Mileage Plan 101– Tips, Tricks, and the Basics

Alaska Mileage Plan - What You Need to Know

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan is one of my favourite frequent flyer programs and I use this program to fly Business class across the globe paying very little. It’s no wonder Alaska Airlines and its loyalty program rank at the very top on customer satisfaction year after year.

This Mileage Plan is dynamic in the sense that it’s not part of any 3 alliances; rather it has a pool of partners from all 3 alliances and some non-allied airlines. Here are Alaska Mileage Plan partners:

- Aeromexico

- Air France

- American Airlines

- British Airways

- Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)

- Delta Air Lines

- Emirates (Dubai)

- Fiji Airways (formerly Air Pacific)

- KLM (Netherlands)

- Korean Air

- LAN (South America)

- PenAir (Alaska)

- Ravn Alaska (formerly Era)

- Qantas (Australia)

Now, let’s look at some basics of Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan frequent flyer program.

Stopover Allowed on One-Way Trip - This is one of the most sought-after features in Mileage Plan rewards. It allows stopover on one leg of the journey or 2 stopovers on a round trip. So you can visit 2 countries instead of one on a one-way trip or 4 countries on a round trip if you use this feature wisely. However, some partners do not allow stopover. Visit for more info.

No Mix and Match – The Mileage Plan does not allow more than one partner on a one-way flight or on one leg of the trip in a round trip. However, it is allowed to combine with one partner + Alaska Airlines.

Generous Mileage Chart – Unlike other programs, the Alaska Mileage Plan has different redemption charts for different partners and different regions. Usually required miles are a lot less to travel business class compared to other loyalty programs. I will provide some examples below.

Avoiding Fuel Surcharges – Avoid British Airways, as their Mileage Plan collects fuel charges on BA flights, which can be hefty (in the area of $500, for example) on even short flights.

Cancel, Change, and Phone Booking - Alaska allows you to cancel or change within 60 days of departure for a $125 fee and no fee if before 60 days. The phone booking charge is $15 per ticket.

How to Search/Book Flights – You can search and book all partners’ award space on the Alaska website except for Cathay Pacific or LAN. For these, you need to search on partners’ websites such as British Airways, Qantas Airways and then call Alaska to book over the phone. You can learn more on how to search for Alaska award flights by searching more online.

Collecting Alaska Miles – Bank of America and MBNA Canada offer Alaska credit cards with other perks and features. From time to time they will also offer Alaska sales miles on discounts.

Some Alaska Rewards Flights Examples

- Cathay Pacific (CP) to Asia on business class for 50,000 miles with a stopover in Hong Kong

- You can fly to Africa for 50,000 as well with a stopover in Hong Kong on CP. This is real, not a dream.

- CP to Australia or New Zealand with a stopover in Hong Kong for 60,000.

- Qantas business class to Australia or New Zealand for 55,000 miles. Or you can fly to Auckland and have a stopover on Sydney.

- Japan Airlines luxury first class to Asia with a stopover in Tokyo for 70,000 miles.

- Fiji Airways business class to Australia or New Zealand with a stopover in Fiji for 55,000 miles.

- Fly Air France business class for 60,000 miles to Tahiti from LA.

There are so many other possibilities the Alaska mileage plan offers that I find it hard to believe. With proper planning and research, you can see the world in style with Alaska miles.