Alaska Airlines is often perceived to be an airline for travelers focused on travels to/from USA. In fact, Alaska Airlines represents one of the most valuable options for travel to and from Maldives as they partner with some diverse airlines.

As a reminder, this is our complete travel guide to Maldives;

Hotels

Flights

Discretionary Expenses

Overview

Cathay Pacific Business Class
Cathay Pacific Business Class

Alaska Airlines requires the following points to redeem one one-way ticket to Maldives:

  • Emirates: 82,500 miles
  • Korean Air: 70,000 miles (Required round-trip travel)
  • Cathay Pacific: 62,500 miles
  • British Airways: 70,000 miles
  • Qatar Airways: 85,000 miles

Note, even though Korean Air requires round trip travel, you can change airlines in either direction. For example, you could book Cathay Pacific on the way to Maldives and Korean Air on the way back.

For the purpose of this article, my aim will be to cover a redemption in either Cathay Pacific or Qatar Airways for one direction only. The optimal strategy requires you to redeem one-way using Alaska Miles, and one way through another source of miles, for example, Aeroplan (Air Canada) Points or Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles).

I will also focus on Business Class travel. Cathay Pacific would require you to fly the last leg of the journey from Hong Kong in Business Class which would be just over 7 hours and Qatar Airways does not have First Class.

Credit Card Rewards

Earning Alaska Airlines miles is not that easy in Canada as only MBNA and American Express issue credit cards which could be used to earn miles on Alaska Airlines.

If you want direct actionable advice, you should scroll down below to our strategy section. If you are curious of the variety available, continue reading on!

MBNA Credit Cards

Credit Card: Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard

MBNA Alaska Platinum Plus Mastercard
MBNA Alaska Platinum Plus Mastercard

Signup Link

The direct sign up link is available over here.

Bonus

  • 20,000 miles Alaska Airline miles after spending C$1,000 within 90 days.
  • 1,000 miles for spending C$1,000 within 90 days.
  • $200 statement credit after spending $1,000 within 90 days

Together, you will earn 21,000 miles by signing up for this credit card.

Annual Fee

C$75. With the $200 statement credit, MBNA is paying you $125 for the credit card.

Credit Card: Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard

MBNA Alaska World Elite Mastercard
MBNA Alaska World Elite Mastercard

Signup Link

The direct sign up link is available over here.

Bonus

  • 30,000 miles Alaska Airline miles after spending $1,000 within 90 days.
  • 1,000 miles for spending $1,000 within 90 days.
  • $200 statement credit after spending $1,000 within 90 days.

Together, you will earn 31,000 miles by signing up for this credit card and $200.

Annual Fee

$99. This will be reduced to $101 through the link above.

American Express

Note, the cards outlined below might be necessary for hotel bookings at the W Maldives, JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa or the St. Regis Maldives.

Our detailed guide on American Express is available here.

Credit Card: AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card

AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card
AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card

Signup Link | Card Review

Bonus

  • 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of membership
  • 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months Gas, Dining and Travel.

This gives an opportunity to earn between 85,000 and 94,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points

Ongoing Benefits

  • 5 Marriott Bonvoy Points for every dollar spent at Marriott properties
  • 3 Marriott Bonvoy Points for every dollar spent on gas, dining and travel
  • 2 Marriott Bonvoy Points for every dollar spent on everything else
  • Annual Free Night Certificate (up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) upon renewal of the card
  • Employee Card Misuse Protection
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Bag Insurance
  • Hotel Burglary Insurance
  • Buyers Assurance Protection Plan
  • Purchase Protection Plan
  • Access to American Express Offers

Annual Fee

C$150

Credit Card: AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Personal Credit Card

AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Personal Credit Card
AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card

Signup Link | Card Review

Annual Fee

C$120. Not waived for the first year.

Bonus

  • 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership
  • 3,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months of membership
  • 5x Bonvoy Points on spending up to $5,000 on gas, dining and travel, up to 15,000 Bonvoy Points.

This gives an opportunity to earn a total of 73,000 to 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points.

Ongoing Benefits

  • 15 Elite Qualifying Nights. Complimentary Silver Elite status and a jump start for other statuses.
  • 5 Marriott Bonvoy Points for every dollar spent at Marriott properties
  • 2 Marriott Bonvoy Points for every dollar spent on everything else
  • Annual Free Night Certificate (up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) upon renewal of the card
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Bag Insurance
  • Hotel Burglary Insurance
  • Buyers Assurance Protection Plan
  • Purchase Protection Plan
  • Access to American Express Offers

Two Player Strategy & Timeline

For this journey, two players are not strictly necessary, but it does make it significantly cheaper. I have only listed examples of one person, with the expectation that the second person can duplicate the exact same credit cards to obtain the required miles.

  • Day 0: P1 applies for the MBNA Alaska Platinum Plus Mastercard
  • Day 90: P1 calls MBNA to request to change the product from the MBNA Alaska Platinum Plus to another no fee credit card.
  • Day 121: P1 applies for the MBNA Alaska World Elite Mastercard

You might be confused for the purpose of day 90, changing the product from the Alaska Credit Card to another no-fee option. This is incredibly important because MBNA will not allow you to hold both cards simultaneously, so you will need to “cancel” your first card before applying for the second card.

Following these strategies, you should have at least 52,000 Alaska Airline miles remaining. We still need to figure out how to earn the remaining 10,000 to 30,000 miles.

Using American Express

American Express could potentially be a valuable option of earning Alaska Airlines miles. Their Marriott Bonvoy credit card transfers to Alaska Air at the rate of 60,000 Marriott Reward Points = 25,000 Alaska Air miles, or 3 Marriott Reward Points = 1 Alaska Air miles.

One credit card application through a referral will give you the miles necessary for a one-way ticket on Cathay Pacific Business Class.

Buying Miles through Alaska Airlines

You can purchase Alaska Airlines miles at a price of US$0.0172 to US$0.028 per mile. That means you can purchase around 11,000 miles for as little as US$200. The price depends on the current promotion, but even the non-promotional price is US$310. This would be an excellent quick way to translate those miles to a Business Class seat to Maldives.

Price

Emirates 777 Business Class
Travel to Maldives in style

What are my total savings?

Let’s start off with a random date for each one of, Economy & Business class tickets to/from the Maldives.

Toronto to Male (Maldives) in Business Class

C$6,000 was about the cheapest available for the same dates:

Toronto to Male (Maldives) in Economy Class

C$1,500 was about the cheapest available for the same dates:

Base Fare

This is an easy calculation. For a Cathay Pacific Business Class ticket, you would pay between C$200 and C$350 for a one-way ticket. That is significantly cheaper than both Economy and Business Class.

Taxes, Fees & Surcharges

The only variable pricing is the taxes, fees & carrier surcharges.

The surcharges on a flight with Cathay Pacific or Qatar Airways should be very limited, potentially as little as C$100 per person per direction.

Conclusion

As we have seen in this post, obtaining a large amount of miles for a very cheap cost is incredibly easy through a few credit cards. With annual fees of just C$200 we are able to easily transform that into a one-way ticket to Maldives in Business Class. When we multiply that by a second person, you can easily build your dream vacation for pennies on the pound.