what is the next best airline award miles to use?

  11. great post! you should consider making a link at the top for the newbies who are still learning the mileage game. It’s a great reference. I’m trying to gather enough miles for a family trip to asia (vietnam) and if I already have 200k miles with american, I guess getting some through alaska would help since I could use both programs to book flights on cathay pacific, right?

  12. @ lucky

    I’m sorry, but did you just say that EK codes Alaska award tix as “staff travel?”

    *Shakes head*

  13. lucky-I just clicked your referral link to the alaska credit card and do I understand correctly that there isn’t a minimum spend? you get those miles based on approval or after a first purchase??

    If so, that’s so awesome!

  14. @lucky- I don’t see any EK F availability through Alaska JFK-DXB-JFK. Is it difficult to get F awards on EK through Alaska? I know that route is tricky for F awards, although Expertflyer shows availability. I found tons of seats to Asia in F, but not to the states.

  15. @ sarah — Yep, indeed, you could potentially use both Alaska and American miles towards award travel on Cathay Pacific. If you’re traveling to Vietnam just keep in mind that American partners with Dragonair while Alaska doesn’t. Some of Cathay Pacific’s service to Vietnam is operated by Dragonair, so if that’s the case for a flight you’re looking at you’d be in trouble if wanting to redeem Alaska miles.

  16. I don’t know how you find CX availability since Alaska is not part of oneworld. Or is that mean whatever space is shows up on Cathay websites you can book through Alaska?

  17. @ Alcwj – The most accurate places to search availability would be the British Airways, Qantas, or Japan Airlines websites. Alaska should have access to the same/similar award space.

  18. @lucky – I’m just sniffing. I plan on using miles BKK-ORD next February, so I’m checking out the possibilities. I did find DXB-ORD in F on expertflyer (looking in Dec.), but AK shows nothing but Biz or cattle between DXB and ORD or JFK.
    I’m wondering if it’s like Qantas being so stingy with F on AA miles.

  19. It seems a cheaper way to do a FC on Emirates to Dubai, Maldives etc would be to transfer Starwood to JAL 155k vs Alaska 200k? Versus a stopover in Europe?

  20. @ Gene — Totally, agree, though looks like an “exotic” service, and it’s not like there’s a better way to get to Fiji.

  21. @ JustSaying — Well Alaska charges 180,000 miles for travel to the Middle East/India, which includes the Maldives. That being said, JAL is indeed a bit cheaper, though there are rumors that they’re imposing fuel surcharges on all Emirates redemptions nowadays. Haven’t been able to confirm that myself, though.

    Other advantage of Alaska miles is that they allow one-ways, while Japan Airlines doesn’t.

    Both are great options, just depends on your goals.

  22. I like Alaska Miles, though I agree, it is difficult to get to Europe. That said, I have seen one ways from JFK to LHR in coach for 30,000 points (it is on AA’s very narrow coach seating on their new 777, though).

    Kind of off topic, but what are the best redemptions ways to get from the East Coast to Europe using miles? They appear to be American and United (where I personally have few miles), but with devaluations people complain about them as well.

  23. You said “Keep in mind that Alaska now allows one-way awards on all partner carriers..” While this is true, it is worth noting that one-way awards on Delta or Korean costs the same number of miles as for a round trip, so use of one-ways on these two carriers would not be a good use of miles.

  24. Gotta love the Mileage Plan program – managed to book 4 CX F awards to HKG and JNB last December. My favorite redemption by far…

  25. Sadly it seems there aren’t many destinations left for Cathay first class. All I see so far (after this summer) besides North America is some frequencies to Singapore. Is there a list of where they still fly first class?

    Also, Emirates first class availability was pretty good for a while. But if you’re booking for two like many people are, lately it’s been very difficult to search and find anything.

  26. Just want to chime in that I purchased AS miles to book travel YVR-HKG-SIN in J and it’s a great redemption value as those tickets are usually north of $5k. Award availability is the main limiting factor – I couldn’t find J or F seats around the weekend that I would have preferred so definitely book as early as you can. I’m hoping that Cathay releases F so that I can upgrade to it!

    Also, the card bonus miles post before the card even arrives. I figured out I got approved for the card when the miles showed up in my account – and the card isn’t even here yet!

