Alaska Airlines has a very popular loyalty program – the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. It operates differently from the other main US airline loyalty schemes as base earning is still mileage, not spend, based. Also, Alaska Airlines is not part of any of the main airline alliances, offering instead its own range of airline partner earning and redeeming options. These differences, along with others, make it a solid part of many mileage collectors strategy!
One of the strong points of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is the number of different ways to earn mileage. There are far more options than just flights to or from Anchorage!
This articles looks at 15 of the best mileage earning options. With the right planning and focus on collecting, you can combine these to earn enough miles for some great flight awards!
1) Fly with Alaska Airlines
First of all – the obvious and “traditional” way to earn mileage – take flights with Alaska Airlines!
Unlike the other major US airlines, Alaska Airlines still offers mileage based on the distance flown, not the amount spent.
Even the lowest priced economy tickets will earn 100% miles, with bonuses for the higher economy booking classes and for first class tickets.
2) Fly with Alaska’s partner airlines
As with most airline loyalty schemes, you can also earn miles by flying with other airlines. Unlike other major US airlines, Alaska Airlines is not part of the one of the three main airline alliances, and instead have their own network of partners.
Airlines where you can earn miles with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan include:
- Aer Lingus
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- Ravn Alaska
- Singapore Airlines
Note that you can earn miles with American Airlines only on international flights and on domestic flights with an Alaskan Airlines (AS) flight number.
Flights with these partners all earn miles based on distance flown and fare paid (class of service and booking / inventory code). For full details see the tables on Alaska Airline’s website.
3) Take advantage of premium cabin bonuses
Alaska airlines is particularly generous with awarding miles for flights in premium cabins. There are two bonuses applied to such flights:
- A class of service bonus with all airline partners (for premium economy, business or first class), ranging from 25% up to 200%.
- An extra “additional bonus” for business and first class with a number of partners. For many airlines this is 100% in business and 200% in first class.
All these bonuses can be checked in detail in the tables provided by Alaska Airlines.
These bonuses together can be very lucrative! For example for flights with British Airways in business class the class of service bonus is up to 150% and the additional bonus 200%, giving a total earning rate of up to 350% of miles flown. In first class this increases to up to 500%!
This can make crediting these flight to Alaska Airlines much more rewarding than crediting to these airlines own schemes!
4) Monitor mileage bonus offers and route specials
Alaska Airlines regularly runs bonus mile promotions – often on specific routes that they fly. These can be a great chance to earn more miles – you never know when you might be able to shift travel plans to take advantage!
Such offers will appear in the Deals section on the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan website and will normally be sent by email to registered members. Recent deals included double miles on 50 routes across the network for 6 months from September 2017 to February 2018.
5) Use the Alaska Airlines co-branded credit card
To earn miles without flying, one of the best ways is to take out a credit card that will award Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. There are two main credit cards in the US market that offer this.
The first of these is the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card. This awards 3 miles per dollar on spend with Alaska Airlines, and 1 mile per dollar on all other spending. There is also a popular benefit of a $99 (plus taxes) companion fare with Alaska Airlines each year, and often a welcome bonus miles offer. There is an annual fee of $75.
6) Use the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
A more flexible credit card earning option is to use the The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Card. This awards hotel points at the rate of 6 points per dollar at Marriott and SPG hotels, and 2 points for dollar for all spend elsewhere.
The card has an annual fee of $95, but also comes with an attractive starting offer of a bonus 75,000 points if you spend $3000 in the first 3 months of card ownership.
Marriott points can be transferred to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles at a 3:1 ratio. They can of course also be used for hotels with Marriott or SPG, or transferred to many other airlines, making this a great flexible credit card option for the traveler.
7) Take advantage of credit card referral offers
There are often promotional referral offers for holders of the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card. These are usually for 2,500 to 5,000 miles per referral.
Such offers, when available, are sent out to existing cardholders. Banks of America ran such a promotion in mid-2018 offering 5,000 miles per approved referral.
If you have friends or family who can also take advantage of such a credit card, this can be a great opportunity to earn yourself some extra miles!
You can earn miles for your online shopping by using the Alaska Mileage Plan Shopping Portal. This is a great way to earn miles for the things you would buy anyway!
8) Use the Alaska Mileage Plan Shopping Portal
There are currently over 850 stores available – far too many to list here! These include many major retailers – such as Macy’s, Walmart, Best Buy and Groupon – as well as smaller and specialized retailers.
