10 Ways to Use 50,000 Alaska Airlines Miles!

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I don’t earn a commission if you are approved for the 50,000 miles Alaska Air card.  But it is one of the best cards (in my opinion) available right now.  And the highest bonus which I’ve seen on the Alaska Air card.

Not only is the minimum spending low at $1,000 within 3 months, but it is issued by Bank of America which means that you’re not applying for another card from banks like Chase, American Express and Barclays.

At the very least, 50,000 Alaska Air miles could get you:

  • 2 domestic round-trip coach flights on American Airlines or Delta within the US
  • 1 round-trip coach flight to Hawaii
  • 1-Way to Asia in Business Class on Cathay Pacific
  • 1-Way to India or Africa in Coach on Cathay Pacific
  • $100 off an Alaska Air ticket of $200+ for 10,000 miles

Using Alaska Air Miles

Link:  Using Alaska Air Miles

Some folks may not be familiar with Alaska Airlines, so here are 10 ways to use 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles.

1.   20,000 Miles for $200 off Alaska Airlines Flights 

If you book a paid flight on Alaska Airlines, you can use Money & Miles for a discount of up to 50% of the retail cost of the flight.

This is only available for flights booked online and on Alaska Airlines flights (sometimes called “Alaska Airlines metal”).

Money & Miles is NOT available for codeshare flights flown by partner airlines such as American Airlines or Delta.

Here’s how it works:

  •  Use 10,000 miles to reduce the price of a ticket by up to $100
  • Or 20,000 miles to reduce the price by up to $200
How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can Save up to $200 on Your Ticket With Money & Miles

For example, if you buy an Alaska Airlines ticket for $250, you can redeem 10,000 miles to take $100 off the price of the ticket.  So you’ll end up paying $150 and 10,000 miles for the flight.

If you use 20,000 miles, you would only save $125, because you can only get a discount up to 50% of the ticket price.

But if you buy a ticket that costs $400+, you can use 20,000 miles to take $200 off the price!

Miles & Money Example

You would pay ~$584 to fly roundtrip from Seattle to Maui roundtrip on Alaska Air on February 6, 2014.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You’d Pay ~$584 to fly From Seattle to Maui Roundtrip.

The same trip would only cost you ~$384 + 20,000 miles, if you used Money & Miles.  You’d save $200 cash and getting a value of 1 cent per mile for each Alaska Air mile used.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

But Using Money & Miles, You’d pay ~$383 + 20,000 Miles & Save $200!

An award ticket to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines usually costs 40,000 miles, but if there are no award seats available when you want to travel, you can still use miles to lower the cost!

You can use Money & Miles on any paid Alaska Airlines reservation, including domestic flights, flights to Hawaii, Mexico, or within Alaska.

With Miles & Money you don’t have to worry about award seats being available and you earn miles on your paid ticket!

2.   $99 Companion Ticket

The Alaska Airlines credit card comes with an annual companion ticket voucher valid for one year.

This can be used on any paid coach ticket on Alaska Airlines.  You cannot use it on flights booked on partner airlines (such as American Airlines) or on codeshare flights flown by partner airlines.

With the companion voucher, you pay for the first ticket, but the second ticket only costs $99 + taxes.  And both passengers earn miles on these tickets!

There are some restrictions when using a Companion Fare, such as that you have to travel in coach and that both passengers (not necessarily the card holder!) must be booked in the same itinerary.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

$99 Companion Fare Fine Print

You can use the companion voucher on round-trip or one-way travel.  In addition, you can gift the companion voucher to friends or family to use, as long as the person who holds the companion voucher arranges and purchases the tickets!

You receive one companion voucher each year you have the Alaska Airline credit card.  Each companion voucher expires after one year, but you can book future flights as long as you book the tickets before the voucher expires.

Where is my Companion Ticket Voucher and how do I use it?

Step 1 – Login & Click “Discount Codes”

To find your companion voucher, sign in to your Alaska Airlines account on alaskaair.com.

From the top right of the page, under the “My Account” tab, click “Discount Codes.”

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Step 1 – Click “Discount Codes” to Find Your Companion Ticket Voucher

Step 2 – Click “SHOP”

You will see a page that includes all discount codes on your Alaska Airlines account.  The companion voucher is labeled “Bank of America Companion Fare.”

Click “SHOP” to open a booking page with your companion voucher code already filled in.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Step 2 – Click “SHOP”

Be sure to book your flight before the companion voucher expires.

You can use the companion voucher for flights flown after the expiration date of the companion voucher, but they have to be booked before the voucher expires.

Step 3 – Search for Flights

After clicking “SHOP,” you can search flights for 2 people using your companion voucher.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Step 3 – Search for Flights

I found nonstop flights from Sacramento to Maui on September 12, 2014.  The price came out to $673 for 2 passengers!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Roundtrip From Sacramento to Maui for $673 for 2 People!

Looking at the price breakdown, we see that the first passenger pays the full fare of ~$535, while the companion passenger pays only ~$138.  That’s almost $400 saved using the companion voucher!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You Save ~$400 Using the Alaska Air Companion Voucher!

This can be a great value if you need to travel when award tickets might not be available, like Hawaii during the peak travel season.

The main restrictions with the companion voucher are that you can only fly on Alaska Airlines and that you can only book a coach ticket.  This is one of the “secret” ways to save money on flights to Hawaii!

3.   Use Alaska Air Miles to Fly on Other Airlines!

Alaska Airlines is not in an alliance, but they have partnerships with many airlines, including:

You can book awards with Alaska Airlines’ partner airlines for a $12.50 fee each way or $25 for a roundtrip.  It’s a small fee, but awards booked through Alaska Airlines have no fuel surcharges (except for flights on British Airways).

