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Buy Alaska miles with a 40% bonus until 17 February 2020

Buy Alaska Miles with a 40% bonus until 17th February for good value First and Business Class redemptions

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

Alaska Air 737 Overhead (Alaska Air)

Alaska Mileage Plan is back with another of its regular ‘buy miles’ promotions this month, with a 40% bonus on offer for those purchasing or topping up their balance between now and 17th February 2020.

Despite shutting down the popular intra-Asia stopover option in October last year, many of our readers still find value in holding an Alaska Miles balance for a range of cheap redemptions with the likes of Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.


The January 2020 offer


Alaska Airlines often tailors these promotions slightly depending on your customer profile, so you’ll need to log on to your Mileage Plan account to check how your individual bonus is structured – since not everyone always gets exactly the same deal.

Alaska Jan20 Offer

We have different offers this time, with Eddie getting:

  • 1,000 – 19,000 miles – no bonus (2.96 US ¢ / mile)
  • 20,000 – 29,000 miles – 30% bonus (2.27 US ¢ / mile)
  • 30,000 – 60,000 miles – 40% bonus (2.11 US ¢ / mile)

While my offer is structured differently:

  • 1,000 – 14,000 miles – no bonus (2.96 US ¢ / mile)
  • 15,000 – 60,000 miles – 40% bonus (2.11 US ¢ / mile)

Alaska Jan20 Structure

Either way, the top bonus level looks to be 40%, a little shy of Alaska’s (regularly offered) top bonus rate of 50%, where you’ll be buying miles at a slightly better 1.97 US cents each.

You can credit up to 150,000 Alaska miles into your account per year this way, including the bonus level, unless you’re an MVP, MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K member, in which case there is no annual cap.

The upper limit to buy miles in this promotion is 60,000 (+24,000 bonus miles = 84,000 miles), however you can complete more than one purchase if you wish.

Max Miles Jan20
The maximum miles you can buy in a single transaction this month

Is it worth it?

The loss of the intra-Asia stopover trick using Alaska Miles last year was a big disappointment for many of our readers; it’s certainly true to say that a number of you only bought these miles to exploit this (longstanding) ‘loophole’.

JAL Stopover Map
What’s no longer possible – 14 hours in JAL Business Class for 25,000 miles

There’s not too much point dwelling on what this was (14 hours in a flat-bed Business Class seat for around S$700), because we now have to focus on what other value the scheme still offers.

You can still redeem JAL flights using Alaska miles, however these now price at the 25,000 miles intra-Asia rate in Business Class for both sectors of your journey. Previously the stopover trick allowed a ‘pseudo-return’ itinerary for this price.

While that doubles the cost, effectively to S$1,400+ if you’re buying the miles at the 40% bonus rate, it’s actually still not necessarily a bad deal compared with cash fares on the route.

An exceptional Business Class deal is now more of a ‘good deal’. (Photo: Melv_L – MACASR via Flickr)

It also means there’s no need to ‘position’ yourself at the start or end of the journey, as was required under the stopover system where your origin and ultimate destination (at the end of your trip) could not be the same.

Most of our readers achieved this by flying through Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur for one of the two flights, but now you can fly for 50,000 miles return to and from Singapore (like you always could).

The ‘new’ way. Twice as many miles, but at least no positioning is required.

It’s certainly a decent way to use up any miles you have left, but probably isn’t enough of an incentive for you to buy a fresh batch given that you’ll be subject to award availability on the route, while cash fares have almost a full choice of dates and times.

Pro Tip: JAL is selling Singapore to Tokyo return flights in Business Class for S$2,500 in March 2020, but Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo return is S$2,000 – or less than S$1,600 on the (arguably as good) Malaysia Airlines A350. That makes buying 50,000 Alaska miles for a JAL itinerary to and from Japan of relatively limited value, especially if you are willing to be flexible with your departure point.


Singapore Airlines redemptions

Singapore Airlines flights became redeemable using Alaska miles in October 2019, including their coveted Suites and long-haul Business Class seats – usually excluded from partner redemption agreements.

Unfortunately there is not really any fantastic value for SIA award seats since the intra-Asia stopover option was plugged, soon after they became available in the first place.

If you’re rich in Alaska miles, the only decent deals are to use them for SIA’s Business or First Class flights to and from the USA.

SQtrans small

KF Logo trans AStrans
Singapore to New York
Business Class
99,000 100,000
Singapore to New York
First Class
132,000 125,000
Tokyo to Los Angeles
Business Class
92,000 80,000
Tokyo to Los Angeles
First Class
125,000 110,000

None of these rates are likely to make you want to buy Alaska miles at around 2 US cents each for this purpose, however.

Pro Tip: Another benefit of using Alaska miles on Singapore Airlines is different (i.e. sometimes better) award availability than to KrisFlyer members. We’ve recently seen more award space in Business Class on non-stop A350ULR flights such as SIN-EWR than KrisFlyer is offering at saver award level. Alaska members also seem to get more space on Singapore – Australia flights in premium cabins.

Other good value uses of Alaska miles

Here are some alternative examples, with a comparison against miles rates with other frequent flyer programmes on the same routes.

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
Singapore to Tokyo
Business Class
62,000 40,000 25,000

* Business Class Singapore to Tokyo, First Class Tokyo to New York

If you managed to buy Alaska miles in one of the 50% bonus sales, the top level regularly offered, you’re looking at US$1,478 from Singapore to New York in First Class, US$1,281 in Business Class or US$493 to Tokyo in Business Class.

Yes, you’ll have to find the award availability (easier on Singapore to Tokyo than Singapore to New York!), but these are competitive ‘fares’.

Cathay Pacific