If you’re based in Australia and you’re looking for a way to stockpile some valuable points currencies, it might be time to start considering Alaska Airlines miles as a viable option.
At first it might sound like a strange play to begin piling on miles from Alaska Airlines from across the pond in Australia, but you can redeem Alaska miles with regional airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Japan Airlines, Fiji Airways, and Korean Air as well as worldwide with airlines such as Finnair and Emirates.
With such a good payout, it’s woefully difficult to find a simple way to earn those miles while in Australia. The Alaska Airlines Visa credit card is not available to Australian citizens and flying directly on Alaska Airlines is not possible within Australia. However, there are ways to collect and start earning Alaska Airlines miles if you are intelligent and intentional about doing so.
Buying Alaska miles
With the more conventional avenues of credit card rewards and direct bookings off the table, the best bet to earn a bunch of miles quickly is to purchase Alaska Airlines miles directly from the airline.
This is easily done through the Alaska Airlines website, and after you sign up for an account with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Program, you are free to purchase miles in increments of 1,000 for US $27.50 (~$AU39), with somewhat regular mileage sale bonuses.
Earning Alaska miles
Another way to start racking up Alaska miles, albeit more slowly, is to begin crediting your partner flights to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Since Qantas is one of Alaska’s partners, anytime you are flying Qantas, you could be earning Alaska Airlines miles. Just pop your Alaska Airlines number into your booking and miles should credit automatically.
You can also credit your Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific flights (amongst others) to Mileage Plan.
Using Alaska miles
It’s useless to encourage you to start stockpiling Alaska Airlines miles without giving you some sort of real incentive, so here are a few routes that are most likely to be useful.
1. Fly from Australia to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific
In Business Class, this fare will put you back only 30,000 Alaska miles, which is an incredible sweet spot because it’s only 7,500 more miles than economy! With this deal, it would almost be ridiculous not to class up. Enjoy the captivating high rise of Hong Kong’s metropolis as well as the surprising natural areas and invigorating hikes just outside of the city.
2. Fly Business Class from Australia to the US on Fiji Airways
This trip could include a free stopover in Fiji, and the redemption is only 55,000 miles. Fly to exciting West Coast cities such as Los Angeles or San Francisco after a quiet island vacation in relaxing Fiji.
3. Fly Business Class from Australia to Hawaii, the US or Mexico on Qantas
Instead of flying with Fiji, you can also fly with Qantas to sunny Hawaii, the US or vibrant Mexico City. And don’t forget about making use of a stopover for no additional miles! For these routes, the Business Class redemption is only 55,000 miles.
4. Fly First Class from Australia to the US on Qantas
This time, bump it up to First Class for only 70,000 miles—this is incredible value! At only 15,000 more miles than Business Class, you can make the same trans-Pacific flight but enjoy yourself with the comfort of Qantas First Class (if you can find award availability).
5. Fly Business Class within Australia on Qantas
This deal is available from only 20,000 miles, which can be pretty inexpensive considering the size of Australia. While this option is available for most intra-Australia flights, it isn’t such a great deal for nearby cities such as Sydney to Melbourne. However, it would be a fantastic value on a transcontinental flight such as the route between Sydney and Perth, which Qantas offers for 36,000 points.
6. Fly Economy within Australia on Qantas
Putting you back 12,500 miles, this isn’t as good of a deal as the 10,000 miles that American Airlines charges for economy within Australia. However, this can still deliver good value for expensive off-the-beaten-path destinations, such as getting up to Hamilton Island or inward to Uluru.
Enjoy the tropical paradise of the Whitsunday Islands which are located close to the Great Barrier Reef, providing an excellent opportunity to go snorkeling. For a completely different trip, head to Uluru to explore the Red Centre of the Northern Territory. This massive sandstone monolith is sacred to indigenous people and seems to catch fire during sunrise and sunset.
7. Fly Business Class from Australia to the US or Canada with Korean Air
In Business Class, this redemption costs 125,000 miles roundtrip. You do need to book roundtrip, and availability can be hard to find. However, there are no fuel surcharges, and you can take a free stopover in Seoul when flying roundtrip with Korean Air. This would be an excellent chance to spend some time in the capital of South Korea, enjoying delicious Korean barbecue, deeply rooted historical districts, and dynamic shopping neighborhoods.
8. Fly Premium Economy from Australia to the US or Canada on Cathay Pacific
Premium Economy is heaps better than regular Economy and costs just 7,500 more miles when you fly with Cathay Pacific. Visit beautiful, mountainous Vancouver, exciting Los Angeles or buzzing San Francisco using this route.
These are just eight of the route-class combinations for which you can use your new stash of Alaska Airlines miles. A few of them come with some great stopover options which can help you expand your trips in new and exciting ways.
However, it is always a good idea to know the rules regarding the stopovers before you take off. Stopovers are allowed on one-way trips unless you’re traveling with Korean Air, so you’ll need to book a roundtrip fare if you’d like to explore Seoul. Otherwise, you can add Fiji, Hong Kong, Seoul, or a US gateway city for some extra adventures on your one-way ticket.
Better yet, if you use Alaska miles to fly back to Australia, you can stopover in a different city on your return flight!
Note that once you start using your Alaska miles and flying under the umbrella of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program, you can begin earning Alaska Airlines miles by flying Qantas and crediting to Alaska, for example.
In many cases, you’ll earn more miles with Alaska than you would have earned with Qantas anyway! In that case, it’s a win-win!
Have we convinced you to start building a stash of Alaska Airlines miles? Tell us about your favorite Alaska redemptions in the comments.
Looking for more inspiration for how to spend your hard-earned frequent flyer points?
Here is a comprehensive list of all of our Best Uses of Points guides. There may be some overlap but each guide has its own twist.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Best uses of Qantas Points
- ‘Ultimate’ uses of Qantas Points
- Best uses of 60,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 75,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 80,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Qantas Points
- When it makes sense to use your Qantas Points for domestic travel in Economy (and when it doesn’t)
- Best uses of Qantas Points from the East Coast
- Best uses of Qantas Points from Perth
- Reader responses: what is the best use of Qantas Points?
- Seven of the cheapest Qantas Points redemptions for luxurious Emirates flights
- The cheapest ways to fly Cathay Pacific First Class with Qantas Points
Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Best uses of Velocity Points
- Best uses of 40,000 Velocity Points
- Best uses of 80,000 Velocity Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Velocity Points
- Five flight redemptions that maximise your Velocity points balance
American Express Membership Rewards
- Best uses of Etihad Guest miles
- Etihad Guest vs Velocity for Virgin Australia flights comparison guide