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40% bonus when you buy Alaska Miles between now and 26 March

Buy Alaska Miles with a 40% bonus until 26th March

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

Alaska Air 737 4 (Alaska Air)

It sure is a strange time to be offering a ‘buy miles’ promotion, with so much of the world under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and many wondering which airlines (and therefore frequent flyer programmes) will survive this crisis and which won’t.

Nonetheless Alaska Mileage Plan is back with another of its regular ‘buy miles’ promotions, with a short-term 40% bonus on offer for those purchasing or topping up their balance between now and 26th March 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.

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The March 2020 offer

Alaska miles haven’t been sold with a promotional bonus in Singapore since 17th February 2020. That’s quite a long time – these miles are almost always on offer at 40% or 50% bonus levels.

Pro Tip: Never buy Alaska miles at full price, unless you need a small top-up quickly to achieve a specific redemption. They are almost always available on offer (there were seven purchase bonus offers in 2019 alone).

AStrans

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 Mar20 Offer

Eddie and I often get a different promotion structure, but this month we both have the same deal:

  • 1,000 – 19,000 miles – no bonus (2.96 US ¢ / mile)
  • 20,000 – 100,000 miles – 40% bonus (2.11 US ¢ / mile)

Alaska Mar20 Breakdown

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.

100,000 miles cap per transaction

There looks to be a new addition this month, the ability to purchase up to 100,000 miles per transaction (140,000 miles including the bonus in our case).

That’s in the usual 1,000-mile blocks up the 60,000 miles (the previous transaction cap), then 5,000-mile blocks up to 100,000 miles.

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

Alaska Mar20 Max
The maximum miles you can buy in a single transaction this month

Is it worth it?

In the past we always lauded Alaska miles for their incredible value when used to redeem the JAL intra-Asia stopover trick. That longstanding ‘loophole’ was sadly lost in 2019, however that doesn’t mean there aren’t still good redemptions to be achieved when redeeming Alaska Miles.

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 incredible 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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).

JALbooking3
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 August 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.

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Deadline: 26th March 2020

The offer closes at 11.59pm PST on Wednesday 25th March 2020, which is 3.59pm on Thursday 26th March 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 26th March 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

Cancellation fees

Do note that Alaska Airlines charges a US$125 fee (around S$182 at the time of writing) for award ticket changes or cancellations, which is pretty steep. You’ll no doubt want to have relatively firm travel plans and dates before booking, in order to avoid this penalty.

Note: Alaska is currently offering change and cancellation fee waiver for award tickets booked between now and 31st March 2020, for travel booked through the end of February 2021, due to the coronavirus situation.

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. Bear in mind that many of these will not be available in the near future due to coronavirus cuts, but should return later in 2020.

Japan Airlines

JLtrans.png

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

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