We’ve talked it about here on Rewards Canada for many months now and are excited to bring you the news that we all knew would happen today and that is of Alaska Airlines officially joining the oneworld Alliance! This is huge for the airline that prior to this dabbled in partnering with airlines from across all three alliances and thankfully will still have some of those other partnerships but now with the power of belonging to one alliance. Alaska Airlines 14th airline to become a full member of oneworld and this plays well for many Canadians – well mainly for those that know the value of Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program as there are those who have never considered the program since the airline only serves cities in Alberta & B.C.. This was even despite some amazing partnerships with airlines that do serve many Canadian cities where the program can be utilized and now there are even more airlines to add to the mix.
|oneworld Alliance member airlines|
When you look at the list of oneworld airlines above you see many that do fly to Canada. Nine to be exact (well pre-COVID) and hopefully it will be 9 once travel returns to normal. One of those airlines, Finnair does only tend to be seasonal however. And that’s only the oneworld partners – there are seven more airlines that Alaska Airlines partners with that fly to Canada – so as you can see you have 16 airlines to choose from albeit there are no domestic flight options to travel within Canada. Then add in all their other partners and this program has the breadth to take you to virtually anywhere in the world – with reasonable earning and redeeming rates!
Joining oneworld now means they are reciprocal elite status benefits across the airline’s in the alliance for elite members in the programs. For Alaska MVP’s here’s what that means:
The benefits for oneworld Sapphire and Emerald are pretty decent with such perks as Priority Boarding and access to over 650 lounges worldwide. And now that Alaska is part of oneworld it means more flights that you can earn miles on on partner airlines and more elite qualification towards your MVP status.
Now that Alaska is officially part of oneworld you can earn Mileage Plan miles on all oneworld partner airlines and vice versa – you can choose to credit Alaska Airlines flights to one of the oneworld partner airline programs. Earn rates vary by program and by airline – so check the respective program’s website to those. Click here for earn rates awarded in the Alaska Airlines mileage program.
Other than flying on Alaska or any of their partner airlines there are numerous ways for us Canadians to earn Mileage Plan miles to build up those balances to redeem for some amazing reward flights. Here are the top ways to earn Mileage Plan Miles in Canada outside of flights:
- Credit Cards: The mbna Alaska Airlines World Elite® Mastercard® or the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus® Mastercard®. We always say here on Rewards Canada that easiest way to rack up points or miles other than actual travel is through credit card spend. We are lucky here in Canada to have co-branded credit cards for the Mileage Plan program and they are some of the best in business (4th in the airline category in our annual rankings)
- Credit Cards: The Marriott Bonvoy American Express card – credit card spend that earns Marriott Bonvoy points which can then be transferred to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Hotel stays – Most hotel loyalty programs let you set airline miles as your earning preference and many partner with Alaska – from Canada’s own Coast Hotels to the big players like Best Western, IHG and Marriott.
- Car rentals – Mileage Plan has a big list of seven car rental partners from Alamo to Hertz to Thrifty and all the other big names in between.
- Online shopping – If you are doing some online shopping out of the U.S. with U.S. retailers such as J.Crew, Macys and others you can shop via the Mileage Plan online shopping portal to earn miles just as you would with the Aeroplan eStore or AIR MILES Shops.
- Buying MIles – You can buy Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles and many times during the year they have lucrative bonuses of up to 50% (sometimes even higher).
When you look at it, of all the non-Canadian loyalty programs Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has some of the best earning opportunities for Canadians.
Unless Alaska Airlines already had an existing partnership with an airline from the oneworld Alliance you won’t be able to redeem miles for flights on them just yet. Redemption options on any of the airlines that are new partners won’t be available until sometime this summer. This means you can redeem for flights on airlines like British Airways and Cathay Pacific but will have to wait for something like Royal Air Maroc’s Montreal to Casablanca flight. Like earning miles, the Mileage Plan program has varying redemption rates across its partner airlines
Wrapping it up
As long as Alaska Airlines holds true to what they have told their members and that is that they want the program to remain valuable (ie no major devaluations, moving to revenue based earn etc.) then there are no complaints at all about today’s news. Joining the oneworld alliance means more options for earning and redeeming Mileage Plan miles for Canadians and ultimately makes the program that much better for all of us from coast to coast. Now just add in one Canadian partner like Canadian North and I’ll adjust that last sentence to coast to coast to coast.
Images via Alaska Airlines