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Alaska Mileage Plan Stopover Awards
Alaska Mileage Plan is an excellent program to invest in even for those of us not based on the West Coast if you know how to maximize you miles and award tickets- one of my favorite ways to do this is to book Alaska Mileage Plan one-way stopover awards. The airline has a great array of partners and some excellent award prices for premium cabin flights. Plus, they are one of the only remaining airlines to offer a stopover on a one-way flight award. The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan stopover is one of the best ways to stretch your Alaska miles for maximum value. We don’t know if this perk will last, though, as Alaska is set to join the Oneworld alliance this year. There has been speculation that their loyalty program will slowly change but hopefully their program holds out in its current form for a while longer. Let’s look at several ways you can maximize the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan stopover to get fantastic value out of your miles.
Alaska Airlines Award Tickets Stopover Rules
Alaska Airlines uses a set of region-based award charts for award flights with partner airlines. Prices and available routes vary by partner. Not all origin and destination combos will price out with a particular partner airline, which is sometimes frustrating. The easiest way to figure out the award cost and partner options is to use the chart search tool.
As far as I know, Alaska is the only alliance airline that uses such a mix of charts for partner award flights. As I mentioned, there could be changes to the program and if I had to guess I’d speculate that Alaska will move toward standardizing their partner pricing. But for now, the Mileage Plan award charts are business as usual.
Alaska Airlines has a few award stopover rules you should be aware of:
- You cannot mix partner airlines, but you can combine Alaska flights with one of their partners.
- Each one-way award can have a stopover (so you can have two stopovers on a round-trip award)
- The Alaska Airlines stopover rules limit you to “hub” cities for stopover options
- The stopover does not need to be in the same region as the origin or destination, (although it can be).
Searching for Alaska One-Way Stopover Awards
Use the multi-city award search tool to search for Alaska MileagePlan stopover award. You’ll want to click on the “All search options” link in the search box on their homepage. Here is a sample search for an award with a stopover in Dubai:
Once you click ‘Find Flights’, you’ll be presented with options that include a stopover. The way to tell that you’re looking at stopover options is by the dates at the top of the search. You’ll see that the flight to DXB departs on April 15 and the flight to Male departs on April 19.
I don’t know why I selected business class. This girl obviously flies first. Actually, now I do. It’s the ‘mixed cabin’ seat icon for the first class ticket. The flight from JFK-DXB is in business while the DXB-MLE is in first, so we don’t want to pay extra for that. We’d rather find a ticket where we can fly first the whole trip.
Maximizing the Alaska Airlines One-Way Stopover
The fact that you can book a stopover on a one-way award is amazing. There are quite a few cities you can pick from with Alaska’s partner airlines. London, Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, to name a few. You can spend any length of time in these cities you want and then continue on to your destination, as long as you can find the award space.
Some trip ideas include:
- New York to the Maldives, stopping in Dubai (flying Emirates)
- San Francisco to New Zealand, stopping in Fiji (flying Fiji Airways)
- Los Angeles to Sydney, stopping in Hong Kong (flying Cathay Pacific)
- Chicago to Cape Town, stopping in London (flying British Airways)
Remember that you can add Alaska segments on either end. Which brings me to an interesting twist you can add to your trip planning.
Get Maximum Value for Alaska Miles
What happens if you only want to visit Dubai? It’s Kind of a waste not to use a stopover on your ticket. BUT there is actually a way that you can (as long as you can handle planning two trips at the same time). One of the ways you can really maximize Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan stopover awards is by planning the “stopover” in your home city.
The stopover can be for any length of time. I could book the first part of the ticket for tomorrow and the last part on the final day currently available in the Alaska award calendar. So what if I want to plan a trip to Dubai in April and then head to Hawaii in September? Could I use the Alaska Mileage Plan stopover to book part of each trip? Yes, I could. Here’s exactly that trip:
This trick won’t work for everyone. You need to be located in an airport that Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan treats as a hub for the purposes of award stopovers. Luckily, New York City has lots of international carriers that fly into JFK.
Other locations where a home city stopover can work well include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. I guess you could also be located in the hub city of Alaska partner airlines.
You also don’t have to plan long-haul flights, shorter trips on Alaska Airlines work too. It could be something as simple as living in San Francisco and booking a trip home from Maui, “stopping over” for however long you want, and then continuing on the award ticket to New York. You’ll save at least 12,500 miles in this example for an economy ticket and at least 30,000 miles for a first class ticket.
The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan stopover one-way award option is a great way to get the most out of your Alaska miles, especially if you can book parts of two different trips as a single award. This could be a pain to plan, but it could save you thousands of miles. Since Alaska miles are harder to come by than other miles (since there are no transferable credit card points that can be turned directly into Alaska miles), this is a great way to save.