Alaska Airlines 40% bonus on purchased miles is back – buy and redeem points for cheap Qantas & Cathay Business Class

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Logo

The Another Alaska Airlines MileagePlan promotion is running, this time offering up to a 40% bonus (the maximum) on Mileage Plan miles purchases until October 6th.

This is one of the few ways of purchasing miles cheaply to then redeem on partner airlines like Qantas and Cathay Pacific, and can be useful for cheaper Business Class travel on Qantas to the USA, domestically,

The offer is tiered, so a maximum purchase of 56,000 Mileage Plan miles for $1,182.50 USD – with the ability to purchase multiple chunks of miles it’s possible to fly Cathay Pacific or Qantas to Asia, the US or beyond in Business Class for just a few thousand dollars.

The current Alaska Airlines ‘buy miles’ promotion

The offer is tiered as follows:

  • Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles receive 20% bonus miles
  • Buy 20,000 – 39,000 miles receive 30% bonus miles
  • Buy 40,000 + miles receive 40% bonus miles

The best opportunity is to buy the maximum 40,000 miles, for a total of 56,000 miles received with the bonus at a cost of $1182.50 USD.

The purchase of miles is stackable, so you can buy as many chunks of 40,000 miles (plus bonus) as you need. The only limit is 4 transactions in 30 days on the same credit card which is applied from – so use a different card number for more transactions, but with your same Mileage Plan account, and you should be fine.

Buy Alaska MileagePlan miles here →

Of course the worsening AUD:USD exchange rate does make overseas miles purchases more expensive right now – which makes the advice for ‘don’t buy miles unless you have a plan to redeem’ even more pertinent.

These are my favourite redemption opportunities for cheap business class travel from Australia with Mileage Plan redemptions:

ExampleCost (USD) when maximising current promotion
Fiji Airways: 45,000 miles one way from Australia (or New Zealand) to Hawaii in Fiji Airways Business Class$949.5
Cathay Pacific: 30,000 miles one way from Australia to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific Business Class$633
Cathay Pacific: 60,000 miles one way from Australia to the USA in Cathay Pacific Business Class$1266
Korean Air: 125,000 miles return (no one-ways) from Australia to the USA in Korean Air Business Class$2637.5
Qantas: 55,000 miles one way from Australia to the USA in Qantas Business Class$1160.5

The costs above are in USD and based on the current promotion with a best case cost of 2.11 USD cents per miles. This assumes you maximise the promotion and buy chunks of the maximum amount of miles, redeeming strategically to get the most value. Your actual cost of redemption will vary upward if you don’t do this.

What about stopovers? One stopovers in intermediate cities are allowed for one way awards, so book your return as two one-ways and you can get stopovers in both directions.

For more prices, check out the Australia Mileage Plan award chart here.

As many have found on those previous posts (just read the comments), it’s an easy winner to take advantage of for long haul Business and First Class travel on Alaska Airlines partners such as Cathay Pacific, to Europe and the USA. You can also get great value out of longer intra-Australia or NZ redemptions in Business Class too on Qantas.

Guide to making the most of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan ‘buy miles’ promotions for cheap Business Class and First Class travel on Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and others

This guide is republished each time the offer comes back again with the latest detail, and the comments on this post carry on over so you can get a sense of the most frequently considered questions about the deal.

Offer History

Keeping an eye on the rhythm of mileage purchase offers can help you be more informed about when to buy. Alaska Airlines maximum bonus is usually 40%.

  • August/September 2015: 40% bonus
  • July/August 2015: 35% bonus
  • March 2015: 40% bonus
  • November/December 2014: 35% bonus
  • September/October 2014: 40% bonus
  • May 2014: 35% bonus
  • March 2014: 40% bonus
  • December 2013: 35% bonus
  • September 2013: 40% bonus

About Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program before, is one of the most flexible of the US frequent flyer programs out there, given their partnership with both American Airlines and Delta for mileage earn, of course along with, Alaska Airlines themselves who service the West Coast, Hawaii and over to New York as well. If you find yourself flying on a range of carriers in the US, banking your miles to Mileage Plan is a fairly savvy strategy.

Outside of the airlines mentioned above, the real opportunity for us in Australia and NZ is to redeem Mileage Plan miles for travel on Qantas, Cathay Pacific or Fiji Airways. In full, Mileage Plan partners are:

  • American Airlines
  • Aeromexico
  • Air France
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Emirates
  • Era Alaska
  • Fiji Airways
  • KLM
  • PenAir
  • Qantas

Points redemption opportunities from Australia & NZ

The best starting point is the award chart for the South Pacific region on the Alaska website which details the costs for miles use on Qantas, Fiji Airways (previously Air Pacific) and Cathay Pacific. From this page, you can use the navigation on the left hand side to look at costs for other regions too.