So you can use Alaska Air mils to fly on Alaska Air as well as a lot of other airlines!  Let’s look at some of the rules for booking awards on Alaska Air.

Rules for Alaska Airlines Awards

A.   One-Way Awards

You can book one-way awards with Alaska miles.

B.   Stopovers

If your award is solely on Alaska Airlines flights, you can have a stopover on a one-way award (even on domestic or Hawaii awards!)

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Alaska Air lets you Have a Stopover on a one-way Award

You can book one-way awards on any of Alaska Airline’s partner airlines.  When booking international partner airline awards, you can also have a stopover on a one-way award!

However, one-way awards on Delta and Korean Air price at the round-trip level.  In other words, you will pay the full round-trip price for a one-way award on Delta or Korean Air.  This means that you should try to book Delta or Korean Air awards only as part of a round-trip.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Don’t Book one-way Awards on Delta and Korea Air

C.   Mixing Partner Airlines

This is the most restrictive part about partner airline awards on Alaska Air.

When you book a partner award ticket, you can only have ONE partner airline in addition to Alaska Airlines for each one-way segment.

For example, if you want to fly from Dallas to Hong Kong one-way, you cannot combine American Airlines and Cathay Pacific because that involves 2 partners of Alaska Airlines (American Airlines & Cathay Pacific).

However, you CAN combine Alaska Airlines and Cathay Pacific, because that only involves 1 partner airline (Cathay Pacific)

You can mix-and-match partners on a round-trip award if you use only 1 partner airline in each direction.

For example, you can fly Los Angeles to Seoul with Alaska Airlines and Delta.  You can then return from Seoul to Los Angeles  with American Airlines, because you only have 1 partner in each direction of travel!

Because the trip has Delta in one direction, it charges half the round-trip price for a Delta award to Asia.

Half of the regular round-trip price of 60,000 miles is 30,000 miles for the outbound on Delta and Alaska.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Flying from the US – Use Alaska Air miles to fly to Asia on Alaska Air and Delta

The flight back on American Airlines would cost 32,500 miles since that’s the price for an American Airlines award from Japan or Korea during the regular peak season.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Flying Back to the US – Use Alaska Air Miles to fly From Asia on American Airlines

The total price for the award is 62,500 miles.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Roundtrip to Asia Using Alaska Partner Airlines, one-way Awards for Each Direction is 62,500 Miles

D.   How to Book Partner Awards?

You can book most partner awards online at AlaskaAir.com.  If you want to book awards on Cathay Pacific or LAN, you will have to call Alaska Airlines at 800-252-7522 between 5:00 am and midnight Pacific Time.  You have to pay a $15 fee for any awards booked over the phone.

E.   Fees & Cancellations

Remember that partner awards also have a $12.50 fee for each one-way ($25 for a roundtrip).  This is in addition to the phone fee if you book over the phone.

So the fees for the above award ticket to and from Asia on Alaska Air, Delta, and American Airlines would cost $40 ($15 telephone fee + $25 partner award fee).

Alaska Airlines charges $125 for both changes and cancellations made within 60 days of travel.

But there is NO change or cancellation fee if you make changes outside of 60 days before travel!  This is a very customer-friendly policy which other airlines will of course not follow!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You pay $125 for Changes and Cancellations Made Within 60 Days of Travel…But no Charge for Changes Made Outside of 60 Days!

4.   50,000 Miles = 4 Domestic 1-way Tickets With Stopovers on Alaska Airlines

It costs 12,500 Alaska Air miles for a one-way ticket in economy class within the 49 Continental United States and Canada.

This includes flights to Alaska which can sometimes be expensive.  As its name suggests, Alaska Airlines has many flights to Alaska!

You can book one-way awards with Alaska miles.  If you book an award that is only on Alaska Airlines flights, you can have a free stopover on a domestic one-way.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You pay 25,000 Miles for a Roundtrip Coach Award

Just for fun, I wondered how much it would cost to fly from Ft. Lauderdale (the most southern mainland city Alaska Airlines flies to) to Barrow, Alaska (the most northern airport in America!)

The cheapest round-trip airfare I could find was ~$1,150!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

It Costs $1,147 to fly From Fort Lauderdale to Barrow, Alaska

But it would cost only 25,000 Alaska miles + $10 to fly similar flights on the same days!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can use 25,000 Miles + $10 to fly From Fort Lauderdale to Barrow, Alaska & Save $1,147

And because you’re allowed 1 stopover on each one-way when flying only on Alaska Airlines, you could have 2 stopovers on this round-trip.

You could stop in Anchorage on the way up and Fairbanks on the way down!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can Visit 3 Alaskan Cities for Just 25,000 Miles Total!

The stopover on one-way domestic awards is a great benefit for people who live in or near cities with lots of Alaska Airlines flights, especially west coast cities like Seattle, Portland, Anchorage, Los Angeles, San Diego, or the Bay Area.

You could schedule a stopover at your hometown and combine two trips into a single one-way award!

Here’s a post by Travel Codex explaining how to book domestic stopovers on Alaska Airlines.

And here’s a list of all the cities that Alaska Air and their affiliate airlines fly to.   Alaska Air flies to more US cities than I initially thought!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

All the Cities Where Alaska Flys!

5.   50,000 Miles = 2 Domestic Roundtrip Coach Tickets On American Airlines and Delta!

You can also book an award using your Alaska Air miles for travel on American Airlines.

A one-way in coach is still 12,500 miles each way, but you would not be allowed stopovers on a domestic award.  And you have to pay a $12.50 fee in each direction.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can use 25,000 Alaska Air Miles to fly on American Airlines Roundtrip

If you book an award that includes Delta, you will need to book a round-trip for 25,000 miles.  Plus pay a $12.50 fee for each direction of your trip.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can use 25,000 Alaska Air Miles to fly on Delta Roundtrip

You can mix-and-match partners in different directions.  So you could fly Delta in one direction and American in the other on a round-trip award.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can fly American There and Delta on the way Back Using Alaska Air Miles!

