|Update: It looks like Alaska Mileage Plan’s STARLUX launch has fizzled out rather quickly, with those fabled 60K Business Class awards all but gone. Frequent Miler has a good summary of how it all went down.
Back in April 2023, we learned that Alaska Airlines was launching a partnership with STARLUX, which would feature reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities. The former was launched back in April, and now the latter is live!
Alaska Mileage Plan members can now redeem miles for STARLUX flights with excellent award pricing (on the Taipei to Los Angeles route at least) and availability. You can find entire months with award seats available on almost every single day, and I’ve found many days with 7+ Business Class seats wide open.
This probably won’t last long, given how it’s spreading like wildfire in the miles and points community, so I’d act quickly if I were you.
Redeem Alaska Miles for STARLUX flights
Alaska MileagePlan members can now redeem miles for STARLUX flights at the following prices:
|✈️ STARLUX redemptions via Alaska MileagePlan
(one-way, in ‘000s of miles)
|LAX and TPE
|United States and Southeast Asia
|Taipei and Southeast Asia
|Taipei and North Asia
|Southeast Asia and North Asia
|Y= Economy, PY= Premium Economy, J= Business
Do note that Alaska MileagePlan practices dynamic pricing, which means the prices you see above are subject to change without notice.
However, we do know that Alaska MileagePlan is offering special introductory award pricing exclusively on the Taipei/Los Angeles route (in either direction), which is fixed at:
- 20,000 miles for one-way Economy
- 40,000 miles for one-way Premium Economy
- 60,000 miles for one-way Business Class
All of the above prices are valid for bookings made by 31 August 2023 (travel dates can be for any date in the future).
What’s more, remember that Alaska Mileage Plan does not pass on fuel surcharges for STARLUX. For a one-way Taipei to Los Angeles award, you’re paying 60,000 miles and US$46 in cash– an excellent deal, if you ask me.
If you’re looking at flying from Singapore to Los Angeles, I can find award starting from 85,000 miles. It’s a good price in and of itself, but somewhat less attractive when you factor in that you’ll probably need to pay for miles out of pocket (if you’re reading this from Singapore, at least).
Another sweet spot for me is travel between Taipei and North Asia (e.g. Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul), which costs just 15,000 miles in Business Class. This could be useful for those visiting Japan or South Korea and wanting a small taste of STARLUX (and don’t mind a stopover in Taipei).
You could redeem a one-way Business Saver ticket from Singapore to Taipei for 34,500 KrisFlyer miles, then add on the Taipei to Japan leg- preferably pick Tokyo Narita, as that’s where STARLUX’s brand new A350-900s are deployed!
Finally, an interesting quirk: it seems like Alaska is using distance-based pricing, rather than zone-based pricing. This means that if you’re looking at a route like Ho Chi Minh to Osaka, it’s cheaper to book two separate awards (SGN-TPE, TPE-KIX) for 15,000 miles each, rather than making a combined booking for 60,000 miles.
I’ve shared more sweet spots on The MileLion’s Telegram channel.
Alaska Mileage Plan sale
|Check your Mileage Plan offer
If you’re hoping to try STARLUX but don’t have the miles in your account, Alaska Mileage Plan is currently running a sale with up to a 60% bonus, valid for purchases up till 21 August 2023, 2.59 p.m SGT.
This reduces the price to as low as 1.85 US cents per mile, though not everyone will be targeted for such an offer. I personally received a 40% bonus, which means a higher price of 2.11 US cents per mile. Even so, the cost of a one-way Taipei to Los Angeles Business Class ticket would be US$1,266 (60,000 miles @ 2.11 US cents/mile), and given the lack of transpacific award space at the moment, might still be attractive.
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, but it’s unlikely that anyone based in Singapore has this.
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.
Refer to the article below for the full details of the sale, including recommended cards to use.
What can I expect on STARLUX?
If you’re redeeming seats on the Taipei/Los Angeles route, you’ll be flying on one of its brand new A350-900s, which carry a total of 306 passengers in a four-class layout:
- 4 First Class
- 26 Business Class
- 36 Premium Economy Class
- 240 Economy Class
STARLUX First Class isn’t available for redemptions through Alaska Mileage Plan, but I’ll mention it just for completeness’ sake.
STARLUX’s A350-900s have four First Class suites, configured in a 1-2-1 layout.
However, this is not a separate cabin from Business Class. Instead, mirroring an approach we’ve seen Virgin Atlantic and a few other carriers take, the first row of the Business Class cabin has been replaced by four First Class suites, with no physical partitioning.
Each suite will have a 60-inch (1.5m) tall door and privacy walls, as well as zero-gravity seat settings (first introduced with Emirates on their new B777-300ER First Class). A zero-gravity position removes pressure from the elbows, back and neck, ensuring maximum comfort.
Passengers will enjoy massive 32-inch screens with 4K resolution and Bluetooth audio connectivity, as well as personal wardrobes and mini-bars.
We don’t have any details on what the soft product will look like in First Class, so stay tuned for further details on the catering, amenities kits, sleeper suits and bedding. Knowing STARLUX, I expect them to be all top-notch!
STARLUX’s A350-900s have 26 Business Class seats, configured in a 1-2-1 layout. Both window and middle seats are angled away from the aisle, providing greater privacy and a better couple’s experience for those in the middle seats.
Seats will have 48-inch (1.2m) privacy doors, 24-inch screens with 4K resolution and Bluetooth audio connectivity, and a “cosy lamp to provide warmth” (this must be important if they saw fit to specifically highlight it in the press release). There’s also 44-45 inches of seat pitch, zero-gravity settings, and of course full-flat beds.
A close up of the seat shows the high-quality finishes, such as the textured backrest and a stitched orange leather accent on the padded headrest. We can also see a three-point seatbelt.
In terms of hard product, I’m wondering just how much difference there’ll be between First and Business Class, apart from the bigger screen and taller door. It almost feels like First Class is more Business Plus, where the same basic Business Class product is used but customised differently.
Premium Economy Class
The A350-900 also sees the debut of STARLUX’s Premium Economy product, with all 36 seats featuring leg rests and footrest bars, as well as 15.6-inch screens with 4K resolution and Bluetooth audio.
Seats are configured in a 2-4-2 configuration, similar to Singapore Airlines.
STARLUX’s 240 Economy Class seats are in a 3-3-3 configuration, adding an additional seat over the 2-4-2 configuration of its A330neo.
All seats will have 13.3-inch screens with 4K resolution and Bluetooth connectivity. In fact, they’re more or less the same as the ones you’ll find on the A330neo.
Alaska Mileage Plan members can now redeem miles for STARLUX, with transpacific Business Class flights between Taipei and Los Angeles starting from just 60,000 miles each way.
That’s an excellent deal, especially given how scarce transpacific Business Class award space is at the moment. The only snag, if you want to call it that, is that Singapore-based members will almost certainly have to pay for miles out of pocket. Fortunately, there’s an ongoing Alaska Mileage Plan sale right now that will take some of the sting out of the cost.
I personally am very tempted to pull the trigger, though I haven’t decided for when!
Anyone going to give this a try?