A Beginner’s Guide To The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

»»»A Beginner’s Guide To The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

A Beginner’s Guide To The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

By |2018-12-30T18:55:29+00:00September 16th, 2017|Categories: Beginner's Guide To Travel Hacking, How To Travel Hack|Tags: , |

Objective:

Highlight the basics of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program, including how to sign-up for an account, how to navigate the website, and an overview of partner airlines.

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Learning Outcomes:

  • Know how to sign up for an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account
  • Know how to navigate the Alaska Airlines website, including where to find your account info
  • Learn how to contact Alaska Airlines for inquires or partner award bookings
  • Know where to find Mileage Plan award ticket prices
  • Know the sweet spots of the Mileage Plan program
  • Know the cautionary notes of the program

Introduction

Alaska Airlines started as a humble airline servicing Alaska, and has quickly grown into a major player in the domestic market in The United States. While not a member of any of the 3 big alliances, Alaska has unique partnerships with almost twenty airlines from each of the ‘Big 3’. While not often considered by Canadians given the lack of service to Eastern Canada, the Mileage Plan program is actually incredibly valuable given the access to partner award flights and competitive redemption rates.

How To Sign Up For An Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Account

Canadians have two options to sign up for a Mileage Plan account:

  • Apply for the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard. You will automatically be enrolled upon approval and your account information will be mailed with your new card
  • Sign up through the Alaska Airlines website

Signing up through the website is fast and instant. To start, head to the Alaska Airlines homepage and find the login tab on the top right hand side. By clicking on it, you will see the sign-up link at the bottom of login area.

Similar to most airline programs, the sign-up procedure is quick and easy, starting with your personal information.

Followed by your contact information:

And then your mailing address and username/password.

Once you’re signed up, you will receive an email confirmation and you’re ready to start earning Alaska miles!

Using The Alaska Airlines Website

Once you’re registered, use your login information to sign-in near the top right hand side of the homepage. After logging in you will be at the user dashboard, where you can quickly see all of your profile information, including status progress, Mileage Plan balance, recent activity, preferences, etc.

I find the Alaska website to be clean and simple, which is refreshing compared to some other airlines. From the homepage, its very easy to book a flight, navigate to your account information, the explore tab, or travel info.

How To Use The Alaska Airlines Award Mileage Chart

To find the prices for award tickets on Alaska and other partner airlines, find the ‘Award Charts’ link under the Mileage Plan tab from the homepage.

Alaska award charts are easy to read, and can be filtered by origin and destination. Once those are selected, a list of airlines and respective mileage requirements will be displayed. Alaska is a little bit different in that each partner airline has different reward pricing and rules (which is discussed in another module).

As you can see, the prices vary by airline for flights from Canada to Asia:

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Sweet Spots and Words of Warning

What’s Great About Mileage Plan:

Alaska Airlines is one of my favourite programs for redemptions on partner airlines. Not only do they have generous routing options, their redemption rates are much lower than most of the large carriers in North America. Some great uses of Alaska miles include:

  • Business class to Asia from North America on Cathay Pacific
  • First Class to Asia from North America on Cathay Pacific
  • First/business class to Africa from North America on Cathay Pacific
  • First/business class to Australia from North America on Qantas
  • Free stopover on one-way reward bookings

While Alaska Airlines doesn’t operate any international flights, and partner availability from Canada can be limited, all reward flights allow position flights on Alaska operated flights for no additional charge. For example, if I wanted to fly from Vancouver to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific in first class but could only find flights from Los Angeles with award availability, I could easily add a positioning flight to the ticket from Bellingham or Seattle at no additional charge.

What’s Not So Great About Mileage Plan:

  • Alaska miles expire after 2 years of inactivity, and can be reinstated for one year after that for a fee. To keep an account alive, you can fly on any Alaska operated flight or partner airline and credit the miles to your account, purchase something through the online shopping portal, or use your MBNA Alaska Mileage Plan Mastercard
  • Alaska does not allow multiple partner airlines on the same award ticket, except for flights on Alaska. For example, if I wanted to fly from Vancouver to Tokyo and onwards to Hong Kong, It would all have to be on Cathay Pacific. I could not fly to Tokyo on Japan Airlines and onwards to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific
  • Alaska Miles can be tough to earn in Canada compared to Aeroplan and other American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners

How To Contact Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska Air is one of the airlines I call most. Thankfully, their call centre is very pleasant to get in touch with, with competent, well-trained staff and very low hold times. To get in touch with Alaska by phone or other methods, simply click on the ‘contact us’ link near the login area from the homepage. Unlike some programs, Alaska doesn’t try to hide their phone numbers behind pages of frequently asked questions.

American Express Platinum Canada

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

  • Get a $200 travel credit & airport lounge access worldwide.
  • $699 annual fee.

Apply Now!

About the Author:

Champagne taste on a beer budget has always been reminiscent of Tyler’s travel style. Raised in British Columbia, Tyler has an unquenchable thirst for more adventure, which is fueled by leveraging airline and hotel loyalty programs to travel the world in luxury and style. Want to learn how you can travel the world on points, like Tyler? Sign up for an American Express Platinum card and get 50,000 bonus points and a $200 travel credit towards your next dream vacation. (Offer subject to approval and when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months).

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