How to Book American Airlines & Delta Awards?

You can book these awards online!  The Alaska Air website is very good and you don’t even need to be logged into your Alaska Air account to search for award flights!

You can only use Alaska Air miles to book Saver Awards or low level awards.

This is the same as “Mile Saver” on the American Airlines website and “Low Saver” on the Delta website.

6.   40,000 Miles Roundtrip to Hawaii

A.  Flights on Alaska Air

It costs only 20,000 Alaska Air miles for a 1-way flight to Hawaii for a coach saver level award.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can fly one-way to Hawaii for 20,000 Miles Using Alaska Air Miles

Alaska Airlines will be changing the price of some awards to Hawaii on January 14, 2014, but the coach saver awards will NOT be changing.

The price of a one-way Choice award in coach (more availability) will increase from 27,500 miles to 30,000 miles.  And the price of a one-way First Class award to Hawaii will change from 37,500 miles to 40,000 miles.

Surprisingly, Alaska Airlines has a lot of flights to Hawaii.  And remember that you can connect to these cities from other Alaska Air departure cities in the map in #4 above.

You can fly to Honolulu and Lihue (Kauai) from:

  • Anchorage
  • Bellingham
  • Oakland
  • Portland
  • San Diego
  • San Jose
  • Seattle
How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Alaska Airlines Flights to Honolulu (red) and Lihue/Kauai (Yellow)

You can fly to Maui and Kona from:

  • Anchorage
  • Bellingham
  • Oakland
  • Portland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • San Jose
  • Seattle
How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Alaska Airlines Flights to Kahului/Maui (red) and Kona (Yellow)

If you book a trip to Hawaii with flights only on Alaska Airlines, you are allowed a stopover on a one-way award.

This is great news for people who live in or near cities that fly to Hawaii (like San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Bellingham, and Anchorage).  You can combine a domestic flight to your hometown with a flight to Hawaii in a single one-way award!

B.  Flights on Delta

If you book an award to Hawaii that includes flights on Delta, you will pay 40,000 miles for a round-trip and can’t have a stopover.  And you will pay the $12.50 fee for partner awards in each direction.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You pay 40,000 Alaska Miles for Either a one-way or Roundtrip When Flying on Delta

C.  Flights on American Airlines

If you book an award to Hawaii which includes flights on American Airlines, it will cost 22,500 miles one-way in coach and you can’t have stopovers.  This is slightly more than the amount of miles for flying on Delta, but American Airlines has much better award availability to Hawaii!

You will also pay the $12.50 fee for partner awards in each direction.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

It Costs Only 22,500 Alaska Miles to fly one-way on American Airlines

D.   Mixing Airlines

What if you book an award to Hawaii that uses Delta one-way and American Airlines for the other way?

Because you are booking Delta as only half of a round-trip, you would pay half the Delta round-trip price of 20,000 miles.  The other one-way on American would cost 22,500 miles.

A mixed award to Hawaii flying Delta one-way and American the other way would cost 42,500 Alaska Airlines miles + $30 for the partner booking fee + any relevant airport taxes ($5 to 10 on a domestic roundtrip).

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You pay 42,500 Alaska Miles to fly to Hawaii if you mix Delta and American Airlines on the Same Award to Hawaii

7.   50,000 Miles = Asia 1-way in Business Class & India Or Africa 1-way in Coach on Cathay Pacific!

Alaska Airlines allows for some great use of miles for Cathay Pacific flights.

You can book Cathay Pacific flights using Alaska Airlines miles and have a stopover in Hong Kong, on a one-way award!  

It only costs 30,000 miles one-way to Asia in coach.  And 50,000 miles is enough for a Business Class one-way award to Asia on Cathay Pacific.

You can’t search for Cathay Pacific flights on the Alaska Air website, but you can search for them on the British Airways website or on the JAL website.  And then write down the flight information and call Alaska Air to book those flights!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can use 50,000 Alaska Miles to Fly one-way Business Class or 30,000 Miles in Coach to Asia on Cathay Pacific

With Cathay Pacific, Asia includes:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Cathay Pacific Destinations in Asia.

Keep in mind that Dragonair, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, is NOT a partner of Alaska Airlines, so you cannot book Dragonair flights with Alaska miles.

You can use Alaska Airlines miles to fly Cathay Pacific to Africa/Middle East/India, which includes:

  • Bahrain
  • India
  • Maldives
  • Pakistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • United Arab Emirates
How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Cathy Pacific Flies to These Africa, India, and Middle East Cities

50,000 miles is enough for a one-way Economy Class award from North America to Johannesburg, South Africa with a stopover in Hong Kong!

While not necessarily a competitive price, it’s a good option for folks who want to visit 2 different continents on one award.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can use 50,000 Alaska Miles to Fly to Africa and Have a Stopover in Asia!

One amazing value with Alaska Airlines miles is First Class on Cathay Pacific.  It costs 70,000 miles to fly from North America to Asia on Cathay Pacific in First Class.  But you can fly to Hong Kong, have a stopover, and continue to South Africa, India, or the Middle East for the same mileage price.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can fly First Class on Cathay Pacific With Stopovers in Asia and Africa, India, or the Middle East for 70,000 Miles

You can fly Cathay Pacific from a number of cities in North America, including:

  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Newark (no first class — flights begin March 1, 2014)
  • New York (JFK) (1 flight via Vancouver)
  • San Francisco
  • Toronto (no first class)
  • Vancouver

You can connect to the bolded cities with flights on Alaska Airlines on the same award ticket.  See the map in #4 above for a list of cities which Alaska Air flies to.

Why Could Alaska Air Miles be Better for Awards on Cathay Pacific?

