While I have a love/hate relationship with Alaska Airlines, I still must admit their frequent flyer programme continues to be the best way to redeem miles for fantastic, premium international airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Fiji Airways, etc. The most important aspect to note is that you generally can’t redeem Alaska miles on ALL routes operated by their partner airlines. For example, you can’t fly British Airways between Europe and Asia, but you can fly Cathay Pacific. Flying Cathay Pacific First Class is one of the best ways to fly, and can be booked with Alaska Airlines miles for a great deal.
The best use of Alaska Airlines miles, in my opinion, is for travel on Cathay Pacific in First or Business Class. You can fly CX Business Class for less than 30k miles within Asia, for 30k miles between Hong Kong and the South Pacific, for 42.5k between Hong Kong and Europe, or for 50k between Hong Kong and North America. The important thing to note is that you can only have stopovers in Hong Kong if travelling to/from North America – you can’t fly Singapore to Hong Kong to London and have a stopover in Hong Kong.. you can’t even fly this route on one award… which is a major downside to Alaska miles. The best deal, however, is flying Cathay First for just 70k Alaska miles on a long-haul route or for less than 30k intra-Asia (generally only Hong Kong to Tokyo and maybe Singapore).
I recently redeemed 42.5k Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific Business Class from Hong Kong to London, and at the airport decided to call Alaska and ask if First Class was available – it was and I switched it for the difference in miles and no change fee (since I hold MVP Gold 75k status). CX’s First Class lounges in Hong Kong are amazing and offer a relaxing atmosphere with delicious food. The flight was incredible, as with all Cathay flights, the crew was fantastic and the service was excellent. Seriously, Cathay Pacific is one of the best airlines in the world – it for sure is my favourite in Asia and might just be my fourth favourite airline (after Lufthansa, SWISS, and Etihad Airways).
Be sure to check out some of the awesome Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Hotel Rewards Credit Cards, and Point Rewards Credit Cards that are available and will earn you lots of miles and great travel benefits!