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5 Quick (& Easy) Ways to Earn Alaska Airlines Miles

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Even if you never fly them to and from Seattle (SEA), Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is perhaps the most valuable mileage program among all the U.S. airlines.

Sure, the airline doesn't fly beyond the U.S., Canada, Mexico, or Central America. But you can use those miles to book flights around the world on many airline partners that are part of the Oneworld alliance. And it goes beyond that, with more partners outside of the alliance, too.

And in many cases, using Alaska miles to book those flights is your cheapest option … by far. Although Alaska has pivoted to a new, distance-based award chart – the cheat sheet airlines use to determine how much a ticket costs when using miles – there are still several sweet spots to take advantage of with Alaska's Mileage Plan program. From short domestic flights to lie-flat business class seats to Europe, Asia, and beyond, you could book these flights for a bargain with Alaska miles.

So what's the catch? Alaska miles aren't as easy to earn as many other airlines, as you can't transfer them from major credit cards like Chase, Amex, or Capital One. But they're easily worth working harder to earn.

And lucky for you, we've got the scoop on some of the best ways to quickly earn Alaska miles to book your next flight.

 

Open an Alaska Airlines Credit Card

Just as with virtually any other carrier, The absolute quickest (and easiest) way to earn Alaska miles is by opening the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card. The card comes with a $95 annual fee, but with a big bonus and ongoing perks, it can easily be worth it. 

You can currently earn 60,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ (paying a $99 fare plus taxes and fees, from $23) after spending $3,000 or more within the first 90 days. We've occasionally seen slightly bigger bonuses, but this is about as good as it gets.

 

alaska visa card

Learn more about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card (for full disclosure, this is not an affiliate link).

 

Consider this: 60,000 Alaska miles is enough to get you a business class flight from Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo (NRT) on Japan Airlines! Or you could use those miles to fly Condor's excellent new business class to Europe.

 

Alaska Airlines SEA to NRT JAL

 

Thanks to a quirk with how Alaska prices award redemptions with multiple segments, you can score a transatlantic business class seat for even less.

 

alaska business class redemption

 

But beyond the big bonus, the Alaska Airlines card offers plenty of value for frequent Alaska flyers, from free checked bags to priority boarding.

When spending on the card, you'll earn 3x miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines purchases and 2x miles per dollar spent on eligible gas, EV charging stations, cable, streaming services, and local transit (including rideshare) purchases.

Read more: Earn 60K Miles & A Companion Fare With the Alaska Airlines Credit Card

 

Fly With Alaska Airlines … Or a Partner

Yes, this one might seem fairly obvious … but the most straightforward way to earn Alaska miles is to book a flight. And compared to practically every other airline on the planet, you'll earn more miles when flying with Alaska. 

While you now earn miles based on how much you pay with other airlines, Alaska still credits mileage based on the actual distance of your flight. You'll get bonus miles for higher priced fare classes – and if you're flying in a premium cabin, you'll earn even more miles depending on your specific fare class.

That's a boon for earning miles flying Alaska, especially if you live on the West Coast where Alaska has the most routes. The one exception? Alaska's lowest priced “saver fares” only earn 30% of total miles flown

Here's a look at what you'll earn when flying with Alaska:

 

Alaska Mileage Earning chart

 

 

So, for example, if you booked this roundtrip flight in economy from Seattle (SEA) to San Diego (SAN), you'd earn a total of 2,102 Mileage Plan miles based on the “O” fare class and the total distance between the two airports.

 

Alaska main cabin (O) fare

 

Not sure how long your flight is? Plug it into GCmap.com or look for the distance on Alaska's website when booking your ticket!

If you instead booked this same trip in first class, you'd earn a total of 3,153 Mileage Plan miles because of the 50% bonus you get on tickets booked in the “I” fare class. 

 

Alaska first class (I) fare

 

 

However, flying with Alaska Airlines itself isn't the only way to earn these miles.

You can also earn Alaska miles for flights booked on a number of Oneworld airlines like American, Qantas, and Qatar – as well as Alaska's other, non-Oneworld partners.  Just like flights operated by Alaska, you'll still earn Mileage Plan miles based on the fare class and actual distance flown. 