Alaska Airlines is a bit spotty at allowing / documenting award redemptions and costs for travel outside of North America. In some cases it’s allowed, in others it’s not. If the award chart doesn’t show your route, or the booking engine does not yield a result, you’ll need to call Alaska via Skype or similar to confirm availability, and try and research or book over the phone.

Opportunities for travel on Qantas

The Qantas award chart for Alaska MileagePlan looks like this:

Qantas MileagePlan Award Chart 201508

You’ll note that all intra-Australia travel is marked at one price – 12.5k miles one way in Economy, 20k miles one way in Business, and return at twice the cost. This makes purchasing miles for longer Business Class class redemptions such as East / West coast hops good value.

Melbourne - Singapore Qantas A380 review

First Class on Qantas’ A380

Opportunities for travel on Cathay Pacific

The Cathay Pacific award chart looks like this:

Alaska Airlines Cathay Pacific Redemption Chart

Alaska do publish mileage costs for travel on Cathay Pacific outside of the US, and you can net a one way Business Class ticket between Australia and Hong Kong for a rather ridiculous 30,000 miles.

A one way Premium Economy ticket routing through Hong Kong to the US comes in at 47.5k miles.

Cathay Pacific - CX139 Hong Kong - Sydney - New Business Class

You could also redeem Mileage Plan miles for travel in Cathay’s new Business Class

Finally, for your interest, the Fiji Airways award chart is below:

Alaska Airlines Fiji Airways Redemption Chart

The opportunities here aren’t so marked, but you may still consider them if you’re keen to include Fiji on your itinerary.

Taxes and fees

An example of the fees charged for booking a Qantas domestic redemption are below:

Alaska Airlines Qantas taxes example

$24.10 USD isn’t too problematic. A $25 fee is payable per person for each award redemption ticket to Alaska as well; I believe this is $12.50 for one way and $25 for return – this isn’t going to break the bank.

Research and Booking techniques

You can search Alaska Airlines partner availability on their own website, however some partners require a call to Alaska directly to research and book. Once again, is my preferred place to research. Having said that, you can usually research award availability with the partner directly, e.g. via Qantas Frequent Flyer, and then use that info to then book with Alaska as it’s generally the same award seat inventory used between the airlines.

Cathay Pacific availability is notoriously flaky to confirm through many online sources – such as searching through or Even Cathay’s own website shows incorrect availability for external partners, as they make more seats available to their own Asia Miles members.

The best way to get a view on accurate space online is using the JAL website, by signing up for a membership of JAL Mileage Bank or through awardnexus. Alternatively calling Mileage Plan directly should do the tric

You can’t put tickets on hold with Alaska and then purchase the miles and get them ticketed – unlike for US Airways. However miles usually credit very quickly so assuming you have researched availability in advance, have checked with Alaska over the phone, you should be able to go ahead and buy miles and then call up again shortly after to book the ticket (assuming noone else grabs it in the meantime).

Stopovers are generally possible on international redemptions, including for one ways, as noticed by Ben earlier this year. Ben also put a useful general guide to Mileage Plan redemptions on Travelsort which is worth checking out too.


I rarely buy miles to hold and use at a later date without planned travel, and this promotion is no different. However, for tickets I know I want to buy, with specific dates and routes in mind, I would definitely research cost and availability through Mileage Plan as this is a great lower cost option for securing Business and First Class redemptions on a range of familiar carriers.

Buy Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles →


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  1. Wizard

    Why is it that CX is not available on AS online?, are their systems not compatible?.

    I purchased AS miles and booked 2 pax CNS/HKG/CNS in J for May next, later wanted to depart 1 or 2 days earlier, either PE or J, looked up CX Marco Polo & QFF sites found both dates available, called AS they advised they didn’t have them, said they only get a small allocation, how strange what you see is not what is there. So having to always call for CX seats is a bit of a pain.

    But saving about $10 grand put a big smile con my face!.

  2. Zach

    Hey, I’m new to your website and love all of these articles. Thanks for putting up such great info. Do you know if there is anyway to upgrade an exisiting Qantas booking using miles.
    I have a booking from Melb – LAX on June 1 flying Qantas in economy. I just wanted to know if it was possible to upgrade to business using miles I bought? The same flight is still available to book in both economy and business on the Alaska webiste.

    • Keith Author

      Thanks Zach! Upgrading an existing booking with Qantas is only available using Qantas points, unfortunately. You’d have to book outright in Business using the Alaska route.

  3. Andrew

    So I’m new to all this but I want to fly with my wife to Europe next yr from aus, can this benefit me? Can I use our current qantas ff points with the Alaskan? Aim would be business return in august next year.

