Cool: Alaska Airlines Gives All Employees 90K Miles

Cool: Alaska Airlines Gives All Employees 90K Miles

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Alaska Airlines is celebrating its 90th anniversary in a way that will make any of us who are into miles & points pretty jealous.

Alaska celebrates 90th anniversary with 90K miles

Alaska Airlines is celebrating its 90th anniversary, and it’s commemorating the occasion by gifting all employees 90,000 Mileage Plan miles. Here’s how Alaska Airlines describes this nice gesture:

While many of us were instructed to stay home during the pandemic, airline employees were part of the essential workforce who remained on the front lines. Each day brought new challenges, regulations and precautions that our people had to carefully navigate while continuing to care for our guests, communities and each other.

As we inch our way to a new normal — happily seeing travelers’ pent-up desire to hop on a plane — Alaska is taking a moment to thank each employee for their relentless commitment to caring for our guests for 90 years & counting by giving them 90,000 miles to fly anywhere in the world.

Personally I value Mileage Plan miles at 1.7 cents each, so I’d value 90,000 Mileage Plan miles at $1,530. Presumably miles cost Alaska Airlines significantly less than that, and I’d imagine the airline is accounting for the cost of this at somewhere around one cent per mile, if not less.

Alaska Airlines has somewhere around 22,000 employees, so that means that roughly two billion Mileage Plan miles will be issued. Now, that assumes all employees accept this gift — since there will presumably be tax implications with this gift, it’s possible some employees may not want the miles.

While this is the first time that Alaska Airlines has offered employees miles in this way, in 2021 Southwest Airlines offered all employees 50,000 Rapid Rewards points, to celebrate the carrier’s 50th anniversary.

Alaska employees are all getting 90K miles

Are miles really worth it for airline employees?

One of the perks of working in the airline industry is that you get free or heavily discounted travel. Alaska Airlines employees receive:

  • Free or heavily discounted travel on Alaska Airlines (taxes & fees still apply)
  • Heavily discounted travel on many other airlines

The catch is that these travel benefits are on a space available basis, and if you’ve flown lately, you probably know that flights are really full. Non-revenue travel can be extremely frustrating, since you could end up getting denied for several flights, and may have a hard time planning travel around that.

In that sense, getting miles that can be used for confirmed travel is a great perk. Some employees may just want to use their miles for confirmed travel on Alaska Airlines. Others may want to redeem on Mileage Plan’s airline partners, including both oneworld airlines and some other partners. Some may want to gift these to friends and family members who may not receive the same travel benefits they do.

In the press release about this gift, some ideas are shared for redeeming these miles, but none include premium travel on partner airlines, which is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck with Mileage Plan miles. See my guide to redeeming Mileage Plan miles here.

If I were an Alaska Airlines employees, I’d be looking to redeem my miles for business & first class travel to Australia or Asia on airlines like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Qantas. While finding award availability can be tough, it’s an unbeatable use of Mileage Plan miles.

Redeem Alaska miles for travel on Japan Airlines

Bottom line

All Alaska Airlines employees have been gifted 90K miles to celebrate the carrier’s 90th anniversary, and to thank them for their hard work during the pandemic. While airline employees already get travel benefits, this will no doubt come in handy for many, given that they can book confirmed travel. Hopefully some Alaska employees can even really maximize these miles for premium international travel.

What do you make of Alaska’s mileage gift for employees?

Conversations (19)
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  1. B. Scott Guest

    While there is some value to this gift, 1.7 cents/mile is laughable. For economy tickets w/Alaska Air, the typical redemption was about 1.25 cent/mile in the recent past. However, Alaska Air has quietly devalued frequent flyer miles to around 0.9 cents/mile. Still, employees can use these point to be able to book a more solid reservation than the usual non-rev, standby method...especially if they lack senority. Or as others stated, gift them to family/friends.

  2. Alex Guest

    Corporate office “Here are 90,000 Alaska miles” while actually thinking “Good luck finding an away space suckers!”

  3. Omar Guest

    More inflation in an already massively inflated program.

  4. LANY Guest

    To clarify -- economy tickets are still available but no useful business class tickets. The question is will it ever go back to what it was -- probably not.

  5. LANY Guest

    Bad timing for their employees -- the usability of alaska miles has dropped in the last 3 months to almost nothing available. Kind of a sad story. I prefer to think that mgmt didn't intend it this way, but sometimes good intentions just don't lead to good results.

  6. Darren C Gold

    Will we loyal AS Mileage plan members (I am Gold 75) get anything? Maybe 90 miles?

    Giving away billions of miles to paid employees will certainly make redemptions more expensive for those of us who are paying them to fly.

    1. Leigh Gold

      I think you mean your company is "paying them"?

      I'm Exec Platinum on American, so this would affect my ability to redeem miles, but I have no curmudgeon feelings about it like you...the AS staff deserve the recognition and reward, which should be more apparent when reading the Alaska statement as well.

  7. D3kingg Guest

    I say Ben gives them a dose of their own medicine. Give ‘em a credit card pitch. They’ve had a taste now they want more.

  8. HkCaGu Guest

    I suppose 90k is about a confirmed domestic round trip for a family of 3? If they book Xmas/NY early this would truly be a once-in-a-careertime experience...

  9. Bob Loblaw Guest

    Historically, Alaska has offered confirmed tickets to employees as appreciation, subject to availability in a specific fare class.

    With flights so full, finding availability has been challenging, so miles are a good alternative and enable travel beyond the Alaska network.

    Alaska will cover the tax withholdings owed on the miles for employees.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      "Alaska will cover the tax withholdings owed on the miles for employees."

      That doesn't mean you don't need to pay tax on that. It's still income.

      But I guess many people still think their tax refund is getting extra money to spend from the government.
      Or stimulus check is free money.

    2. LEo Diamond

      I don't think any airline recognises that miles have any implications of "value" if there are no implications of value, why do you need to pay tax for it? I am living in Singapore, so I don't have any knowledge of the US Tax system, correct me if I am wrong.

  10. SwimBikeFly Guest

    Would bet anything that employees would've preferred an actual cash bonus. To pay for real things. Nothing worse than cheap management being out of touch with the rank and file.

  11. BigRig Guest

    You should write about American not extending SWUs. Ive seen no content on this matter

    1. Darren C Gold

      Will we loyal AS Mileage plan members (I am Gold 75) get anything? Maybe 90 miles?

      Giving away billions of miles to paid employees will certainly make redemptions more expensive for those of us who are paying them to fly.

  12. LT Guest

    Can they sell them on Ebay? LOL!

    1. tassojunior Guest

      I'd imagine the main use would be tickets for friends since the employee and their family get free tickets.

    2. B. Scott Guest

      Standby/non-rev tickets are "free", but it can be tricky getting a seat, especially on busy routes. So this would be a way to have a solid reservation and still only have to cover taxes/fees.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

SwimBikeFly Guest

Would bet anything that employees would've preferred an actual cash bonus. To pay for real things. Nothing worse than cheap management being out of touch with the rank and file.

2
B. Scott Guest

Standby/non-rev tickets are "free", but it can be tricky getting a seat, especially on busy routes. So this would be a way to have a solid reservation and still only have to cover taxes/fees.

0
B. Scott Guest

While there is some value to this gift, 1.7 cents/mile is laughable. For economy tickets w/Alaska Air, the typical redemption was about 1.25 cent/mile in the recent past. However, Alaska Air has quietly devalued frequent flyer miles to around 0.9 cents/mile. Still, employees can use these point to be able to book a more solid reservation than the usual non-rev, standby method...especially if they lack senority. Or as others stated, gift them to family/friends.

0
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