Alaska, the place of eskimos, glacier blue beauty and whale watching is not the first place I would think to earn or use frequent flier miles. I've never actually flown on the airline but their miles are collectible by flying with everyone from Emirates to British Airways, American, Delta and more or sleeping on any mattress owned by Starwood. If you've paid attention along the way you'd know that there are three major airline alliances: Star Alliance, SkyTeam and OneWorld. Alaska cannot be found in any of them. No, Alaska is actually far smarter it seems these days, avoiding the airline boyfriend drama and maintaining their own individual relationships with outside airlines to form their own fourth unofficial alliance. Little did we know, collecting or creating Alaska miles through flying or points transfers is one of the best ways to fly Cathay Pacific, Emirates, LAN and Korean Air. They even allow one ways on most redemptions! Here are some great ways to use Alaska miles from the US and Europe as well as how to stack them up....
Best Uses From United States
Business Class to South America: 45,000 one way: This is a great opportunity to fly LAN's shiny new Dreamliner on a ten hour plus flight while experiencing a fully flat bed. At 90,000 points round trip it's a realistic dream.
Coach to Hawaii: 20,000 one way: Hawaii is very cool. The prices airlines get away with for getting to Hawaii are anything but. Charging only 20,000 miles each way for coach from the US is a pretty tremendous value. If you wan't to splurge you can get there in business for 80,000 round trip as well.
Business Class to Australia: 55,000 one way: Getting to the land of Oz in business class usually requires more than Liberia's deficit in miles. I can't think of a better value for getting to the furthest reaching part of the globe than just 110,000 miles round trip for Qantas business comfort.
Best Uses From Europe
Business Class to Hong Kong: 45,000 one way: What this title should say is on Cathay Pacific, that will make the people jump. What an opportunity to lock in one of the best business class products in the world without major surcharges for a very reasonable amount of miles. If you're going to Asia do it in style.
Coach Within Europe: 12,500 one way: There are other ways to get around Europe for minimal mileage but if you're holding Alaska miles or can't take advantage of the other ways, this is a good way! Few cry over 12,500 miles and considering it can save you hundreds on tickets, neither should you.
Emirates First Class to America: 100,000 one way: I said great uses, not economical uses. You'll need a kings ransom worth of points but in return, you will live like a king between the US and Europe experiencing arguably the best first class in the sky, unless of course you took my advice about flying the Etihad First Apartment for only 40,000 miles.....
Getting The Miles...
Starwood Preferred Guest: I figured I would open with the most international answer. Starwood Preferred points transfer to Alaska at one to one ratio with a 5,000 point bonus being given for every 20,000 points. If you transferred 100,000 Starwood points you would receive a 125,000 Alaska miles. If you have some hotel points laying around or just received a bonus from their credit card, consider your value transferring to airline miles versus using the points for hotel stays. There could be a real win in there.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Sale: Alaska is a champion of "buying miles" sales where you can receive up to a %100 percent bonus. Bottom line: if you have a specific flight in mind like say Cathay Pacific Business or Qantas to Australia and can find availability, there are tremendous opportunities to buy miles at a deep discount and immediately turn them into affordable travel up front, especially given the amazing rates to certain destinations highlighted in this post!
Alaska Airlines Credit Card: For those in the United States Alaska Airlines offers a Visa Signature credit card. The best news? It's churnable. Meaning, you receive a 25,000 point bonus for each card and you can keep applying for cards over and over again accumulating miles with ease. Don't go stir crazy but it wouldn't be very hard to get approved for four (especially given the business option) and snagging 100,000 miles with no spending requirements!
Collecting airline miles with an airline you very well may never fly is my kind of thinking. When an airline mileage currency presents opportunities unavailable anywhere else you take advantage. The ability to transfer Starwood points into Alaska Airlines miles means that anyone around the globe can bank and benefit. There's something for everyone.
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