    • Keith Author

      Andrew, on
      1. yep, can definitely benefit you. Cathay fly Aus-HKG-Europe. You can book Aus HKG return as one booking, HKG-Europe return as another, and come out well ahead of the cash cost for a paid fare by buying miles. 2. No, you can’t combine points currencies on one person’s booking. You’ll need to look at Alaska or Qantas, but if you have enough Qantas points, you could book individual flights using those alongside Alaska for your partner. Need to research points availability for 2 seats, of course.

  4. Ed

    Hey Keith,
    Love your site and so glad I found an Australian centric travel points one. I may need to go to Singapore this month and given all the points related stuff I’ve been reading, I was wondering if it is ever common to purchase miles for economy class travel?

    Keep up the great work.

  5. David

    Great article. I am trying to purchase the miles but the system says “The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles” Any ideas?

  6. Wizard

    When I booked my CX flightsI didn’t give AS my QFF number, would this help in viewing the flight details online, as my other onward flights on CX & EK are on there.

    • Keith Author

      CX flights normally do appear in Qantas ‘Your Bookings’ section if you have you QFF number in there. However you won’t be able to make changes to the booking via But if it helps you to have it all in one place, give it a try. You should be able to add your QFF number via manage booking, rather than having to call.

      • Wizard

        AS booked CX flights not showing on my QFF account, only those booked direct from Qantas for onward journey, looks like I’ll have to call AS then.

  7. 11sjw

    “You could purchase 30,000 miles with a 12,000 mile bonus for enough miles for a return Business Class redemption at a cost of $887 USD.” Except 30k miles only come with a 9k bonus!!

    Per below

    Buy 5,000 – 19,000 miles: get a 20% Bonus
    Buy 20,000 – 34,000 miles: get a 30% Bonus
    Buy 35,000 – 40,000 miles: get a 40% Bonus

  8. BD

    Hi There, lurker here. Just wondering if it is possible to work out the booking class before booking the flights? I am looking JFK – SYD on business and I can find the fare rules but not the fare class – would you have an idea? Thanks anyhow – really love the website.

      • BD

        Hi Keith, such a quick reply! AWESOME!
        I am looking through Alaska Airlines – the qantas rewards. My concern has to do with changing days – I know that it will be subject to availability, I just would like to know the rules in detail. I assume it would be similar to classic award rules for qantas? But that being said. Flying business class for $1100 back to Australia (well, all the way to ADL for me) I don’t think you could beat that offer!!

        Once again, great work on the site!=

  9. John

    Thanks for the great update as usual, Keith!

    I have just returned from a CX J trip to Hong Kong which used this method and can say that it all worked perfectly! Would not hesitate to do it again if the need arises. Thanks for giving us this info!!

  10. Sam

    Hi, I just opened an Alaska Account and tried to buy the miles.

    It says “The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles.” Do i have to travel first on a sector to be able to purchase miles??

  11. Nelson

    Just be a bit careful when you are looking at flights, the little icon of the chair is Mixed cabin, and if you try to book AUS – USA in J, it ends up being Melb/Bris – Sydney in domestic J, and Syd-LAX/NYC in Y. But they will still charge you 55k points.

  12. Nelson

    I’m not 100% sure whether mileage plan has access to all of CX’s awards, but I did a quick search on CX award availability and found that, AU-HK seats, 30k in J, you fly QF to Perth, and then CX Perth-HK. And then connect HK onwards to EU-USA.

    Mileage plan is partners with both CX and BA and on CX’s award site, it shows that you can book seats to NYC, option 1. direct HK-NYC or option 2. HK-LHR-NYC, where CX flies you to LHR and BA flies from LHR to NYC.

    So essentially, that’s a mini RTW trip. you get a free stopover in London to/from USA.

    Whereas booking a QF flight from Melb-NYC, would cost 55k points, and an onward flight from NYC-LHR is another 60k with BA.

    Even a CX reward seat for HK-LHR costs 42.5k, so basically for an extra 17.5k points, you can skip across the pond in J.
    Mind you… BA’s fuel surcharges are like $300-500 bucks or something crazy like that.

    So yeah… I wonder with mileageplan would allow you to book that CX award, since its a CX/BA flight, and both airlines are partners of mileage plan.

    • Keith Author

      Although BA and CX partner in a variety of ways, I am pretty certain that this partnership won’t mean anything when looking at the Alaska mileage plan award chart which is pretty specific in terms of airlines available to redeem on and the regions available for points redemptions with those airlines. So, don’t think this will be a goer, you’d be trying to cut across different charts to accomplish this which wouldn’t be allowed, Feel free to prove me wrong though, give AS a call and check.

