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Travel on Point(s) is an independent, advertising-supported website. This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites like and This compensation does not impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel on Point(s) has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site. Reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any partner entities.

Alaska Airlines Sweet Spots

In fall 2023, Alaska Airlines announced changes to its award program and award charts in March 2024. While many news outlets were doom and gloom, we were far less negative. We briefly discussed Alaska Airlines sweet spots, devaluations, and our thoughts. Now that those changes are upon us, and we've had time to digest the changes, we are pleased overall. Yes, some routes and classes of service were devalued and some significantly so. But if this is a total “devaluation,” it is the best devaluation in recent history.

RELATED: Bilt Rewards adds Alaska Airlines as its newest transfer partner.

Award Charts Prior to March 2024

Prior to March 2024, partner airlines had different award pricing, even to/from the same regions. One partner, Korean Airlines, was priced only as roundtrips, even when booking one-ways. While Alaska Airlines had sweet spots all over the world, it took a whole lot of memorization to keep up with costs on the various partners. Overall, the pre-2024 partner award chart looked like this:

Alaska Airlines' pre-2024 partner award chart

What Are the Changes to Alaska Mileage Plan Program?

Although not announced until recently, Alaska Airlines just announced its first bank transfer partner. You can now transfer Bilt Rewards to Alaska Airlines. As for the actual Alaska Mileage Program, there's also lots of changes, so let's dive right in.

Lap Infants

Before we dive into the new award charts, one of the most baffling portions of the new Alaska Mileage Plan program is regarding lap infants. Beginning in March 2024, lap infants are not permitted on international partner awards. Period. Parents' only option is to book seats at prevailing rates (i.e. award seats or cash fares). Lap infants are still allowed for travel wholly within the United States or wholly on Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines North American Award Chart

Alaska Airlines first created a new award chart for travel in North America, including Canada and Mexico. This award chart applies for travel wholly on Alaska Airlines.

alaska airlines sweet spots
Alaska Airlines' 2024 for travel wholly on its airplanes

Distance-based Award Partner Chart with Separate Zones

Alaska is replacing its multiple award charts for different partners with a single award chart for all partners. It also is adopting a distance-based award chart broken into three separate zones. This is quite similar to Aeroplan's award chart.

Alaska will split its partner award chart into the following zones: Americas (which includes South America); Europe, Middle East, and Africa; and Asia Pacific. There will also be an award chart for travel wholly within North America (which includes Hawaii and Mexico). The cost of flights to each of these zones will be based on the distance flown. Overall, the new prices are not unreasonable and there are tons of sweet spots with the new Alaska Airlines award charts. We'll discuss those in just a bit.

alaska airlines sweet spots
Diagram prepared by Travel on Point(s), boundaries are not exact

Partner Award Chart for the Americas

Beginning in 2024, partner awards within the “Americas” region (defined as “North America, Caribbean Islands, Central America, and South America”) are subject to the following award chart:

alaska airlines sweet spots

Partner Award Chart for EMEA

Beginning in 2024, partner awards within the Europe, Middle East, Africa (“EMEA”) region or from the USA to EMEA are subject to the following award chart:

Award Chart for Asia Pacific

Lastly, beginning in 2024, partner awards within Asia Pacific (defined as “SE Asia, Indian Subcontinent, South Pacific, Japan/Korea”), from USA to Asia Pacific, or between Asia and EMEA, are subject to the following award chart:

alaska airlines sweet spots

A Glaring Omission?

These new award charts cover travel:

  • from the USA to Americas;
  • within Americas;
  • from the USA to EMEA;
  • within EMEA;
  • from the USA to Asia Pacific;
  • within Asia Pacific;
  • between Asia Pacific and EMEA.

So what is missing here? Well, the USA is part of, but not wholly, the Americas. There is no published chart for travel between the Americas (other than the USA) and EMEA or Asia Pacific. Is this an oversight? Is “US” synonymous with “Americas,” although never defined as such? Perhaps such travel is impossible to book (though highly unlikely)? Frankly, who knows. My guess is “US” and “Americas” are used interchangeably, but this is a major oversight in this modified program. We'll soon find out once all these routes are updated to the new charts.

Alaska Airlines Sweet Spots

Now that we have the general overview of the 2024 changes and the new program. Let's talk about Alaska Airlines sweet spots. To confirm, most long haul routes, in any class of service, were devalued with these changes. Some routes increased in price by almost 100%. For these reasons, many news outlets focused on the massive devaluation in these award charts. Yes, there is some bad, but there is also a lots of incredibly great options. For the average award traveler: families flying economy on mostly domestic trips, with a bit of international travel thrown in for fun, these new charts are a bright spot and represent outsized value. Let's take a look at many of the new highlights.

Sweet Spot #1: Short Flights on Alaska Airlines

First up, there is incredible value in using Alaska Airlines to fly its own flights. For example, for flights of 700 miles or less, the cost is only 5,000 miles in economy or 15,000 miles in First. While the cost of First is not necessarily appealing, any flight for 5,000 miles is likely a great value. When you visualize a 700 nautical mile ring on the west coast, you realize you can basically travel anywhere to/from San Francisco for 5,000 miles. Not bad at all!

alaska airlines sweet spots
700 nautical mile ring from SFO

Sweet Spot #2: Short Flights on American Airlines

For some surprising reason, the 2024 award charts price short-haul flights on partners cheaper than on Alaska Airlines' own flights. Because of this, it is an Alaska Airlines sweet spot and perhaps the best one there is. For flights equal to or less than 700 nautical miles, the cost is:

  • 4,500 miles in economy
  • 6,000 miles in premium economy;
  • 9,000 miles in business; or
  • 13,500 miles first (although likely inapplicable).