  27. has anyone used AS miles on AA for a 1 way to Europe? i was told you can only go on AA round trip

  28. For stopovers on partner awards, eg QF LAX-SYD (stop for 3 weeks), SYD-PER, are you able to make changes to the ticket once travel has commenced? eg in the example, during your stopover in SYD, change the leg to PER (within 12 months of ticket date)?

  29. I can personally attest to JAL passing along fuel surcharges on Emirates. I transferred 80K SPG points to JAL to redeem for a business class ticket BOS-SEZ RT. The taxes and surcharges were $1400. JAL told me they started adding YQ last November.

  30. I’m saving up for a trip LAX-DXB-MLE-CMB-HKG-LAX with the outbound on EK and the return on CX (with the middle MLE-CMB using BA miles on Sri Lankan).

    My question is which direction do you think I should do it in? Start off LAX-DXB or LAX-HKG?

    I always feel better flying west, but that’s against the jet stream and must cumulatively take quite a bit longer. So I’m undecided. Do you have a preference?

    (Also, might switch the order of MLE and CMB if I want a layover in Hong Kong and the much nicer plane HKG-MLE on CX vs. the long 1 stop from HKG to CMB on a regional. Might be worth it for the miles)

  31. Wow, what a post! Thanks!

    Is there a limit on the number of legs for a one way? For example, can I use 70k mile to travel first claas from Austin to Seattle to Vancouver on Alaska, then contine to hkg and jnb on Cathay?

  32. @ meegabroad — They both tend to release some space as soon as the schedule opens. Alaska has access to that space ~330 days out.

  33. @ lucky – Would they have access but not show it online? I see F seats on the EK site, but not on AK.

  34. Lucky – Do you think JetBlue will one day have a similar program? I know you can redeem miles with Hawaian Airlines; do you think the ability to redeem TrueBlue points will expand? Thanks!

  35. @ aes — Since their program is revenue based while Alaska’s isn’t, I don’t think it will ever be as lucrative. There’s a chance they’ll have more partners as time goes on, but I doubt it’ll be this rewarding.

  36. Lucky, I’m currently in BKK but can reposition to HKG. I’m looking to fly CX in F to NYC. Is there any stop I can make that would extend the trip, similar to what you suggested? SFO-JNB-HKG, or would the only route be HKG-NYC directly?

    Appreciate your suggestions, want to maximize the F!

  37. @ Damon — If you want to fly Cathay Pacific unfortunately there’s not anything you can add for a Hong Kong to New York routing.

  38. Lucky, is it correct to assume that intra asia on CX can be booked one way with a stopover? for example, PEK to HKG (stopover for 3 month) to NRT for 27.5K in F. Also, if I booked PEK to HKG in F, stopover and HKG to NRT in Biz. Will it cost me any fees when the HKG to NRT opens up in F?

  39. @ David — Don’t have any experience doing stopovers on an intra-Asia award, but I believe you could. Within 60 days I think there’s a change fee regardless, though I may be mistaken there. Since it can’t be done online I haven’t experimented with it too much.

  40. Lucky, are there specific requirements to the promo and buying these miles at 40% off? I keep getting the following error: “The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles.”

    I signed up for an Alaska account 4 days ago, is that what’s causing it? How do I get around this? Thanks

  41. @ Tania — Yes, you have to be a member for at least two weeks to buy miles, if I’m not mistaken (not sure it’s exactly two weeks, but some amount of time).

  42. Now that us non USA, Canadian residents have been locked out since March 1st last of buying AS miles by having our local CC rejected, is it possible to get a Canadian debit card without going there?

    I have a few Canadian friends can they use their miles to get me an award ticket?.

  43. @ nineyards — Sure, bookings can be made for friends, so if they agree to buy the miles with their card then they could redeem them for your travel.

  44. I wonder if they could use their Canadian CC to purchase AS miles to my non resident account?.

    I’m told the country give away is the 3rd & 4th card numbers, as points.com processes payments for AS miles buys it would not show up as alien.

    The trip I’m planning is to Canada, so I could sign up for debit card once there.

  45. @ nineyards — You could always switch your account address to a US or Canadian address as well. If I’m not mistaken, I don’t think that would violate any rules.