  13. SL

    Hi, just discovered your site and am very intrigued by this and will become a frequent reader!

    Am a novice at this so forgive the dumb question:

    (1) given that you have to book CX flights via AS, does that mean they have much smaller allocation than a normal awards redemption w/ CX/AsiaMiles?
    (2) what’s the expiry period? I’m assuming the flights that can be redeemed will only be for non-peak season, but i don’t think i can make 2 non-peak trips to HK in the next 12 months.

    The reason i ask is that for the price of $1,200 to get the 40k miles + bonus, and to be able to use that to get 2 return tickets (@ 25k miles each) for Aust (Syd?) to HK is pretty awesome.

    Also, the 2nd comment by Wizard wrote:

    “I purchased AS miles and booked 2 pax CNS/HKG/CNS in J for May next, later wanted to depart 1 or 2 days earlier, either PE or J, looked up CX Marco Polo & QFF sites found both dates available, called AS they advised they didn’t have them, said they only get a small allocation, how strange what you see is not what is there. So having to always call for CX seats is a bit of a pain.”

    What does the underlined sentence mean? Is he saying although AS may not have it, you can still get what’s available if you call CX separately? Or is it suggesting that it’ll be a battle to get seats per my (1) above?

    Thanks very much for your help. Look forward to reading more of your articles!

    • Keith Author

      OK, one 1 – seems anecdotally yes, they do have differing allocations. 2 – 24 months is the official rule – but only if you’d had no other activity in your account in that period. 3 – as per your point 1. Need to check CX availability via Alaska to be 100% sure they have availability with AS miles.

  14. AdamG

    Hi! I need to go to Hawaii in October. Would buying these miles be of benefit to me? I could fly in and out of Sydney or Melbourne… I’m confused by all the tables and T&Cs. Thanks!

    • Keith Author

      In theory it would work. In practice it wont as the only way to use Alaska Miles in a humane way is directly to and from Honolulu on Qantas’ Sydney flight, and points seat availability is so rare on this route.
      Better off keeping an eye out for a Jetstar starclass sale fare I reckon.

  15. Melody

    I am trying to work out any way of purchasing these miles to use for a business class AU-US trip, I can’t seem to find any award seats, any way I swing it? can someone talk me through it?? Sorry, newbie! Thankyou!

    • Keith Author

      Best place to start I think is often over the phone with Alaska – they should help you workshop some option with your intended dates. For AU-US you may need to route via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific to find availability – fine if travelling to the East Coast, bit longer travel time but still only two flights to Chicago or New York.

  16. Steve

    Hi Keith (and others),

    Love to read all your travel tips. One question about the 55k outbound and 52.5k inbound by Daniel…

    I’ve searched Qantas and can’t seem to find how this is possible. By using points to fly to LAX rtn in Business, it shows me it would take @120k points. Am I looking at the wrong area?

  17. Brandon

    I’m planning a trip for 4, from Perth to the US via Hong Kong. We’re looking at a one month trip starting late June, in 2016 (yes, it’s far I know, but it’s hard to organise dates).

    The plan is for my mother/father to enjoy J, while my brother and myself tag along in Economy/Premium Economy.

    We’ve calculated the cost of 2x J and 2x Y from PER-HKG-‘USA’ return to be approx $9500 AUD, by buying all the points in advance. So my two questions:

    1) Do you think it’s a good idea to buy $9,500 AUD worth of points now, with the plan of redeeming them in July 2015, for travel in June 2016? Things to consider include devaluation of points (bad), or change in USD/AUD rates (potentially good or bad).

    2) What’s the chance of getting 2 (or 4) J seats on CX in the June/July periods? We’d be booking as early as possible, of course.

    3) Is it possible to do multi class bookings (e.g. 2 people in J, 2 people in PE) on one itinerary?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    • Keith Author

      This deal opened back up, and I noticed I never replied to your comment.

      1) No. Hold on. There will always be other offers. Risk is just too high.
      2) 2 seats – I’d say decent. 4 – tough, but potentially doable. CX isn’t too stingy with their space.
      3) Nope.
      4) CX fly out of Vancouver, New York, LA, San Francisco and Chicago. I’d pick San Fran, great city and easy airport.

      • Hi, Could I ask why you wouldnt bank this offer for future travel? we already have a trip booked to the US in Sept, so it would probably be another year or two before another trip. I cant see a better deal ever for flying business to the US.

        • Keith Author

          Just risk vs reward. I’m risk averse, you may be less so – I think there are always going to be offers out there to take advantage of, so if you’re not looking to book in the near future, why stress? But, that’s me personally and fully respect those who buy and bank the miles without a use in mind.

  18. Guest

    Hi everyone – just wondering if flights to and from the UK or Dubai and Australia an be covered by these points?