You can also book awards on Cathay Pacific using American Airlines miles.

But if you used American Airlines miles for Cathay Pacific, you could only stopover at your North American gateway city, but NOT in Hong Kong.

Also, you would pay for 2 awards if you use American Airlines miles to fly Cathay Pacific to a destination like Japan.  1 award from the US to Hong Kong and another award from Hong Kong to Japan.

You can use Alaska Airlines miles to fly one-way to India, the Middle East, or South Africa using Cathay Pacific, which you couldn’t do on one award using American Airlines miles.

8.   Australia Or New Zealand & Fiji for 40,000 Miles 1-way in Coach!

Fiji Airways (formerly known as Air Pacific) flies from Honolulu and Los Angeles to Fiji, and onward to Australia and New Zealand.  You can fly from the US to Fiji, have a stopover, then continue on to Australia or New Zealand for the same price in miles.

Fiji Airways is also a partner of American Airlines, but you can’t have a stopover in Fiji if you use American Airlines miles.  But you can have a stopover in Fiji if you use use Alaska miles!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

40,000 Alaska Miles Gets you to Fiji & the South Pacific in Coach

Business class can be tough to find, but economy class awards from Los Angeles is widely available.  For example, in April 2014, 28 out of 30 days have 2 seats available in coach between Los Angeles and Fiji.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Lots of Coach Award Seats From Los Angeles to Fiji

Even if you don’t live in Los Angeles, you can connect to Fiji Airways by adding Alaska Airlines flights from your home city to Los Angeles for no extra cost!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can fly From the US to Australia/New Zealand With a Stopover in Fiji!

9.   Hong Kong & Australia on the Same Cathay Pacific Award!

Australia can be a difficult destination to get to.  There aren’t many nonstop flights, and many airlines will not allow you to fly from the US to Australia via Asia.

But you can use Alaska Airlines miles to fly from the US to Australia via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, and also have a stopover in Hong Kong.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

40,000 Alaska Air Miles Gets you a 1-way Coach Ticket to Australia With a Stopover in Asia on Cathay Pacific!

From North America to Australia via Hong Kong, it costs:

  • 40,000 miles one-way in coach
  • 47,500 miles one-way in premium economy
  • 60,000 miles one-way in business class
  • 80,000 miles one-way in first class

This can be a great way to get to Australia from North America and have a stop in Asia. Remember that Alaska Air allows you to have stopovers on 1-way awards as well!

Don’t forget that you can use Alaska Airlines flights to connect to the Cathay Pacific departure city in the US.  See the map in #4 above for a list of cities which Alaska Air flies to.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Cathay Pacific Flights Between North America and Australia or New Zealand.

You can fly Cathay Pacific from a number of cities in North America, including:

  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Newark (no first class – flights begin March 1, 2014)
  • New York (JFK) (1 flight via Vancouver)
  • San Francisco
  • Toronto (no first class)
  • Vancouver

You can connect to the bolded cities above with flights on Alaska Airlines on the same award ticket for no extra cost in miles!  See the map in #4 above for a list of cities which Alaska Air flies to.

10.   Fly to Europe, Africa, or Asia on Emirates with Stopovers

Alaska Airlines is the only US-based mileage program that allows you to book flights on Emirates.  You can even have a stopover in Dubai on one-way awards!

Many folks are intrigued by Emirates because their Airbus 380 planes has showers in First Class and a lounge with full bar for First and Business Class passengers!  All First and Business Class passengers also get a complimentary chauffeur to and from the airport.

Bow-ties aside, I’m an understated kinda guy, so I find Emirates a bit over the top.

Even coach travel on Emirates gets rave reviews with extensive entertainment options.  I remember having a seat-back TV and lots of audio and video channels to choose from on a flight over 10 years ago on Emirates!

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Shower in Emirates A380 First Class

Emirates flies to Dubai from many cities in North America, including:

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

Emirates Flies From These North American Cities

  • Boston (starts March 10, 2014)
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York – JFK (nonstop and via Milan)
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Toronto
  • Washington, DC – IAD

The underlined cities (Los Angeles and New York) have nonstop flights to Dubai on Airbus 380 planes, which includes showers in First Class and a bar for First and Business Class.

The bolded cities are served by Alaska Airlines, so you can fly on Alaska to connect to an Emirates flight.  You can connect to the bolded cities above with flights on Alaska Airlines on the same award ticket for no extra cost in miles!  See the map in #4 above for a list of cities which Alaska Air flies to.

Alaska flies to Newark (EWR), so you would have to get from Newark to New York  Airport (JFK) to connect to Emirates.  Emirates specifically prohibits First and Business Class passengers from using their complimentary chauffeur service between Newark and JFK airports.

Alaska Airlines flies to Reagan-National Airport in Washington (DCA), so you have to get to Dulles Airport (IAD) to connect to Emirates.  There is no written restriction for using the complimentary chauffeur for First and Business Class passengers to take you between these airports.

You can search & book Emirates awards online on the Alaska Air website!

A.   Emirates Flights to Middle East & India

Between North America and the Middle East or India, one-way awards cost:

  • 42,500 miles in coach
  • 72,500 miles in Business
  • 90,000 miles in First
How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can fly one-way to the Middle East or India on Emirates for 42,500 Miles

Between North American and Africa, one-way awards cost:

  • 42,500 miles in coach
  • 72,500 miles in Business
  • 90,000 miles in First

You can have a stopover in Dubai on any of these awards!

B.   Emirates Flights to Asia

You can also book flights to Asia on Emirates with a stopover in Dubai.  If you spend $2,500 on your Alaska Airlines credit card (with the 50,000 bonus miles), you will have 52,500 miles.

