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Extended: Alaska Mileage Plan 40% buy miles bonus until Wednesday 3pm

With a number of valuable premium class award redemptions across several airlines, buying Alaska miles can be well worth a look. You'll have to hurry this time though.

EXPIRED This article relates to an offer or promotion which has now expired.

AY A350 J Overview (Finnair)

The most recent Alaska Mileage Plan buy miles promotion, a 50% bonus widely available to many members, only finished 3 weeks ago, however that’s not stopping the program offering another good deal for the next few days.

This time around the offer is not quite as generous at 40% miles bonus, though some members were also offered 40% in the last round too. This time however the number of miles you need to purchase to enjoy the full bonus level is much lower than before at just 10,000 miles.

Edit Tuesday 30th October: The promotion has been extended and now runs until 2.59pm Singapore time on Wednesday 31st October.

The offer

For this promotion the 40% bonus level starts at just 10,000 miles purchased (giving you 14,000 miles for US$295.63). That means you’re getting the same cost per mile even for smaller top-ups, though there’s no bonus at the smallest 1,000 – 9,000 miles purchase levels.

In previous Alaska miles sales at least 40,000 miles had to be purchased to be eligible for the top bonus level, so this is a definite advantage especially if you’re relatively close to a redemption threshold. Buying 10,000 miles in the recent 50% bonus campaign, for example, netted you only a 20% bonus (12,000 miles total). This time it’s 40% (14,000 miles total) for the same price.

Alaska Oct18 Offer
The bonus rate kicks in at 10,000 miles purchased this time round, on my account at least. Note the offer now ends on Wednesday 31st October 2.59pm Singapore time.

That means in this sale you’re getting Alaska miles for 2.11 US cents each right from the 10,000 miles purchase level.

Since some members (like Eddie) were only offered a 40% bonus in the last promotion, this is arguably a better deal for them – the same bonus rate with a lower minimum commitment to obtain it.

Click here to buy Alaska miles

Monday Wednesday afternoon in Singapore is your deadline

The offer closes at 11.59m PST (PDT) on Sunday 28th Tuesday 30th October 2018, which is 2.59pm on Monday 29th Wednesday 31st October 2018 Singapore time.

We checked it during the last promotion (when there was some confusion over whether they meant PST or PDT) and the offer was removed on the dot at 3pm Singapore time.

Why buy Alaska miles?

There are some fantastic uses for Alaska miles, however we don’t recommend buying them speculatively. You should ideally have a redemption plan in mind soon as changes in partner redemption relationships and valuations can occur.

Here’s a list of the airlines you can use Alaska miles with to or from the Asia-Pacific region.

Airline Routes
AAtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA, Caribbean & Mexico
Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
BAtrans.png India/South Asia – Canada/USA & Mexico
CXtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA
Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
India/South Asia – Canada/USA
Intra-Asia
Hong Kong – Africa, Australia/NZ, Europe, India/South Asia & Middle East
EKtrans2.png Asia – Canada/USA
Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
India/South Asia – Canada/USA
FJtrans.png Australia/NZ – USA
AYtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA, Europe & Mexico
India/South Asia – Canada/USA, Europe & Mexico
HUtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA & Mexico
Intra-China
JLtrans2 Asia – Canada/USA
Intra-Asia
KAtrans.png Asia – Canada/USA
Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
India/South Asia – Canada/USA
Korea – SE Asia
QFtrans.png Australia/NZ – Canada/USA
Intra-Australia

All can be searched and booked online via the Alaska Airlines portal, with the exception of Cathay Pacific awards where you’ll have to call Alaska Airlines to book. Ideally with Cathay you can use a tool like British Airways Avios or American Airlines AAdvantage sites to search availability first before calling.

There have been reports that Alaska doesn’t always have the same access to award seats on Cathay that other oneworld partners do. We’ve generally found the availability shown on the Avios site to be accurate. In fact I called today to check on a Cathay First Class HKG-LHR redemption for next year with availability for 1 seat showing on the BA site, to be happily told by the Alaska rep there were 2 First Class award seats on this flight.

