Alaska Airlines runs its own “Mileage Plan” frequent flyer programme, which as most of our readers will know is relatively popular in Singapore because of some competitive redemption rates on the likes of partners Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.
The scheme has also recently started allowing awards on Singapore Airlines using Alaska miles, including in long-haul Business Class, First Class and Suites cabins, fuelling interest locally in Alaska’s regular ‘buy miles’ promotions.
Today Alaska clamped down on the intra-Asia stopover allowance. Despite the JAL ‘trick’ (a pseudo-return flight for 25,000 miles) being available and used for years, some other very inventive routings were being searched and booked on Singapore Airlines including ‘return’ flights to Europe for 25,000 miles in Business Class.
Granted the Alaska Mileage Plan system should be clever enough to prevent such routings, which were obviously pricing incorrectly, but it seems like the easiest way for them to plug those crazy cheap itineraries was to simply prevent intra-Asia stopovers. That’s exactly what they have now done.
The JAL stopover trick is dead
For us the biggest news here is that we have lost the JAL ‘stopover trick’ option, perhaps the most frequently used sweet spot for Alaska miles members in Singapore and across South East Asia.
If you’re not familiar with what the JAL ‘stopover trick’ is, or should we say “was”, here’s a reminder.