Extended: Alaska Mileage Plan offering 50% bonus on miles purchases

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From now till 25 September 2020, buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles at 1.83 US cents each.

From now till 25 September 2020, 3.59 p.m SGT, Alaska Mileage Plan members can buy miles with up to a 50% bonus. Each account will be targeted for a different bonus, and you need to login to check yours. 

Check your Mileage Plan bonus offer here

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. 

How does this bonus compare to historical ones?

Historically, the largest sale we’ve ever seen on Alaska Mileage Plan miles was a 60% bonus, which worked out to 1.72 US cents per mile

The current 50% bonus sale represents a slightly higher price of 1.83 US cents per mile, so it’s not a “do or die” price in my book. We’ll certainly see more 50% sales in the future, that’s for sure. However, do note that the Singapore dollar has strengthened since the last sale, which reduces the cost ever so slightly. 

Is it worth buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles?

For trips to Japan on JAL

Japan Airlines B77W Business Class

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 1.83 US cents per mile, a round-trip itinerary would cost ~S$1,247.

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

Cathay Pacific B77W First Class

 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: 

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines

Other sweet spots you can consider include:

  • 50,000 miles for a one-way Business Class award between Bangkok and the USA on Hainan Airlines
  • 65,000/75,000 miles for a one-way Business/First Class award between Singapore and the USA on JAL
  • 120,000 miles for a round-trip Business Class award between Singapore and Hawaii on Korean Air (one-way redemptions not allowed)

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:

  Earn Rate Remarks
Citi Rewards
Apply here
4 mpd Cap of S$1K per s. month 
UOB Visa Signature
Apply here
4 mpd Min S$1K Max S$2K FCY spend per s. 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 for Points.com purchases, 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 December 2020, for travel up till 30 November 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.

Conclusion

A 50% bonus on Alaska Mileage Plan miles is very decent, although it’s not the largest we’ve ever seen. Unless you’ve got immediate plans to redeem the miles (unlikely, given the current climate), it might be best to wait till the COVID-19 situation clears up. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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JJ T

I believe you have to purchase 35,000 miles to trigger the 50% discount!

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