CX Avios Avail.jpg
The Avios search engine shows only 1 First Class seat available for redemption on this Cathay flight, but the Alaska rep on the phone could see 2

The moral of the story here is not to get too excited with Cathay availability – it could be more or could be less. You’ll only know for sure when you call. If you have your heart set on a flight where BA for example shows no award seats, call anyway as Alaska might have availability.

Not all redemption options with all of the above carriers represent great value, especially if you’re having to buy the miles in the first place as most of our Singapore-based readers are. There are some standout deals though.

Qantas A380 First (Qantas)
17 hours in the Qantas A380 First Class semi-enclosed suite from Dallas to Sydney for 70,000 Alaska miles is not to be sniffed at. (Photo: Qantas)

Additional partner airlines of the Alaska scheme with which you can use miles for certain redemption routes if you’re not travelling to and from the Asia-Pacific region are:

  • Condor
  • Icelandair
  • LATAM (offline only)
  • PenAir
  • Ravn Alaska

Of course you can also use Alaska miles on the airline’s own flights. Additionally you can earn Alaska miles (but currently cannot not redeem flight awards) with the two newest partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Singapore Airlines

Where does the best value lie?

No doubt in this part of the world – the JAL stopover trick. Alaska Mileage Plan is not only great because of the low number of miles needed to redeem premium cabins on many routings with several airlines, but also because you can take a free stopover on any itinerary, and that’s where this trick comes in.

For example, Singapore to Kuala Lumpur or perhaps Bangkok or Jakarta, with a stopover in Tokyo. Sounds impossible – but it works in Business Class for 25,000 Alaska miles. Availability is also usually very good. Here’s a recap on how it works.

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.

We first wrote about Alaska Mileage Plan in March this year, and we outlined what we saw as some of the best deals available through the scheme in that article, well worth a read of you’re interested.

Some of the standout redemptions include:

  • JAL Singapore to New York – 60,000 miles in Business Class or 70,000 in First
  • Cathay Pacific Singapore to Los Angeles – 50,000 miles in Business Class or 70,000 in First
  • Cathay Pacific Hong Kong to London – 42,500 miles in Business Class
  • Korean Air Singapore to Chicago return – 120,000 miles in Business Class
  • Qantas Sydney to Dallas – 55,000 miles in Business Class or 70,000 in First
  • Qantas Perth to Sydney – 20,000 miles in Business Class (Avios is charging 37,500 points on this route with Qantas, while KrisFlyer on Virgin Australia is 40,000 miles)
QF SYD-PER.jpg
This Qantas A330 flight from Sydney to Perth takes 5 hours and features 1-2-1 flat-bed Business Class seats for just 20,000 Alaska miles + US$29

Remember with a free stopover you can always break up your journey using Alaska miles, for example if Singapore to Hong Kong to New York with Cathay Pacific sounds a bit of a stretch all in one go, take a few nights in Hong Kong en-route for no extra miles or charges.

The full partner award charts are also available to search on the Alaska Mileage Plan site.

When will Singapore Airlines flights be added?

Still no sign of the ability to use Alaska Miles on Singapore Airlines flights, the most recent addition was Finnair in August this year. Hopefully an agreement is reached soon and fingers crossed SIA award availability through Alaska will be searchable and bookable online.

Who can buy?

The usual account age rules apply – your Alaska Mileage Plan account must be at least 10 days old to qualify for purchasing miles, so you won’t be able to sign up as a new member now and purchase in this sale.

Having said that some people have signed up for a new account and been offered the 40% purchase buy miles bonus immediately, so Alaska doesn’t always stick hard and fast to this rule. It may be worth a try if you’re interested. In any event signing up for an account is free, so we’d recommend it.

QF A330 J (Points from the Pacific).jpg
Qantas uses the A330 and 787 on many domestic flights in Australia, some of which are 5 hours long. 20,000 Alaska miles is a great deal here. (Photo: Points from the Pacific)

It’s nearly unlimited

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 40% bonus 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.

1A Boarding
First Class on Cathay Pacific from Singapore to the USA for 70,000 miles is an excellent use of the Alaska scheme. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Which card to use

Since we’re talking about credit cards, assuming you’re based in Singapore you’ll want the maximum number of credit card miles for the transaction, which takes place in US dollars through 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.
Citi PremierMiles (see our review) 2.4 All non-SGD spend (promo rate to 31st December 2018).
Citi Prestige (see our review) 2.4 All non-SGD spend (promo rate to 31st December 2018).
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 a monthly cap now applies.

