Between Alaska’s routing and its partnership with Delta and American, you can pretty much fly anywhere in the United States with a domestic award. Here are the award charts for domestic redemptions on either Alaska, American, or Delta.
My personal opinion with domestic awards is that I would rather save my points for international redemptions. If you are primarily interested in domestic awards there is a better points currency that you should be accruing, British Airways Avios. British Airways has a distance based award chart which you can exploit for some terrific redemptions like 25,000 miles round trip from Portland to Hawaii. British Airways is partners with Alaska and American so you have plenty of redemption options.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles are best used for international redemptions. However, there are a couple of situations where I think using Alaska miles are a better value than Avios and that is going to be the focus of this post.
Two Domestic Stopovers on a Round Trip
When redeeming Alaska miles for a domestic award you are allowed to book stopovers on Alaska operated flights. Alaska charges 25,000 for a domestic award in coach (excluding Hawaii). The people who will get the most value out of this are going to be those flying from the east coast to the west coast.
For example, let’s say you are from Boston and want to visit San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. With a domestic award you could book the following route: Boston to San Francisco with a stopover in Seattle. Then return to Boston from San Francisco with a stopover in Portland.
At 25,000 miles that is a pretty good value. Those of us on the West Coast can create a similar award but we will be confined to doing so on the West Coast or Alaska. To book this type of award, search each segment individually and then put them together in the multi-city search. Alternatively, you can also book this award as two one ways.
Free One Ways
While those of us on the west coast cannot maximize two stopovers on a round trip, we can get free one way awards. A free one way is when you take advantage of a stopover at the end of a round trip and add on a one way flight a few months out. For example, let’s say I was going to visit Boston in June and I also knew I wanted to go to Alaska in November. I could book the following for 25,000 miles:
Now, I know what some of you are probably thinking, can I add on a one way for Hawaii? The answer is yes, but with a catch. Award tickets to Hawaii have a different award chart than the rest of the US. Alaska charges 40,000 miles round trip and 20,000 miles one way. You can book it but you will have to do so as two one ways and Alaska will charge you 20,000 miles for the Boston to Portland to Hawaii segment.
Instead of a free one way, it is a discounted one way.
Redeeming on Delta
You may have noticed above that Alaska will charge you the same amount of miles for a one way on Delta as it will for a round trip. This is because Delta does not allow one way awards at half price. There is, however, a way to work around this.
Alaska allows you to mix and match award partners on round trip flights. Meaning, I can fly one airline departing PDX and another on my return to PDX. I cannot mix partners on the same one way segment, although, I can book an open jaw.
For example, I could fly Delta to JFK and then Alaska back from Boston. When I book this via Alaska’s multi-city search the delta flight will price out at half the cost of a one way flight.
This can be a helpful little trick when you are trying to fly to an airport Delta serves and Alaska does not.
If you have questions about Alaska’s routing rules or how to earn Alaska miles see my related posts. As always feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have questions about a specific redemption or have questions in general. The next post in this series will discuss awards to Asia.by