That’s enough for a one-way coach award to Asia with a stopover in Dubai.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

You can use 52,500 Alaska Miles to fly one-way in Coach to Africa on Emirates

C.   Emirates Flights to Europe

You can book a flight from North America to Europe with a stopover in Dubai.

In addition, Emirates flies New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP) nonstop.  It costs 47,500 Alaska Air miles for a one-way in coach.

That said, it usually costs only 60,000 United or American Airlines miles for a coach RETURN trip from the US to Europe.

So I wouldn’t spend 47,500 miles for a ONE-WAY coach flight on Emirates from the US to Milan.

How To Use Alaska Air Miles

47,500 Alaska Miles Gets you to Europe With a Stopover in Dubai

Need More Alaska Airlines Miles? 

You will have 51,000 Alaska Airlines miles after you complete the $1,000 spending requirement on the Alaska Air card.

If you need more Alaska Air miles, you can transfer Starwood Hotel points to your Alaska Airlines account.  Here’s a link to the Starwood hotel personal and business cards.

Transfers from Starwood hotel to Alaska are at a 1:1 ratio, but if you transfer 20,000 Starwood points, you get 25,000 Alaska miles.

This means that 1 Starwood hotel points = 1.25 Alaska miles.  This is a sweet spot for transferring SPG points.

It also shows that after completing the spending requirement for the 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles, the best card to earn more Alaska Airlines miles is actually the Starwood hotel credit card.  That’s because you can potentially earn 1.25 Alaska miles per dollar on everyday spending.

Bottom Line

There are many ways you can use 50,000 Alaska miles!

You can get at least 2 domestic coach flights, 1 coach trip to Hawaii, and have almost enough Alaska Air miles to fly internationally on Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

I hope you found this ~5,000 word post useful (read = cut me some slack tomorrow)!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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99 responses to “10 Ways to Use 50,000 Alaska Airlines Miles!

  1. Very thorough report. I’m filing this away. (I didn’t realize Alaska Airline was versatile.)

  2. Nice writeup. Helpful info for the future.

  3. Wow! That was so helpful!! I was just approved for this card (I hope, they didn’t say which one I got) and am so excited about all of the possibilities. Thank you!!!!

  4. Annual Fee

    $75 for Visa Signature accounts,
    $50 for Platinum Plus accounts, or
    $35 for Preferred accounts

  5. Darius,

    Great post! My wife got the 30,000 mile Alaskan card in November before the 50,000 mile offer came out.
    Have you heard of BofA allowing a bump up to the 50,000? Should we call them? Or email them?
    Do you have a phone number to call?

  6. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! You have saved me so much time with this article. Just approved for 2 cards, one for me and one for hubby. Daraius, you’re the best!

  7. Awesome write up!

    I just got approved for four (4) Chase cards in the past 3 months:

    1) Marriott (50k offer) in OCT
    2)SW Plus card in NOV
    3)SW Premier card in NOV
    4) Freedom (20k offer) 3 days ago: DEC

    My credit score is still at 750 though- Do you think I could get accepted for this card?

    I have a 3 year history with BoA as I got their cash back card while in college.

    Do you think I should give it a try? Or wait until something else comes along?

    I just became familiar with the how and why regarding App-o-Ramas.

    You guys are the best! -Chance

  8. I’m not seeing any reward flights for DXB>LHR through the Alaskan Air site.

  9. Very good writeup D! I will be saving this link for future redemptions. Thanks.

  10. Thank you for a very detailed post! Do you know how much would the fuel/tax surcharges come out to if redeeming for a N America – Asia flight on Cathay Pacific? Is it whatever i see on AAs website, or a higher $$$ i see on British website?

  11. Darius,

    Again I just want to say thanks for this blog. Clear, informative, and I would say it saves me time but probably more appropriately I’m informed about an airline and reward system I would otherwise have known nothin about. Thanks for taking the time to post this thorough explanation!!

  12. To get the 50,000 Alaska Airlines targeted offer, do you have to receive it in snail mail or e-mail? I haven’t received anything from Alaska on this offer. Thanks.

    • @Lively @David @Carrie @Jolokia @Troy @Jeff Mullan – Thanks for the feedback and glad you find it helpful!

      @Toadhollow – Bank of America will not match you to a higher bonus. But they will let you have more than 1 Alaska Air card.

      @Jamie – Very interesting. I’ll do some digging since I’m not seeing much availability as well.

      @Chance – I can’t tell you what to do, but you could be approved if you haven’t applied for any Bank of America cards recently. Especially if Bank of America is one of your oldest cards.

      @Dima – The taxes and fees for flying on Cathay Pacific are low and the same as what American Airlines should charge. However, you have to call American Airlines to find out what the taxes and fees are since you can’t book Cathay Pacific flights on the American Airlines website.

      @Nancy – Folks are receiving it via email, but there’s a link in the post to the application page.

  13. Thank you. I redeemed AA miles before on Manila – HK – US, it was under $50 in taxes/surcharges. Great use for Alaska miles then, thanks!!!

  14. How long can a stopover be in an international city? For example if flying Emirates, SEA > DXB, DXB > HKG, how long can one stay in DXB for the stopover?

  15. Big D,
    what is the protocol for how to churn a BOA card every 3-4 months? cancel, then re-apply, or stack the cards? if you call and they say, “but you just canceled”, what do you say?

  16. @ Jamie – you’re not going to find Dubai – London on the Alaska Air website because Alaska Airline doesn’t allow redemptions from the Middle East to Europe, so it can’t price a DXB-LHR ticket. You need to search from a North American origin or destination. ExpertFlyer allows you to search for Emirates awards as well.

    @ Homan — when you book your ticket, the ticket is valid for a year. That’s the limit to your stopover. For example, I just priced a JFK-Dubai(stopover)-Mumbai award with an 11-month stopover in Dubai.

