Cathay Pacific Deals Oneworld Other FFPs

40% bonus when you buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles by 18 March

Valuable First and Business Class redemptions can be unlocked at reasonable rates when you buy Alaska miles at 2.11 US cents each. Ends 18th March.

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

Bed 5

The latest Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan buy miles bonus ended less than three weeks ago, and you know what that means: Time for another bonus offer!

This one is only running for around a week, and most accounts are targeted for a 40% purchase bonus, allowing you to top up your balance with miles at 2.11 US cents (around 2.86 Singapore cents) each.

Alaska miles aren’t for everyone, and better bonus deals are occasionally offered, but they are a great frequent flyer currency to hold for good value Business Class and First Class redemptions in Asia-Pacific and beyond with a number of airlines.

The March offer

AStrans

Simply log on to your Mileage Plan account to check how your individual bonus is structured. Alaska tends to tailor these promotions slightly depending on your customer profile, so not everyone gets exactly the same deal.

Mar19 Offer.jpg

For example in the December bonus I was targeted at the 50% rate, while Eddie was offered 40% with a slightly different structure based on the quantity of miles purchased. We also received differently structured offers in the January ‘buy miles’ bonus.

This time we have both been offered the same deal, which is rare.

  • 1,000 – 19,000 miles – no bonus (2.96 US ¢ / mile)
  • 20,000 – 60,000 miles – 40% bonus (2.11 US ¢ / mile)
Mar19 Offer 2.jpg
This month’s offer for our accounts

Deadline: 18th March

The offer closes at 11.59m PST on Sunday 17th March 2019, which is 2.59pm on Monday 18th March 2019 Singapore time.

Anyone can buy with a bonus

Last year Alaska Airlines removed their limitation that only accounts 10 days or older were able to buy miles. That means you can sign up for an Alaska Mileage Plan account at any time and see what miles purchase bonus you are entitled to straight away.

The exact bonus structure offered won’t be known until you register, but it’s worth a try so sign up now if you don’t yet have an account. Even if they don’t give you a very good bonus this time, you’ll be all set for the next one (fingers crossed for a 50% bonus soon).

Miles purchases are now limited

Previously there was no limit to how many Alaska miles you could purchase each year, with the maximum you can buy in one go being 60,000 before any applicable bonus.

There was nothing to prevent you from making repeat transactions to increase your miles stash to the level you needed.

Since January however, assuming you don’t hold elite status in the Alaska Mileage Plan scheme (MVP, MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K), you are now limited to 150,000 miles credited per calendar year from points.com (i.e. buying miles as in this promotion). That includes the applicable bonus, and any miles gifted to you through points.com.

If this restricts you and you book as a couple then one option is to have your partner open an Alaska account too, which would then allow you to buy up to 150,000 miles each per calendar year, if required.

Remember this only applies to miles credited by points.com, and you are still free to transfer miles into Alaska on top of that annual cap from hotel loyalty programs for example, and of course from any eligible revenue flying.

Click here to buy Alaska miles

Why buy Alaska miles?

When used correctly, Alaska miles can represent very good value at these high bonus rates. The current 40% bonus is the second highest the airline tends to offer, with occasional 50% bonus deals making the purchase even sweeter.

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

Don’t worry if you have no plans to fly on Alaska Airlines though, as you probably already know it’s First and Business Class redemptions with Alaska’s partner airlines where the value of this frequent flyer currency lies.

If like us you’re based in Asia, options include Cathay Pacific or JAL Business / First Class to the USA, Qantas from Sydney to Dallas in First Class on the A380, even Qantas flat-bed A330 / 787 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 in Asia-Pacific.

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. You can use a program like British Airways Avios or American Airlines AAdvantage sites to search Cathay Pacific availability before calling to book.

You’ll also have to call to book LATAM awards, though their flights between South America and Australia / New Zealand are not redeemable through Alaska miles so the options are not likely to be useful to our Asia-Pacific readers.

As we’ve mentioned before, we hear varying stories regarding what Cathay Pacific availability Alaska phone agents can and cannot book for you. We generally find the Cathay availability shown on the BA Avios site to be accurate.

CX B77W Nose (Cathay Pacific).jpg
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)

Though a number of the reports we read about are negative, when we checked in October last year while trying to secure a Cathay First Class HKG-LHR redemption 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.

1A Boarding
Cathay Pacific First Class to Europe or the USA is an excellent use of Alaska miles. See our full review of this fantastic cabin. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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.

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.

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 examples, with comparison against the miles needed for the same routings with other frequent flyer programs also shown:

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

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
Hong Kong to London
Business Class
90,000 65,000 42,500
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

Note that you can fly Singapore to Europe on Cathay Pacific in Business Class using Alaska miles, but they will charge you for the Singapore – Hong Kong (Intra-Asia) and Hong Kong – Europe rates combined (22,500 + 42,500), making it a relatively poor deal at 65,000 miles in Business Class.

It’s better to position to Hong Kong with a low-cost airline then take the competitive Business Class 42,500-mile rate using Alaska miles from there in our opinion, or use Avios to get to Hong Kong on Cathay for 20,000 points in Business.

