Alaska Airlines Deals Oneworld

Extended: Alaska Mileage Plan buy miles 50% bonus

With three weeks to go before it becomes a oneworld member, Alaska Airlines is offering up to 50% bonus when you buy miles.
Extended! This promotion has been extended until 19th March 2021, 3.59pm Singapore time.

Our regular readers will know that Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan miles are a great way to tap into good value First and Business Class redemptions with a variety of airlines, in ‘normal times’. They’ll also know they aren’t something you’d ever fork out for without a promotion running, because there almost always is one.

As usual, the airline is back with one of its regular ‘buy miles’ promotions this week, offering a 50% bonus deal for selected members, which allows you to purchase at 1.97 US cents per mile.

Unless you need a top-up for a specific redemption you’ll be making soon, however, this probably isn’t something to go for.

Aside from the fact better bonuses have been offered recently, Alaska’s entry into the oneworld alliance is just three weeks away, and we expect some changes to the award chart structure and pricing by the time alliance-wide redemptions are rolled out this summer.

The new offer runs from now until 15th March 2021 19th March 2021 in Singapore.

The March 2021 offer

This is the ninth Alaska miles bonus offer since the COVID-19 situation took hold, with anywhere from 40% up to 60% bonus promotions already in the lineup over the last 12 months.

Some bad news though – since the CARES act for aviation ticket taxes expired in the US, federal excise taxes of 7.5% are back – meaning you’re now paying more per mile compared to comparable bonus levels running last year!

The exact deal is targeted specifically for your account, so log on to check. Not everyone receives the same offer.

Pro Tip: Never buy Alaska miles at full price, unless you need a small top-up quickly to achieve a specific redemption, or to urgently keep your existing balance alive if it is about to expire. These miles are almost always available on offer (there were 14 purchase bonus offers in 2019 and 2020).
AStrans

Here’s a typical 50% deal, as structured for my account:

Miles purchased Bonus Cost per mile
1,000 – 2,000 None 2.96 US ¢
3,000 – 14,000 40% 2.11 US ¢
15,000 – 100,000 50% 1.97 US ¢

If you are not an elite member, your account may only be credited up to a maximum total of 150,000 miles (acquired through buying miles) in a calendar year, whether purchased by you or gifted to you.

MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan member accounts have no annual limit on the number of miles which may be purchased or gifted.

  Click here to buy Alaska Miles

Deadline: 15th 19th March 2021

The offer closes at 11.59pm PST on Sunday 14th March 2021, which is 3.59pm on Monday 15th March 2021 Singapore time.

Extended: The offer now closes at 11.59pm PST on Thursday 18th March 2021, which is 3.59pm on Friday 19th March 2021 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 19th March in Singapore if you’re interested, just in case you have any issues or the payment doesn’t go through first time.

Why buy Alaska miles?

In normal circumstances we’d recommend buying Alaska miles at anything from 50% bonus rates or more, for excellent value First and Business Class award tickets with airlines like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

That’s because even if you don’t earn Alaska miles through other means (e.g. Kaligo hotel bookings, or crediting miles from paid Emirates / SIA / Qatar flights to the programme), the effective ‘fares’ you are paying for these redemptions are highly competitive, even having only acquired your miles in one of these sales.

In many cases, taxes are low with no fuel surcharges levied and Alaska allows free stopovers for no additional miles on most itineraries.

Here are some examples, with the effective cost shown based on buying all the miles you need for the booking.

JLtrans.png

AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 50%
Singapore to New York
Business Class
65,000
miles
$1,373 $1,281
Singapore to Tokyo
Business Class
25,000
miles
$528 $493
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
JAL Boeing 777 Business Class from Singapore to Tokyo. (Photo: Melv_L – MACASR via Flickr)

You can search and book JAL award tickets using Alaska miles wholly online, including availability view by month, no fuel surcharges are added so the taxes are low, and you can have a free stopover in Tokyo on this itinerary for no additional miles (just US$22 in additional taxes).

SQtrans small

AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 50%
Tokyo to Los Angeles
Business Class
80,000
miles
$1,689 $1,577

There aren’t really any great value ways to use Alaska miles on Singapore Airlines, since the intra-Asia stopover ‘tricks’ were shut down in October 2019.

Perhaps the only decent value option is a Business Class ticket on one of the airline’s fifth freedom routes between Tokyo and Los Angeles, usually 92,000 KrisFlyer miles but available for 80,000 Alaska miles or the equivalent of US$1,478 with a 60% purchase bonus.

It’s not an incredible deal but personally we would probably rather buy the Alaska miles for this one and save the 92,000 KrisFlyer miles for a better value redemption, assuming we needed to fly this city pair in isolation.

CXtrans2.png

AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 50%
Singapore to Los Angeles
First Class*
70,000
miles
$1,478 $1,380
Singapore to Los Angeles
Business Class
50,000
miles
$1,056 $985
Sydney to New York
First Class*
80,000
miles
$1,689 $1,577
Sydney to New York
Business Class
60,000
miles
$1,267 $1,182
Hong Kong to London
Business Class
42,500
miles
$897 $838
Singapore to Tokyo
Business Class
22,500
miles
$475 $443

* Business Class to Hong Kong, then First Class to the USA

There are some great value ways to use Alaska miles on Cathay Pacific, including Singapore to the USA in Business Class for US$985 (if you buy at the 50% bonus rate).

Even Singapore to Tokyo or Seoul for example drops to US$443 in Business Class at a 50% bonus.

