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30% off Alaska Miles for the next 6 days

You can pick up great deals using Alaska Miles, like Business and First Class redemptions with airlines including Cathay Pacific, JAL and Qantas. Buy with a 30% discount between now and 1st July 2019.

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

Alaska Air 737 (Alaska Air)

You never have to wait long between Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan ‘buy miles’ promotions. The last one wound up just a month ago, but this time it’s a short term 6-day promotion.

Unlike most Alaska Miles deals, which offer a percentage bonus offer (typically 40-50%), this one is a percentage discount instead. That’s strange because a percentage bonus always sounds better (30% discount is equivalent to a 43% bonus in cost per mile terms).

Indeed a 50% bonus, which Alaska sometimes offers, is only a 33% discount, which sounds a lot worse, so it’s strange they have chosen to refer to it this way.

Nonetheless here are the details this time round.

The June 2019 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 both Eddie and I are targeted for purchases of 20,000 – 60,000 miles attracting the discount rate of 30% (anything less than that is not discounted). Others may have a different discount structure from what we’ve seen in the past from Alaska.

30% discount Jun19.jpg

  • 1,000 – 19,000 miles – no bonus (2.96 US ¢ / mile)
  • 20,000 – 60,000 miles – 30% discount (2.07 US ¢ / mile)
Jun19 Example.jpg
The lowest number of miles you can purchase to achieve the 30% discount is 20,000

Offer ends 1st July

There’s almost exactly six days left to take part in this sale, as the offer closes at 11.59pm PST on Sunday 30th June 2019, which is 2.59pm on Monday 1st July 2019 Singapore time.

Alaska are strict about the offer deadline and it will completely disappear at the end time (we’ve tested it to the minute before), so we’d recommend acting before approximately 2pm on 1st July in Singapore if you’re interested.

The JAL stopover ‘trick’

There are many uses of Alaska Miles for members based in Singapore, but without question one of the best is the JAL stopover ‘trick’.

This is a ‘return’ JAL Business Class flight from Singapore to Japan for 25,000 Alaska miles plus around US$60 in taxes. The only snag? You’ll need to either depart on your first flight somewhere other than Singapore (e.g. Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta or Bangkok) and then fly back to Singapore at the end, or start in Singapore then end the trip in one of those places.

Here’s how it works in a bit more detail.

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.

On our most recent trip in April we commenced the journey in Bangkok as we wanted to start in and JAL doesn’t fly there directly from Singapore.

After positioning on a cheap Scoot flight SIN-BKK, then sampling the excellent and relatively new Qatar Airways Bangkok lounge for a few hours, we took the non-stop overnight BKK-KIX flight.

For the return sector we were leaving from Tokyo and flew 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.

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 in our opinion 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.

Alternatively use Avios and position to Hong Kong on Cathay for 22,000 points in Business (unfortunately this recently increased from 20,000 points), 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.

Champagne 3 Windows.jpg
Cathay Pacific First Class is one of our favourites, and is great value on many routes using Alaska Miles. See our full review. (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. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less.

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
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

How far in advance can you book?

You can book award flights with most Alaska Airlines partners up to a year in advance, depending on when specific partner airlines release award space. For example:

  • Cathay Pacific: 360 days before
  • Qantas: 354 days before
  • British Airways: 353 days before

Note that for JAL, which many of our readers are most interested in, you can only book 330 days before (i.e. 11 months in advance).

However the online search using the Alaska site (applicable to all carriers except Cathay Pacific and LATAM) only shows flights up to 330 days in advance. If you want to book a partner at more than 330 days in advance, you’ll have to call Alaska to book; availability will never appear online.

QF 789 5 (Qantas).jpg
If you want to redeem Alaska Miles on a Qantas flight 350 days from now, you’ll have to call to book as the Alaska site only shows availability up to 330 days in advance. (Photo: Qantas)

We still await Singapore Airlines awards

Singapore Airlines is a recent Alaska Airlines partner, with redemptions on SIA flights using Alaska miles promised ‘soon’. Apart from SIA, the most recent Alaska Airlines partner was Aer Lingus and their awards became bookable just last week.

Whether that bears any indication of how soon we expect to see redemptions available on Singapore Airlines no one really knows, but we would expect to see some kind of fully reciprocal earn / redeem arrangement prior to SIA’s non-stop Seattle route starting in September this year.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we know when SIA redemptions become available, and what the rates are.

Sign up to Alaska now for 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 right 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.

Miles purchased are limited to 150,000 per year

Assuming you don’t hold elite status in the Alaska Mileage Plan scheme (MVP, MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K), you are limited to 150,000 miles credited per calendar year from points.com (i.e. buying miles as in this promotion). That includes 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 limit from hotel loyalty programs for example, and of course from eligible revenue flying.

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.

The Citi Rewards Visa or Mastercard should earn at the 10x bonus rewards rates (4 miles per dollar) on points.com (online) transactions, though as we haven’t tried this do be cautious and don’t scold us if the bonus is not credited! A monthly cap of S$1,000 applies for the bonus points.

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.

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

It’s strange that Alaska Airlines has shifted from percentage bonus (which sounds better than it is) to percentage discount (which sounds worse, but is more realistic) with this latest offer.

Regardless, as we’ve said before, you should never buy Alaska miles at full price. You shouldn’t even buy them at anything less than 40% bonus / 30% discount (as we’re now seeing), because frankly this is the usual offer. Not only that, it’s available almost monthly.

This top 50% bonus offer is historically the best around (that would be a 33% discount), previously appearing only once a year but lately appearing more often than that. For the best value if you’re not in a hurry, it may be better to wait for this one to come around again.

Alaska A320 (Alaska Airlines).jpg
(Image: Alaska Airlines)

As for whether to buy at all, our advice never changes. Have a plan to use these miles first. Alaska miles are useful and valuable (we wouldn’t write about them if they weren’t), and you can achieve excellent value from them in a variety of cases.

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 Image: Alaska Airlines)

5 comments

  1. Any idea for how much would it cost for infant in business class for JAL sg –> tyo –> kul at 10% of ticketed price? I tried to search multi city on JAL website but to no avail 🙁

  2. Sigh, my transaction with them got rejected twice, apparently they block the purchase if I didn’t have a US billing address on the card?

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