I had applied for the Alaska Airlines credit card offered by Bank of America earlier this year. At the time, you could get 30k miles just for applying! You didn’t have to spend anything and the miles would be deposited right into your Alaska account. I currently don’t see this offer anymore and the best one I see is 25k miles for applying. (If anyone knows where a good link is, include in the comments!)
I wanted to book a trip to Seattle from Houston which would cost 40k points during the weekend I wanted to go. I wanted to fly Alaska as I had never flown them before. As you can see I had the dilemma of being short 10k miles. Luckily they have an option to book cash and miles.
The rule for using cash and miles is that you can’t use them for code share flights (Alaska metal only). How cash and miles works is that when you redeem 10k miles, you will get a 50% discount oneway or roundtrip up to $100. When you redeem 20k miles, you will get a 50% discount oneway or roundtrip up to $200.
In order to book miles and money, you much select this option on the flight booking screen which I’ve highlighted.
To maximize your cash savings and utilize your points, I suggest booking 2 one way flights. So in my example of flying IAH-SEA, I used 20k miles one way and I used 10k miles + cash on the return flight. This allowed me to use all my 30k miles from the credit card and only had to pay $150. You will notice below that there is an option to pay 20k miles which would only save you about $14 in comparison which is a terrible value. So make sure to compare your options to see which would be a better value.
Another good thing about miles and money is that this could be used on any available flight on Alaska metal so you are not restricted to limited award availability and you will earn miles on the “paid” ticket.
Here is a great review of flying Alaska Airline economy by FreeTravelGuys.
Also here is post about Alaska’s great same day change policy by JustAnotherPointsTraveler.