Here's a look at what you'll earn for each fare class when flying one of Alaska's partners: 

 

Alaska Mileage Plan partner earning chart

 

Using this roundtrip economy class flight from Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles (LAX) on American Airlines as an example, you'd earn a whopping 4,684 Alaska Mileage Plan miles based on the “Q” fare class and total distance flown.

 

AA main cabin MIA-LAX

 

When you compare that to the 1,175 miles that AAdvantage members (without elite status) would earn on this same flight by crediting it to AA, and it's a no-brainer. Not only are Alaska miles arguably more valuable, but you'll earn four times as many thanks to Alaska's distance-based earning. 

 

Pay Your Rent or Use a Bilt Card

Previously, the only way to earn Alaska miles with a credit card was by spending on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card – or the business version. Unlike Delta and United – both of which allow you to transfer points from other credit card companies – Alaska didn't have a major transfer partner.

That has changed. Bilt recently added Alaska Airlines as a transfer partner, becoming the only major rewards program to partner with the Seattle-based airline. Now, travelers can earn points from spending on the *Bilt Mastercard* and transfer them to Alaska Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.

 

Bilt Rewards Alaska Transfer

 

Additionally, you can now earn extra Alaska Miles while paying your rent through Bilt.

You've got two options: You can use a *Bilt Mastercard* for your monthly rent payments and earn 1x Bilt points (up to 100,000 points per calendar year). Or you can use an Alaska Airlines card instead and earn 3x Alaska miles on the first $50,000 of rent payments each calendar year, as part of Alaska and Bilt's exclusive partnership. 

Just be warned: If you opt to use an Alaska card to earn 3x miles instead of the Bilt Card, you will be hit with a 3% processing fee. Rent payments made with the Bilt Rewards card remain free of additional transaction fees. 

Read more: Alaska in, American Out: Bilt Adds Alaska Airlines as a New Transfer Partner

 

Dine and Earn Through Mileage Plan Dining

The Mileage Plan Dining program allows Alaska flyers to earn miles while dining out at select local restaurants.

Just for signing up, you'll earn 500 Alaska miles. Link a few of your credit cards and search for participating restaurants where you can earn Alaska points. New members will start as “Basic members,” earning 1 mile for every $2 spent. That isn't a great return … but it's just the beginning.

 

Mileage Plan Dining

 

If you agree to receive email communications from Mileage Plan Dining, you'll start to earn 3 miles per dollar as a “Select member.” And once you opt in for emails and complete at least 11 transactions, you'll become a “VIP member” and earn 5 miles per dollar!

Some restaurants will even give you bonus points for making and completing a reservation on top of your overall spending.

There is no cap on the how many miles you can earn, aside from some limits that select restaurants establish individually. It's a great way to stack additional points and miles earnings with a dining credit card.

Read more: The 7 Best Credit Cards to Use For Dining in 2024

 

Spend Through Alaska Airlines' Shopping Portal

Alaska's Mileage Plan Shopping portal gives you plenty of opportunities to earn more points at select online retailers. Just click directly through to the retailers from the Mileage Plan Shopping site and make your purchase as normal.

 

Mileage Plan Shopping

 

As pictured, you could earn 4,000 Alaska miles after purchasing a meal kit subscription from Blue Apron and a few other websites. For most online shops, you'll earn bonus miles per dollar spent.

 

Mileage Plan Shopping Blue Apron

 

The program also features a Google Chrome plug-in that could help detect when online retailers offer bonus Alaska miles. Be sure to check that the shopping portal plug-in is enabled so you can be credited your miles.

You are free to use any credit card that you want – you don't need an Alaska credit card to earn miles shopping online. You just can't stack it with another shopping portal like Rakuten.

 

Bottom Line

Despite the airline's limited global reach when it comes to its route network, Alaska miles are incredibly valuable for flyers to book incredible domestic and international flights for a bargain – and not just on Alaska.

Alaska's reasonable award rates and low fees to book partner airlines makes these miles invaluable. While they might not be quite as easy to earn as other airline miles, there are still a multitude of ways to add to your stash of Alaska miles and fund that next (cheaper) trip.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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