[The sale has been extended to 31 October, 3 p.m Singapore time]
Mileage Plan is the frequent flyer program of Alaska Airlines, and a very powerful tool to get discounted business/first class flights if you know how to use it properly.
From now till 31 October 3 pm Singapore time, you can buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 40% bonus. This time round, the equation is simple
- Buy 1,000 – 19,000 miles = No bonus
- Buy 20,000+ miles = 40% bonus
You can max out this promotion by buying 60,000 miles with a 24,000 mile bonus, or 84,000 miles for US$1,773.75. That gives you an effective price of 2.11 US cents per mile.
You are capped at buying 60,000 base miles per transaction, but you can do as many transactions as you want.
Should I buy Mileage Plan miles at a 40% bonus?
Provided you have travel plans and aren’t buying them speculatively, a 40% bonus is the best available public sale for Mileage Plan. Sometimes, however, people may be individually targeted for 50% sales.
Mileage Plan is one of my favourite FFPs because you can…
- Get a free stopover, even on one-way awards (which allows you to do a rather unique JAL trick…see below)
- Get access to unique partners that you wouldn’t normally be able to access in Singapore, like Hainan Airlines, Icelandair and Fiji Airways
- Get great value first and business class award redemptions out of Singapore with certain airlines. Have a read of some ideas below:
What do I do with them?
Mileage Plan’s key strength is the sheer variety of options you have for premium cabin redemptions.
Remember that for a mere 25,000 Mileage Plan Miles you can do a “round trip” journey from Singapore to Tokyo in business class, which works out to US$528 if you buy miles at 2.11 US cents each. There’ll be a further ~US$60 of taxes on top of that, and you’ll need to buy a one-way ticket to or from KUL, but all in you’re still looking at a sub US$600 “round trip” business class journey.
You can also redeem great value Cathay Pacific awards at 50,000/70,000 Mileage Plan miles each way for business/first class from Singapore to the USA. Or you could do Hong Kong to Europe at 42,500/70,000 miles each way for business/first class (you can’t start from Singapore if you’re flying to Europe)
Note that you cannot book Cathay Pacific awards online and will need to call up Mileage Plan customer service to get this done. You should be able to use the British Airways award search engine to check what space is available on CX business and first before calling up Mileage Plan- have a read of that tutorial here. If you’re looking to redeem CX awards, you should note that Mileage Plan sees one less First Class seat and two less Business Class seats than other partners, as Ben from OMAAT reports.
You could redeem Hainan Airlines business class awards to the USA at 50,000 Mileage Plan miles in business class (but you’d need to position yourself to Bangkok first because they don’t serve Singapore).
You could redeem Korean Airlines business class awards from Singapore to the USA at 120,000 miles round trip (one-ways are not allowed)
What card should I use?
Alaska Mileage Plan purchases are processed by Points.com in USD, so here’s the cards I’d use
- BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard– 5.0 mpd, no cap
- UOB Visa Signature- 4.0 mpd, min S$1K max S$2K of foreign currency spending in a statement period
- Citibank Rewards- 4.0 mpd, $1K a month max
- DBS Woman’s World Card- 4.0 mpd, but requires that you write in to DBS to get the bonus 7X credited (3X, or 1.2 mpd will be awarded as base points)
- Standard Chartered Visa Infinite– 3.0 mpd, minimum S$2K spending a statement period
Other important things to note
Alaska recently revised the rules for Mileage Plan awards and charge a US$125 fee for changes or cancellations, regardless of how far away you are from departure. If you’re hoping to redeem Emirates or Qantas awards, there may be some issues seeing availability in Business Class. I personally never use Mileage Plan miles for anything other than JAL awards, however, and those work just fine.
Some people have reported issues with purchasing miles if their Mileage Plan account is new. It used to be that your account had to be at least 10 days old to buy miles, but I get irregular reports as to whether this rule is actually enforced. An email to customer service usually sorts out the problem, but if the transaction fails you won’t get charged anyway.
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