Once again, when you visualize this on a map, you realize the insane value in this sweet spot. From Washington, D.C., you can fly any where between northern Maine and northern Florida or as far as Milwaukee or Chicago, all for as little as 4,500 miles. Are we paying attention yet?

alaska airlines sweet spots

To get a sense of how good this is, we can compare it to British Airways. After a no-notice devaluation of American and Alaska Airlines award flights, a similar flight now costs up to 11,000 miles, nearly 2.5x as much.

Sweet Spot #3: Medium Distance Flights on American Airlines

Yes, we're not finished with American Airlines partner awards. You can extend your trip to 1,400 nautical miles or less and the cost increases only slightly:

  • 7,500 miles in economy;
  • 10,000 miles in premium economy;
  • 15,000 miles in business; or
  • 25,000 miles first (although likely inapplicable).

Turning to the map again, to see how good this Alaska Airlines sweet spot is, we realize it is ridiculously good. From Miami, you can travel to Mexico City or anywhere east of there in Central America, the northern tip of South America, most of the midwest of the USA, and as far north as Portland, Maine. Any of those flights are only 7,500 miles in economy, 10,000 miles in premium economy, or 15,000 miles in business. For the average American traveling family, it simply doesn't get any better than this.

alaska airlines sweet spots

Sweet Spot #4: Short & Medium Haul in Europe

With numerous Oneworld partners in Europe, there are many examples of Alaska Airlines sweet spots. The best sweet spot is short-haul flights under 1,500 nautical miles. The cost for such flights is:

  • 7,500 miles in economy;
  • 10,000 in premium economy;
  • 15,000 in business; or
  • 22,500 in first.

With options in partners located in Madrid, London, Dublin, and Helsinski, you can pretty much cover ALL of Europe for these rates. In fact, you can fly into Northern Africa at these rates, which is astonishing. If you need to position to your destination from somewhere in Europe, give this sweet spot a look.

alaska airlines sweet spots
1,500 nautical mile ring from MAD

Sweet Spot #5: Short & Medium Haul in Asia

With identical rates as EMEA region, short- and medium-haul flights in Asia represent outsized value and an Alaska Airlines sweet spot. The rates for flights of 1,500 miles or less are, once again:

  • 7,500 miles in economy;
  • 10,000 in premium economy;
  • 15,000 in business; or
  • 22,500 in first.

Oneworld partners in Asia include Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific. From Hong Kong, for example, you can cover most of Southeast Asia, South Korea, and parts of Japan for 7,500 to 22,500 miles. This value should speak for itself.

Sweet Spot #6: Medium Haul to Europe

Thus far, we have focused on mostly short flights of 1,500 miles or less. But what about medium flights, especially in business class? Yes, those exist and there are Alaska Airlines sweet spots that work here too! For example, for flights to/from the USA and EMEA that are between 1,501 and 3,500 nautical miles, the costs are:

  • 22,500 miles in economy;
  • 30,000 in premium economy;
  • 45,000 in business; or
  • 67,500 in first.

This opens up quite a bit of territory, especially from the Northeast. As Europe is not that far, and there are several nonstop flights available on Oneworld partners, you can connect onward to far off places in Europe with little worries. For starters, here are the nonstops you can reach under the 3,500 mile ring:

  • Boston, New York or Washington, D.C. to Dublin
  • Boston or New York to London
  • Boston or New York to Shannon
  • New York to Manchester
  • Boston to Madrid

So long as you keep any of the above flights under 3,500 miles, even if you add connections, you can fly for 45,000 miles. Under the old award charts, the same flight would cost 60,000 miles!

Sweet Spot #7: Medium-Haul to South America

While many of the long flights to South America are now more expensive, a new Alaska Airlines sweet spot has emerged: medium-haul flights to South America. For flights between 2,101 and 4,000 nautical miles, the new award rates are:

  • 17,500 miles in economy;
  • 22,500 in premium economy;
  • 35,000 in business; or
  • 52,500 in first.

While we can debate whether any or all of these options are the absolute best available rates of any program, but all of them are above-average to great. For starters, these awards have decreased from pre-2024 rates, where business class cost 45,000. A 10,000 mile drop for the exact same flights is unheard of, especially during a “devaluation.” Examples of available flights are JFK, Orlando or Miami to Lima or Miami to several popular destinations throughout Brazil.

alaska airlines sweet spots

Alaska Airlines Sweet Spots: ToP Thoughts

It is virtually unheard of that an airline reduces costs of award flights. During the great “devaluation” of 2024, that is exactly what has happened and it created many new Alaska Airlines sweet spots. While devaluations certainly did occur, and some prior sweet spots were totally decimated, new options exist and at much lower rates than before. All in all, especially for the average American family traveling domestically in economy, with occasional international trips, these new award charts are a total win. Moving forward, Alaska Airlines should become the preferred booking program for short- and medium-haul Oneworld flights. In many instances, it is 50% or more cheaper than award rates with British Airways. I certainly am very excited about these 2024 award changes and hope you are too.

What are your thoughts? Has Alaska Airlines devalued its award program? Or are there more Alaska Airlines sweet spots than ever before? Come over to our Facebook group and let us know.


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