    • Wizard

      AS deal is a dead duck, out the window, kaput as of past few days, anyone outside USA & Canada can’t buy miles with bonus anymore. I confirmed this with a test buy yesterday and direct phone call to them. Glad I got mine for my J seats when I did.

        • Wizard

          Too many from OS buying miles with bonus, it was meant for regular customers was the gist I received, so AS are knocking back OZ CC’s.

          Its very weak they don’t have this noted on the site, one goes through all the ordering process to find out next day its not on, poor business practice if you ask me. If they did it this way in OZ they’d be drawn over the coals.

          Also the current deal finishes on 15th March with 40% bonus why not change the rules after then, not mid stream like they have done.

          It could still be done by using USA or Canadian friends or family or possibly use a USA debit card, but how to load that from OZ I have no idea.

          • Keith Author

            Agree on all points. Wonder if a prepaid card like Qantas Cash when it has a US $ balance might work? Regardless, will update the post tonight with a large warning.

          • Wizard

            I’m sure someone cover at AFF tried Q cash card, was no go, they can tell from the numbers on a card what country its from I believe.

          • Wizard

            I’m hoping we can at least still buy AS miles without the bonus. Like SYD/HKG/SYD for instance in J on CX is still only AUD$2 grand to buy 60K miles.

          • Nelson

            Oh man… every time a customer gets a slightly advantage, the airlines close the door.
            The bonus is not available to only AUS residents? Or can you have an EU/Asia credit and it will work?
            Or strictly USA/Canada only?

          • Nelson

            Hi Wizard,
            So it is just credit card limited or do they limit bonuses based on the physical address of the buyer they have on their system?

          • Wizard

            No credit card limit, if you have an Aussie address or Aussie credit card it will be knocked back because this is the reason…

            “Please note that Alaska Airlines has made the decision to no longer allow any Alaska Airlines members who reside outside of the US, Canada and Mexico are not eligible to purchase Alaska Airlines miles”.

          • Nelson

            Hay Wizard, thanks for getting back.
            Yes it seems they will continue to allow awards originating from Australia (for now), because on the site it still shows up.
            Just no ability to buy the miles anymore, unless we “reside” in USA/Canada/Mexico.
            There are ways to still buy points… I’m sure AS read Keith’s site, so I won’t state publicly.

          • Keith Author

            People are reporting it’s USA/Canada only. I mean, it doesn’t hurt to try – the purchase will just get (eventually) denied, but it’s very unlikely to go through with a non US card by the sounds of things.

  19. Chris

    Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement provides for free trade (no barriers) on a range of things including financial services – an interesting choice they AA or have made in disallowing AUS credit cards.

    • Wizard

      My reply from yesterday clearly states its a policy change by AS, non USA, Canada & Mexico residents cannot buy AS miles anymore, it really had nothing to do with CC knock backs.

  20. amthog

    Bit late I know, but may be useful in future. The Alaska Airline ban on mileage purchases from Australian credit cards is easily circumvented by just using a PayPal account. cheers.

  21. Steve Nicholas

    Awesome deal ..again.. Just picked up Perth – Los Angeles in Feb 2015. $2500 in business class x 2. Now to find the way home :)

  22. Steve Nicholas

    Yep…its $1187.50 for 54,000 points. You need 55,000 for AUS – USA each. So $2375 plus taxes. So all up 2,500….2,800 AUD

  23. Nelson

    thanks for the notice Keith. good to see its open for Aussies again!

    Buying for travel in the near future, yes!

    but I totally agree with you about hoarding points for travel in 2015/2016 or beyond, its risky, particularly for Alaskan Airlines because they recently surveyed their frequent fliers and asked them if they would trade a frequent flyer program for a 10% discount on all flights?

    :) of course it was only a survey, but you gotta wonder what Alaskan Airlines management are thinking, in light of the recent devaluations at Delta, United, American Airlines/US.

    • Winston1

      I’ve been trying to top up my account for the last couple of weeks, but have been unsuccessful. As of now, my account comes up with message saying my milage plan account is not eligible to purchase miles. Weird. Will be interesting to see if other australians have any luck in purchasing miles.
      Hopefully my window to start booking flights will open in the next week or two (mid april 2015). I am very keen to get this over and done. The last deal was posted on ozbargain & I feel that has probably led to a huge spike in interest from aussies, and possibly led to the troubles of people not being able to buy miles from here. (?)
      Here’s hoping things work out…

      • Nelson

        Has it? That probably explains why :) once the word was out, people rushed to buy points and redeem flights, so they had to put a cap on it.
        I haven’t tried buying with Alaskan yet since the troubles back in Feb.
        I would suggest you try with a paypal account, if you have your credit card verified on paypal already.

