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Buy Alaska miles with a 50% bonus until 20 May

Unlock great value Business and First Class redemptions with airlines including Cathay Pacific, JAL and Qantas when you buy Alaska miles at their top bonus level by 20th May 2019

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

Champagne 3 Windows

After a nail-biting 30 days without an Alaska Mileage Plan ‘buy miles’ bonus, the famine ended for us all on Wednesday as the airline rolled out the offer again, this time at its top rate with a 50% bonus for those stocking up on the largest amounts.

Last time Alaska offered a 50% bonus it was targeted to only some members, in November 2018.

The deal runs for a month this time, ending on 20th May 2019 in Singapore.

The current offer

AStrans

Log on to your Mileage Plan account to check how the bonus is structured as it sometimes differs from account to account, depending on your customer profile.

With the current offer though we have only seen one bonus structure offered, with purchases of 40,000 – 60,000 miles attracting the highest bonus rate of 50%.

May19 Offer.jpg

  • 1,000 – 9,000 miles – no bonus (2.96 US ¢ / mile)
  • 10,000 – 19,000 miles – 20% bonus (2.46 US ¢ / mile)
  • 20,000 – 39,000 miles – 35% bonus (2.19 US ¢ / mile)
  • 40,000 – 60,000 miles – 50% bonus (1.97 US ¢ / mile)
May19 Example.jpg
The lowest number of miles you can purchase to achieve the 50% bonus is 40,000
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Offer ends 20th May

The offer closes at 11.59m PST on Sunday 19th May 2019, which is 2.59pm on Monday 20th May 2019 Singapore time.

The JAL stopover ‘trick’

Funny that Alaska should launch their top 50% buy miles bonus this week, since we’re actually on the JAL stopover ‘trick’ right now, as we write this article from the (rather dapper) executive club lounge at the beautiful Conrad Osaka having flown up on Wednesday night in JAL Business Class.

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Executive Lounge at the Conrad Osaka. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If the concept is new to you, or you need a refresher, essentially this is a ‘return’ JAL Business Class flight from Singapore to Japan for 25,000 Alaska miles plus around US$60 in taxes. Here’s how it works.

What’s the JAL ‘stopover trick’?

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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.

For the particular trip we’re currently on we wanted to start in Osaka, so we commenced the journey in Bangkok as JAL doesn’t fly to Osaka directly from Singapore.

That meant taking a cheap Scoot flight SIN-BKK on Wednesday evening, then sampling the excellent and relatively new Qatar Airways Bangkok lounge for a few hours before taking the non-stop overnight BKK-KIX flight.

If you haven’t tried the new Qatar lounge in Bangkok, all we can say is “wow”. This is our new favourite lounge at the airport. Stay tuned for a review coming soon, in the meantime we have some photos on our Instagram.

For the return sector we’ll be heading back from Tokyo non-stop from Narita to Singapore. Total cost per person was 25,000 Alaska miles + US$60, in addition to the Scoot flight. We also had the cost of positioning between Osaka and Tokyo, but you wouldn’t need to do that if like most people you use the trick just for a Tokyo trip.

Top tip for domestic JAL flights in Japan, if you need them, is to use Avios from 4,500 points with zero taxes, see here for details.

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Cathay Pacific First and Business Class

If the JAL stopover ‘trick’ doesn’t interest you, the next best way to use Alaska miles for Singapore-based flyers is in First or Business Class on 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

Even though the Alaska award chart shows that redeeming Europe flights on Cathay Pacific is only possible to or from Hong Kong, you can fly Singapore to Europe on Cathay 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.

Both flights are combined into a single itinerary for you so it’s a simple option, but we think it’s better to position to Hong Kong with a low-cost airline then take the competitive Business Class rate with Alaska miles from there in our opinion.

Alternatively use Avios and position to Hong Kong on Cathay for 20,000 points in Business, they will also check you through for your onward Europe flight redeemed using Alaska miles despite separate itineraries, provided you have built in a 1hr+ connection time.

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If you’re still wondering whether Cathay Pacific First Class is a seat worth using Alaska miles for, take our advice – it is! Click here to read our full review of the product. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The only downside when using Alaska miles to book Cathay Pacific flights is that availability is not searchable online. You’ll have to search using another tool (we recommend using the British Airways Avios site), then call Alaska to book.

As we’ve mentioned before, there are varying accounts regarding 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.

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Other good redemptions

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

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