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Alaska Mileage Plan up to 50% buy miles bonus

Quality Business and First Class redemptions can be secured with Alaska miles. Another bonus is both ridiculous and welcome in equal measure.

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

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In case you were worried that there wouldn’t be an Alaska Mileage Plan bonus offer this month, let’s clarify two things:

  1. It’s now the 8th of the month.
  2. Another Alaska Mileage Plan bonus offer has been announced.

The good news is you may have been targeted for the top 50% bonus rate, making each mile 1.97 US cents.

Another bonus?!

Believe it or not, even we get surprised by the airlines sometimes. If you’re a regular reader it probably won’t have escaped your attention that Alaska Mileage Plan recently had a 40% buy miles bonus, and yes you’re remembering correctly – it only finished last week.

Less than three weeks before that promotion, another two-week long bonus had just ended.

This latest promotion runs until 22nd December in Singapore, meaning by that date Alaska will have been offering miles at a discount for 69 out of the previous 94 days (73% of the time).

Alaska Air 737 (Alaska Air)
(Photo: Alaska Airlines)

We’re all for bonuses and discounts, but frankly this is getting silly. We are now seriously considering publishing an article only when Alaska isn’t offering a bonus rate on purchased miles! In fact we notice The Points Guy now has a permanent page for Alaska ‘buy miles’ promotions – not a bad idea it seems.

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It’s still a good deal

We digress a little by dwelling on the nonsensical frequency of the offer, let’s get down to business (pun intended). Alaska miles still represent good value at these high bonus rates, and 50% is the highest bonus they offer.

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Finnair is now an Alaska partner. (Photo: Finnair)

First and Business Class redemptions with Alaska’s partner airlines are the key here. If like us you’re based in Asia – think options like Cathay Pacific or JAL Business / First Class to the USA, Qantas from Sydney to Dallas in First Class on the A380, heck even Qantas flat-bed A330 domestic Business Class can be a steal with these miles.

We’ve outlined the great uses of Alaska miles to and from this region before, but here’s a recap of the options applicable to the majority of our readers.

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 of these 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 program like British Airways Avios or American Airlines AAdvantage sites to search availability first before calling.

We’ve read varying accounts of what Cathay Pacific availability Alaska phone agents can and cannot see.

We generally find the Cathay availability shown on the BA Avios site to be accurate.

Many of the reports we read about are negative, but in our latest check at the end of October while trying to secure a Cathay First Class HKG-LHR redemption for next year with one available award seat showing on the BA site, the Alaska phone rep could see two First Class award seats on this flight.

Moral of the story – there is no set rule. It could be the same as you see online, it could be less or it could be more, but one thing is certain – no matter what you find online elsewhere you won’t know for sure until you call.

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Cathay Pacific is the only airline in the Alaska scheme flying to or from Asia where you’ll have to call to confirm award availability. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)
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The JAL stopover ‘trick’

One major benefit of Alaska miles is that you can add a free stopover to your journey. This allows a fairly unique trick here in Asia using Japan Airlines to create a pseudo-return itinerary in Business Class for just 25,000 Alaska miles. We’ve written about it before, but 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.

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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.

Other good redemptions

Even if the JAL trick isn’t of interest to you – there are plenty other good uses of Alaska miles. 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