Mileage Plan is the loyalty program of Alaska Airlines and is surprisingly useful for travellers, as the scheme has a wide range of partners including Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
Note that Alaska Airlines is joining the oneworld alliance in early 2021, opening up even more redemption opportunities.
As Mileage Plan is based in the USA, earning opportunities for Australians is limited. Instead, it’s more common to buy miles when on sale, or credit flights to Mileage Plan from other airline partners.
Once earned, you can use those miles for ticket redemptions across a broad range of airlines and travel classes, making Mileage Plan an extremely versatile tool.
This guide is ground zero for those who are just starting off. Read on for how to join the program, earn as many miles as you can, and use them for maximum value.
How do I join Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan?
Signing up to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is free. You can sign up using this link.
- Go to the Mileage Plan enrolment page
- Enter your personal details, then choose a User ID and password
- Decide whether to opt-in to newsletters
- Click ‘Join Mileage Plan’ to finalise your registration
How do I earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles?
The quickest way to earn Mileage Plan miles in Australia is by buying it whenever it’s on sale. We have a dedicated guide to buying Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles that is worth a read, as some limits do apply.
For longer-term earn, it’s also a good idea to think about crediting flights from various airline partners into your Mileage Plan account. Did you know you can credit your Qantas, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific flights to Mileage Plan?
In full, Mileage Plan’s airline partners are:
- Aer Lingus
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Emirates (until 31 July 2021)
- Fiji Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Qatar Airways (from 1 August 2021)
- Ravn Alaska
- Singapore Airlines
You could also:
- earn Mileage Plan miles from hotel stays with booked with chains or online travel agents such as Best Western, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy or Rocketmiles.
- earn Mileage Plan miles from car rentals with Budget, Hertz, Thrifty, Avis and more
(There are other ways to earn points when you’re based in the US, such as through financial products and shopping, but we won’t cover them in this guide for Aussie readers).
How do I redeem Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles?
Although you can use Mileage Plan miles for hotels or a magazine subscription, by far the most popular use of Alaska Airlines miles is using it for reward flights on Alaska Airlines and its partner carriers.
The best starting point is the award chart on the Alaska website, which details the costs for miles to use from Australia and New Zealand on Qantas, Fiji Airways, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines.
Alaska Airlines is a bit spotty at allowing award redemptions and costs for travel outside of North America. In some cases it’s allowed, in others, it is not. If the award chart doesn’t show your route, it’s probably not permitted.
If you can’t find a result online, you’ll need to call Alaska via Skype or similar to confirm availability and try and research or book over the phone.
Booking Qantas with Mileage Plan
The Qantas award chart for Alaska Mileage Plan looks like this, as of October 2020:
|QF one-way routes||Economy||Premium Economy||Business||First|
|Australia to the US||42,500||47,500||55,000||70,000|
You’ll note that all intra-Australia travel is marked at one price — 12,500 miles for Economy and 20,000 miles for Business Class, each way. This gives great value for purchasing miles for longer Business Class class redemptions, such as East-West Coast transcontinental treks.
Booking Cathay Pacific with Mileage Plan
You can net a one-way Business Class ticket between Australia and Hong Kong for a rather ridiculous 30,000 miles (that’s a ridiculously good price, for the avoidance of any doubt).
Flights between Australia and the USA via Hong Kong are available for quite reasonable rates too, topping out at 80,000 miles for First Class.
|CX one-way routes||Economy||Premium Economy||Business||First|
|Australia to Hong Kong||22,500||25,000||30,000||45,000|
|Australia to the US||40,000||47,500||60,000||80,000|
Booking Singapore Airlines with Mileage Plan
The ability to redeem Alaska Airlines miles on Singapore Airlines flights was only introduced in October 2019. It’s possible to use miles to travel at these rates:
|SQ one-way routes||Economy||Premium Economy||Business||First|
|Australia to South East Asia||30,000||–||65,000||90,000|
|Within South East Asia||17,500||–||25,000||35,000|
The miles needed remains the same no matter where you start your journey in Australia, and covers travel to Singapore and onwards to another city within South East Asia.