  46. Is the following a valid one way stopover on cx?

    nrt-tpe(stop)
    tpe-hkg-lax

    Or is the stopover only valid in hkg

    Thanks

  47. Sorry, yes using AS miles.

    Also, in your experience, if a change needs to be made (ie nrt-tpe to kix-tpe on the above route) are the Alaska agents able to make that change without completely redepositing the award? To potentially preserve a cx hkg-lax in F. And no change fee even to origin/destination outside the 60 day window?

    Happy belated by the way!

  48. I’m a novice when it comes to using miles and could use some assistance from the more experienced. We want to travel (from US) to Europe (specifically Ireland) using our Alaska miles. Where do we even start to explore our options? Grateful for any advice.

  49. @ Lynnie — The best place to start is Alaska’s website. They now show award space for most partners, so if you enter your origin and destination you should be able to search availability across a variety of dates fairly easily. Good luck!

  50. If we’re on an AA revenue fare with SWU successfully applied, can we still credit/earn miles to AS at time of check in?

  51. Lucky: My goal is use us AS miles for a 1-way in biz/first from SIN to Chicago with a free stopover in the LAX area. Do you believe that AS would allow me:

    SIN-HKG-LAX on CX
    (stopover in LAX area)
    followed by SNA or LAX to ORD on AS IN ALASKA FIRST (vs economy) because the overall ticket was booked as biz or first?

    Thanks…SINJim

  52. Hi Lucky,

    It it true that JMB and Alaska add fuel surcharge to the award ticket price, which can be over 1000$/ticket?

  53. I took an interest in this AA post because we have family in Seattle and would love to get there more often on miles but I’m confused. I’m fairly new to this game but currently accumulating Chase UR and Am Ex MR’s with cards for me and wife. They’re easy to get with good credit and reward points are transferable to most airlines. So when is it does it make sense to get an AA reward card if I can transfer directly to AA or to BA and use Avios?

  54. @ John — If you want to redeem BA Avios for travel on Alaska then you’re well positioned with the miles you have right now. You can transfer Chase UR and AmEx MR to BA Avios, while American miles can’t be converted into BA Avios (though can be redeemed for travel on Alaska or British Airways, for example).

  55. Lucky,

    Thanks for the reply but still not sure I get it. I know I can convert UR and MR to Avios and use them on Alaska. With that in mind I was wanting to know why or when would I need an Alaska Air Rewards Card? I’m sure there is a reason to have one but don’t know what the reason is.

  56. @ john — You’re always charged for award tickets based on the award chart of the airline with which you have miles. So Alaska has completely different redemption rates than American or British Airways, so in some cases it’s much more lucrative. That would be the big benefit of having Alaska miles, for example.

  57. Lucky,

    OK, that is a good reason. However, because it takes less Avios on award flights to SEA from SBA than using Alaska Miles (30,000 vs 50,000) and if you were able to generate enough Avios from various cards and promotions to make that flight often then an Alaska Miles card might not be as valuable. Would that be a fair assumption? By the way not nit picking, just really trying to understand all the angles.

  58. @ john — Absolutely. Different mileage currencies are valuable to different people. Avios are incredibly valuable for shorthaul redemptions while Alaska miles are great for Emirates first class, for example. So you’re on the right track. 🙂

  59. I currently have a multi-city award ticket booked on partner airlines, using Alaska miles. I depart Seattle to Barcelona on American Airlines (changing planes in Miami). The return to Seattle is from Paris on Air France (changing planes to Alaska Air in Chicago).

    If I understand correctly, I can make changes to this itinerary without a fee up to 60 days prior to departure. Does that mean I could change my outbound carrier altogether without incurring a fee? For example, instead of flying on American from Seattle to Barcelona could I change the outbound portion of my ticket to fly instead on Delta from Seattle to Amsterdam?

  60. Hey Ben,

    I booked an award fra-dxb-dfw.
    Do I need to call Emirates or Alaska Airlines to reschedule my Fra-dxb flight, I figured a longer layover in Dubai would be nice to escape the cold German winter. If the answer is Alaska Air, do I need to call them or can I just email them?

