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.
Mileage Plan runs regular sales where you can buy miles with a bonus- perfect if you’ve got travel plans and want to buy premium cabin tickets for less. The bonus normally maxes out at 40%, although people are occasionally targeted for 50%.
Well, I happen to be one of those people this time round. From now until December 22, 4 pm Singapore time, you can buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles at up to a 50% bonus. You’ll need to login to your Mileage Plan account to see what bonus you were targeted for.
Here’s the breakdown of how the bonus tiers:
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles, get a 20% bonus (2.46 US cents each including tax)
- Buy 20,000 – 39,000 miles, get a 35% bonus (2.19 US cents each, including tax)
- Buy 40,000 – 60,000 miles, get a 50% bonus (1.97 US cents each including tax)
The maximum miles you can buy in a single transaction is 90,000 (60,000 base + 30,000 bonus). However, there is no limit on the number of miles you can buy in a year, so you’re free to make multiple transactions.
Should I buy Mileage Plan miles at a 50% bonus?
If you’re targeted for a 50% bonus, there’s a strong case to buy so long as you have travel plans and aren’t buying them speculatively. A 50% bonus is as good as it gets for Mileage Plan miles.
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)
- 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
Not a lot has changed since the last Mileage Plan sale, so apologies for the copypasta 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$493 if you buy miles at 1.97 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.
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 Visa or Citibank Rewards Mastercard- 4.0 mpd, max S$1K a month
- 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 charges a US$125 fee for changes or cancellations, regardless of how far away you are from departure.
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 may sorts out the problem, but if the transaction fails you won’t get charged anyway.
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