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Alaska Mileage Plan is offering up to 50% bonus miles

Buy Alaska miles during their 6-week promotion and receive up to a 50% bonus

1A Boarding

Our regular readers will know that we consider Mileage Plan, the frequent flyer program of Alaska Airlines, an excellent option for Singapore-based travellers owing to the wide range of good value, flexible redemptions you can secure using them. That’s combined with their regular sales offering bonus miles promotions, which allow you to purchase ‘unlimited’ Alaska miles.

The latest bonus

Hot on the heels of Finnair being added as a full Alaska miles redemption partner last week, there’s now the offer of up to 50% bonus miles on purchases of 40,000 to 60,000 miles.

50 Bonus.jpg

The 50% bonus level, which is the highest Alaska have historically offered, is targeted but appears to be much more widespread than under previous offers. I have been offered 50% this time, while Eddie got a 40% bonus.

The 50% bonus also seems to be common among One Mile at a Time readers judging by the comments section to their article, though some of their readers report receiving a 35% bonus.

Buy Miles.jpg

In Singapore, Aaron from The Milelion reported getting targeted for the 50% bonus, as did Aaron from Miletitude, so the top tier certainly appears to be quite common.

Log in to your Mileage Plan account to find out which applies to you.

As usual Alaska miles purchases under the offer attract increasing discount levels in progressive tiers depending how many you buy.

Here’s a table showing the cost per mile for the various purchase levels depending on whether you have been targeted for the 35%, 40% or 50% discount. Note that there may be other discount levels on offer, however these three appear to be the most common.

AStrans

Cost per mile based on discount rate
Miles Top Discount Rate
35% 40% 50%
0 – 9,000 2.96 US ¢ 2.96 US ¢ 2.96 US ¢
10,000 – 19,000 2.46 US ¢ 2.46 US ¢ 2.46 US ¢
20,000 – 39,000 2.27 US ¢ 2.27 US ¢ 2.19 US ¢
40,000 – 60,000 2.19 US ¢ 2.11 US ¢ 1.97 US ¢

Note that only the highest tier, purchases of between 40,000 and 60,000 miles, will get you the top discount rate you have been targeted with.

There’s no bonus for anyone for purchasing up to 9,000 miles, after that it’s a 20% bonus for everyone in the 10,000 – 19,000 miles category, a 30% bonus in the 20,000 – 39,000 miles category (35% for those with an overall 50% bonus) then your top targeted bonus rate for purchases of 40,000 – 60,000 miles.

How long does the offer run?

The bonus runs from now until 11.59pm PST on 4th October 2018 (that’s 3.59pm on 5th October in Singapore if you’re cutting it to the wire). If they mean PDT however (as no city is currently observing PST until November due to daylight savings) then it’s 2.59pm on 5th October in Singapore. Might be safer to assume the latter!

Buy as many as you like

One advantage of buying Alaska miles for those with big travel plans coming up is the ability to buy an effectively unlimited volume of miles by repeating the purchases (ideally at the maximum discount level in each case).

You can only make a maximum of four miles purchases per card however, so you are technically limited by the number of credit cards you have.

What you could use them for

If you’re lucky enough to have the 50% bonus, and it appears many people are, that means you’re paying around 1.97 US cents per mile (around 2.69 Singapore cents per mile). That’s the equivalent of paying about S$673 for the JAL ‘stopover trick’, plus about S$80 in taxes.

What’s the JAL ‘stopover trick’?

JLtrans.png

An exceptional rate of 25,000 Alaska miles for a ‘return’ flight from Singapore to Japan in Business Class.

JAL787SkySuite
(Photo: Japan Airlines)

This takes advantage of the ability under the Alaska scheme to book free stopovers on one-way redemption tickets. It means you can create a ‘pseudo return’ itinerary for a very low miles rate by booking a redemption to a close-by city, with a stopover in a distant one.

The JAL trick is effectively booking Japan Airlines from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, with a stopover in Tokyo. Sounds like it shouldn’t be possible – but it is, and it’s incredible value at 25,000 Alaska miles in business class (the equivalent of 12,500 miles for each 7 hour sector).

JAL Stopover Map.jpg
(Source: greatcirclemap.com)

Other routings are also possible, you could decide to start your journey in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok for example and return non-stop to Singapore. Jakarta is also an option.

Generally speaking, JAL Business Class award availability through Alaska MP is also quite good.

The variety of aircraft types used on JAL flights in Asia means you’ll likely be able to try out their newest ‘Sky Suite III’ and ‘Sky Suite 787’ flat-bed products, not to mention renowned on-board service and cuisine.

There’s also a selection of oneworld lounges to visit depending on your routing and the time of day, so this is your chance to try out facilities like the Qantas Singapore Lounge, JAL’s Tokyo lounges or the Qatar / Cathay offerings in Bangkok. Something new if you’re used to flying the Singapore Airlines / Star Alliance network.