    As always thanks in advance,
    Kevin

  61. I am going to LHR and CDG in Spring and already have AA miles but was planning to do free oneway to OGG before AA did away with it. If my husband and I both get the cards in a few days you think we could book CDG-DFW-OGG? I looked on Alaska sight and saw it is possible but only certain days showed up even though AA sight is showing many more flight options all at the same Milesaver rate. Can i call in and feed Alaska agents the flights i want and get my free oneway to OGG? Timing of booking everything makes me nervous but risk may be worth the reward!

  62. @ Sarah — You can certainly call, though you should be able to book American flights on the Alaska site using the multi-city tool. You might just want to play around with it a bit.

  63. Hi there. Just found your uber insightful and communicative site. And, of course, I want you to be my personal travel planner!

    My husband and I are finally planning a many week trip to Europe–sometime next April– using our AK airmiles accumulated over the last 20 years — flying from Seattle, with our bicycles, to… somewhere warm / southerly (we don’t know for sure–ideas?) and then home from somewhere likely in Germany or central Europe.

    In preliminarily looking at AK’s award travel booking, I’m finding a lot of disparity in the taxes on top of the miles — from $30 to $400+, with the higher range on the flight back (late June) from Europe. Is this pricing difference due to the city to/from? the date? the airline? I’d like to be able to use airlmiles (perhaps even for a 1st class upgrade) but not have to shell out $400 plus in fees each way. Any advice? thanks! Alaine

  64. @ Alaine — Alaska does impose fuel surcharges ($400+ each way between the US and Europe) for travel on British Airways, so that’s probably why. If you can avoid travel on British Airways, you should see the fees will be much lower. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  65. For a one way stopover, does the 60 day free change apply to the 2nd half of the stopover?

    e.g. HNL-PDX-LAX (stop 6 months) – SJD and making change to the SJD flight

  66. Hi there!

    How can I earn Delta MQDs when flying Alaska? Would I have to book the Alaska ticket through a Delta agent? Is the only way to book a code share ticket by calling in?

  67. Would this be a legal routing using Alaska miles?

    MLE-HKG-TYO (STOP)-HKG-ORD – essentially going beyond HKG for my stop but routing through HKG.

  68. Hey Ben,

    Is American still allowing stopovers at the international gateway? Regarding booking on Qantas you say “while American will only give you a stopover at your North American international gateway city.” I thought this was not the case anymore.

  69. Would it be a good idea to start churning alaska if i don’t typically fly out of LAX? I’m on the east coast so I wonder if I can redeem on partners for similar rates from here.

  70. @ Daniel — Correct, now it is, but at the time the post was written, the route wasn’t yet operated by an A380.

  71. @ Mari — It absolutely could make sense, and you can fly out of other cities on the east coast as well.

  72. Lucky, do you know if there are any fees to change an award itinerary after you’ve started it? e.g. EWR -> HKG (stopover) -> SYD. If I started the trip and I’m in HKG already, can I make changes to SYD if the flight is still at least 60 days away? Or will I incur a $125 fee because the trip has begun?

  73. @ PorkIsKing — I believe there are fees once the itinerary starts. It’s based on 60 days from when the itinerary starts, as far as I know.

  74. Lucky,
    Is LAX-HKG-BKK (stop)-SIN a legal one way routing using AS miles on CX? I think I read somewhere that stopovers can only be done in connecting cities, in my case that would be HKG.
    Thank you

  75. Hi Lucky,

    Do you know now long it takes to get approved for the Alaska Visa Signature card? I just applied using your link and was told that they could not give me a decision at this time and that they will review the application and let me know. I’ve applied for other cards (one of them was the US Airways card) and have been approved instantly (my credit is excellent). Just wondering if it is typical to take a while to get approved for this card or if there was something special with my case…

    Thanks,
    Arun.

  76. @ Arun — I’d suggest giving Bank of America a call at 866-865-7839. They can probably process the application directly over the phone and give you an instant decision.

  77. Hi Lucky,

    I just deposited 120K Alaska miles from Marriott Travel Package(270K PTS)
    1. Do you think the following roundtrip by CX Business Class is valid for 120K miles: SYD-PEK(stopover for 1month)-LAX and JFK-PEK(3months)-SYD?
    2. Is CX long haul BC seat same as Eva BC where we got Rimowa kit?
    3.Which airfare is usually worth more, this trip or 4Xshowers trip on EK(100K AS miles)?
    4.I just got rejected for AS BoA Credit Card as too many new cards opened in short period. what is the best way to earn more AS miles? I am trying to shop via alaska website recently.
    You are the man! Thanks in Advance!