This portal works the same way as those offered by several other airlines and cashback portals. You first need to log in using your normal Alaska Mileage Plan login details. You can then browse the list of available retailers and offers, then click though to their own site using the links given. Purchases should then track and the appropriate miles earned in your account.
Make sure that if you have been accessing other shopping portal sites that you make the last click through before purchase on the Alaska Airlines Shopping Portal if you want to earn miles!
Keep an eye on these Alaska Mileage Plan Shopping Portal offers. Rates and offers change regularly, and there are often bonus offers for certain retailers. There is an “offers” tab on the portal that shows many of these, and a rotating special “Deal of the week.”
9) Check other shopping partners
As well as the Alaska Mileage Plan Shopping Portal, there are other mileage earning opportunities with specific retailers.
Partners and mileage offers can change regularly, and it is worth checking the listings on the Mileage Plan website regularly. Many of these involve using a specific promotion code, or quoting your Mileage Plan membership number at time of purchase.
For example, current offers include 20 miles per dollar spent with 1-800-Flowers.com, miles for spend with Rover.com pet services and sign up mileage offers with Vinesse Wine Clubs.
10) Use the Alaska Mileage Plan Dining program
You can earn miles for eating as well as shopping! The Alaska Mileage Plan Dining program offers miles for restaurant dining at over 10,000 locations in the United States.
Booking should be made through the online portal, and miles are awarded for total spend – including food, drink, tips and tax. Mileage earned depends on how often you use the service – and it certainly rewards more frequent users with the easy to reach VIP level:
- Basic members earn 1 mile for every 2 dollars
- Select members (simply provide valid email details and marketing permission) earn 3 miles per dollar
- VIP member (awarded after 11 bookings in a year) earn 5 miles per dollar
There is also a signup bonus of 1,000 miles with your first booking.
11) Earn miles from hotel stays
Earning miles when staying at hotels is a great option for the frequent traveler – these can really add up.
There are many hotel chains which allow you to earn airlines miles when staying – either instead of or in addition to earning points in the hotel loyalty scheme. Miles are earned either per night or stay, or based on the total amount spent.
Take a look at the lists on the mileage plan website for full details. Some of the major hotel chains included are:
- Choice Hotels – 250 miles per stay
- Marriott – Either 1 or 2 miles per dollar, depending on brand
- IHG – Either 1 or 2 miles per dollar, or 500 miles per stay, depending on brand
- Best Western – 250 miles per stay
12) Earn miles from car rentals
And don’t forget car rental when traveling as well!
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles can be earned on rentals with many of the major car rental companies.
Participants include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty. On most rentals, 50 miles per day are earned, but there are often bonuses on top of this.
Again, check the details on the Mileage Plan website as the rates and promotion offers for each company can change often.
13) Earn miles from cruise partners
Alaska airlines is partnered with cruise agency Cruises Only to earn Mileage Plan miles for any cruise booking.
These are not just earned for cruises to Alaska – but with any of the following cruise companies:
- Carnival Cruise Lines
- Costa Cruises
- Cunard Line
- Holland America
- Princess Cruises
- The Yachts of Seabourn
- Windstar Cruises
Miles are earned depending on the total booking value. A booking of up to $2999 will earn 1,000 miles and a booking over $3000 will earn 2,500 miles. Just remember to quote your Mileage Plan number when booking!
14) Sign up for online surveys
One way to earn miles without spending anything is to take online surveys which offer mileage rewards. These only offer small numbers of miles, but of course these add up!
There are two main companies which do this, E-rewards and The Opinion Terminal. Both of these require you to sign up for an account and to provide your Mileage Plan account details. You will be offered surveys which each have a variable reward. Access to E-rewards often requires an invite from Alaska Airlines to registered members.
15) Purchase miles
And if you still need miles after all these ways to earn them, you can always buy them!
Prices vary depending on the amount bought and the tax applied – as a guide 60,000 Mileage Plan miles were priced at $1,773 in January 2019.
This is often viewed as not the best way to obtain miles. Whilst this is true – especially when compared to many of the methods described here – there are times it is useful to top up your account for a specific redemption.
Keep an eye out as well for bonus offers on purchases. There are often promotions where you will earn additional miles when you purchase, and this is of course a good time to top up! Up to 50% bonus was offered on all purchases in December 2018 for example.