I find Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to be among the most valuable mileage currency out there, especially for high-end aspirational redemptions. I’ve written in the past about what I consider to be the best uses of Alaska miles.
There are definitely some downsides to the program as well though, like:
- Mileage Plan doesn’t let you mix partner airlines on an award ticket, so at best you can fly one partner airline, along with Alaska Airlines to their international gateway city
- Mileage Plan doesn’t publish award charts between all regions, so just because Alaska partners with an airline doesn’t necessarily mean you can redeem miles on all of their routes
- One of their best partners is Emirates, and they’ve gotten really stingy with releasing premium cabin award space in advance lately
But there are some really awesome things about their program as well. One massive selling point of Alaska’s Mileage Plan is that they allow stopovers on one-way award tickets. There are very few airlines that allow stopovers on one-way award tickets, let alone airlines with redemption rates as lucrative as Alaska’s.
For example, you can redeem 62,500 Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific business class between the US and South Africa, and then have a stopover in Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific business class A330
Intra-region Awards On Cathay Pacific
I frequently get asked if it’s possible to have a stopover on a one-way Cathay Pacific award within Asia. As you’ll see on their website, Alaska does publish an award chart for intra-Asia travel on Cathay Pacific — one-way business class costs 22,500 miles, for example.
Unfortunately the answer is no — Alaska doesn’t allow stopovers on Cathay Pacific awards within Asia.
What counts as “Asia”?
Along the same lines, another question I was recently asked is what qualifies as “Asia” for the purposes of Alaska Mileage Plan awards. As you may have noticed from looking at their award charts online, Alaska doesn’t actually list which countries belong to which regions.
So I called up Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to do some research, and you’ve gotta love them… because they don’t have an internal chart either. The way it was explained to me is that the agents at the Alaska partner desk can just enter a city pair into the computer, and it will automatically price if it qualifies. But the agent actually tried to dig up a list and even checked with a supervisor, but couldn’t find one.
The two destinations I was recently asked about are Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Male, Maldives. Based on calling it seems as if Alaska:
- Prices awards to Colombo, Sri Lanka as Middle East/India awards
- Prices awards to Male, Maldives as Asia awards
That’s funny because it’s exactly the opposite of American AAdvantage — they price Colombo in Asia and Male in Middle East/India.
As you’ll see on Alaska’s Middle East/India award chart, Mileage Plan does publish rates between the Middle East/India and Asia, and they charge 30,000 miles for Cathay Pacific business class one-way.
The good news in this case is that since it’s no longer an intra-Asia award, you could do a stopover on such an award.
Hopefully this clarifies a couple of common questions I get about Alaska Mileage Plan.