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Up to 50% bonus when you buy Alaska Miles until 31 August

Alaska Miles are on sale again, with up to 50% bonus offered. Book the JAL stopover trick from US$493. Deadline 31st August.

AS 737 Landing (Kenneth Gill)

Alaska Mileage Plan is back with another ‘buy miles’ promotion this month, featuring a variable top bonus of up to 50%, historically the highest they offer. This is perfect timing if you need to top up your balance for one of the good value redemptions these miles unlock, including the JAL stopover trick for just US$493.

AStrans

Check your account for your personal bonus level and make your purchase by 2.59pm Singapore time on 31st August 2019.

July 2019 offer

Once you log on to your Alaska Mileage Plan account and click on ‘Buy Miles’ you’ll be presented with the offer applicable to your account. For me it’s the highest level this time with a 50% bonus.

Alaska Jul19 Offer 2.jpg

To trigger the 50% bonus I have to buy 60,000 miles, but the deal may be structured differently for others. For example Eddie only has to buy 40,000 miles to get the 50% bonus, and some members may have been targeted for a lower 35% or 40% maximum bonus.

Depending on your bonus level structure and number of miles purchased, you’re buying Alaska Miles here at:

  • 20% bonus – 2.46 US ¢ / mile
  • 35% bonus – 2.19 US ¢ / mile
  • 40% bonus – 2.11 US ¢ / mile
  • 50% bonus – 1.97 US ¢ / mile

50% is historically the highest bonus level Alaska offers in its Mileage Plan sales, and while you typically saw it once a year this is coming around more frequently lately. There was a flash sale last month with a 30% discount (equivalent to a 43% bonus), but 50% bonus remains the best offer to date.

One of the highest value benefits of holding Alaska Miles in this region is the JAL stopover trick, a pseudo-return Business Class flight to Japan and back for 25,000 miles. At the 50% bonus rate that’s costing just US$492.71, but even if your offer is for a 40% bonus it’s not bad at US$527.90.

Offer ends 31st August

No big rush this time as you have until the end of August to decide whether to buy. The offer closes at 11.59pm PST on Friday 30th August 2019, which is 2.59pm on Saturday 31st August 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 31st August in Singapore if you’re interested, just in case it doesn’t go through first time.

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 Osaka 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 just use the trick 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.

You can fly all the way from Singapore to Los Angeles in Business Class for 50,000 miles or in First Class for 70,000 miles (Singapore Airlines is charging 95,000 and 130,000 KrisFlyer miles respectively for the same trip)

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.

1A Boarding.jpg
Cathay Pacific First Class is a strong favourite of ours, and it’s 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 (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.

AStrans

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 A380 2 (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 in June 2019.

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
Citi Rewards Card.jpg
Citi Rewards Visa / MasterCard
(see our review)
4.0 4mpd on all online spend in a statement period, capped at S$1,000 per card.
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.

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

We often say you should never buy Alaska Miles at full price, or for anything less than a 40% bonus. That’s because these offers come around pretty much every month or two these days, and a 40% bonus is typical.

This 50% bonus for selected members (and we have no idea how that selection works!) is the best rate offered for these miles, so if you were targeted at 40% or less this time it might be worth waiting for a 50% offer to appear in future, unless you need the miles in the next month or two.

Alaska Air 737 4 (Alaska Air).jpg
(Image: Alaska Air)

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.

AStrans

CLICK HERE TO BUY ALASKA MILES

(Cover Photo: Kenneth Gill)

6 comments

  1. Great I was waiting for this and I got 50%! Can I just ask you how long it takes for the miles to be in the account after purchase completed and also can I book award flights for other people? It says about adding 10 companions in the account so I can book for up to 10 others?

    1. Hi Darren, usually the miles crediting is instant but for new accounts / non-US credit cards we’ve heard there can be a delay sometimes.

      You can book awards using Alaska Miles for anyone, you don’t have to be travelling yourself either. There is no nomination list I think the regular companions feature you’re referring to just makes it easier to save people’s details and it can pre-populate your group bookings more easily that way.

    2. Be careful to book for a lot of people. AS is cracking down mileage brokers. Your flights for others can be cancelled or they will be denied check-in.

  2. My most recent experience with Alaska over 3-4 calls (the latest being just last Fri) has been that the agents can only view CX availability 330 days before the intended date, not 360 days. The different agents all told me the same information so I believe this is true. On the plus side, I managed to make a booking to SEA in the end for next June.

  3. Looking to book SIN-HND and then KIX-BKK, with stopover of several months. What will happen if I have already travelled SIN-HND, but want to change the KIX-BKK sector (to another date). If I want to cancel the KIX-BKK sector, I’m happy to forfeit it, but would I have to pay a cancellation or no-show fee?

  4. Quick question: if planning for Singapore to Vancouver, how would that work (if through Cathay Pacific, assuming that’s the best option)?

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