Alaska Mileage Plan selling miles with a 60% bonus

Expired

From now till 22 May, buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles with up to a 60% bonus- but do it at your own risk!

Alaska Mileage Plan has launched a new flash sale, which offers up to a 60% bonus on miles purchases.

Before you rush out to buy, however, it’s well worth a reminder that just last month Alaska pulled a no-notice devaluation of Japan Airlines awards, doubling prices in some cases and making a joke of its pledge to provide 90 days’ advance notice of changes.

While sweet spots still exist in the programme, this kind of stunt means I’ve lost all trust in Alaska (remember, they did something similar with Emirates awards in 2016, then blamed “travel hackers” for making them do it!), and the tl;dr is buyer beware. 

Only buy miles if you see an available award that you plan to book immediately!

Buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles with up to a 60% bonus

Check your Mileage Plan offer

All that having been said, from now till 22 May 2023, 2.59 p.m SGT, Alaska Mileage Plan members can buy miles with a targeted bonus. You’ll need to sign-in to your account via this link to check what yours is. 

While the highest reported bonus is 60%, I was only targeted for a 40% bonus, which tiers like this: 

  • Buy 3,000-14,000 miles: 30% bonus (2.27 US cents/mile)
  • Buy 15,000-100,000 miles: 40% bonus (2.11 US cents/mile)

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. MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K members have no purchase cap.

However, since Mileage Plan tickets can be redeemed for anyone, there’s nothing stopping a family member from opening another account, buying miles and redeeming them on your behalf.

Is it worth buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles?

Qatar Airways and other oneworld partenrs can be redeemed via Alaska

Alaska Airlines joined oneworld on 1 March 2021, and at the end of 2022 unveiled its unified award chart for oneworld partners. This replaces all existing award charts for individual airline partners.

Prices reflect one-way pricing

The key thing to note is that pricing reflects the “starting at” amount, which means awards could possibly cost more than this, depending on dates and partner airline. In other words, what you see above is the lowest cost potentially available on any partner airline- not necessarily the one you want.

Alaska has not published an award chart for point to point travel outside the US and Canada, such as Singapore to Tokyo. You’ll need to run a manual search to view pricing, and the price is whatever Alaska says it is! That lack of transparency is what allowed them to pull off a no-notice devaluation- they just tweaked the prices on the back end. 

Here’s a few sweet spots that still exist with Alaska Mileage Plan.

JAL hack: Fly Singapore to Tokyo for 30,000 miles

Book a pseudo Singapore to Tokyo award for 30,000 miles in Business Class

One quirk about Alaska’s repricing of JAL awards is that not all intra-Asia routes were affected equally. While Singapore to Tokyo in Business Class doubled from 25,000 miles to 50,000 miles, other routes like Taipei/Manila to Tokyo had much milder increases of “just” 5,000-10,000 miles. 

There’s a way to make this work to your advantage. 

First, navigate to the book a flight page and select the multi-city option. Put Singapore and Tokyo (use TYO so it searches both HND/NRT) as the first pairing, and Tokyo and Jakarta (or Manila) as the second pairing. Make sure both flights are on the same date (you can’t build a stopover into a one-way JAL award, ever since October 2019). 

If you’re lucky with award space, something like this may appear.

Look at the first option (JL38/JL729), SIN-HND/NRT-CGK. 

This costs 30,000 miles + US$79 in taxes, and involves an airport change in Tokyo. If a passenger were so inclined, they could terminate their journey here, effectively flying from Singapore to Tokyo for only 5,000 more miles than before. And since Haneda and Narita don’t send luggage to one another, passengers will be able to collect their bags on arrival at Haneda.

Alternatively, if they have no bags to check, then the second option (JL712/729), SIN-NRT-CGK, would also work- simply skip the next flight.

A word of warning: this “throwaway ticketing” is frowned upon by airlines, to put it mildly. Do it too often, and your account could be shut down, with remaining miles confiscated. The only people who should consider doing this are those who wish to empty out their Alaska Mileage Plan account and walk away from the programme.

Fly Cathay Pacific within Asia for 22,500 miles

Fly Cathay Pacific Business Class within Asia from 22,500 miles

If you’re travelling within Asia and don’t mind a one-stop flight, then Cathay Pacific Business Class awards still cost a reasonable 22,500 miles + US$86 via Alaska Mileage Plan (or Economy Class for 12,500 miles).

Award space is plentiful, and I can find connection times in Hong Kong as short as one hour, which won’t add too much inconvenience to your trip.