  24. Wizard

    We are currently in HKG arrived via AS 120Kmiles (2 pax) on CX J and will return to CNS in few weeks, today on our way to Europe on EK using QFF points. Out for lunch with ex pat Aussie Mates yesterday was telling them about AS miles, as of today they will jump on it.

  25. Andrew Leonard

    I’m new at this, can you use them for economy tickets as well? If so how many points would you need for a return to trip to LA or New York?

  26. Nick Abregu

    I Suppose for business class it’s still great.
    I was just able to get 1500 points for $22.5 AUD And you can repeat that every day.
    Point Hacks Anywhere I can email you to swap ideas?

  27. Andrew Leonard

    Once you buy the points through Alaska Air, how would you redeem them on a partner website such as Qantas or Cathay?

  28. Steve Nicholas

    I dont think using this for economy is worth it. Its cheaper to find economy on sale and buy direct. this really only works when you start looking at business or first.

  29. Munro Donen

    Called Akaska Airways and was advised that flights need to go through/via a US city if traveling from Australia – is this your understanding ?

  30. Point Hacks

    Indeed. Main thing to note is that Alaska don’t publish prices, and therefore don’t allow bookings, between certain regions. It’s not that all flights have to transit the US, they just don’t publish an Australian – SA points price with Qantas. So not a great option for that case – check out the US Airways deal instead.

  31. hayne

    Anyone else getting an error message saying their account is not eligible to buy points? Or any reports of success on the latest May 2014 promotion? My account is pretty new so it’s possible that’s the reason, but I also saw that other Aussies have had issues with previous promotions on Flyertalk (e.g. suspended accounts, etc.)

    • Winston1

      Yep. Mine. ;'(
      I’ve not tried using the miles on my account so I’m uncertain if the account has been suspended? – I have access to the account so I really hope it hasn’t been suspended…
      Might be worth trying to make a dummy booking to see if everything is OK?

      • Hayne

        Hey mate – sorry to hear you’re having the same problems too! Is yours a new account (i.e. opened within the last couple of weeks) or is it an existing account you’ve had for a while? I thought maybe I couldn’t buy miles on my account as it was opened in the last couple of weeks – I’m waiting a little longer and hoping that purchases can go through before the promotion ends!

        • Winston1

          I opened my account late last year? Maybe october-nov?
          I’ve got 216,000 sitting there hoping I’ll be able to use them for a US trip next year. I’ve not tried a dummy booking or anything yet, but hopefully there wont be any issues with using the points (even if there are topping up my account). Fingers crossed.
          I was simply hoping to top up my account with some more points as the au-us award with cathay will cost 240,000 for my partner & i. We can try qantas, but even that will require an additional 4k which I dont have.

          • hayne

            I did eventually manage to get through and buy miles through It initially went through – however, overnight I got an email from telling me that the credit card information could not be confirmed and that they had cancelled the cards.

            Here’s an example from FlyerTalk of an Aussie who successfully bought miles (and transferred SPG points) and then tried to use them three months later and found they had restricted her account – she eventually got it all refunded and wore the cost on the conversion fees


            So no joy so far :( Hope you get your end sorted – let us know how you go.

          • hayne

            By the way, the credit card was valid, I had just used it on an overseas trip, and I had even alerted the bank before the transaction so that they wouldn’t disallow it – so it’s either or Alaska Airlines that is cancelling the transactions, not my bank. In fact, the credit card still has an authorisation hold on it so I can’t even access the funds.

          • hayne

            oops – typo in the first paragraph as well – it should say “the credit card information could not be confirmed and that they had cancelled the TRANSACTIONS” (not cards)

          • Winston1

            Yeah. Just noticed my account is blocked also when I tried to make a dummy booking. Hmmmm?… Will have to ring them I guess? – Lets hope I at the very least get my money refunded as I dont particularly want to be out of pocket $5k. ;'(

          • Keith Author

            This is all pretty disconcerting to hear, and no consistent reason applied to why some accounts are having issues. Hopefully, fallback of having to work with your credit card co on a chargeback won’t be necessary…

          • Peter

            Hi Keith,

            Just tried the Alaska deal using my Sydney address Sydney and got this response:

            Please correct the following errors:

            The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles.

  32. CheekyT

    A couple of q’s if anyone can help…

    1. How do I calculate the number of miles required for Sydney to London with the various partner airlines (or should I just use Cathay?) I only see the US routes listed?

    2. How do I work out what the fees/charges/taxes will be in addition to the points?

    3. How does this work if you are travelling with an infant? What if the infant is yet to be born? Can you add their details to the booking later?

