MMMT: Using Alaska Airlines Miles for Hotels is a Terrible Idea – Why I May do it Anyways

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Ticket Reselling Flop

Monday Morning Miles Talk is a regular series that has some smaller, more quirky ideas to kick off the work week.  These are essentially random ideas that I wanted to share with you.

If you would like to read even more articles in the series you can click HERE.


Why I May Use Alaska Airlines Miles on a Hotel Booking

Alaska Airlines added the ability to book hotels with your Alaska miles a while back.  A lot of different airlines offer this ability and it is almost always a terrible deal.  Usually the redemptions are sub 1 cent per mile.  That is especially horrible for what many consider as the most valuable/coveted mile out there.  Even though I know all of this I may do it anyway.

Why I am Considering a Bad Redemption

I have said many times that the only mile or point that is truly worthless is the unused mile or point.  I have even transferred points from one currency to another to unlock abandoned points before.

My situation is this, I have 11,600 miles left in my Alaska account and have no plans to earn any more.  I have already burned through my stash of SPG/Marriott points so that transfer is not an option.  Bank of America has become the toughest approval out there and I keep getting turned down on every application from them.  Signing up for a new Alaska Airlines card to pad my miles is not really an option for me.

This leaves me with miles that I can not use and they have an expiration date.  I don’t foresee myself adding to the total anytime soon so I would rather use what I have on a poor redemption then let them collect dust or expire unused.

Other Options

There are other options but they take some work and come with additional cost.  I could put $900 worth of spend on my Alaska credit card to get to 12,500 miles for a one way award.  Or I could use the Alaska Airlines shopping portal to rack up the 900 miles.  Both of these come with a small cost either in acquiring the miles or missing out on more useful rewards (to me) by pursuing Alaska miles.

If I did go this route I would have enough for a one way ticket on Alaska.  I do need to get out to Alaska’s base, Seattle, for my MLB stadium tour so that could work.  The only issue is that I do that trip with a buddy and I would have to pay cash for the second ticket.  Not ideal, especially for me. If I was going to pay cash for one ticket I would use my Alaska companion ticket that I get with the credit card.

The more viable option would be to use the 12,500 miles on a one way flight on American Airlines since Alaska has a partnership with them.  This would have been easier when they had the same deal with Delta, since I am a Delta hub captive, but American Airlines is the best I can do.  This does come with a $19 fee which is $13.40 more than the standard $5.60 fee on award flights.  That is an additional cost Alaska puts on partner flights.

Hotel Redemption

Having laid out all of the other options the path of least resistance is still booking a hotel room.  While this does not offer the best redemption it doesn’t take any additional effort.  The prices in miles for hotels varies according to the cash price but I was able to find one near our house for 11,000 miles for the night.  It would normally cost me 15,000 Marriott points.

This would be a terrible redemption and in no way is exchanging 11,000 Alaska miles for 15,000 Marriott points something people should do on a regular basis.  But considering the situation, it is better than nothing.  It allows me to use miles that would otherwise go unused.  The only truly worthless mile is the one that is not redeemed!


I will most likely end up using a mix of the Alaska portal and credit card to bump my mileage balance to 12,500 and use it on a one way American Airlines flight.  This is a good option since I can use AA miles or British Airways miles to book my companion on the same flight.  But if the need arises for a hotel room and the miles work I may go that route too.

My main goal in this whole thing is making sure I get some kind of value out of every single point and mile I have.  Even if it is considered a “bad” redemption it is worlds better than NO redemption.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. My friend only has 7,600 Alaska miles. This is not worthless. It can be redeemed for SFO-SEA one way (as low as 5,000 miles). I have been offered use of these miles for a free ticket. Yipee.

  2. I feel the same way about miles. I don’t really value them at more than a penny each and don’t mind burning them so I can save cash. That being said, I would probably hold on to Alaska miles if I were you. If you had 8,000 miles, it would be a different story. But you are very close to one-way ticket on Alaska or American. It sounds like you have some travel coming up where the opportunity to utilize them will likely present itself. Even if you don’t find award availability this time, you probably will within few years. Alaska miles are easy to keep alive, this isn’t KrisFlyer program. So, unless you are really hurting for cash or hotel points, I would skip the hotel option. But that’s just my 2 cents.

    • That is the way I am leaning for sure. I will slowly build up to it most likely through the shopping portal. But if I am in need of a hotel and it seems to work out I may do that too. Always good to have options.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂


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