We previously explained that buying frequent flyer miles can be a cheap way of booking premium cabin flights. In this article we will look at the frequent flyer scheme of Alaska Airlines, a surprisingly cheap way for people based in Asia to fly.
Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer scheme is called Alaska Miles. You can find more information and a link to join here. Their promotions on purchasing miles are usually restricted to members of at least around ten days’ standing, so you may want to join ahead of time to be prepared in case they offer a good promotion on buying miles.
Using Alaska Miles on Partner Airlines
One of the reasons Alaska Miles is attractive for Hong Kong based travellers is that, although Alaska Airlines is not a OneWorld member, it is a mileage partner with Cathay Pacific. That means that you can use purchased Alaska miles to book flights with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, for example.
There are other partners which may be of interest, including locally Hainan Air, Japan Air and Korean Air, as well as global airlines serving Hong Kong directly such as British Airways, Qantas, American Airlines and others.
Alaska’s Partner Award Chart from Asia
Alaska’s mileage chart for partners varies by region. You can look at their chart here to see what mileage is needed for a redemption on Cathay, or other airlines.
For example, the miles for Cathay are as follows. This is for a one-way ticket: a return is double.
|Europe||Australia, New Zealand, India||Canada and U.S.A. (not Hawaii)|
There is a US$12.50 fee per way per person for flights booked on partner airlines such as Cathay, plus taxes and fees.
Buying Alaska Miles
You can buy Alaska miles here. Alaska typically offers a bonus of up to 40% several times a year on purchases. So, for example, purchasing earlier this year using that promotion, you could have got miles at around 2.11 U.S. cents per mile. Indeed they are currently offering up to a 50% bonus (their biggest ever) until the end of June.
In other words, that means you could redeem a return Cathay flight as follows (exc. charges and taxes):
- First class, Hong Kong to New York City: US$2,954
- Business class, Hong Kong to London: US$897
- Economy class, Hong Kong to Sapporo: US$264
That is pretty incredible value.
Redeeming Alaska Miles for Cathay flights