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
Perth to Sydney
Business Class
37,500 36,000 20,000
Qantas 787 J Day (Qantas).jpg
Qantas flies its latest 1-2-1 Business Class seats on many long-haul and domestic flights. (Photo: Qantas)

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

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

Click here to buy Alaska miles

Which card to use

Assuming like most of our readers you are based in Singapore, you’ll want to achieve the maximum number of credit card miles for the purchase itself when buying Alaska miles. If you do go ahead and buy, the transaction happens in US dollars (i.e. non-SGD) and is 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
Card.png
DBS Women’s World Mastercard
(see our review)
4.0 4mpd on all online spend in a calendar month, capped at S$2,000.
Card.png
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.
Card.png
BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard
(see our review)
3.0 3mpd on all non-SGD spend, with no cap.
image_standard-chartered-visa-infinite@2x02.png
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-MC.png
UOB PRVI Miles (see our review)
2.4 All non-SGD spend.
Card.jpg
OCBC Voyage Visa
(see our review)
2.3 All non-SGD spend.
citi-premiermiles-new.jpg
Citi PremierMiles (see our review)
2.0 All non-SGD spend.
Final Card Image.jpg
Citi Prestige (see our review)
2.0 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 Card.jpg
Citi Rewards Visa / MasterCard
(see our review)
4.0 points.com transactions qualify for 10x Rewards Points (4mpd). Remember a monthly cap now applies.

Singapore Airlines awards

We’re starting to sound a bit like a broken record here, but once again there’s still no sign of the ability to use Alaska Miles on Singapore Airlines flights. The most recent addition for redemption was Finnair in August last year.

Finnair A350 Business Class (Finnair).jpg
Finnair redemptions are now available using Alaska miles, but we’re still waiting for Singapore Airlines awards. (Photo: Finnair)

We would still expect the two partners to be targeting Singapore Airlines’ upcoming Singapore – Seattle services in September this year at the latest for reciprocal award redemption across the two frequent flyer programs.

Don’t buy speculatively

As we always say – Alaska miles aren’t for everybody. You should not buy Alaska miles speculatively. Have a solid redemption plan in mind in the near future, or know exactly what you want to redeem now (having checked it’s available), as changes in both partner redemption relationships and valuations can occur.

Summary

One thing’s certain – you should never buy Alaska miles at full price. You shouldn’t even buy them at anything less than 40% bonus, because frankly this is now an almost ludicrously regular offer. If you don’t need to jump on a redemption soon, it may also be a good idea to hold off for the top 50% bonus offer, previously appearing only once a year but which has lately coming around more often than that.

Alaska Air 737 4 (Alaska Air).jpg
(Photo: Alaska Airlines)

As for whether to buy at all, our advice never changes. Have a plan to use these miles first. If you can use them wisely, Alaska miles are a valuable frequent flyer currency, and you can achieve excellent value from them on a variety of routings.

That doesn’t mean they are immune from partner agreement changes and devaluations, so as always when buying miles – tread carefully.

Click here to buy Alaska miles

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

9 comments

  1. wanted to ask about the JAL stopover trick. it seems that now when you do a search for an award from singapore to tokyo and from tokyo to bangkok, the second leg is always in coach.

    are you getting the same results where the first leg is in business, Singapore to Tokyo and the second leg Tokyo to Bangkok in coach regardless of the date?

    Thanks.

  2. Hi andrew,

    1. possible that we do a stopover with JAL business class in Tokyo before heading to USA? can’t seemed to do that on alaska search engine

    2. can’t find any availability for CX F from sg to usa 🙁

    Thanks

    1. Hi,

      1. Yes it is possible to do a stopover on SIN-TYO-USA with JAL, however Business Class award seats on Tokyo to the USA can be hard to come by. My advice is to search that route in isolation (e.g. HND to JFK) then once you’ve found a date which suits you do the multi-city search to add the SIN-HND flight to the start of your itinerary (those flights have much better availability).

      Otherwise if you just guess the date for TYO-USA the site seems to just drop you into Economy (“Coach”) for the second sector but still charge 65,000 miles. Here’s an example of a Business routing all the way through with a stopover in Tokyo:

      https://mainlymiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/JAL-SIN-TYO-NYC-J.jpg

      2. Which site are you using to search CX availability? I assume you know it doesn’t show on the AS site. The F cabin is very infrequently used on SIN-HKG these days, so you may have to repeat the process above (i.e. find availability first on the HKG-USA flight), then live with Business Class on the first sector from Singapore (though you will be charged the full F mileage rate of 70,000 or 80,000 miles depending on the US destination).

      Hope it helps.

    1. Sometimes it’s the site which doesn’t help (i.e. I find it implies you are not doing a stopover, even though your search was multi-city continuing from Tokyo on a later date). Both flights show as though you’re flying straight through. Then once you click it, the stopover shows (second flight is a later date as you specified). Is that the issue you’re having?

Leave a Reply