  17. can I price Emirates F using AS 100K

    Since I want to fly the A380 Suites all the way to asia

  18. Good post, thanks! I think you meant “60,000 United or American Airlines miles for a coach ROUND trip from the US to Europe”, instead of “return” trip though.

  19. Darius,

    You outdid yourself on this. Lots of details to study. I think I may even sign up for the card.


  20. Hi Darius,

    Is there a good rate at which you can convert/transfer amex rewards to alaska miles?


  21. Hey I just applied for the Alaska card after reading your post. BOA said it can take 30 days to approve the application.( which is bogus.) Does any one have the PH # for new card application.

  22. Great write up! My wife and both applied for this 50K bonus card.

    Question: Myself, my wife and our two kids are going to Maui next July, from Sacramento. Can we use our 100K in points to cover 2 or 3 of us, and then use get the 4th person as a companion?

    If not, how would you best use the 100K in miles for a family of four? I want to make sure I use these the smartest way.

    Thanks!!! Chad

  23. Daraius, if you don’t mind me asking, how long did it take you to write this Alaska Air piece? I can only imagine how long this researching took, for me would’ve been weeks!….for you, probably a few hours :). That is some dedication though and another reason you have so many loyal readers! I expect BofA to be pretty overwhelmed with all the applications for this offer. On a personal note, as you recall I applied for a 2nd card within 3 weeks because of this 50k bonus. CSR said no problem upon reconsideration. I received the 25k a few weeks ago for the first card upon approval – and just yesterday did receive the 1st 25k for my 2nd card so the promo is active on both. Will wait to see if I get that next 25k for spending $1,000. Thanks.

  24. Thanks a lot Daraius for sharing. I have two quick questions regarding the use of different award ticket.

    1. If I understand correctly, AA stopovers is only allowed for non-stop flight from US getaway cities. So if my the getaway city only provides 1-stop flight to the final destination(Asia), I cannot use the stopover, right?

    2. If I use AA or AS for one award tickt, then use UA miles for the connecting flight(same day, in a couple of hours), can I ask the agent to check the bag to the final destination? Or I have to claim the bag and redo the check?

  25. Just got the card (a second one) a few weeks ago, not long before the better offer. It’s nice to have this thorough, yet succinct, guide to the better ways to use the program. This is what great blogging is all about.

  26. For 55k miles, from Hawaii you can fly round trip to Australia and have a stopover in Fiji. Use your companion pass to position to Hawaii and you got yourself one awesome vacation for a few hundred dollars.

  27. Is it possible to buy Alaska Airlines miles? Ideally I’d like to purchase another 10,000 miles so I can do a round trip business class flight. (I don’t want to buy from a third party, I want to buy direct from Alaska Airlines).

  28. I got the same response as Farhan above from B of A. Do we wait or call? If we call, do you have a number?
    My wife and I each have had a Alaska B of A card for over 10 years. We have gotten multiple bonuses for multiple cards in the past, but haven’t applied in 2/3 years.
    We both got instantly approve for Southwest and AA cards last month from CITI and Chase and we have excellent credit.

  29. I spent a lot of time after getting the approval for the card researching how I could use the points effectively. If only I had waited for this very through write up. Thank you! I was missing out on the Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

  30. quick Q, if you’ve booked a paid ticket with emirates, can you use alaska airlines miles to upgrade your EK flight (like you can using their own skywards points for example)? … any other miles/points that can be redeemed for upgrades on EK flights?

  31. Amol (@PointsToPointB)

    @ Chad – I would use miles for 2 people and then use the companion ticket for the other 2. That way you use miles for half the party, pay for 1 ticket, and get 1 ticket for $99 + taxes. I would probably use the companion ticket for yourself and wife since you’d earn miles on that ticket.

    You can’t use the companion ticket on a mileage award.

    @ Michelle – with AA, you’re allowed a stopover in the last North American city you depart before leaving (or the first North American city you arrive when you are arriving). So if you have an AA award that goes Dallas- San Francisco – Hong Kong – Bangkok, you’re allowed a stopover in San Francisco (even though SF to Bangkok has a connection in Hong Kong).

    As for the connection question, you can usually ask an agent to tag bags all the way since many airlines interline with each other. However, you wouldn’t be protected against delays if you book a 2nd ticket, so it’s usually best to leave a lengthy amount of time to connect between different awards.

  32. The tone of these reviews is always so positive (probably the ‘Emily Effect’ is making Darius permanently giddy) that it might be worthwhile pointing out some of the difficulties.
    A few years ago we booked Seattle to Bali with an HK stopover using Alaska (AS) miles on Cathay Pacific. Fantastic trip but it was very, very tough getting usable dates even with total flexibility.
    Next years once-in-a-lifetime trip (we take one a year, thank you mileage programs) to Spain will return from Barcelona to Seattle Emirates first class. That was also very tough to book as Emirates releases very few seats on the DBX-SEA leg and they get snapped up pretty quick. There was actually better availability DBX-NYC and we ended up with DBX-LAX. One way in First on Emirates is 125k miles so that was a very expensive redemption but we wanted to do it once and experience Emirates First and also one of the longest flights available, at 16:30 it’s the 2nd longest.

  33. Link is expired!

  34. It is content like this that keeps me returning to your posts. Bravo!

  35. Hello – is the routing NYC-YVR-HKG-JNB roundtrip on Cathay Pacific first class still 140k alaska miles? I cannot seem to complete that search in Alaska search

  36. Link dead? Hope we didn’t miss it. Keeping fingers crossed for a new link!

  37. I just called BoA and the offer has indeed expired. Great post, though!

  38. Link still down, either for maintenance or expired.

  39. Do they charge annual fee? if so, how much? can I just sign up and get the card to get the 50k bonus points offer then cancel the card before they charge be in 2nd year? would I still keep the points even after I cancelled it?

