Free stopovers on one-way awards w/ Alaska [Sweet-spot spotlight]

Sweet-spot spotlight is a Frequent Miler series showcasing some of the best values your points and miles can buy. Each sweet-spot post will highlight one great use of miles or points and give you a quick overview on what makes that use notable as well as the key information you need to know in order to find and book these awards.

Today’s sweet spot spotlight is on Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan since they offer a free stopover on one-way award tickets, which can be a great deal when you want to reach two destinations.

Alaska Airlines Companion Fare

Sweet spot spotlight:

  • The short story: Alaska Airlines only allows a free stopover on one-way awards (even domestic ones).
  • Miles required: Varies, but you’re charged based on the price from point of origin to the final destination. See Alaska Airlines mileage charts here.
  • How to find awards: Search alaskaair.com (or on partner sites for some partners)
  • How to book awards: Book online at alaskaair.com or call Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan at 1-800-252-7522.

Quick Notes

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is an excellent loyalty program that offers great value in terms of premium cabin international awards with top-notch partners. But you can also get fantastic value out of Alaska miles for domestic travel since they do not charge a close-in booking fee and they allow a free stopover on one-way awards.

Today’s sweet spot spotlight focuses on strength #2. A free stopover on a one-way award means that you can enjoy two destinations for the price of one.

For example, Alaska ordinarily charges 12,500 miles for a one-way domestic award ticket within the United states. For example, you could fly from Newark to San Diego in economy class for 12,500 miles.

Or you could fly from Newark (or JFK) to Seattle for 12,500 miles.

However, with a free stopover, you could alternatively fly from Newark to both San Diego and Seattle for the same 12,500 miles + $11.20.

Note that the stopover in San Diego can be for as long as you want — whether you plan to stay in San Diego for a few days or a few months, you can continue your journey from there to another domestic destination for 12,500 miles. That’s a great deal that gives you the chance to see two destinations for the price of one, which can be particularly cool given Alaska’s wide reach on the west coast. It could also be a good deal for those who live in an Alaska hub and can extend their trip home beyond their home airport with a stopover. Note that there are some routing rules and limitations, but it is worthwhile to play with the online booking tool to see what works since it can be pretty surprising.

The same can be said for trips to other parts of the world. For instance, let’s say that you wanted to fly from San Diego to Minneapolis in business class. Ordinarily, that would start at 25,000 miles one-way.

Flights on partner carriers get a little tricky since Alaska publishes separate award charts for each partner (see those award charts here). For instance, you can fly from North America to Europe on Icelandair for 50K miles one-way in business class. Alaska will allow you to mix flights on Alaska Airlines flights with flights on one partner airline on a single itinerary.

Let’s say that you wanted to fly from San Diego to Minneapolis (shown above for 25K) and then continue on to Iceland. You could do that for 50K miles total.

For just 25K miles more than the flight to Minneapolis (plus taxes), that’s not a bad deal. Icelandair’s business class isn’t known to be anything special, but the same concept would also apply with other partners and to other parts of the world. Some partners can be booked online with ease and others may require a phone call, but the possibilities are surprisingly flexible.

The examples in this post only demonstrate some basic examples. See the advanced booking tool here and click “multi-city” if you’re looking to book a trip with stopovers. Trial and error should give you a better idea as to what you can and can not do.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

19
Leave a Reply

avatar
13 Comment threads
6 Thread replies
13 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
Cameron WestNick ReyesDavid RaymieNick ReyesSemyonfridman Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
JB San Diego
Guest
JB San Diego

Thanks Nick for this tip! Last summer, I booked a trip from San Diego to Tokyo, Japan for this June in First Class on JAL via Alaska miles. I don’t have a stopover, but this information definitely helps!

Lantean
Guest
Lantean

Prefect timing of this post… I just booked an Emirates award from DXB to EWR… after reading this called and I added JFK-LAX flight 3 weeks after my trip for free.

AAP
Guest
AAP

How many miles would your itinerary cost? Was JFK-LAX on Alaska or AA? I’m thinking about a similar trip to India.

Lantean
Guest
Lantean

The tag-on flight (in my case JFK-LAX) has to be on Alaska. it will not increase the cost of your flight India-USA if in the same or lower class of service.

Allen
Guest
Allen

Every summer I do Alaskan first class , PHL- PVR- HNL … nothing like a Mexico and Hawaii trip to kick off the summer

Jcb
Guest
Jcb

Yup love this feature. Just booked NYC to Hawaii with a stopover in SF for 25k (direct, could have done 17.5k with stops)

Tom from Seattle
Guest
Tom from Seattle

I am an Alaska Gold member and love to game their wonderful system.

Here’s a trick I use all the time…

LAS to SEA costs as little as 7,500 miles. SEA to LAX also can be as low as 7,500.

However, fly from LAS to SEA (where I happen to live…works for PDX and elsewhere too)…then “stopover” for as long as I want and then fly SEA to LAX. The total miles for both legs is 5,000! Essentially, Alaska will price the route as if it was a LAS to LAX flight and ignores the SEA aspects.

If one happens to be a Gold, you can also change the dates of your continuing flight and use the extra leg almost anytime you wish. Even if the cheapest mileage segment isn’t available on the later flight, you can add miles to make up the difference and still likely be cheaper than 2 one ways.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Tom
Kind Sir I’m looking ..Can u do ORD>GUM( or HNL)>SIN ??? or whats a good layover out that way ??
THANKS
CD

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

Any way this use this “sweet spot” can be used for award travel from San Jose (CA) to Japan with stopover in Honolulu?

trackback

[…] Today’s sweet spot spotlight is on Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan since they offer a free stopover on one-way award tickets, which can be a great deal when you want to reach two destinations. LEARN MORE! […]

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Thank You ..I’ll work on this could save me another trip and points too. CHEERs

trackback

[…] Free Stopovers On Alaska Award One Ways:  We’ve covered this topic before on Travel Miles 101, but this serves as a great reminder to maximize your hard earned points.  This is one of the reasons that makes Alaska miles so valuable. […]

Semyonfridman
Guest
Semyonfridman

Can any combination between New York,San Francisco and Ft. Lauderdale or Miami be considered a stop over?

David Raymie
Guest
David Raymie

I am having a terrible time finding award space on Alaska. All partner award flights with AA come up with errors or are ghost flights. Also their pricing on partner flights is almost always greater than the host airline’s prices. I even called Alaska and their response is “yeah I see that but is does not work for me either”. So far the worst website I have tried to deal with and I regret wasting my time to collect Alaska points.

Cameron West
Guest
Cameron West

Would it be possible to use alaska miles to book a free stopover from HNL-SYD-DFW OR DFW-SYD-HNL?

Thank you.

trackback

[…] has both a really nicely priced set of award charts and one of the best sweet spots around (See: Free stopovers on one-way awards w/ Alaska [Sweet-spot spotlight]).Earning more miles for the intro bonus on this card is a win in my book, even if Bank of America […]

trackback

[…] That said, we don’t often see a payout of 20x from Alaska, which in most instances awards a few less miles per dollar than other portals. Alaska miles can be great for travel to Australia (55K one-way in business class) and/or the Asia-Pacific region (from 50K one-way in business class to Asia or from 60K / 70K in first class). See Alaska’s various partner award charts here. Also keep in mind that Alaska allows a free stopover on one-way awards, which is where the value of miles can really shine. […]