  78. @ RYAN —

    1) That wouldn’t be allowed since you can’t do SYD-HKG-PEK-HKG-LAX. That includes transiting a single airport twice in one direction.
    2) There’s no Rimowa kit, but it’s a very similar seat.
    3) Ultimately depends where you want to go. If your goal is to go to/from Australia this is a better option, since you can’t redeem Alaska miles for travel on Emirates to/from Australia.
    4) Starwood transfers, crediting miles to Alaska, buying miles with them, etc.

  79. Lucky,

    1) If I fly a routing such as HKG-BKK-DXB (stopover)-NYC all on Emirates, am I still entitled to a future free one way on Alaska Airlines at a later date such as NYC-SEA, or does spending a few days in DXB cancel out the later possibility of a flight to Seattle?

    2) If not, do I need to call to book it, and finally can I book the Emirates online and then add the Alaska Air flight at a later time via the phone? Thanks, Mike.

  80. Hi, Lucky,

    Thanks for your reply. If it is not allowed, I decided to book 4X showers trip you mentioned by EK with AS miles. Then I would use AA miles to book Business Class trip SYD to PEK. When I search on aa.com, it is only showing SYD to PVG route by Qantas. there is no route for SYD to PEK. Can I make a phone reservation which is SYD to PVG by QF and PVG to PEK by one of aa partners, HAINAN Airlines? Is it doable within one award ticket that requires only 35K aa miles? If not, is CX SYD-HKG-PEK my only option for award ticket? Thanks a lot.

  81. @ Ryan — You would have to fly Cathay Pacific for that short segment, as American miles can’t be redeemed for travel on Hainan.

  82. Hi Lucky,

    Can the bonus Star Points earned through the SPG Amex card be transferred to Alaska’s Mileage Plan? Or is only the non-bonus points (earned through purchases and SPG stays) that can be transferred? I know this probably sounds like an odd question, but the reason I ask is because I was reading something about ‘taxable Thank You Points’ on Citi’s website and that bonus TYPs cannot be transferred. Could you talk a little about that please?

    Thanks,
    Arun.

  83. @onemileatatime
    alaska awards must originate or terminate in the USA? any exceptions?
    thanks!

  84. @ Gene — There are some partners on which they allow travel for other regions. For example, you can redeem Alaska miles for travel on Cathay Pacific within Asia, between Europe and Hong Kong, etc.

  85. Hey Lucky!

    How do you schedule a stopover for longer than a few hours using reward miles? Do you need to call Alaska Customer Service? I’ve looked online and I don’t see a mechanism to adjust the stopover duration, or to change the stopover location. I’m looking to schedule a one way ticket from Seattle to Sydney with a stopover in New Zealand.

    Cheers and thanks for the great info!
    Heidi

  86. hi Lucky,

    I saw business class award availability for Cathay Pacific through the Avios website. However, when I tried to book Cathay using Alaska miles, the Alaska rep told me that he does not see the award as available. Does Cathay restrict the award flights to specific airlines?
    Thanks for your help as always!

  87. Hi Lucky,

    Is there a waiting period to purchase Mileage Plan miles?
    I’ve just signed up and was told my membership was not authorised to purchase miles.

    🙁

    Joel

  88. Hey Ben,

    I’ve been reading the blog for a while, and it’s by far my favorite! So congrats on all the recent press and keep it up!

    After reading this post a while back, I decided to try for Fiji and New Zealand for my honeymoon using AS miles (hopefully in business class). As it gets closer to booking time, I want to make sure I’ve got my strategy all sorted out. Ideal routing would be DCA-LAX-NAN(stop)-anywhere in NZ. So my question is — can I book just the LAX-NAN leg as soon as I see availability for a day that works (since that’s likely to be the hardest to come by in biz), and then later call back to add the domestic connection from DC and the continuing flight to NZ after the stopover? I don’t think it should change the cost of the redemption and would be before 60 days out so should be free to change even the origin and destination, right? And does the international business class award entitle me to first class on the domestic leg?

    Thanks!