    • @Kiran – You can’t transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Alaska Air.

      @Chad – You have to pay cash for a ticket to use the Companion Pass. But you could book a combination of award tickets and buy 1 ticket and use the Companion Pass for the next ticket. Or use the Money & Miles options for tickets.

      @Kent C – Thanks for the update. It took ~16 hours to research, write, call Alaska Air, edit, re-edit, format & upload the screenshots etc. So a bit more than a few hours, but less than a week!

      @William Charles – You can buy them directly from Alaska Air.

      @Al – You can’t use Alaska Air miles to upgrade flights on Emirates.

  40. I got a called from B of A.. After 20 mins, I was approved for the 50k points card. Their process is a little tedious. Although they made me reduce on of my other BofA cc limit from 35k to 30k. So the promo is still on. Thanks Darius.

  41. The link is back up!!!

  42. So I have a question:
    I’m trying to book two roundtrip tickets from San Diego to New York. The price each way is showing up as $202 per ticket. Going there is Delta and return flight is AA. Could I use the companion pass with this? Thanks in advance.

  43. How do you search for Cathay flights availability from alaska website? I don’t see a route between Asia cities.

    • @Dave – You have to fly only on Alaska Air aircrafts to be able to use the Companion Pass. So your trip won’t qualify because it includes Delta and American Airlines.

      @Alvin Ch – You can’t search for it on the Alaska Air website, but you can search for it on the British Airways & JAL website. I updated the post with links to how to search for Cathay Pacific availability.

  44. Pingback: Miles and points, links, Kauai | Miles For Family

  45. Darius,

    THIS is what makes you stand out from the other blogs… Thank you so much for this. It’s extermely helpful. I’ve been trying to find award tickets for TYO in March but it has been impossible and now just by using the Alaska airlines link I found that I could even fly with Emirates on First Class!!!! Granted it’s a 23 hr flight, but in a luxury style suite that will be a vacation on its own right

    THANK YOU, man.

  46. Thanks for the update. Kudos MMS ^^

  47. Thanks for the helpful info. I’m based out of SEA so I fly Alaska a lot. I was approved for their card in November with 30k bonus miles. I called and inquired about getting the 50k bonus with this new offer that just came out, and they denied me for it. Any other recourse that I could try? Maybe calling again? Or I am I just out of luck until I close this card up and apply again a while later?

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  49. applied and approved after I saw your post here, will save me bunch as I plan to have family vacation to Hawaii! 50000 miles for me (Chicago to Hawaii), buy one ticket for my wife and use $99 voucher for one daughter, and need to buy another ticket for another daughter.

  50. Didn’t know Alaska was so flexible. We are expecting our first child at the end of the year and planning on a trip to PVR (Vallarta) this spring. Would definitely use Alaska miles to boom a flight on American to puerto this spring!

  51. I fly out of DFW, mainly on American or Delta. With the flexibility of Alaska miles, can’t I designate my AA flights to earn Alaska miles instead of AA miles, and is that a wise thing to do? (I also have points with Starwood and Diners that I could transfer to Alaska.)

  52. Purchased Alaska Airlines miles last week along with the 35% extra free offer now have 120K, will book CNS/HKG/CNS for two in business class, I found the CX award seats for dates wanted on the Qantas FF site available instead of BA or JAL sites.

    I guess all I have to do is call and book?.

    Why is it that the CX flights using AK air miles not available online yet others are?.

    How often and when are these Alaska Airline Miles with bonus 35/40% offered?.

  53. I am looking into the New zealand/ fiji suggestion and can not find any availability. i currently live near MIA/ FLL/ PBI airports, but i tried several dates from NYC ,LAX and MIA and can not get any message other the error i attached below. can you help me?

    We could not fulfill your request. This could be due to one or more of the following reasons:
    – There are flights, but all award space is taken.
    – There are no flights for the city pair entered.
    – There are no flights operating on the specific day of the week entered.
    – The routing requested may not be allowed.

    Please change your search.

    Error Code: -1580

    • @michelle – Can you find coach seats when you search from LAX to Fiki? If so, you can search for each segment separately and then try to either piece it together online or call Alaska to book the award. Click on the “Calendar” icon on the left (under View By) to see a calendar view of availability.

  54. To use the companion $99 dollar once a year ticket can you buy one money and points ticket? Or must the other to ticket be a full coach to ticket?

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  57. I signed up for this card and was approved. I wish to use it to fly one way from Rome to JFK on one of their partners. Bank of America tells me that I actually signed up for a bonus of 25,000 miles not 50,000 and won’t allow the flight. Also the bank says the bonus comes from Alaska Airlines and the airline says the bonus comes from the bank. Is this a scam?

  58. You mention that business seats to Australia from North America can be “tough to find.” That’s a vast understatement. The offer seems largely a Qantas / AK Airlines con. You won’t find more than two or three available business-class seats in all the 330 days ahead of the current date. If you look at the date furthest into the future (which is to say, the one for which tickets have most recently been released) you will find nothing. (You will find several Delta business seats, if you look several months ahead of the present.) I wonder if you have any way of determining how many seats Qantas releases, for each day?

    Also, it’d be worth writing a post about how specious the AK Airlines award chart is: It will indicate that plenty of seats are available in business, but then will offer an itinerary whose US-Australia leg (the only one that matters a damn) is in coach. But Alaska still charges big miles for those! Outrageous.

    I fear that your heaped praise of Alaska Airlines’ awards is rather too credulous.

  59. Hubby & I both got the 50,000 miles at the end of the last billing cycle!!
    Planning on redeeming these for business class on American to Seoul, Korea! Thanks for all the great information.

