The favorite mileage program among mile and point mavens? It’s actually Alaska Airilnes Mileage Plan, according to a recent survey of very frequent flyers.
Why is that the case?
Alaska’s miles program is the Swiss Army Knife of miles – lots of under the radar ways you can earn and burn them – especially if you fly Delta or American.
Here are 5 reasons why you should earn Alaska miles, even if most of your flying is on Delta or American:
- Earn miles on more domestic flights than any other program. Alaska’s program lets you earn miles not just by flying Alaska, but also by flying American Airlines *and* Delta Airlines. Those are the #1 and #3 largest airlines in the country. No other program gives you that flexibility to earn by flying. You can rack them up without ever setting foot on an Alaska flight.
- Access to American Airlines’ mileage seats. American is consistently rated high by frequent flyers for its generous award availability at the ‘saver’ levels. As an Alaska mileage account holder you can access all of those saver seats, just like an American Airlines member can, which opens up lots of travel options. You also have access to ‘saver’ seats on Delta, though those are harder to fine.
- A good, and getting better online booking tool. Alaska lets you book many partners online, making it easier to find the seats you want. Only United does a more comprehensive job of this. Partner award travel with American Airlines, Aeromexico, Air France, Air Pacific, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Era Alaska, KLM, PenAir, and Qantas can be booked online. Cathay Pacific is also in the works.
- Great Australia availability. With direct access to Qantas seats online, and the ability to book them at the same time as Qantas’ own members (American Airlines flyers can’t do this) it’s easier than ever to find availability to Australia.
- More access to Air France / KLM availability. Delta’s frequent flyers are blocked from many award seats offered by Air France / KLM, even though they are close partners. Alaska mileage account holders don’t face as many blocked seats, and have much better access to these flights.
In short, Alaska gets you the best of several programs wrapped into one. What’s the downside?
- Fewer elite benefits on American and Delta flights. If you fly frequently enough to earn elite status (25,000 or more miles per year) you won’t get the same benefits as if you put all of your flying in American or Delta’s programs. So keep that in mind, but most of us don’t fly nearly that much.
- Less generous credit card offers. Alaska is able to offer a flexible program in part because there aren’t nearly as many ‘easy’ credit card miles out there. You can transfer points directly from the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, but other than that, it’s just the Alaska Airlines Visa from Bank of America that’s at your disposal. It currently offers an uninspiring 25,000 mile bonus.
In short, Alaska miles are great for a frequent, but not heavy flyer on American, Delta, or Alaska, or any combination. You can top off the miles with a credit card, and have many, many options for redemption.
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Miles dont expireas long as card is open
50,000 bonus points
$0 introductory annual fee, then $95