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WebFlyer Home > Programs > Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & Reviews

(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

(314 ratings)


This program was reviewed and rated by our editors in May 2012. Changes in the program past this date are possible, especially program partner information. We recommend you subscribe to the #1 source of frequent flyer information, Inside Flyer Magazine, to get the most current information possible.

North of Expected

Some frequent flyers view Alaska Airlines' non-participation in a global alliance as a disadvantage. Other flyers, however, view it as an opportunity to earn and redeem miles across airlines from different alliances.

The Seattle-based airline has recently strengthened its ties to Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, and Mileage Plan elite members now receive elite benefits on the two partner airlines from two different global airline alliances. Travelers who fly frequently with Delta and American can choose to bank their miles in one program, Mileage Plan, to reach awards more quickly.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air together serve more than 100 cities through a network in Alaska, the Lower 48 States, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska has a major presence in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Anchorage and Portland, Ore. and has been flying to Hawaii since 2007.



Members earn one mile per mile flown on Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Unlike most legacy carriers, the program continues to offer a minimum of 500 miles for short hops. First class fares earn an additional 50 percent bonus miles and Full Flex Y class fares earn an additional 25 percent. Earning varies with partner airlines and most offer actual flight miles with fewer miles for discounted coach fares and more miles for higher fare classes.

Every Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card purchase of tickets, ancillary products, vacation packages and in-flight purchases earns three miles per dollar. Members can also earn miles for all credit card purchases, hotel stays, car rentals and retail purchases, among other mileage earning activities.



Mileage Plan's award structure has two tiers for first class flights and three tiers for coach. Super Saver coach awards are 25,000 miles roundtrip on flights within the continental U.S. and Canada and are capacity controlled. Choice coach awards at 40,000 miles roundtrip offer greater availability and members who book Full Flex coach for 55,000 miles roundtrip have unrestricted access to last seat availability. Members on Full Flex coach tickets are not required to pay change or cancellation fees. In first class, only Super Saver and Full Flex awards are offered at 50,000 miles and 100,000 miles, respectively.

Mileage Plan offers one-way awards for half the required number of miles for roundtrip. Members can book a Saver Award one way and a Peak or Choice Award for the return trip or mix and match fare classes on award tickets.

Award flights to Mexico start at 35,000 miles in Super Saver coach and 65,000 miles in Super Saver first and Alaska Airlines flights to Hawaii start at 40,000 miles in Super Saver coach and 75,000 miles in Super Saver first.

Mileage Plan's award options are in line with the rest of the industry with the addition of intra-state awards that can been booked for a bargain 15,000 miles for a Super Saver coach award flight wholly within one state (Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon or Washington).

Budget-conscious travelers can watch for limited-time award sales that can save members 5,000 to 10,000 miles on flights to select destinations.

One-way upgrades to first class require 15,000 miles and can be used systemwide on Alaska Airlines flights, including flights to Hawaii. No cash co-pay is required but members can only request an upgrade from Full Flex or Value fare categories (Y, YAS, S, B, M or H). Mileage upgrades can also be requested in conjunction with Money & Miles awards.

Alaska Airlines has a good reputation when it comes to award availability. The airline had the highest percentage of travelers flying on award tickets last year of all the U.S. carriers at 8.9 percent.

Mileage Plan members can redeem a Money & Miles award for a discounted fare. Members can redeem 10,000 miles for a 50 percent discount, up to a $100 reduction in fare or 20,000 miles for a 50 percent discount up to $200. Money & Miles awards can only be booked online and not over the phone.

Members can bid miles on online auction items and donate miles to Alaska Airlines Charity Miles. Hotel award stays, car rentals or other types of non-flight awards are not available.



Mileage Plan's partner list isn't lengthy but it's solid and gives members access to many worldwide destinations. Since we last reviewed the program, Mileage Plan has added partnerships with Icelandair and Emirates. Other partners include American, Air France, Air Pacific, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Era Alaska, Kenmore Air, KLM, Korean Air, LAN, PenAir and Qantas. Alaska Airlines charges a $25 non-refundable fee for all awards booked on partner airlines.

Hotel partners include Best Western, Choice Hotels, Hilton, La Quinta, Marriott, InterContinental and Starwood. Mileage Plan also partners with a host of smaller and regional hotel groups. Members can generally expect to earn up to 500 miles per stay or two miles per $1 spent for qualifying hotel stays with most partners.

Members earn 50 miles per day on car rentals with Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty; 500 miles per rental of five or more days with Hertz and Avis.

Bank of America is Alaska Airlines' co-branded credit card issuer and members in the U.S. can choose from the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card or Business Card. Members in Canada can choose the Platinum Plus or Preferred MasterCard product.

The Visa Signature Card has a $75 annual fee and comes with a 25,000-mile sign up bonus and a $99 base fare companion ticket each year. The card offers three miles per $1 spent on Alaska Airlines flights and vacation packages and one mile per $1 spent everywhere else. The annual companion discount fare allows cardholders to book a ticket for a companion on the same reservation for $99 plus taxes and fees when traveling on Alaska Airlines.

While many banks are cutting debit card rewards programs, members can still earn miles with the Alaska Airlines Visa Debit Card. With an annual fee of $30, the card earns one mile per $2 spent (one mile per $1 on Alaska Airlines purchases) plus 3,000 bonus miles with first purchase.

Mileage Plan partners with Diners Club and U.S. cardholders can transfer points into miles at a 1:1 ratio. Canadian cardholders can convert 1.25 points into one mile. With Mileage Plan Dining by Rewards Network members can earn up to five miles per $1 spent at restaurants. New members can receive 500 bonus miles.

