Travel How much are Alaska Airlines miles really worth? Our guide to calculating Alaska Airlines miles value
Everything you need to know about Alaska’s partnership with Oneworld
The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. Today, March 31, marks the official entrance of Alaska Airlines into the Oneworld alliance. This is a major change for the Seattle-based carrier, which historically had resisted joining a major airline alliance and instead preferred individual airline partnerships. Alaska’s entrance into Oneworld means more ways …Alaska’s entrance into Oneworld means more ways to earn and redeem miles, reciprocal elite benefits — including access to the alliance’s more than 650 lounges globally for those who are eligible — and more.
How much are your points really worth? It’s an important question to answer to help you gauge whichcan get you the most bang for your buck. We’ll continue our miles & points value series with a post about Alaska Airlines miles value, my favorite airline miles.
It goes without saying that all of us want to get the most bang for our bucks (or miles). That’s why it’s important to strategize how to— and what they might be worth — before setting out to earn them.
In my experience,miles are worth somewhere between one cent and eight cents per mile on average — depending on how you choose to redeem them.
5 vacation-worthy flights you can book with just 5,000 Alaska miles
Alaska Airlines has been in the headlines after joining the Oneworld alliance, with many wondering whether Alaska miles will become more valuable or less once Oneworld redemptions become available in the summer. While that remains to be seen, Alaska miles are still valuable for its domestic and international airline partnerships outside of Oneworld. Some of …Some of the best ways to redeem Alaska miles include international flights to Asia, which is largely closed off to Americans. Even redeeming miles on European carriers is largely off the table. Luckily, Alaska offers a lot of value for domestic award redemptions. In fact, these flights start at just 5,000 miles each way.
I consider Alaska Airlines miles value to be higher than any other airline. I absolutely love flying Alaska Airlines and then redeeming the miles for trips all over the world. (Photo by mikemike10/Shutterstock)
You canrelatively quickly with cards like the or the . Or, you can top up your Alaska Airlines miles account balance by transferring Marriott Bonvoy points. For more information on transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska Airlines miles and other partners, check out .
Right now, both the business and personal Alaska Airlines cards come with an intro bonus of 40,000 miles and a companion fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. But, as an added bonus, the personal card also comes with a $100 statement credit (after meeting the spending requirement), which is a great deal because it only has a $75 annual fee!
The best airline credit card offers (Some with increased welcome bonuses!)
Fasten your seatbelts. We’ve compiled a list of the top credit card offers to consider right now for award flights to help you ring in a new year of travel. If you’re loyal to a particular airline, you can do well by opening an airline credit card that rewards you for your business with a […]Summary
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Alaska Airlines miles value for award flights on Alaska Airlines
Simply put, you can get between one cent per mile and three cents per mile when redeeming your miles for domestic award flights on Alaska Airlines (or its partner American Airlines). Alaska Airlines has great award flight options along the west coast of the United States, with several flights priced as low as 5,000 miles plus $5.60 one-way in coach. But these flights often sell for just $50-75, so the value might appear more enticing than it actually is.
On the other hand, you can also redeem just 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles for nonstop first-class flights from coast to coast–which often retail for more than $500-800. This gives you an average value of two or three cents per mile. An impressive way to.
The reality is that domestic award flights provide the most consistent value for your Alaska Airlines miles, somewhere in the range of 1.25 cents per mile to 2.5 cents per mile. That’s a respectable and solid value for your miles and an award option I utilize frequently for flights where Alaska Airlines or American Airlines have the best schedule.
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Redeeming Alaska Airlines miles for award flights on partner airlines
Alaska Airlines publishes a different award chart for each partner airline. This means if you want to fly to Asia with Alaska airlines miles, you’ll pay a different number of miles if you plan to fly with American Airlines, Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific.
Because of these “variable” award charts, it’s even more important to compare different options when choosing how to. It also means you might get significantly more value out of your miles when redeeming on one airline than another — even if traveling to the same exact destination.
For example, a one-way award flight to Asia costs you just 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles in business class on Cathay Pacific. That same flight could sell for ~$4,136, meaning you’d get ~8.2 cents per mile.
But on the other hand, redeeming miles for an American Airlines flight to the same destination (Hong Kong) would cost you 70,000 miles, giving you a lower value of 5.9 cents per mile, because the flights cost the same amount. Thus, the value of your miles can vary — but you will consistently get phenomenal “cents per mile” values when redeeming for international first and business-class flights.
Cleared for Takeoff: A honeymoon trip to South Africa and the Seychelles
Cleared for Takeoff is a weekly series showing readers like you the best ways to book post-pandemic adventures using points and miles. If you’d like tips on booking your own trip using miles, please email us with your preferred itinerary and current mileage balance. Planning a honeymoon can be complex and expensive. But, you can often use …Planning a honeymoon can be complex and expensive. But, you can often use points and miles to lessen the cost of an epic honeymoon.
Alaska Airlines is also working on expanding the number of airlines it partners with and you can now use Alaska miles to book flights on Aer Lingus. You can book economy awards starting at 30,000 miles, but these partner awards are subject to a bit of dynamic pricing and can go all the way up to 80,000 miles one-way!
Redeeming Alaska Airlines miles for free hotels, airfare discounts or first-class upgrades
To arrive at our estimate of the value of Alaska Airlines miles, I thought it was important to consider both the stellar and underwhelming rewards available for using up your miles. So, I present three of the lesser values for redeeming your hard-earned miles. My advice — avoid these redemption options.