JALbooking2.jpg

In order to search and book such an itinerary on the Alaska Airlines website, select ‘all search options’ under the booking area, then select ‘multi-city’ and of course ensure the ‘use miles’ option is selected.

After that simply enter each leg separately (e.g. Singapore to Tokyo for the first flight, Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur on the second flight), select the dates you want (your stopover in Tokyo can be as long as you like), then search to check award availability.

There are plenty other good uses of Alaska miles though, here are a few more ideas with comparison against the miles needed for the same routings with other frequent flyer programs:

Japan Airlines

AVIOStrans JALMBtrans AStrans
Singapore to New York
First Class*
200,000 85,000 75,000
Singapore to New York
Business Class
165,000 70,000 65,000

* Business Class Singapore to Tokyo, First Class Tokyo to New York

Cathay Pacific

Note that Cathay Pacific awards don’t appear in the online search function for Alaska Mileage Plan. We recommend searching using the BA Avios tool, then you’ll have to call Alaska to book.

AVIOStrans Asia AStrans
Singapore to Los Angeles
First Class
160,000 130,000 70,000
Singapore to Los Angeles
Business Class
135,000 85,000 50,000
Sydney to New York
First Class*
200,000 130,000 80,000
Sydney to New York
Business Class
165,000 85,000 60,000
Vancouver to New York
First Class
50,000 40,000 35,000

* Business Class Sydney to Hong Kong, First Class Hong Kong to New York

Korean Air

GAtrans KEskypasstrans AStrans
Singapore to Chicago
Business Class
200,000
(return)
150,000
(return)
120,000
(return)

Qantas

AVIOStrans QFF AStrans
Sydney to Dallas
First Class
200,000 168,000 70,000
Sydney to Dallas
Business Class
165,000 112,000 55,000
Seat2Abed2.jpg
Sydney to Dallas on the Qantas A380 in First Class (read our review) is a very comfortable experience, and exceptional value at 70,000 Alaska Miles. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Emirates

EKtrans2 EKtrans.png QFF AStrans
Singapore to New York
First Class
178,750 168,000 180,000
Singapore to New York
Business Class
131,250 112,000 105,000

Finnair

AVIOStrans Asia AStrans
Singapore to London
Business Class
105,000 70,000 60,000

It’s not just those airlines of course – Alaska partners with 18 airlines around the world on which you can earn, but more importantly redeem your miles.

Click here to buy Alaska miles

Credit paid flights to Alaska

Remember back in May we wrote about wheretocredit.com, a tool to help you know which frequent flyer schemes you can credit miles to based on the airline you’re flying with – and crucially which will give you the most miles based on your class of travel.

As you’ll probably recall from that article, Alaska Mileage Plan popped up a few times due to the very generous earn rates with several airlines.

For example I have a couple of work trips to London coming up this year, and that means Emirates Business Class (which I’m never thrilled about but my employer has a contract with them).

As wheretocredit.com shows each round-trip will accrue 31,718 Alaska miles (over 63,000 for two trips). That’s enough Alaska miles to fly to London in Business Class on Finnair, or from Sydney to New York in Business Class on Cathay. Both of those itineraries can include a free stopover too, in Helsinki or Hong Kong respectively.

Emirates’ Skywards program is far less generous offering less than half that many miles for my trips, so crediting to Alaska makes perfect sense.

How to pay

If you are interested in the Alaska miles bonus purchase offer a key aspect is which credit card to use to settle the payment, with miles in mind.

Like many similar frequent flyer miles purchase programs, your transaction in this case will be processed by points.com.

Pointsdotcom

You can earn the most extra miles for the purchase transaction by using one of the following Singapore issued credit cards if you can:

Card Miles per S$1 Notes
BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard
(see our review)
5.0 5mpd on all overseas spend until 31st December 2018, with no cap.
UOB Visa Signature 4.0 4mpd on all overseas spend of at least S$1,000 in a statement period, capped at S$2,000.
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite
(see our review)
3.0 For non-SGD spend, provided total card spend (any currency) is S$2,000 or greater in the same statement cycle.
UOB PRVI Miles (see our review) 2.4 All non-SGD spend.
OCBC Voyage Visa
(see our review)
2.3 All non-SGD spend.

We also understand the Citi Rewards Visa or Mastercard earns at the 10x bonus rewards rates (4 miles per dollar) on points.com transactions, though as we haven’t tried this do be cautious and don’t scold us if the bonus is not credited!

Card Miles per S$1 Notes
Citi Rewards Visa / MasterCard
(see our review)
4.0 points.com transactions qualify for 10x Rewards Points (4mpd). Remember an annual cap applies.

Consider the new change fees

As you may recall from our article in May, Alaska have started applying their change and cancellation fee of US$125 for all award bookings made since 5th June 2018.

