As it turns out, Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan is one of the more difficult award currencies to valuate. On one hand, they offer some of the best redemption values available. On the other, their award availability, especially when it comes to close-in bookings, leaves a ton to be desired. So, when we crunch the numbers, we get a bunch of zeros averaged with a bunch of great redemptions. Odd for sure. For anyone wondering how we arrived and the above and below numbers, see our valuation method here.
As is the case with most award redemptions, the greatest ROI is going to come from international premium cabin travel. Despite not having much of an international presence, Alaska does codeshare book on many other carriers, most notably, American, British Airways and Emirates.
One particularly frustrating aspect of Alaska’s booking system is the fact that they advertise premium cabin award availability so long as there is a single leg in the advertised cabin. In other words, a flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong would be presented as a first class award if the San Francisco to LA positioning flight was in first, even if the LAX to HKG leg were in coach. To be fair, many carriers do this, but Alaska seems to do it more often than not. In my opinion, this is false advertising.