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For international travel rewards, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a hidden gem. With a variety of airlines to choose from, you have some very valuable miles you can use to get your international travel on.

You’ll be flying on one of North America’s top-rated airlines to destinations to and from the U.S. West coast.

Throw in 2 credit cards to earn miles on everyday purchases plus a bunch of airline partners, and Alaska Airlines has a lot to offer.

And, some big news has just landed that’ll give your rewards even more flexibility.

Alaska Airlines joining oneworld alliance

Alaska Airlines is going to be an official member of oneworld alliance by summer 2021.

Here’s Alaska’s official timeline on when (and how) it’ll happen:

Alaska Airlines oneworld timeline
Though Alaska Airlines won’t be a full member until summer of 2021, there are things that are already in effect today, plus more to come as we get closer to that date.

What you can expect before summer 2021

As for what’s happening right now, it all has to do with American Airlines:

  • you can now redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles on all American Airlines flights, and
  • get access to all American Admirals Club lounges with an Alaska lounge membership.

Later this spring (exact date to be determined), you’ll be able to earn Alaska miles on all American Airlines flights as well.

This is great news that American Airlines is back to being a redemption partner with Alaska, since they were set to be dropped as a partner next month. Turns out they’ll actually be getting upgraded to a full earning partner instead.

You’ll also be able to continue earning and redeeming on Alaska’s current global partners, so nothing to worry about there.

What to expect by summer 2021

And then starting next summer, you’ll be able to earn and redeem miles on every oneworld member. And if you have Alaska Elite status, you’ll gain privileges when flying with other oneworld members.

So this is obviously great news for Alaska Mileage Plan members.

One thing to note. Most of the major oneworld carriers are already Alaska Airlines partners.

They are:

  • British Airways,
  • Cathay Pacific,
  • Finnair,
  • Japan Airlines, and
  • Qantas.

But the most popular redemption option is American Airlines, and with this news, they’re no longer being dropped as a partner.

You can learn more about the upcoming changes here.

Alaska Airlines credit cards

This news makes Alaska Airlines credit cards more valuable. Not only do you already have Alaska’s extensive portfolio of partner airlines, but coming soon the entire oneworld alliance will be at your fingertips as well.

Here’s an overview of Alaska Airlines’ credit cards in Canada, which are issued by MBNA.

Related: Alaska Airlines Credit Cards Review: Hidden Gems For The International Traveller

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Earn Rates Annual Fee, Income Requirements Apply Now
Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard 30,000 miles (terms) * 3 miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines
* 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
* $99
* 80K personal or 150K household
Apply Now
Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard 20,000 miles (terms) * 3 miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines
* 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
* $75
* No income requirements
Apply Now

Let’s start with Alaska’s premium offering – the .

To get you started, you’ll earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

As for your daily purchases, here’s what you’ll earn on them:

  • 3 miles per $1 spent on Alaska Airlines, and
  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

And if you do fly with Alaska Airlines, you’ll get some special benefits on your flights. The biggest one is Alaska’s famous companion voucher. For $99 USD plus taxes and fees, you can take a 2nd person with you on a trip to anywhere Alaska flies, which includes Mexico and Hawaii.

Plus, you can get your first checked bag free for the cardholder and up to 6 others travelling on the same reservation. And it comes with 8 types of insurance coverages, including the rare price protection and rental car personal effects and accident insurances.

It’s for an annual fee of $99 (which is lower than most other World Elite Mastercards) and income requirements of either $80,000 personal or $150,000 household.

Don’t meet World Elite Mastercard income requirements? Don’t worry, the is nearly identical.

For a lower annual fee of $75 and no income requirements, here are the only differences between these cards:

  • lower welcome bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months,
  • no free checked bags, and
  • no price protection insurance.

Otherwise, everything else is the same.

Earn rates? Check.

Companion voucher? Exact same.

Other insurance coverages? Still here.

It’s still a great credit card compared to its World Elite brother.

Your turn

Being a part of the oneworld Alliance really has no downsides if you collect Mileage Plan miles. That means more carriers to redeem with, and more benefits when flying with them.

What are your thoughts on this news?

Let us know in the comments below.