Fly Cathay Pacific to the USA for 50,000 miles

Cathay Pacific awards between Asia and the USA remain at 50,000 miles + US$77 in Business Class, so assuming you can find award space, you could book a good value SIN-HKG-SFO/LAX itinerary. 

The problem is that award space is close to non-existent. I couldn’t find anything out of Singapore, but here’s an example starting from Jakarta (thanks to MileLion reader Eric for hunting it down).

It might be easier to find award space starting from Hong Kong. 

Fly Korean Air to the USA for 120,000 miles (RT)

Fly Korean Air to the USA for 120,000 miles

Korean Air only allows the booking of round-trip awards via Alaska Mileage Plan, but if you can find the space, then 120,000 miles + US$84 for a return Business Class ticket isn’t terrible.

Be advised, however, that flights from Singapore are on the B777-300ERs- while I’m quite sure they use the newer APEX suites (shown in the photo above), there’s a remote chance an equipment swap might land you with the older Business Class seats which are far from ideal. 

Fly Finnair to Europe for 60,000 miles

Fly Finnair Business Class to Europe from 60,000 miles

Finnair awards between Singapore and Helsinki (or Europe for that matter) cost 60,000 miles + US$59 in taxes, which looks like very good value to me. 

This would be an opportunity to try Finnair’s new non-reclining Business Class seat, which per the reviews is a lot more comfortable than it sounds. 

Others

Alaska Mileage Plan has a wide variety of redemption partners, some of which may be useful for flying point to point outside of Singapore: 

✈️ Alaska Mileage Plan Partners
  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • El Al
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Ravn Alaska
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Singapore Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Other sweet spots you can consider include:

  • 55,000/70,000 miles for a one-way Business/First Class award between Australia and the USA on Qantas
  • 70,000 miles for a one-way Business Class award between Europe and the USA on Finnair
  • 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.

What are Mileage Plan’s change fees?

One great thing about Alaska Mileage Plan is it no longer has any change or cancellation fees for award tickets, which gives you the option to lock in speculative awards, and change them as needed.

Should you need to cancel, you’ll get the full amount paid back, less a US$12.50 partner award booking fee (charged each way, i.e. US$25 for a round-trip booking).

When do Mileage Plan miles expire?

Alaska Mileage Plan miles do not expire.

However accounts which have been inactive for more than two years will be automatically locked. Should that happen, you’ll need to contact Guest Care to verify your identity, following which the account will be reactivated with all miles intact.

What card should I use?

Purchases of Alaska Mileage Plan miles are processed by Points.com in USD (i.e. they won’t code as airline transactions). Here’s the best cards to maximize the miles earned on your purchase:

CardEarn RateRemarks
Citi Rewards
Apply
4 mpdCap of S$1K per s. month 
UOB Visa Signature
Apply
4 mpdMin S$1K, max S$2K FCY spend per s. month
SCB Visa Infinite
Apply
3 mpdMin spend S$2K per s. month
UOB PRVI Miles
Apply
2.4 mpdNo cap 
S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month

Remember, you can always pair the Citi Rewards Card with the Instarem Amaze Card to earn 4 mpd on Points.com purchases, with lower foreign currency transaction fees compared to banks.

I generally don’t advise using the DBS Woman’s World Card for Points.com purchases, as past data points have indicated issues with getting the bonus points credited. 

Conclusion

Check your Mileage Plan offer

Alaska’s latest Mileage Plan sale offers up to a 60% bonus, and if you were targeted for one of the larger offers, it might be worth considering. 

However, you should make it a point to always check pricing and availability beforehand, and redeem any purchased miles straight away. Holding on to miles or buying them speculatively can leave you vulnerable to stealth devaluations, as we saw recently with Japan Airlines. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Hans

I snagged a one way from Copenhagen to Singapore on Finnair (via Helsinki) for 60k miles. Availability was very limited, but I found a date that worked. This was a much better value than using my ba miles to fly back on Qatar with 90k points + 300 sgd.

Falco

Ah nice! I was eyeing the CPH-HEL-Asia redemption for late June/early July and it suddenly vanished. Maybe it was you! 😉 Not sure I would value it the same though. With the discount and after DCC, the MP miles are about 3c (SGD). To me, Avios are worth only between 1-1.3c, so I would probably burn those first. Sadly on QR I only ever find 2x redemptions, so end up at over 150k Avios minimum, which makes MP same to slightly cheaper again.

Ram

I received an email from Alaska Airlines saying that my miles purchased failed, despite confirming with the banks that the payment managed to go through. Alaska Airlines could not give a reason why on the live chat and insist I call their customer care. Anyone having this issue before?

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