Alaska Airlines is based on the west coast of the United States and flies to both Alaska and Hawaii (in addition to states in the lower 48).  Once American devalues its frequent flier program in March 2016, Alaska will likely have the most lucrative frequent flier program in the United States.

Elite Miles

  • Costs: you need to fly either 20,000 miles with Alaska or a combination of 25,000 miles per calendar year with Alaska and its partners.  You can achieve this with 2.5 round-trip flights from Anchorage to Orlando (~$1,250).

Alaska elite

  • Benefits: MVP status comes with benefits on Alaska, some of which are available when MVP members fly Delta and American airlines.  You should consult the chart below.

Alaska elite benefits

Earn Redeemable Miles

  • Fly Alaska Airlines.  You’ll receive one redeemable mile per mile flown.
  • Credit card sign up bonuses.  You can receive anywhere between 35,000 and 50,000 miles depending on the current sign up promotion.
  • Alaska online shopping portal.  The shopping portal allows you to earn additional miles when you shop online.  Simply log into the shopping portal and select the store that you want to shop.  The shopping portal will then take you to that store and will credit your miles a few weeks after the purchase is made.  In addition, the shopping portal will offer bonus mile promotions for Back to School, pre-Black Friday, and other seasonal shopping.
  • Alaska dining program.  After linking your credit card to your dining profile, you’ll receive an additional 3 to 5 miles per dollar spent at a participating restaurant.  Restaurant participation is hit or miss, so definitely check out the list of participating restaurants.  I’ve had good luck in DC since one of my favorite coffee shops participates.
  • Other promotions.

Redeem miles for award flights: even though Alaska does not belong to one of the big three airline alliances, Alaska has excellent partnerships with other airlines.  You can book award flights on Alaska, Delta, American, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and others.  The redemption rates are very generous but you’ll have to navigate Alaska’s various award charts to figure out how many miles are required for your desired award ticket.  You can book a first class, one-way flight from the United States to the Middle East on Emirates for 90,000 miles–oh, by the way, the first class cabin can use the plane’s shower.  You can also book a round-trip flight to Europe for 40,000 miles.