Previously changes were free up to 60 days prior to travel, meaning you could lock in future redemptions without needing to be 100% certain that the date would work for you, provided you remembered to ‘tidy up’ the booking at least 2 months before.

This change in itself doesn’t change the good value available in the scheme, like 50,000 mile business class redemptions on Cathay Pacific from Singapore to Los Angeles, but it does make the program a bit less flexible so bear that in mind before buying.

Champagne 3 Windows.jpg
A First Class flight on Cathay Pacific is a great experience, as our July trip proved to us once again. You can fly in this cabin from Singapore to Los Angeles for 70,000 Alaska Miles. That’s S$1,883 at the 50% bonus rate, assuming you have to buy them all. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Rules

  • Offer runs until 5th October 2018, around 2.59pm Singapore time.
  • You can buy up to 60,000 miles per transaction (before the bonus is applied, so that would be 90,000 in total with the 50% on top).
  • The number of transactions you can make is unlimited, so you can effectively buy as many miles as you want (or need), subject to a maximum of 4 transactions per credit card.
  • You’ll need to have held a Mileage Plan account for 10 days to be able to buy Alaska miles. There’s no harm in opening a free account now as you can always decide later whether you wish to take advantage of the current miles purchase offer (presumably the specific offer brand new members get will vary).

Summary

As always, we don’t recommend buying miles speculatively. Even at this 50% bonus rate you should have a good plan to use your Alaska miles, as there is always a risk of devaluation. Alaska miles also won’t suit everyone, but if you do have a good use for them, and there are many as we’ve demonstrated above, this 50% bonus deal is the best rate you’ll likely get when acquiring them.

Remember the 10-day account age rule and of course if you’re interested remember the deadline – work on 2.59pm Singapore time on 5th October 2018.

What bonus level did you receive from Alaska and will you be buying in the current offer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Click here to buy Alaska miles

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

23 comments

    1. That’s good! Are you going to buy?

      I think the bonus is random as Eddie and I have almost identical account age / activity and points levels currently (though we’ll both be crediting different flights later this year).

      He got 40%, I got 50%.

      Like

    1. All the data points I’ve seen suggest new account holders seem to get the 35% offer unfortunately.

      I don’t see them changing this during the current promo but you might be targeted for a higher bonus in a later offer?

      Like

      1. Not in Singapore unfortunately. You can transfer points from the SPG/Marriott scheme to Alaska, or credit hotel stays from Kaligo, Rocketmiles or Agoda into Alaska miles, but that’s about it I think.

        Like

  1. I have had the Mileage Plan for the longest time but never bothered to credit miles into the account. Then I read your article, and checked my account.

    Turns out, I got the 50% bonus offer. So I bought 60,000 miles (+ 30,000 bonus miles), and booked two business class seats to Tokyo (and KL) for my wife and I in next April for just 50,000 miles + US$145 for taxes (using the JAL stopover trick). I then paid S$80 per pax for the Malindo flight back from KL to Singapore which includes 25kg luggage allowance. This is probably the best deal ever! So thrilled that I am now seriously thinking of buying more miles for a trip to London next year.

    Thank you so much for the amazing tips!

    Like

    1. Here with Cathay it’s a bit more complicated because unlike their Asia – USA pricing (50k one-way in J), which applies equally from Singapore, the Asia – Europe pricing at 42.5k in J is only valid from Hong Kong.

      You will therefore need to add the intra-Asia J cost (22.5k) if you wish to do the redemption you’re suggesting – a total of 65,000 miles.

      Alternatively you can make your own way to HK and use the 42.5k rate.

      Hope it helps!

      Like

  2. Hey Andrew – I am looking for return flights from London to Singapore using points. What are the best options to travel via business class through this route. I’m also open to landing in KL.

    Much appreciated
    Andy

    Like

  3. I’ve tried multiple dates and flight pair but seem to get the following error :

    “We could not fulfill your request. This could be due to one or more of the following reasons:
    – There are flights, but all award space is taken.
    – There are no flights for the city pair entered.
    – There are no flights operating on the specific day of the week entered.
    – The routing requested may not be allowed.

    Please change your search.

    Error Code: -1580”

    Is the farepulled?

    Like

      1. Thats wonderful to hear… could you let me know how you did it?

        I’ve tried multiple methods..

        (1) multi-city SIN-TYO-KUL
        (2) multi-city SIN-KUL

        and browsed through all dates starting from Nov to Aug 2019

        I must be doing something wrong….

        Like

      2. Make sure you’re on the desktop site (not mobile).

        Click “All search options” > “Multi City” > “Use Miles”.

        Search (for example) SIN to TYO (all airports) then for second season sector TYO (all airports) to KUL.

        Remember not to limit the Tokyo side to a specific airport as you’ll typically have to fly to Haneda and back from Narita.

        The one I just found was SIN-HND 3/10 then NRT-KUL 11/10. 25k miles + US$70.40 in Business Class.

        Good luck!

        Like

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