MaxInsights offers a numerical analysis and recommendation of how to best use this reward system.
The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan caters to travelers on the West Coast, though travelers close to major transportation hubs are also likely to benefit from Alaska’s plan – U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked airline rewards program.
- MaxValue Long haul flights (4+ cents per mile)
- MaxFlex “Money and Miles” payment option (1 cent per mile)
- Expected Value 1.8 cents per mile
Alaska Airline miles can be earned simply by booking flights, as well as printing bag tags at home, and more. One of the many perks of this rewards program is the Coach Companion Fare certificate, which cardholders receive annually. This certificate allows users to add an additional passenger to any round-trip Alaska Airlines flight for $99 (plus taxes and fees, as well as any additional surcharges that start from around $22.
- Mileage Plan (free): 1-1.75 miles per mile flown on Alaska, depending on class (partner carriers might award miles based on fare)
- MVP (20K miles on Alaska or 25K miles on Alaska and elite qualifying partner airlines or 30 segments [arrivals and departures] flown on Alaska and elite qualifying partner) airlines: Earn 50% premium on top of Mileage Plan miles
- MVP Gold (40K miles on Alaska or 50K miles on Alaska and elite qualifying partner airlines or 60 segments [arrivals and departures] flown on Alaska and elite qualifying partner): Earn 100% premium on top of Mileage Plan miles
- MVP Gold 75K (75K miles on Alaska or 90K miles on Alaska and elite qualifying partner airlines or 90 segments [arrivals and departures] flown on Alaska and elite qualifying partner): Earn 125% premium on top of Mileage Plan miles, plus lifetime MVP Gold status if you log 1M miles on Alaska
What exactly are the points worth?
The redemption rate depends on the region in which you’re flying, so it’s often worth it to crunch the numbers on expensive long-haul flights to check and see if paying with miles is truly cheaper. For instance, if a $2,000 international flight costs either 100K miles, then each redeemed point is worth $0.02, which is higher than their expected value of $0.018.
Points can be purchased for 2 cents apiece, which is slightly higher than their expected value, but close enough that purchasing points to reach a target for redemption is often worth the slight difference.
- Domestic flights
- International flights
- Magazine subscriptions
- Flights Less Than $250
- “Money and Miles” payment option