    4. We would be looking to travel 12 months from now… does that mean that if I’m vigilant in checking availability is less likely to be a problem?

    I hope that these aren’t inane questions… would appreciate the advice. Have registered for a membership just in case this can all work out.


    • Keith Author

      Hey Ben.

      1. You’ll need to reference Alaska’s award charts (linked in the article), or use their online booking tool (if it brings up availability).
      2. Either in the online tool or by calling Alaska.
      3. Not sure of Alaska’s specific policy here, but unborn infants are generally handled by adding them into the reservation as soon as they have a name and birth date. I’ve done this with several airlines award tickets and paid fares in the past.
      4. For sure, the more time you have, the more flexible you can be, and the better chance of finding availability you’ll have too. Only risk is holding miles in case Alaska decides to devalue.

      Not inane at all, great questions.

  33. David

    Hi Keith,

    Great article! I am very new to all of this and still a bit confused. Looking to book BNE-HKG-XMN round trip on Cathay. If I have understood correctly, the procedure is to:

    1. Purchase necessary points on AA (providing my Asia Miles No.);
    2. Search for award flights on Cathay;
    3. Purchase award flights using AA points on Cathay website.

    • Keith Author

      Not far off, but not quite. You need to go through Alaska at all stages to be 100% sure of availability.

      So first up, search for availability before making a commitment to purchase, unless you are sure you know what you’re doing. To do this, use Alaska Airlines website OR call them directly. For speed, you can also try and look at availability on or on, but this may not match to what Alaska sees 100%.


      1. Purchase Alaska Airlines points, using your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number, where they will land in your account.
      2. Book flights directly with Alaska, either online at their site or over the phone.

      You can then update your ticket with a different frequent flyer program number for status benefits if you wish.

  34. The great thing about the Alaskan awards is the routing flexibility they give you (so long as your plan is to travel to the US, that is!).

    For example, I recently redeemed 80k miles one way for a Sydney to Chicago trip in a mix of Biz/First, and not only can I route via Asia on Cathay and avoid the scrum at LAX, but I can also stopover in Hong Kong for a couple of nights along the way. With AA miles, this itinerary would require two separate award bookings, adding 23k miles to the total.

    Add in the return in Biz and for about US$3364 round-trip you’re getting lie-flat seats with Krug thrown in for an amount only slightly more expensive than the cheapest QF premium economy fare.

  35. andrew

    this needs an update “You could purchase 30,000 miles with a 12,000 mile bonus for enough miles for a return Business Class redemption.”
    as only 30% bonus for 30k mile purchase.

    have been doing a bit of reading about this program however some commentary on the interwebs suggest CX availability has diminished greatly – any anecdotes here?


    • Keith Author

      Thanks, I’ve taken that line out of the guide section so I’m not referencing an old promotion.

      CX availability – I think I’ve probably read the same articles. I don’t have first hand experience though, I haven’t done any recent award research on Cathay. However I don’t think the generally good availability close to travel has been affected, unless you’ve read otherwise…

    • I’ve been doing a little research for a trip next year and I’ve found they can be quite stingy releasing advance award space for SFO, YVR & YYZ, and they certainly haven’t released any space to/from BOS yet. But for other cities I still find their availability to quite good, particularly to LAX and ORD in Biz & First.
      Ex Aus they only seem to release a few seats in advance but closer to the departure date they sometimes release a bunch of award seats in W & J if the cabins aren’t filling, as far as 3 weeks out from departure. For example I noticed on 19th August they released 12 J seats SYD-HKG across 2 of the flights on 11th September. I must admit I haven’t been watching this closely enough to verify the regularity of this.
      However within 36 hours of departure the general trend seems to be that they’ll release all but 4 of the remaining seats in J availability permitting. Not sure about W though.

  36. Simon

    Hi Keith,
    Thanks for the updated info! I created my account the last time this offer was available and withdrawn and it seems like I am unable to purchase miles this time around.

    It states:

    Please correct the following errors:
    The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles.

    Are you sure it is available to Australian members?


    • Keith Author

      Wow, interesting. A purchase on my account went through without issue, so I had assumed we were back in business again. But then, I didn’t get a blocked purchase attempt last time round (but I didn’t buy miles last time around).

      Hmmm. Anyone else?

  37. Wizard

    As noted above used AS miles 2 Pax to HKG return in J last May on CX after finding about the deal here last Dec. Then used QFF points onwards to Europe.

    It says on the site can go Hong Kong to Europe using CX, does this mean one can use AS miles say from HKG to CDG, CFO etc?.

    • I didn’t realise AS had chart for CX to Europe. Thanks for pointing that out!