  60. Hi Darius,

    I would like to go to New Zealand or Australia and have a stopover in Fij for a few days. I am a little confused on how you can do that without spending more miles.
    This is on Alaska Airlines and I am coming from Dallas, Texas. thanks

  61. Hi Daraius,

    Hope you can help me answer this question. I want to use alaska miles to fly to asia. on cathay pacific. However, I can only get to hkg. From hkg to my destination the flight is operated by dragon air. Alaska said they do not partner with dragonair so they can only take me to hkg? Does this make sense? Thanks

  62. Hi Darius,

    I LOVE reading your blog.
    I’m in middle of planning a trip to Asia with Cathay Pacific using Alaska miles.
    Just want to make sure this itinerary is legit for one-way….
    JFK – HKG(layover) – BKK(Stopover) – SIN(Destination)

    CX offer a flight from BKK-SIN so I’m assuming this is ok?
    I’m then planning on doing the following for return.
    SIN – HKG(stopover) – SFO(destination)

    What do you think?

  63. Question: did not have enough Alaska miles so booked trip with British airways avios sea to lhr to psa first class. Will need to purchase seperate domestic ticket on as to Seattle to begin journey. Can my bags be checked thru or do I need to collect bags in Seattle and then check in for British airways flight?

  64. Forgive me if this has already been answered, but can i combine airline rewards in this scenario? For example, can i use the Alaskan Air points AND Delta SkyMiles to book the same trip if i have points with both airlines? Thanks in advance.

  65. You said that with companion tickets , don’t actually have to be on the itinerary? So does this mean I can book two tickets and paid for it but put someone’s name? I Let say if I have two voucher. Can I book one voucher for my husband and my daughter for example? And the other for me and my other daughter? Thanks

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  67. Is there someway to visit Alaska and Hawaii within the same itinerary? I thought that I had read that before but I can’t find any info on it. Maybe I just made it up? Also, are there better cards to get right now where the specific goal of the itinerary is to fly from the US NorthEast to Alaska? Thanks

    • @yen nguyen – I believe so.

      @TimmyD – The Alaska Air card is a good choice for travel to Alaska. I’d also check out awards on the United and American Airlines websites to see if flights are available in

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  69. AS starting new route from my city in 2014. How many AS segments are allowed to get to a Emirates gateway city? Wanna get to LAX for the A380 as JFK is slim

  70. We have had this card for years, but I’m wondering how to keep our current (joint) account, and still take advantage of this offer. Any ideas? We are sort of new to this idea of collecting miles, and such. Thanks in advance!

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  72. My experience with a $99 Delta companion pass was this: Delta has a different rate for the paid ticket if you are using a companion pass too. The total for both the paid ticket plus $99 companion pass (if had had renewed my Delta Gold Skymiles card) was about the same as buying 2 tickets at the other rate. I did not renew. Is Alaska Airlines the same?

  73. what’s another good way to earn alaska air miles? i like that thye can be used on emirates. do chase points transfer to alaska air??

  74. Can I somehow combine my Delta and Alaska Air miles if I didn’t have enough of either for what I was wanting to do? Also, I’m planning to apply for the Alaska Air credit card. The current deal is 25,000 miles. Any idea-historically-when the airlines or credit card companies usually up the ante and offer more miles? I can just see applying and getting the 25,000 points and soon after, an even better offer becomes available. Thanks.

  75. Thank you for this detailed post. I have recently started collecting Alaska miles. I wonder if the following itinerary is possible,
    LAX-NAN (stopover)-HKG

  76. I can’t find mention of free bag in your offer link. Is that a separate card offer, free 1st bag?

  77. @millionmilesecrets
    alaska awards must originate or terminate in the USA? any exceptions?

  78. Has anyone tried booking a Korean Air flight with AS miles for flights originating and ending solely in Korea? Is that even possible? AS’s award chart doesn’t seem to indicate it’s possible.

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  80. Alaska does a great job domestically but award travel for anything but a coach seat on the long hop over the pacific on any of it’s partners is next to unheard of. For Australia in particular.

  81. I wish that Alaska Airlines would partner with some high-end hotels, I would definitely use my points for this purpose.

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  83. I am planning a trip to Alaska this December (Fairbanks). I should have the 50k Chase UR by March 1st. I found flights (I’m in Houston) from Houston to Seattle on American Airlines, then Seattle to Fairbanks on Alaska Air. I’d planned to transfer the UR points to Avios to book part of the trip and then sign up for the Chase British Airways card to earn 50k more Avios to book the other part. Does this make the most sense or should I get the Alaska Air card instead? The Alaska Air has a lower spending threshold and I can get the bonus sooner, but I am not sure how to book using Avios and Alaska Air points for the same flight for 2 people. And of course the Chase British Airways card will be Chase, allowing me to take advantage before the new rules come into play. Thank you for your time and this detailed post.

  84. Whoops, I see now the offer is 25k miles, not 50. I will go with the British Airways card then.

  85. I would love to fly first class on Cathay Pacific using Alaska Miles from Chicago to Hong Kong with a layover there for 3-4 nights on way to Mumbai. I have already booked the award flight. We both acquired necessary miles with each getting sign up for Alaska (25K) and for Starwood Amex (50K)

    So far, I have got one business ticket and one premium economy Chicago to Hong Kong. Waiting for first class quota to open up so that I can change to first class.

  86. I was amazed when this worked, but it doesn’t seem to fit into the categories mentioned.

    Alaska Airlines normal award prices in miles:
    Albuquerque to Oakland 12.5K, via Phoenix, on American
    San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas 17.5K
    Albuquerque to Cabo San Lucas 17.5K

    I booked Albuquerque to Oakland, with a month stopover, then San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas, for 17.5K miles & $48.83

    Either the domestic leg was free, or I paid only 5K for the international leg!
    The total price equalled that of Southwest; I decided to save Southwest miles for short hops or great sales.

    Which logic is at work here? Thanks so much!