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Up to 40% bonus on Alaska miles – purchase by 1 November

Unlock First and Business Class awards at competitive rates with several airlines when you buy Alaska miles at 2.11 US cents each. Ends 1st November.

CX F 2 (Cathay Pacific).jpg

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles is an award currency we talk about a lot, because we like it a lot. Unfortunately they are hard to come by in Singapore, so one of the quickest and easiest ways to accrue them is to take advantage of one of the regular bonus purchase offers.

Good news for October is that a deal is back – with Alaska offering up to a 40% bonus, allowing you to top up your balance with miles at 2.11 US cents each (around 2.92 Singapore cents each).

That opens up options like Japan Airlines “roundtrip” to Tokyo in Business Class for around S$730 plus taxes, or a Cathay Pacific Hong Kong to London flight in Business Class for S$1,250 plus tax.

Having said all that, Alaska miles aren’t for everyone, and 50% bonus deals are occasionally offered, but they are a great frequent flyer currency to hold for these good value premium cabin redemptions in Asia-Pacific and beyond with a number of airlines.

The October 2019 offer

AStrans

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

Alaska Oct19 Offer 2.jpg

This time round both Eddie and I have been offered the same deal, which is increasingly common and suggests most of you will probably see the same.

  • 1,000 – 9,000 miles – no bonus (2.96 US ¢ / mile)
  • 10,000 – 19,000 miles – 20% bonus (2.46 US ¢ / mile)
  • 20,000 – 29,000 miles – 30% bonus (2.27 US ¢ / mile)
  • 30,000 – 60,000 miles – 40% bonus (2.11 US ¢ / mile)
Alaska Oct19 Offer 3.jpg
Our offer this month – 40% bonus kicks in at 30,000 purchased  miles

Deadline: 1st November 2019

The offer closes at 11.59pm PST on Thursday 31st October 2019, which is 2.59pm on Friday 1st November 2019 Singapore time.

Alaska is strict about the offer deadline, so it will completely disappear at the end time – we’ve tested it to the minute in the past. We would therefore recommend making your purchase before approximately 2pm on 1st November in Singapore if you’re interested, just in case you have any issues or the payment doesn’t go through first time.

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.

If you’re not in a hurry – our advice is wait for a 50% bonus. They used to be rare but now seem to come around at least a couple of times a year.

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.

The big ‘steal’ though, is the JAL ‘stopover trick’, and here’s how it works…

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 earlier this year 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.

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.

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 A380 Business 1
Qantas is progressively fitting its latest 1-2-1 Business Class seats on A380s flying to Dallas and Los Angeles (see our article for details). They also feature on many intra-Australia 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.

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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)

Summary of options

For those not familiar, here’s a recap of the airline and route options using Alaska Miles 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

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.
Card2019.png
Citi PremierMiles (see our review)
2.0 All non-SGD spend.
Card2019.png
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

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: Cathay Pacific)

7 comments

  1. You should probably add that the BKK-KIX route is flown on JAL’s non-lie flat seats, whereas the flights to NRT or HND have JAL’s sky suites II or III. I only found out after i booked the flights!

  2. Can you confirm that you can book Cathay 360 days out by calling Alaska Airlines? I asked in flyertalk and was advised otherwise.

  3. Just last week am able to search Finnair options SIN to LHR but last 2 days no flights (not even economy) is available across all dates

    1. You’re right Finnair availability doesn’t seem to be showing on any route. There’s plenty availability using Avios (especially ex-HKG at the moment) so maybe this is a bug at the Alaska side.

      Best bet is to call them to search and book.

      1. Thanks Andrew! I thought I was the only one. I’ve sent the feedback to Alaska on social media, but their team insisted that there’s no problem on their end and said that it’s because there’s no availability at all (Really? For all routes, on all dates, and on all cabin classes?)

        Really frustrating that their social media team refuses to acknowledge the problem, or even forward the feedback to their tech team to investigate….

      2. Yes that seems improbable. There are 13 J awards tomorrow night alone on Finnair’s two HKG-HEL flights, made available to oneworld partners like AA and BA.

        94 J award seats in total on that route for oneworld members in the next 7 days, yet not a single one of them is available to Alaska members?

        That’s definitely a bug, or Finnair and Alaska Airlines have had a big falling out!

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