1A Boarding
Singapore to Los Angeles, including the Hong Kong to Los Angeles sector in Cathay Pacific’s excellent First Class, is only 70,000 Alaska miles. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Bear in mind though that Cathay Pacific awards using Alaska miles are not searchable or bookable online, so you’ll have to call to secure them. Using the British Airways Avios or American Airlines AAdvantage search engines to check award availability beforehand is usually accurate.

QFtrans.png

AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 50%
Sydney to Dallas
First Class
70,000
miles
$1,478 $1,380
Sydney to Dallas
Business Class
55,000
miles
$1,161 $1,084
Perth to Sydney
Business Class
20,000
miles
$422 $394

If you’re based in Australia, using Alaska miles for coast-to-coast domestic flights in Business Class on Qantas, like Perth to Sydney or Perth to Melbourne at 20,000 miles each way, is great value. That’s equivalent to just US$394 when buying with a 50% bonus.

Pick an Airbus A330 or Boeing 787 for the newest flat-bed seats.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Qantas-787-J-Qantas.jpg

It’s also worth checking out Australia to USA award pricing.

QF SYDDFW F

Business Class on one of the world’s longest flights (the 16-hour mammoth from Sydney to Dallas) comes in at around US$1,084 when buying miles at a 50% bonus.

KAtrans

AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 50%
Singapore to Chicago
Business Class
120,000
miles return
$2,534 $2,365

Korean Air awards must be booked as a round-trip, however for 120,000 miles you can fly from Singapore to the USA and back in Business Class for US$2,365 at the 50% bonus rate.

You can search and redeem online for all partners, except Cathay Pacific and LATAM, where it has to be done over the phone.

The new partners list from 2021

Alaska will allow redemptions on Qatar Airways from 31st March 2021, followed by all other oneworld carriers it doesn’t currently partner with from summer this year.

Here’s a breakdown of both the current and upcoming redemption options using Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

oneworld Airlines
  Airline Selected Routes All Routes
American Airlines   Now
British Airways   Now From Summer 2021
Cathay Pacific   Now
Finnair    Now
Iberia From Summer 2021
Japan Airlines   Now From Summer 2021
Malaysia Airlines From Summer 2021
Qantas   Now From Summer 2021
Qatar Airways From 31 Mar 2021* From Summer 2021
Royal Air Maroc From Summer 2021
Royal Jordanian From Summer 2021
S7 Airlines From Summer 2021
SriLankan Airlines From Summer 2021
Other Partner Airlines
  Airline Selected Routes All Routes
Aer Lingus    Now
Condor   Now
Emirates   Now
Fiji Airways   Now
Hainan Airlines   Now
Icelandair   Now
Korean Air   Now
LATAM   Now
Singapore Airlines   Now

* Initial route options TBC

You can view the full current Alaska miles award charts here.

Cancellation fees

Do note that Alaska Airlines charges a US$125 fee (around S$170 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 2021, for travel booked through 28th February 2022, due to the COVID-19 situation. Tickets must be changed or canceled prior to the departure of your original flight.

Which card to use

If you are going to buy in this promotion, and 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.

The transaction itself 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 MC 2019Citi Rewards
(see our review)
4.0 4 mpd on all online spend in a statement period, capped at S$1,000 per card.
Card.pngDBS WWMC*
(see our review)
4.0* 4 mpd on all online spend in a calendar month, capped at S$2,000.
Card.pngUOB Visa Signature
(see our review)
4.0 4 mpd on all overseas spend of at least S$1,000 in a statement period, capped at S$2,000.
image_standard-chartered-visa-infinite@2x02.pngStandard Chartered VI
(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.pngUOB PRVI Miles (see our review) 2.4 All non-SGD spend.
Card.jpgOCBC Voyage Visa
(see our review)
2.2 All non-SGD spend.
Card2019.pngCiti PremierMiles (see our review) 2.0 All non-SGD spend.
Card2019.pngCiti Prestige (see our review) 2.0 All non-SGD spend.

* Note: Our readers have reported that using the DBS WWMC card via points.com does not automatically award the higher 4 mpd earn rate. You must usually appeal and claim the bonus miles later.

Should you buy?

In our opinion – probably not.

Aside from better bonuses having been offered for Alaska Miles purchases, unless you’re taking this opportunity to top-up for a specific redemption there is just too much uncertainty around the programme in the coming months.

Business Bedding
Some of the redemptions you can achieve using Alaska miles at a 50% purchase bonus, including US$443 from Singapore to Tokyo in Cathay Pacific Business Class, are seriously tempting – but be careful. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

Alaska Airlines should survive COVID-19, but no airline is 100% immune. Crucially, Alaska Mileage Plan is not ring-fenced from the airline. If Alaska Airlines goes down, so do your miles.

If you used Alaska miles in this example to make a partner redemption, like a JAL flight sometime in 2021, chances are it will not be honoured as the financial compensation between Alaska and the partner airline for an award flight happens after the flight has taken place.

Given that JAL knows it won’t be compensated in this case, they likely won’t honour the booking.

There’s also the risk of devaluation. Alaska miles have been devalued before, sometimes without notice, and the airline’s upcoming entry into the oneworld alliance just three weeks from now spells bad news for future changes to the award charts later this year in our opinion.

If you still want to though:

  Click here to buy Alaska Miles

Links on Mainly Miles may pay us an affiliate commission.

(Cover Photo: VDB Photos / Shutterstock)

5 comments

      1. On that topic – I have the second anniversary of some miles approaching. Would you know whether a cheap hotel booking on Rocketmiles while crediting to Alaska Mileage Plan would be resetting the 2-year timer?

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