  89. @ Kyle — Congrats on the upcoming honeymoon. Pending award availability you would get domestic first class on a business class award. I believe you should be able to add the segments in the way you’re looking at. Good luck!

  90. Hi Lucky,

    A question from across the pond in London, albeit one which probably sounds pretty ignorant (unlike other FFPs, I’m new to Alaska) — sorry in advance!

    Is it possible to book an award seat ex-LHR/ex-LON or ex-Europe via Alaska’s Mileage Plan but for flights on one of Alaska’s partner airlines, e.g. Cathay/Qantas/BA? I get the impression that journeys must start/end in the USA if booking via Alaska (though perhaps I’m mistaken?), but I’d love to be wrong! I ask mainly as most of my future travel plans, Lucky, would route from London via Hong Kong/Dubai/Australia, so if there was any means (or sleight-of-hand! 🙂 ) to book Qantas/Cathay/BA via Alaska out of Heathrow/Europe, I’d be ever so grateful to know! Cheers, Lucky. Simon

  91. Hi Lucky,
    I am trying to accumulate enough points for two biz/F class return in Emirates from houston-india. I have the following questions
    1. Can I apply Alaska card for my spouse and gather the points in my Alaska account ? Or do I need to open his Alaska mileage account ?
    2. Similarly with spg points, can I transfer from my spg to his Alaska and vice versa?
    3. I am going to dxb via Emirates next month via coach. If I use my Alaska FF number, will I be able to access the lounge ? (I am silver in Emirates, so I get to use the lounge) , but if I am not using Emirates rewards number, is it still valid?
    Thanks a lot in advance 🙂
    M

  92. I’d say I found a booking glitch of sorts… Have booked 2 AS award tickets on AA metal so far for 30k miles each (business class ORD-SFO-JFK-MIA-UIO with a stopover in SFO and the return business class AUA-MIA-JFK-LAX with a stopover in JFK). These tickets book me into A321 transcon F class with Flagship Lounge entry, instead of the usual 32.5k required for a one way LAX/SFO-JFK in transcon F.

    But there’s a catch – only itineraries with an “international” start point/end point are allowed. Canada is not considered “international” but Mexico is.

  93. Hi Lucky,

    It looks like the price of intra-Asia awards on Cathay Pacific has doubled in business class, and more than doubled in first class with the new website revamp. This makes intra-Asia business class awards more expensive than a business class ticket from Asia to Europe or Africa. Do you think this is an error, or is this another unannounced “crackdown” on “travel hacking” by Alaska?

  94. Hey Lucky!

    I am looking to book 2 biz class seats on Air France from IAH to CDG. Looking on the Alaska site i only see one seat in biz available for the days closest to how far calendar goes. (i’d book these as soon as calendar opens up for our days). Have looked at Expert Flyer and finding same availablity with just one seat.

    I am wondering if you know of Air France being an airline that will open up a 2nd seat once the 1st one is taken. Or if this 1 seat per flight is their standard operation for awards. going to a wedding next summer in Paris and trying to make the best of the trip. I know AF is not the best product based on your reviews but limited time means we need direct for this one.

  95. Do you know what Alaska categorizes Sri Lanka as? I’m looking into goin JFK – HongKong – Colombo in Cathay business for the 50K Alaska miles one way. Is this possible?

  96. Hi Ben;

    I am in Canada and am gonna be getting my first, of hopefully many, Alaska Mileage cards with 25,000 bonus any day now. I am also gonna apply for the SPG with a total of 25,000 miles after referal to spouse. Should I transfer those to Alaska points or to Aeroplan for best use, they will be used either for trips to the USA or Germany /Europe. Thanks !!! Susan

  97. Alaska air only allow miles to be redeemed on Cathay but not Cathay Dragon (formerly Dragon Air). Therefore you can’t fly to some cities in China via Hong Kong using Alaska miles if only Cathay Dragon routes exist. That kinda sucks

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  1. […] 0.3 cent a mile. Do a search using key phrase such as Partner award etc, you would turn up some interesting thread. Here is a good one for you to peruse One-way and partner awards now bookable online [consolidated master thread] Also you really should research AS award charts to know what you can do with the miles. A simple google also turns up this: http://boardingarea.com/onemileatati…ge-plan-miles/ […]