Free stopovers in Singapore are also permitted, making this a much better option if you want to visit multiple cities while paying the same number of miles overall.
Another sweet spot is for flights within South East Asia. Business Class and First Class is priced at a reasonable 25,000 and 35,000 Alaska miles each. For that rate, you could go from Bangkok to Singapore to Hong Kong in a premium cabin, all for just 25k or 35k miles!
Adding stopovers to Mileage Plan awards
A stopover is where you break one ticket into two or more flights across different days by stopping in an intermediate city that you would normally transit through. One stopover is allowed for most one-way awards.
Put more simply, if you are flying between two countries, you can usually have a stopover in a hub city of the airline you’re flying — such as Singapore for Singapore Airlines and Hong Kong for Cathay Pacific.
To clarify, if you are flying Qantas from Sydney to Perth and want a stopover in Melbourne, that is not possible because this is a purely domestic itinerary within the same country.
Tip: If you are flying a round-trip journey, book ait s two one-ways instead to potentially get free stopovers in both directions.
How do I earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status?
Alaska Airlines has three main status levels above the basic membership: MVP, MBP Gold and MVP Gold 75K. There’s also a ‘Million Miler’ tier which is MVP Gold status for life. Most Australians won’t be looking to earn Alaska Airline status, but we’ll quickly outline the benefits here.
These tiers will eventually see some major changes once Alaska Airlines joins oneworld as a full member, expected in early 2021. This guide will be updated accordingly.
Mileage Plan MVP
To achieve or maintain with Alaska Airlines only: 20,000 miles
To achieve or maintain with Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partner airlines: 25,000 miles or 30 segments
Benefits of Mileage Plan MVP include:
- 50% bonus points on base miles earned
- 2x free checked bags with Alaska Airlines
- Priority check-in and boarding
- US$50 off Alaska Lounge membership
- First Class and Premium Class upgrades, on some fares where available
Mileage Plan MVP Gold
To achieve or maintain with Alaska Airlines only: 40,000 miles
To achieve or maintain with Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partner airlines: 50,000 miles or 60 segments
In addition to MVP benefits, MVP Gold members get:
- 100% bonus points on base miles earned
- Companion upgrades to First and Premium Class
- Complimentary premium beverage in Economy Class
- US$100 off Alaska Lounge membership
- 4x one-way First Class guest upgrade vouchers
- Express security line at some airports
- Waived ticket change fees
- Complimentary same-day flight changes
Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K
To achieve or maintain with Alaska Airlines only: 75,000 miles
To achieve or maintain with Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partner airlines: 90,000 miles or 90 segments
As well as MVP Gold benefits, MVP Gold 75K members get:
- 125% bonus points on base miles earned
- 50,000 bonus miles upon qualification
- US$150 off Alaska Lounge membership
- 4x Alaska Lounge day passes
- Nominate someone for MVP status
How do I contact Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan?
To get in touch with Mileage Plan about a membership enquiry or flight redemption, try:
- calling 1-800-654-5669 from the US or 0011-800-25275200 from Australia (charges may apply)
- sending them a direct message on Twitter or Facebook
- submitting an online enquiry
While the call centre might be the quickest way to resolve your issue, try the social media channels if the line is busy or you’re not able to call overseas numbers.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a unique loyalty program that offers interesting earn and rewards opportunities for point hackers all around the world, even those in Australia and New Zealand.
Given Mileage Plan miles can be easily purchased when on sale and be easily earned when flying on a number of well-known partner airlines, it’s not too hard to rack up a decent balance.
All the fun comes when it’s time to redeem, as there are quite a number of good ‘sweet spots’ including 20,000 miles for Qantas domestic Business Class (including long flights to Perth) and 30,000 miles for Cathay Pacific Business Class to Hong Kong.
Alaska Airline’s entry into oneworld will likely bring big changes to the Mileage Plan program, both positive and negative. We will keep this guide updated when the latest news comes out.
Supplementary images courtesy respective airlines. This guide was originally written by Matt Moffitt.