Fantastic Value Business / First Class Flights – Thanks To 50% Bonus Miles From Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is currently offering a bonus of up to 50% when purchasing Miles, which opens up the possibility of some absolutely cracking value Business/First Class flights!

alaska sale 2

Why should I care?

Because Alaska has a great award chart(s), and doesn’t charge surcharges for flights on most partners (BA and Icelandair are the exceptions).

It is also (usually) possible to get a free stopover even on one-way redemptions, which is incredible!

Alaska is a bit weird as it isn’t in one of the main airline alliances and partner with a unique range of airlines instead. This means that rather than having one award chart, they charge different amounts of Miles for the same routes depending on which partner airline you want to fly on.

For me, the standout values are with Cathay Pacific and American Airlines.

As you can see below, you only need 42,500 Mileage Plan Miles to fly one-way in Business Class on Cathay Pacific between Europe and Hong Kong. To book those same flights with Avios, BA would charge 90,000!

alaska cathay pacific

Alaska’s award chart for flying on American Airlines is basically the same as the old (very good) American award chart. You can fly between Europe and North America (including Alaska, Mexico, Canada, and even Hawaii!) for just 20,000 one-way in Economy (off peak) and 50,000 one-way in Business Class.alaska american

For flights to the West Coast or Hawaii those are great prices – and remember you can stopover for as long as you like en route too. If you booked two one-ways to/from Hawaii for example, you could stopover on the East Coast on the way there and the West Coast on the way back!

If you’re feeling more adventurous and planning a big ‘around the world’ style trip, Alaska Miles are even more valuable. You can have a play around with the various award charts yourself to see what you can find, but one of the very best redemptions I know of is 70,000 Miles one-way for Cathay Pacific First Class from North America to Africa with a stopover in Hong Kong for as long as you like!

The deal

The level of discount seems to be targeted, but my offer showed the following:

alaska sale

If I bought 40,000+ Miles, with the 50% bonus I would end up with 60,000 Miles at a cost of about 1.5p (1.97 cents) per Mile.

For most types of Miles I would say that is too expensive, but if you use Alaska Miles to their best advantage that could be a fantastic price.

Let’s have another quick look at that North America to Africa deal I just mentioned.

70,000 Miles would cost about £1050.00, and for that you could fly from New York to Hong Kong (8,072 Miles / 16 hours), spend as much time in Hong Kong as you like, and then fly to Johannesburg (6,631 Miles / 13 hours). That works out at flying more than half way around the world and about 29 hours in Cathay Pacific First Class for £1050 – amazing!

cathay pacific alaska


  1. Ian Macky says

    That’s a great article Joe. Would appear that Alsaka offers some excellent value redemptions. 50K for Europe to Hawaii in Biz with a free stopover is amazing, although finding an open AA MileSaaver seat might be challenging.

    For those that have the Amex SPG card, remember you can convert 20K SPG into 25K Alaskan. So you could have the above flight for just 40K SPG.

    Also, anyone that has marriott points that they don’t know what to do with, these can be converted to Alaskan, although at a poor 5:1 ratio.

    • Ian Macky says

      Actually, the Marriott to Alaska Miles ratio is dependant on the amount you are converting. It starts @ 5:1, but for bigger amounts comes down to under 3:1 which is a little better.

  2. Michael Sugden says

    Hi Joe

    Great article!

    From your experience, could I ask how easy/difficult is it to book Cathay business or 1st with Alaskan miles? I read on FT that Cathay award space can be hard to find/redeem, especially say out of LHR, but this is just what I have read, i,e, I have no experience of this myself. I just wondered what your own experience was of being able to redeem Alaskan miles for Cathay flights? I mainly ask as I have been tempted by Alaskan miles for quite some time now — and also by Asiana miles for Lufty redemptions — but have held back for fear of winding up with a lot of miles and not being able to redeem on those wonderful Cathay premium products.



    • Joe Deeney says

      Cheers Mike!

      Cathay Pacific award space using Alaska Miles should be more or less the same as what shows up when you search on BA.
      Historically, Cathay award space has been superb. If you can book last minute it still tends to be very good (5+ seats in Business and 1-2 in FIrst isn’t uncommon). Further out, it’s not as good as it used to be but I wouldn’t say it was terrible.

      It’s worth bearing in mind that you can fly to/from quite a few other places in Europe too, which isn’t as convenient but can make sense – LAst year I flew back via zurich because I wanted 2 seats together in FIrst. If you do it on the outbound you save on Air Passenger Duty too.

      Alaska have very reasonable change fees on award tickets so you can book something that isn’t perfect and then hope to change it as award space opens up nearer the time. changes/cancellation is free until 60 days before the day of departure and $125 after that.

      The only serious potential issue with Alaska Miles that I would flag up, is that their award chart is basically too goood now compared to the other American airlines and could therefore be due a devaluation. They devalued their Emirates awards very substantially and without warning a little while ago so they do have form. I would be looking to redeem straight away rather than just leave the Miles there I think.

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