Alaska Mileage Plan has just launched its largest-ever sale on miles, which runs from now till
June 29, 2020, 2.59 p.m SGT July 1, 2020, 2.59 p.m SGT (extended).
During this sale, Mileage Plan members can get up to a 60% bonus when they buy miles. Each account will be targeted for a different bonus, and you need to login to check yours.
I sadly didn’t get targeted for a 60% bonus- mine maxes out at 50%. But some of you might have gotten lucky, so sound out if you did.
Here’s the breakdown of how my bonus tiers:
- Buy 3,000-29,000 miles: 40% bonus (1.96 US cents/mile)
- Buy 30,000-100,000 miles: 50% bonus (1.83 US cents/mile)
It also seems like Alaska Mileage Plan is no longer imposing the usual 7.5% tax on mileage purchases, which is great.
Mileage Plan members can buy a maximum of 100,000 miles (pre-bonus) per transaction, and a maximum of 150,000 miles (also pre-bonus) per year.
However, since Mileage Plan tickets can be redeemed for anyone, there’s nothing stopping you from opening another account to buy more miles. MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan members have no such cap.
If you were targeted for a 60% bonus…
Historically, the largest sale we’ve ever seen on Alaska Mileage Plan miles was a 50% bonus, and even then, you had to pay 7.5% tax- this worked out to ~1.97 US cents per mile.
This time round, you could get up to a 60% bonus, and with the tax waived, you’re paying just 1.72 US cents per mile.
Now, it’s always possible that Alaska runs an even bigger sale in the future, and with all that’s going on, now more than ever isn’t the time to buy miles speculatively. But if you’re willing to take that risk, I think a 60% bonus is something to give serious thought.
If you were targeted for a 40% bonus- don’t bother. We’ll definitely see those prices come back in the future.
Is it worth buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles?
For trips to Japan on JAL
It’s no longer the amazing sweet spot that it was before, but in the cold light of day, paying 25,000 miles for a one-way Business Class ticket to Japan is still good value. With the current price of 1.72 US cents per mile, a round-trip itinerary would cost ~S$1,350.
Award space tends to be generous, and it’s not uncommon to find dates with 4+ Business Class seats available.
For trips to the USA on Cathay Pacific
Alaska Mileage Plan charges just 50,000/70,000 miles for a one-way Business/First Class award between Singapore and the USA on Cathay Pacific.
Alternatively, you can fly between Singapore and Tokyo for 22,500 miles on Cathay Pacific. Unlike the Japan Airlines option above, however, you’ll have to do a stopover in Hong Kong.
Note that Cathay Pacific awards cannot be booked on the Mileage Plan site. You’ll have to call up customer service to get it processed.
For trips elsewhere
Alaska Mileage Plan has a wide variety of partner airlines, some of which may be useful for flying point to point outside of Singapore:
Other sweet spots you can consider include:
There are no fuel surcharges on Mileage Plan awards, except on British Airways, Hainan Airlines, and Icelandair.
Singapore Airlines was recently added as a Mileage Plan redemption partner, but as we showed in our analysis, it really doesn’t make sense to buy Mileage Plan miles for Singapore Airlines travel. You’d be much better acquiring KrisFlyer miles for cheap, then redeeming them for flights.
What card should I use?
Purchases of Alaska Mileage Plan miles are processed by Points.com in USD. Here’s the best cards to maximize the miles earned on your purchase:
|4 mpd||Cap of S$1K per s. month|
|UOB Visa Signature|
|4 mpd||Min S$1K Max S$2K FCY spend per s. month|
|SCB X Card|
|3 mpd||Until 30 Jun 20. Min spend S$2K per c. month|
|SCB Visa Infinite||3 mpd||Min spend S$2K per s. month|
|S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month|
I personally don’t recommending the DBS Woman’s World Card, as many people have reported issues with getting the bonus points credited.
When it comes to Points.com purchases, some people may run into issues using a Singapore-issued card. I can’t quite explain why this happens, because some don’t encounter any issues, and others never seem to be able to get their transactions through. Your best bet is to use an Alaska Mileage Plan account that is at least 10 days old, and try a different card if your transaction doesn’t go through the first time.
Other important things to note
Due to the current coronavirus outbreak, Alaska Mileage Plan is waiving all change and cancellation fees for award tickets issued up till 31 July 2020, for travel up till 30 June 2021. This replaces the usual US$125 fee.
Alaska Mileage Plan miles do not expire so long as you credit or redeem at least one mile every 24 months.
If you were targeted for a 60% bonus, you’ve got some thinking to do. However, given the uncertainty in the market, I definitely wouldn’t spring for a mere 40% bonus, as we’ll definitely see that return in the future.