Alaska Mileage Plan selling miles with up to 60% bonus

Expired

From now till 24 September 2023, buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles at up to a 60% bonus, or 1.85 US cents per mile.

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

The sale is being run in two stages: early bird and regular. The early bird stage lasts for three days, following which the bonuses drop by 10%.

Alaska Mileage Plan still has some sweet spots, but given the lack of award space of late, they’re more theoretical than anything else. It’s always worth a search, but the upshot is that you should only be buying Alaska 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

Alaska Mileage Plan offers are targeted, so you’ll need to sign-in to your account via this link and check what your offer is.

Amazingly, I was targeted for a 60% bonus this time round (something that almost never happens). From now till 17 September 2023, 2.59 p.m SGT, I can buy miles at the following rates:

  • Buy 3,000-19,000 miles: 40% bonus (2.11 US cents/mile)
  • Buy 20,000-39,000 miles: 50% bonus (1.97 US cents/mile)
  • Buy 40,000+ miles: 60% bonus (1.85 US cents/mile)

From then till 24 September 2023, 2.59 p.m SGT, my maximum bonus drops to 50% (I’m not certain what the tiering will look like).

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 holds that status.

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 partners can be redeemed via Alaska | Photo: TPG

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

Two important things to note:

  1. Pricing reflects the “starting from” 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
  2. 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 fertile grounds for no-notice devaluations, something Alaska is not above doing.

Here’s a few sweet spots that still exist with Alaska Mileage Plan- until further notice (or lack thereof).

STARLUX

STARLUX awards between Taipei and North Asia are still good value

Alaska Mileage Plan redemptions on STARLUX started in July, and initially, there were some incredible sweet spots. You could fly from Los Angeles to Taipei for just 60,000 miles, or from Los Angeles to Singapore for 85,000 miles.

Sadly, this didn’t last for long. Within 48 hours of launch, award prices shot up to ridiculously high levels (think 200,000+ miles), and suffice to say there were a lot of very angry people out there. 

So what’s left?

Well, travel between Taipei and North Asia (e.g. Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul) 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.

You can also redeem Business Class awards from Singapore to Taipei (50,000 miles) or Tokyo (60,000 miles). I’m relatively lukewarm about the former, and though the latter might be worth considering for those who don’t mind very long connection times. 

Japan Airlines

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.

Cathay Pacific

Fly Cathay Pacific Business Class within Asia from 22,500 miles
 ⚠️ Warning: I make it a point to re-check these sweet spots when I update this post, and haven’t been able to recreate the result below. That’s most likely because Cathay Pacific is releasing very little award space at the moment, if any. 

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

 ⚠️ Warning: I make it a point to re-check these sweet spots when I update this post, and haven’t been able to recreate the result below. That’s most likely because Cathay Pacific is releasing very little award space at the moment, if any. 

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. 

Korean Air

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. 

Finnair

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 as MCC 7399 (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 Card
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
HSBC TravelOne Card
Apply
2.4 mpdNo cap
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 Amaze Card to earn 4 mpd on Points.com purchases, enjoying 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. Buying them speculatively can leave you vulnerable to stealth devaluations.

Golden rule with Alaska miles: Earn and burn, not buy and hold!

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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