Frequent flyers, or even people who fly about a half a dozen times a year, need to check out the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (AAMP) program as it has some very unique benefits you will be hard pressed to find on other airlines rewards programs. One of its most beneficial features is that Alaska Airlines has created a program that has alliances with a number of other airlines, so you can crossover the use of rewards points when available. Another feature of the program is that with these multiple alliances AAMP has separate awards charts, so depending on which airline you regularly fly you may gain additional rewards points by using AAMP.
One of the most important things you can do once becoming a member of AAMP is to stay up to date. As with any rewards program things can change every month, so you may be able to find a better deal or airlines and add to your rewards points total. Obviously the goal is to maximize the value of the plan.
There are special things to know about the plan that will allow you not only to ring up rewards points but also plan your trip. Here are a select few of the opportunities available as an AAMP member.
If you are taking a trip and there are two destinations you want to see, AAMP allows you to have a stopover even when you are using your award points for a one way ticket. There is only one other airline in the sky that allows this. One of the most important restrictions is when you continue on your journey after the first stopover it must be on an airline that has an alliance with Alaska Airlines, and it must be from a hub city.
Flyers need to be careful of the booking itinerary because if you book mixed cabin seats – say Premium Economy and Business Class – you will be using the rewards points for the higher priced cabin, in this case the Business Class rate, for the Premium Economy seat. When planning and opting for the stopover, this is one of the potential oversights that is common among AAMP users.
Because the AAMP has different award charts for different partners, pay close attention to what each airline has to offer. One of the nicest things about Alaska Airlines is that it has partnered with a huge number of airlines, so the chances are you will be able to use the AAMP to your advantage. If you are not especially loyal to any one airline you can maximize your AAMP advantages by taking the time to shop around.
If you are one of the vast number of Americans who go to Hawaii whenever possible, the AAMP can save you a considerable amount of hassle. Alaska Airlines has a number of flights that go to Hawaii, so instead of flying out of San Francisco or Los Angeles, find an Alaska Airlines flight that will take you a bit out of your way. Why? The short amount of additional time you will spend in the air will be used to rack up AAMP points and you will save yourself some money by using the AAMP points. Even better, you will be just that much closer to your next Hawaiian trip.
One drawback for some flyers is that major credit cards such as American Express and Citibank are not partners with Alaska Airlines. There have been complaints about this drawback, but you can work around it by opting for some other card alternatives.
First, buy AAMP miles when they have sales, which is fairly regularly. Take this opportunity when you just have a few miles to go to reach a points target to get you to your next destination. This is one of the reasons this program targets regular and frequent flyers.
If you have a Starwood Starpoints account you can transfer your Starpoints to AAMP. For every 20,000 points you transfer there are 5,000 bonus miles waiting for you.
Alaska Airlines has its own VISA Signature Card. It’s offered by Bank of America.
Finally, if you have an Alaska Airlines VISA Signature Card, use it for a significant amount of your regular shopping purchases. You can link the card to the Alaska Airlines website portal so that all your purchases will ring up rewards miles. Also, you will be kept up to date with participating merchant programs who are offering additional bonus rewards for shopping with them.
These last five opportunities show why the AAMP benefits frequent flyers the most. But even if you aren’t one, you may know someone who is and can take advantage of the program if there is the opportunity to easily transfer points between account holders. Check with your current rewards program to find out the terms and conditions of your card.