Summary

Another generous deal from Alaska – 40% bonus is typically the highest level regularly offered for their miles purchase promotions. Although a 50% offer was running last month, it wasn’t targeted to everyone and required a much bigger buy-in to generate the top bonus level.

This time round you can enjoy the maximum bonus buying just 10,000 miles.

As always, have a plan to use these miles before you go ahead and buy – while Alaska miles are valuable and can help you extract excellent value they are by no means immune from partner agreement changes and devaluations.

Click here to buy Alaska miles

Will you buy Alaska miles in this sale? Have you used them to book flights before? Let us know about your plans and experiences in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: Finnair)

15 comments

  1. Can only find availability on DFW-SYD on Qantas in June for a few days only. Not the best time to go to Sydney from the hot summer in Dallas.

  2. Why is DBS Womens World Mastercard missing in the list? Should be 4mpd! Even if initially not credited, you can forward the online receipt / invoice to DBS and get the missing points credited.

  3. Hello Andrew,
    Very nice report about Alaska miles.
    All the information came on very handy about Alaska redemption. Who would have thought that SIN – KUL stopover at Tokyo. I really love your travel blog. It certainly help a lot of people like me who loves travelling.

    Thank you so much.

  4. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the nice write up.

    I read through the T&C of Oneworld lounge access and considering the JAL trick, if I have an economy ticket from SIN to KUL and then Japan Airline J ticket from KUL to NRT to SIN, do you think I would able to access Qantas lounge in T1, Changi Airport?

    Also, do you call Alaska via skypephone or any other method so as not to incur high overseas call charges? Thank you.

    1. Hi John,

      No you will not be entitled to access the Qantas lounge in this case I’m afraid. You must be departing the same airport on an eligible oneworld flight in Business or First Class on the same day, or hold oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status (and by flying oneworld). The fact you are connecting to a oneworld Business Class flight at the next airport, even if you are flying on a oneworld Y ticket to get there, is unfortunately irrelevant.

      You are however entitled to use a oneworld Business or First Class lounge having arrived from a same-day flight exceeding 5 hours duration in that class, when connecting to a flight in Economy, provided you’re continuing with a oneworld carrier (e.g. NRT-KUL in JL Business, KUL-SIN in MH Economy). You must retain your J boarding pass from the first sector in this case for lounge access.

      When calling Alaska I use Skype as there is no local Singapore number. Use +1 800 252 7522 to contact Alaska reservations and be directed to award bookings. Works a treat and agents are super helpful in my experience. My last call using Skype credit cost me about S$0.40 for 10 mins.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Hi

        Can I check is it easy to redeem Cathay tickets? Need to redeem 4 tickets (2 adults and 2 kids) on business class. It’s ok if SIN-HKG sector is on economy. Though of doing SIN-LAX-SIN and probably 1 stopover in HKG for 1-2 nights on the 1st sector. Possible? Or we can only redeem HKG-LAX return?

        Also as mention we can check seats availability on AVIOS but which page do we go to? I couldn’t find the flight section page and require me to redeem flights base on miles.

        Thank you.

  5. Hi I tried to book stopover at Tokyo as per your example but I couldn’t get 25k miles for return flight. It quoted me 25k per sector so it’s 50k for 2 sectors per person. How you manag to get 12.5k per sector?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Robin, are you doing a multi-city search returning to a different airport than the origin? For example Singapore to Tokyo on 7 Nov then Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur on 15th November still works for me (25,000 miles + US$70 per person).

      You must ‘return’ to a different airport than the origin (suggest Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Jakarta) to make this ‘trick’ work. It isn’t a true return.

      Let me know if I can help further!

      1. Hi Andrew

        I tried and got it!! The trick is also to select the 2nd sector on the departing flight section as classified as “connecting flight”. Before that I select my 2nd sector Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur on the returning flight section.

        Can we buy unlimited miles from Alaska as I see the option to purchase is till 60k miles and extra 24k = 84k miles under the drop down selection.

        Thank you

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