Redeem your Alaska Airlines miles for hotel bookings
Ouch — try to avoid using your valuable miles for overpriced hotel bookings. In a few searches, I found that using your miles for hotels will equate to about half a cent per mile in value. For example, I found a night when the W hotel in New York City costs either ~$560 per night, or over 100,000 Alaska Airlines miles (booked through the).
That’s a really poor value, and one that I recommend you avoid unless absolutely necessary.
Redeem your Alaska Airlines miles for airfare discounts on Alaska Airlines flights
Airfare discounts are fairly simple and you can redeem Alaska Airlines miles for one cent per point off flight bookings. For example, you can redeem 10,000 miles or 20,000 miles for $100 or $200 off your flight booking, respectively.
Maximizing Marriott Bonvoy’s unique airline transfer options: Part 1
While most people save up Marriott Bonvoy points for hotel stays, the program allows you to transfer points to 41 airline partners across all major alliances. The transfer ratio is 3:1 in most cases, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. Many of these frequent flyer programs are also transfer partners of competing …Many of these frequent flyer programs are also transfer partners of competing rewards programs, like Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou and Capital One miles. But in this two-part series, I want to look at the unique transfer partners offered only by the Marriott Rewards program and show you some of the ways you can maximize the benefits.
This yields a value of one cent per mile, a respectable but not impressive redemption. But if you’re struggling to use your miles, this isn’t a terrible option.
Redeem your Alaska Airlines miles for first-class upgrades
If you find yourself wanting to upgrade an upcoming Alaska Airlines flight, you can redeem 15,000 Alaska Airlines miles to upgrade any Alaska airlines flight from coach to first class. Depending on the length of the flight and the fare (to upgrade), 15,000 miles can be a decent value.
For example, a $500 first-class flight that costs $250 with an upgradeable fare can be ‘bumped’ to first class with just 15,000 Alaska Airlines miles. If you would have otherwise paid the $250 fare difference, your Alaska Airlines miles are worth a value of ~1.67 cents per mile.
On the other hand, a short 400-mile flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco might only cost $100 more to book in first class. In this case, redeeming 15,000 miles would yield a value of only 0.67 cents per mile, a significantly less impressive redemption value.
How much does Alaska Airlines think its miles are worth?
Not directly related, but I figured it was worth mentioning that Alaska Airlines regularly sells Mileage Plan miles. The standard price to buy miles is $27.50 for 1,000 miles, at a cost of 2.75 cents per mile. I appreciate their brand confidence, but that’s a silly price to buy miles, unless you simply need a couple thousand more to reach a specific award threshold.
The best points and miles bucket list trips in the US
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here. After more than a year cooped up at home, Americans are hitting the roads and skies again in record numbers, even spurring the coinage of a new term for wanderlust: “Revenge travel.” But while many countries are beginning to reopen to …After more than a year cooped up at home, Americans are hitting the roads and skies again in record numbers, even spurring the coinage of a new term for wanderlust: “Revenge travel.
Additionally, Alaska Airlines offers frequent mileage sales that include bonus miles when purchasing large amounts of miles (we don’t normally mention these sales, since they’re not always a great deal. But they come around fairly frequently. In their latest mileage sale, you could buy points for as little as 1.97 cents per mile (if you were willing to max out the promotion and spend over $1,700).
Based on this valuation from Alaska Airlines, I think we can safely conclude that Alaska Airlines miles are worth lessthan two cents per mile.
How should you use your miles?
It really comes down to how you want to spend your Alaska Airlines miles. Maybe you have been saving for a big family vacation to Hawaii and you would rather get one cent per point for flight discounts on the date and nonstop flights of your choice. Awesome.
Or maybe you have the flexibility (and endless desire to maximize value) like some miles & points enthusiasts and want to save your miles for the creme de la creme Cathay Pacific first-class award flight to Asia (with a stopover in Hong Kong included, of course). Bravo!
Alaska Airlines miles are very valuable and flexible thanks to Alaska’s travel partners. There’s no right way to make the most of your points. Nearly any travel you book using Alaska Airlines miles is going to save you money.
Points vs. Cash Calculator
Deciding when to use rewards versus when to use cash isn’t always a straightforward task. So we created ato make things a lot easier for you.
Using the calculator is simple. All you have to do is:
- Select which hotel points you’d like to use
- Find the cash price of the exact hotel you plan to book
- Enter the number of points your stay will cost
- Include any taxes and fees associated with your stay
Should I pay with points or cash?
Points valuations are based on MMS calculation and not provided by the loyalty programs
Countries most dependent on tourism
Stacker consulted the World Bank’s TCdata360 database released in 2020 to rank the countries most dependent on tourism.
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Based on the above findings (and literally hundreds more hours of personal travel planning), I find that Alaska Airlines miles are consistently worth ~1.5 cents per mile or more. For my own accounting, I value Alaska Airlines miles higher than any other airline mile due to their consistent award options and variety of travel partners. That makes the bonuses you can earn with the personaland the especially valuable.
You might be able to get more or less value from your miles, but I find this is a good starting point. Do you have other ‘sweet-spot’ award travel redemptions where you’ve received significant value from your Alaska Airlines miles? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is great for just about anyone. It’s large welcome bonus makes it easy to get immediate value and you’ll easily rack up points with its broad bonus categories, earning double points on all travel and dining purchases. Chase points allow for easy redemptions made through the Chase Travel Portal, which allows you to book any sort of travel with no blackout dates, and you’ll get better value from your points compared to other bank’s travel portals.
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Countries most dependent on tourism .
Stacker consulted the World Bank’s TCdata360 database released in 2020 to rank the countries most dependent on tourism.