The partner list is rounded out by Teleflora and FTD (10 miles per $1); Masterpark (25 miles per day); Alaska Airlines Cruises (between 1,500 and 5,000 miles), Vinesse Wine Club (2,250 for registering and five miles per $1 spent), ThanksAgain (one mile per $1 spent), Esurance (up to 500 bonus miles), Points.com, e-Miles, e-Rewards and telecommunications provider GCI (one mile per $1 spent). Members can also earn 125 miles for every $250 spent at Safeway stores in Alaska.

Mileage Plan's shopping mall partnership ended January 2011. Alaska intends to launch a new, much more robust, mall program soon.



Alaska's elite program is three-tiered: MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K. Attaining MVP status requires 20,000 miles flown on Alaska during a calendar year; 25,000 miles flown on a combination of Alaska, Air France, American, Delta, Emirates, KLM or LAN; or 30 segments.

MVP members receive a 50-percent mileage bonus on Alaska Airlines, Air France, American, Delta, KLM or LAN flights; unlimited complimentary upgrades (Value fares booked in S or B or Full Flex fares in Y; 48 hours prior to departure on other fares); complimentary upgrades on Delta within the U.S. (excluding Hawaii), Canada, Mexico and select Caribbean destinations; a dedicated customer service line; Priority AAccess on American; preferred seating and priority boarding (on Alaska, American and Delta), a 50-percent discount on the initiation fee and discounted Board Room membership, two complimentary checked bags on Alaska and American; one free checked bag on Delta.

MVP Gold is reached after flying 40,000 miles on Alaska or Horizon; 50,000 miles on Alaska, Air France, American, Delta, Emirates, KLM or LAN; or 60 segments in a calendar year. MVP Gold members receive a 100-percent mileage flight bonus and can expect all the benefits of MVP, with a few extra perks. Unlimited upgrades are available at any time on Y, S, B, M, H or value and full-flex fares and 72 hours prior on other fares. Gold members also receive unlimited upgrades for one travel companion, priority standby and waitlist, four one-way guest upgrade awards annually, two free checked bags on Delta, waiver of service charges and change fees, Sky Priority benefits on Delta, free same day standby, express security lines at select airports and the Board Room initiation fee is waived. Members also receive a complimentary premium beverage when traveling in coach, the opportunity to attend an MVP Gold lunch and the ability to give employee recognition certificates.

MVP Gold 75K is reached after flying 75,000 miles on Alaska or Horizon; 90,000 miles on Alaska, Air France, American, Delta, Emirates, KLM or LAN; or 90 segments in a calendar year. MVP Gold 75K members receive top priority on the first class waitlist on qualifying fares and the ability to upgrade 120 hours prior to departure on non-qualifying fares, ability to nominate a friend or family member to MVP status, 50,000-mile threshold bonus when you reach the MVP Gold 75K level, dedicated customer service line, complimentary DigEplayer when flying in the main cabin, a discounted Board Room membership and four complimentary day passes.

Mileage Plan also offers a lifetime Gold elite-level membership to members who earn a million miles through flying Alaska and Horizon.



Mileage Plan miles don't expire as long as you earn or redeem miles every 24 months. Accounts that are inactive for two years may be closed and miles forfeited. Deleted mileage can be reinstated for a $75 fee for up to one year. Awards are transferable and may be issued in anyone's name. Award travel is subject to blackout dates and capacity controls.

Miles cannot be combined but they can be purchased, given as a gift and transferred. Miles cost $27.50 per 1,000 miles and you can transfer 1,000 to 30,000 miles at a cost of $10 per 1,000 miles, plus a $25 per transaction processing fee. One en-route stopover at an eligible city is allowed on roundtrip award itineraries. When award travel is redeemed solely on Alaska Airlines, one enroute stopover is allowed in each direction. Awards with stopovers must be booked by calling the service center.

Members cannot combine flights on partner airlines when booking a partner award. For example, for flights to Europe, you can't book one segment on Air France and another on British Airways. The only exception is you can combine flights on Air France and KLM. You can also include flights on Alaska Airlines on partner awards.



Members are often impressed by Alaska Airlines customer service. When we called on a Monday afternoon, we were connected to a customer service representative in less than two minutes. Members can contact the Mileage Plan service center between 8am and 5:45pm Pacific time, Monday through Friday, but not on weekends. Call centers are located in Phoenix, Seattle and Boise and representatives have a reputation for being well-trained and knowledgeable about the program. Customer care can also be contacted via email.



Awards on Alaska Airlines can be booked online and partner awards on some of Alaska's partner airlines, such as American Airlines and Delta, can also be booked online. Most partner awards, however, must be booked over the phone. And if you call to book a partner award, there's a $15 phone fee. Elite members at the MVP Gold level and above are exempt from the phone-ticketing fee but are required to pay the $25 partner fee.

Mileage Plan has good award availability and exceptional customer service. The $99 companion ticket for co-branded credit cardholders is a generous benefit many members value. The companion ticket has no travel restrictions and can be used on all published fares, including first class. Award change fees are waived for elite members and Mileage Plan offers a complimentary premium beverage to elites traveling in coach. The program runs frequent award sales and offers a 500-mile minimum.

Alaska doesn't participate in one of the worldwide alliances and members can't mix and match partner airlines on award tickets. Members can redeem miles for a flight on Alaska Airlines, Alaska Airlines and one partner airline or a partner airline only. Non-flight awards are also missing.

(800) 622-2680
(800) 654-5669

Mileage Plan
PO Box 24948-SEAGT
Seattle, WA 98124-0948

  Earning Ability Award Choices Partnerships Elite-Level Rules & Conditions Service Support Online Services Overall Rating
7.00 7.00 7.50 8.50 8.00 9.00 8.50 7.93
7.13 6.61 6.72 6.54 6.14 6.90 6.99 6.72

(314 ratings)


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