Two weeks ago we reported on changes to the Alaska Mileage Plan loyalty scheme, the most important of which for Singapore-based members who would likely be using this program for partner redemptions was increased change and cancellation fees for award bookings.
In summary the US$125 fee for cancelling or changing an award ticket within 60 days of travel will become mandatory for all bookings changed or cancelled regardless of how far in the future they are.
This will apply to all bookings made on or after 5th June, so you have until 23:59 Alaska time on 4th June to redeem and keep the existing fees schedule for your booking (if you’re pushing it to the limit that’s 15:59 Singapore time on 5th June – almost exactly a week from now).
Remember the fees change is for bookings made on or after 5th June 2018, so if you book before then you’ll still be entitled to free a change or cancellation provided it’s made more than 60 days before travel, even if that flight is early next year for example.
If you’re wondering why we talk about Alaska Mileage Plan, see our article from March about how it can give you good value redemptions on several major airlines both within Asia and further afield, including a ‘stopover trick’ with JAL which gets you to Japan and back in business for just 25,000 miles.
On-going Alaska Miles Sales
If you’re looking to take advantage of an Alaska redemption you may be interested in a couple of promotions currently running which let you buy their miles at good value. Firstly the cheapest option – and that’s to buy SPG Starpoints in their 35% off sale which ends on Thursday (31st May).
These can be converted 1:1 into Alaska miles, which takes a couple of days, and there’s a 5,000 miles bonus for every block of 20,000 Starpoints converted. That means even if you have no Starpoints in your SPG account currently you can buy 20,000 then convert them into 25,000 Alaska miles – enough to get you the JAL stopover trick.
The only downside here is that if you must have held an SPG account for at least 14 days to be able to buy Starpoints, so there isn’t time for non SPG members to sign up and take part in this promotion any more. Also there’s a 30,000 annual Starpoints purchase cap (per calendar year), which you may have already reached.
The other on-going promotion is with Alaska directly, with up to 40% bonus miles available when you top up your account. See our article here covering that. Your Mileage Plan account must be at least 10 days old to buy miles from them so again there’s no longer time for brand new members to take part and still make a booking under the old conditions.
If you transfer in from SPG however the account age restriction at the Alaska side doesn’t apply, so that’s potentially one way around it.
If you’ve had your eye on a redemption using your Alaska miles and your dates are at least 60 days from now, we recommend locking something in before 5th June so that the free change or cancellation option is still available to you.
Even if you’re not sure of the exact dates yet, on a redemption next year for example, we’d still advise to get it booked now under the current conditions for the same reason. Just remember to make any final changes or cancel at least 60 days before the booking if you need to.