Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator

By | August 22, 2015

Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator

Calculating your total miles with Alaska can be a bit of a chore.  The Mileage Plan website shows your progress towards the next level of elite status and your mileage activity.  However, it doesn’t break down your Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM), the miles that count towards status, by flight.  That’s why use my own Alaska Airlines mile calculator.

Note: This post originally was written in August 2015.  Some updates have been added to the post and changes made to reflect the current earning rates.  A new version of the Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator has also been uploaded.  

When you log in to your Mileage Plan account, the first screen you will see is your elite status progress (i.e. how close you are to MVP, MVP Gold, or MVP Gold 75k).  This is a good starting place, but doesn’t tell the entire picture.

Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator

In the above example, I am only 842 miles away from MVP Gold based on Alaska and Partner miles.

Now, the second screen that is helpful is your “Mileage Activity” screen. The problem with this screen is that it does not differentiate the types of miles you are earning for each transaction/activity.

Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator

Not all miles are created equal

What some people don’t know is that there are three categories of miles with Alaska.

Redeemable Miles

These are the basic miles that you accrue over the life of your Mileage Plan account.  These are from flights, bonus miles, credit cards, partner hotel bookings, car rentals, etc.  At the top of the Mileage Activity screen you will see “Available Miles”.  That is how many Redeemable Miles you have accrued and not yet spent.  The far right column of your activity shows your earned Redeemable Miles for each transaction.

So, for my flight on 5/24 PEK to ORD, I earned a total of 11,515 Redeemable Miles that can be used for a future booking. Note: This was prior to the change in Alaska Mileage Plan earning structure on partner American Airlines.

Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator

Elite Qualifying Miles

These are the miles that count towards your elite status.  Typically this is the number of miles actually flown.  Miles you accrue through credit cards, hotel bookings, car rentals, etc. are NOT Elite Qualifying Miles.

The tricky thing is that certain fares on Alaska tickets earn you bonus EQMs.

For Flights Taken on or After January 1, 2015:

Economy Class Cabin*:
1. Earn actual flight miles* booked in H, Q, L, V, K, G, T, R class of service;
2. Earn actual flight miles* booked in M, and B class of service plus 25% Bonus Miles;
3. Earn actual flight miles* booked in Y, and S class of service plus 50% Bonus Miles.

First Class Cabin*:
Earn actual flight miles* booked in F or P class of service plus 75% bonus.

*Earn 500 minimum miles on flights less than 500 miles. Actual miles flown = 1 mile per flight mile flown. Miles may not be earned for tickets flown in A, D, E, N, W, X, or Z classes of service. Some deeply discounted, and industry fares are ineligible to earn miles.

When it comes to partner airlines, it is another story.  You might only earn 25% EQM of actual miles flown if you book a discount fare.  Or you might earn a class of service bonus.

For my PEK-ORD flight, I was booked in Business Class (J), which earns a 25% EQM bonus (Note: That was the case when I wrote this.  Now J class earns a 100% bonus!).  The flight itself is 6,580 miles.  So I receive 100% of those miles PLUS a 25% bonus of 1,645 miles for a total of 8,225 Elite Qualifying Miles for this flight.  However, as you note looking at the screen shot, you will notice that the total is 11,515 miles.  And that is because there is a third category of miles (see, this is complex).

Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator

Elite Bonus Miles

These are miles dependent on your status with Alaska.  If you do not have status, you will get 0 (zero) Elite Bonus Miles for your flight.  From Alaska’s Website (emphasis added):

Our Mileage Plan™ MVP® members earn 50% Elite Bonus, MVP® Gold members earn 100% Elite Bonus, and Gold 75K** level members earn 125% Elite Bonus on miles earned. Elite Bonus Miles do not count toward elite qualification.  

At the time of my PEK-ORD flight, I was MVP with Alaska.  Therefore, I earn a 50% bonus on the actual miles flown.  The flight is 6,580 miles, so my bonus is 3,290 miles.  Note that these do not count towards status.

There is actually a fourth category of miles.  These are Bonus Miles based on a promotion that is going on.  For example, on new routes Alaska will sometimes offer a Double Mile Bonus promotion.  Yet these bonus miles function in the exact same way as Elite Bonus Miles (i.e. they are not EQM).

To sum the Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator

Actual Miles Flown + Elite Qualifying Bonus Miles + Elite Bonus Miles = Total Redeemable Miles

In the PEK-ORD example, this calculation is 6,580 (Actual Miles Flown) + 1,645 (Elite Qualifying Bonus Miles based on fare class) + 3,290 (Elite Bonus Miles for being MVP) = 11,515 Total Redeemable Miles.

The Problem

If you are following closely, you may see a problem that arises with Alaska’s Mileage Activity page.  And that is the fact that the “Bonus” column does not differentiate between Elite Qualifying Bonus Miles and Elite Bonus Miles.

I have a spreadsheet that better tracks your Alaska Mileage Plan miles.  This is useful in two ways:

  1. To check if your miles post correctly.  I have had flights not post correctly.  I track my flights and miles to make sure I am getting the correct earned miles credited to my account.
  2. To plan for the future.  If you want to know how close you are to the next elite status with your current booked flights, this is a good way to do it.

Please download my Alaska Airlines Mile Calculator.  And let me know what you think!

AlaskaAirlinesMiles (Excel)

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