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Rundown of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan for Canadians (updated July 3, 2018)

With the recent changes to the MBNA Alaska Airlines co-branded cards, as well as changes to certain partnership, I thought it was time to update this Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan post.

Expiry Policy

Alaska Mileage Plan miles do not expire as long as you earn or redeem at least one mile every 24 months. As a Canadian, there are several options that you can take advantage of to keep your account active.

Codeshare Partners

The most direct way of keeping your account active is when you fly with any of Alaska Airlines’ partners, you can earn Mileage Plan miles instead. Keep in mind that Alaska Airlines is not a member of any airline alliance, but they do have several very valuable co-share partners that you can earn and redeem with:

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Airlines
  • PenAir
  • Qantas
  • Ravn Alaska
  • Singapore Airlines

Earn Miles Through Car Rentals

Personally, I do not rent a car very often, so when I do, I back my reward earnings to another loyalty program (i.e. airline or hotel, whoever has a promotion at that time).

Below is a list of car rental companies that have partnered up with Alaska Airlines to earn Mileage Plan miles with:

  • Alamo – earn 50 miles per day on qualifying rentals
  • Avis – earn 50 miles per rental day on rentals 1 – 4 days or 500 miles per rental on rentals of 5 days or more
  • Budget – earn 50 miles per day on qualifying rentals
  • Dollar – earn 50 miles per day on qualifying rentals
  • Hertz – earn 50 miles per rental day on rentals of 1 to 4 days, or 500 miles per rental on rentals of 5 or more days
  • National – earn 50 miles per day on qualifying rentals
  • Thrifty – earn 50 miles per day or 250 bonus miles for 3 qualifying parking stays

Earn Miles Through Hotel Stays

I generally prefer earning hotel points to work towards elite status. But if I happen to stay at a chain that I do not intend to go often, I would bank my reward earnings to a partner instead (the one with a promotion at that point in time).

Alaska Airlines discontinued its partnership with several hotel chains, but they still have a fair list of partners to choose from:

  • Best Western –  earn 250 miles per stay on qualifying rates
  • Choice Hotels – earn 250 total miles per eligible stay
  • Coast Hotels and Resorts – earn 500 miles per qualifying stay
  • IHG Rewards Club – earn 2 miles per $1 USD or local currency equivalent paid on eligible charges at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean and at all Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, and Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide
  • IHG Rewards Club – earn 1 mile per $1 USD or local currency equivalent paid on eligible charges at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites
  • IHG Rewards Club – earn 500 miles per qualifying stay at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts outside of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean and at all InterContinental Alliance Resorts worldwide
  • La Quinta Inns & Suites – earn 250 miles per stay
  • Marriott – earn 2 miles per US$ spend on all qualifying charges at JW Marriott, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club
  • Marriott – earn 2 miles per US$ spend on room rate at The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Gaylord Hotels
  • Marriott – earn 1 mile per US$ spent on room rate nly at Courtyard by Marriott, AC Hotels by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, TownePlace Suites by Marriott®, Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Starwood Preferred Guest – earn 2 miles per $1 (USD) spent on all eligible charges; earn 1,000 bonus miles when you stay two nights or more at participating hotels
  • Westmark Hotels – earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on accommodations at a qualified rate and earn 1 mile for $1 dollar on food and beverage purchases (excluding alcohol)

Earn Miles Through a Credit Card

If you do not have any travel plans that allow you to earn miles (through the methods listed above), you can always sign up for a credit card offered by MBNA. Alaska Airlines continues to be the only remaining American frequent flyer program to offer co-branded Canadian credit card. There are currently two versions to choose from:

MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus MasterCard

  • $75 annual fee
  • Earn 20,000 sign up bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, cargo and inflight purchases
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive an annual companion fare (costing $99 USD plus taxes and fees)

MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite MasterCard

  • $99 annual fee
  • Earn 30,000 sign up bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, cargo and inflight purchases
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive 1 complimentary checked bag per passenger on the same qualifying reservation (up to a maximum of 6 passengers)
  • Receive an annual companion fare (costing $99 USD plus taxes and fees)
  • Income Requirement: $80,000 (personal) or $150,000 (household)

You can get a $60 cash back by signing up for either of the credit cards through GreatCanadianRebates (please private message me for a referral), which helps offset the annual fees.

List of Destinations Departing from Canadian Airports

Compared to last time’s list, all the seasonal flights have been converted to permanent flights, which is a huge positive. The next step is to offer more frequent service and to more destinations in Canada. Below is a list of direct flights departing from Canadian based airports (changes from last time are in brackets):

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

  • Alaska Airlines: Portland (OR) (added), Seattle/Tacoma
  • Horizon Air: Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma
  • SkyWest Airlines (Seasonal): Seattle/Tacoma

Calgary International Airport (YYC)

  • Alaska Airlines: Seattle/Tacoma
  • Horizon Air: Seattle/Tacoma

Edmonton International Airport (YEG)

  • Alaska Airlines: Seattle/Tacoma (switched)
  • Horizon Air (Seasonal): Seattle/Tacoma
  • SkyWest Airlines: Seattle/Tacoma

Victoria International Airport (YYJ)

  • Alaska Airlines: Seattle/Tacoma (switched)
  • Horizon Air: Seattle/Tacoma

Kelowna International Airport (YLW)

  • Alaska Airlines: Seattle/Tacoma (switched)
  • Horizon Air: Seattle/Tacoma

Going Forward

It seems like the other major American Airlines are having difficulties offering a co-branded credit card in Canada. So Alaska Airlines definitely has an advantage that would encourage more Canadians to sign up for a frequent flyer account.

I am happy to see that Alaska Airlines has decided to maintain such a strong relationship in Canada. I hope that they continue strengthening their relationship even more initiatives!

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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