Alaska Airlines’s Mileage Plan generally has 30-40% bonus promotions every few months and this latest is offering up to a 50% bonus on miles purchased until June 13th – this gives options for cheap First and Business Class flights.
This is actually the second in a series of posts on buying points and miles for cheaper flights or hotel nights. This time I’m looking at Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles and what great redemptions you can get with them.
I’ve also got the following guides:
- Guide to Purchasing Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles for Cheap Business Class Flights
- Guide to Purchasing Virgin America Points for Cheap Business Class Flights
- Guide to Purchasing Hilton HHonors Points for Cheap Hotel Nights
- Guide to Purchasing IHG Rewards Points for Cheap Hotel Nights
- Guide to Purchasing SPG Points for Cheap Starwood Hotel Nights
- Guide to Purchasing Hyatt Gold Passport Points for Cheap Hotel Nights
- Guide to Buying United Mileage Plus Miles for Cheap Star Alliance Flights
Buying the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles
You can purchase Miles in blocks of 60,000 Miles. There is no upper limit on the amount that you can purchase but you can’t do more than 4 transactions in 30 days on the same credit card, so just switch card if you are purchasing a large amount.
Purchasing each 60,000 Mileage Plan block costs $1,778 USD, which means the cost per mile is usually 2.96 cents per mile.
In this promotion the miles cost 1.97 cents per Mile (USD), so each 60,000 block will get you 90,000 Miles and set you back $1,778 USD. Note that for me the promotion was only 40% bonus, so it appears targeted.
All the calculations here use USD and purchasing in the full blocks of 60,000 at 1.97 cents. Purchases can be made here:
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Partners
Alaska Airlines is of course based in the US and isn’t really going to be of much use for the majority of those living in South East Asia, however they do have a number of partner airlines that you can use their miles on:
- American Airlines
- Air France
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Delta Air Lines
- Fiji Airways
- Korean Air
- Ravn Alaska
You can find out more about Alaskan Partners here:
Best Miles Deals Available for Cheap First and Business Class Flights
Alaska Airlines is very North America centric as you might expect and so the best deals and easiest options are trips to North America – other trips will require a combination of different award charts.
Cathay Pacific Business class is an excellent product and something that I really enjoyed, even on a short hop to Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific Intra Asia (South East Asia, Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan)
South East Asia, Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan will cost you 25, 30 and 45K Miles for Economy, Premium Economy and Business return. If you find the First Class aircraft and routes these cost 55,000 Miles return. The value isn’t going to be great for Economy and Premium economy, but for business class in Asia (excluding India) you could get some good value. One-Ways are half the cost in Miles.
The purchase cost of the miles would be $886 USD for 45K – Business Class and $1,083 USD for 56K the First Class.
Cathay Pacific to North America
Cathay flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Chicago, Boston, Toronto and New York in North America and all of these flights will fit into the North America Chart. This means that you can get some very cheap Business and First Class Tickets.
Business Class costs 100,000 Miles Return, which in this promotion would cost $1,970 USD.
First Class costs 140,000 Miles Return, costing $2,758 USD
Considering that Business Class fares to the US cost between 5000, and 6000 USD this represents great value. First class in particular is a steal as revenue fares are between the 8000-10000 USD mark.
You can book one-way awards with Cathay and utilize the free stopover that Alaskan offers, potentially giving you an extra trip to Hong Kong if you wanted to maximize your holiday. This however can only be done for flights to North America and not Intra-Asia Awards.
Finding Cathay Award availability is tricky and it can only be booked via the call centre, check out the section below for more details. Below is the Award Chart for Cathay for completeness:
The other good option from Asia is to use Korean Air via Seoul. They fly to a large number of destination in North America: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington DC, and Honolulu (via Tokyo). The cost is slightly higher than Cathay, and there is no First Class option (or Premium Economy). The advantage of Korean Air bookings over Cathay Pacific is that you can use the Alaskan search engine prior to purchasing miles to see availability. I had a look for flights to New York from Singapore and there was space every couple of days.
Business Class costs 120,000 Miles at $2,364 USD – again a very cheap fare!
There are two downsides of booking Korean Air flights with Mileage Plan. The first being that one-way awards cost the same as returns – so only book Korean Air both ways. In addition they have a lot of blackout dates, which means you’ll have to work around these to get the best value.
Booking Fees and Taxes
The taxes for bookings will vary depending on the routes that you are looking to book, but just as an example the Korean Air flight to New York working out at less than $100 USD in taxes. Alaskan do charge for bookings in the following manner:
- $15 nonrefundable call center booking fee – for new awards booked over the phone
- $25 nonrefundable partner award fee ($12.50 for a one-way) – applies to all awards using one of their airline partners
- $125 change/cancellation fee – applies to changes/cancellation made within 60 days of travel (changes fees are waived if changes are made at least 60 days prior to travel)
Finding Award availability
Korean Air bookings are relatively easy to make using the Alaska search tool online, and dummy bookings can be done with no need to login. This means you can search for award space prior to purchasing any miles.
Cathay Pacific searches are more challenging as just like Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines they release extra award space for their own frequent flyer members. On other searches they also tend to show phantom space if you use search engines like BA or Qantas.
Again you can purchase the miles here:
Would be great to hear you miles purchases experiences – leave a comment below!