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5 Outstanding Alaska Mileage Plan Sweet Spots

December 19, 2023
Sam Helmy
Alaska Mileage Plan is one of our favorite loyalty programs and has some excellent sweet spots, even though the program announced a devaluation coming in 2024. The program has some great options for transpacific awards and partner awards from the East Coast to Europe.

Alaska Mileage Plan is our favorite Oneworld frequent flyer program for several reasons. One of the biggest and most important reasons is the many sweet spots and excellent redemption options the program offers.

Although Alaska announced a recent program devaluation, which has taken substantial value out of some of its awards, it still has plenty left to offer. So here are X of our favorite Alaska Awards that still produce outstanding value even after the devaluation coming in 2024.

The US to South America for 50,000 Miles

Longer distance flights from North to South America that fall in the 4,001–6,000 mile distance bracket are a bargain at only 50,000 miles. This distance bracket covers many options, including our flight from earlier in the year between New York JFK and Santiago SCL Chile.

LATAM business class can be a great deal with Alaska Miles heading to South America
LATAM business class can be a great deal with Alaska Miles heading to South America

We took this flight with LATAM, and it only set us back 45,000 Alaska Mileage Plan Miles plus $18.60 in taxes and fees, which is outstanding. One thing to keep in mind is that the 45,000 miles price was the 2023 pricing; however, Alaska devalued its partner awards recently. From 2024, these awards will set you back 50,000 miles. Other routes that would fall in this pricing bracket include:

  • Dallas Fort Worth DFW to Sao Paulo, Brazil GRU.
  • Miami Mia to Buenos Aires EZE.
  • San Fransico SFO to Santiago SCL Chile.
  • New York JFK to Asuncion ASU Paraguay.
  • Washington DC IAD to Buenos Aires EZE.

Seattle To Tokyo for 60,000 miles Oneway

One of the best sweet spots of the Alaska award chart is one one-way business class award to and from Asia that are under 5,000 miles. These will set you back 60,000 miles plus taxes and fees. Unfortunately, due to geography, only one route from the mainland US falls in this distance bracket. Flying from Seattle, SEA, to Tokyo Narita NRT will bring you in just shy of 5,000 miles.

We used Alaska miles to book this last year, and in what turned out to be one of our favorite flights of 2022, JAL business class from Tokyo to Seattle set me back 60,000 miles plus a tiny $56.60 in taxes and fees.

JAL has an excellent business class hard and soft product

Unfortunately, if you want to fly other routes from the US, the price will jump. Once you exceed the 5,000-mile threshold, the award pricing jumps from 60,000 miles to 75,000 miles. As it did last year when we flew with JAL in business class from Tokyo Haneda to Chicago O’Hare. While still reasonable value for a transpacific premium cabin, it is hard to beat the Seattle-Tokyo in terms of sheer value.

The East Coast to Europe from 45,000 Miles Oneway

Another great sweet spot in the Alaska Mileage Plan program is partner awards between Europe and the East Coast that fall under 3,500 miles. While this somewhat limits your choices, it includes the world’s busiest international airline route from London LHR to New York JFK. Transatlantic routes under 3,500 miles will set you back 45,000 miles plus taxes and fees. It covers awards on Alaska Oneworld partners British Airways and American Airlines.

Before booking the award, you will have to do some research about the distance between your desired city pairings. Other pairings that fall in this sweet spot include:

  • Boston BOS to Paris Charles De Gaul CDG
  • Boston BOS to Amsterdam AMS
  • New York JFK to London Heathrow LHR
  • New York JFK to Manchester MAN
  • Newark EWR to London Heathrow
  • Boston Bos to Madrid MAD
  • New York JFK to Lisbon LIS

Awards Between Asia and Europe For 75,000 Miles

If you are looking to travel between Asia and Europe and your trip is between city pairings less than 7,000 miles, a business class award will set you back 75,000 miles one way, plus taxes and fees. While a little on the expensive side, the distance still covers a substantial number of city pairings between Asia and Europe. Pairings covered by this award distance include:

  • Seoul ICN to London LHR.
  • Singapore Sin to Frankfurt
  • Singapore to Paris Charles De Gaulle CDG
  • Bangkok BKK to London LHR
  • Madrid MAD to Tokyo Narita NRT.
  • Lisbon LIS to Bangkok BKK.

With so many destinations and pairings covered, you have a ton of airlines, whether JAL to and from Japan, British Airways to and from the UK, Iberia To and from Spain, or even Finnair if you are heading to Scandinavia.

Don’t forget The Stopover

Stopovers are often massively overlooked, yet they can provide stunning value and turn one trip into two. Alaska has a relatively generous stopover strategy that, when used correctly, can add substantial value to your awards.

Traveling on international itineraries, you are allowed one 14-day stopover on one-way awards and two round-trip awards – one in each direction of travel. Using stopover can significantly elevate the value of your awards.

Take, for instance, A flight from San Fransico to Bangkok. You could book this with Alaska’s Oneworld Partner JAL and have up to a 14-day stopover in Japan (via Tokyo) before continuing on your way to Bangkok.

The JAL Sakura lounge ins Tokyo
The JAL Sakura lounge in Tokyo

This is an excellent use of your miles since there are no additional costs, and you can maximize your routing options. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that there are some restrictions on booking Stopovers, as follows:

  • You cannot book a stopover within the same region, for instance, departing and arriving in Europe.
  • You can only book a stopover with one partner airline, and Alaska no more.
  • Not all partners allow you to book stopovers.

Tip: How to book stopovers

Since you are essentially searching for two awards, finding a stopover can be tricky. Instead of wasting time trying to zero in on the perfect date for both flights, you are better served searching for the awards independently. Search for each segment of your desired itinerary before putting it together as a stopover award.  

Final Thoughts

Even though the Alaska Mileage Plan program announced a devaluation, it is still one of our favorites. This is especially true since the airline joined the Oneworld alliance, opening up award redemptions on a wide range of other carriers. In light of Delta making it harder to reach status and restricting lounge access, it looks like Alaska will be one of our main programs going forward in 2024 and beyond.