      You’d have to imagine that includes all European destinations, both continental and UK. But I suppose it’d be worth a call to CS to confirm that. Although I’d probably steer clear of FCO to avoid the dreaded coffin class seats 😉

  38. Steve

    Purchased points in May and August this year…no issues..using my Aussie Visa. Have return PER – LAX via Hong Kong early next year all booked in J

  39. For those wanting to do some research on CX partner availability, I’ve found that the results shown on the British Airways Executive Club website seem to align the closest to AS availability (and AA availability for that matter). Whereas Qantas either shows “phantom” CX space (or perhaps space only available to QF) where BA does not, and vice versa.

    If you need to do a bit digging I’d highly recommend investing in the KVS availability tool.

  40. Point Hacks

    Which ever city Cathay fly to that you’ll be closest to… Honestly. CX are pretty widespread across Europe now with Milan and Manchester as recent additions, alongside London, Paris etc and they have a great business class.

  41. Hi Keith, great guide.
    A few updates needed though I believe –
    Redemptions on Qantas now only show “intra Australia” – don’t think we can use Trans Tasman anymore?
    Also Delta redemptions went up a whole lot :-( now 160k return in Business.

  42. Michael Kao

    My understanding with using AS mile to fly CX is this: other than going to North America and HKG, you need to book 2 separate awards for Europe or other Asian destinations. Although the overall miles might be still cheap (eg. 75000 to Europe oneway), does AS issue the 2 award booking as one ticket (ie. same PNR) or two separate tickets?

    The reason for asking is that there is always a risk of 2 separate tickets that if the incoming flight delays or cancels, the second leg will be considered as no show.

    I’ve been thinking about buying AS miles for a while now, but the lack of flexibility to destinations other than North America makes it not a very useful FFP……

  43. Paul

    Has anyone else had trouble buying miles with a newly created account? I am getting the error “The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles.”.

  44. Dave Brown

    Thanks Guys, just snagged PER-SYD-LAX-MEL-PER all in Business June/July 2015 for 109,400 points + small cash – Netted out at A$2700 for trip – wow – more gambling money in vegas.

  45. Larissa

    This is a great deal and one I’m interested in pursuing next year should it reappear for a holiday in 2016 but I just did a mock search to see exactly how many business points it would be for a Sydney – LA flight for Aug 1 next year and an interesting thing happened and I was wondering if you could tell me if this is usual:
    Only connecting flights via Melb or Bris show up with business class being available with points cost of 55,000 but the domestic flight is the business seat and the international sector is economy or premium economy if you’re lucky- not one flight has business class on the international flight.

    So I then checked Bris or Melb to LA on the same date and ALL the business availability then re route via Sydney with the SAME deal: business seat for the domestic flight and then economy or premium economy for the international leg if you’re lucky.

    Have I interpreted this correctly ,that there is no way of flying business class all the way to LA?? And if there is what is the costs in points??

    • Keith Author

      I assume you are looking at 2015, not 2016 firstly?
      Award seats in Business Class across the Pacific are particularly hard to come by, especially for multiple seats on the same flight. You can use either Delta or Qantas, and the easiest way to be sure you’re getting Business Class would be to call Alaska and get them to search for you.

      The online booking engine is showing the long haul flight as Economy likely purely due to availability reasons.

      • Larissa

        Yes the mock search was for Aug 1 next year as that’s nearly 353 days out that award seats are released at?? I actually searched via Alaska’s own website as that’s the points I would want to be using and wanted to know how many it would burn. Qantas have a much higher point requirement on their site but you’re saying when the time comes I find the seat availability on the Q site but ring to check business seat availability with Alaska and book through them with their lower point burn?…if it exists

  46. CheekyT

    I’m doing my best to figure this out with limited success. I’m looking to get a business class flight for an adult and infant under 2 Sydney to LHR departing mid feb, returning in late feb. I can only assume that the best route will be Syd -HKG- LHR with Cathay, but I’m having trouble finding availability… even with award nexus. Should I be looking at other routes? And what airline options should I be ticking? Thanks

  47. Matthew

    Keith thank you so much for this post.

    Two questions:

    1. If I purchase points via this can I book flights to Japan?

    2. Do I book the flight via the Alaskan website?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Keith Author

      1. Yep – with either Qantas (direct) or Cathay (via Hong Kong).
      2. Yes, or over the phone with them.

      But check availability before buying points if you know your dates!

  48. James

    Hi, perhaps this is a dumb question, but I’m a first timer here…

    I have looked into the Alaskan Airlines and US Airways deals. But their websites are always showing no availability for any flights that aren’t Aust > USA, no matter what I select.

    However the Qantas website shows plenty of availability (sporadically of course). I then have tried to find those same flights on the Alaska/US websites, and they come up as “Not found”

    So if i find flights available on the Qantas website, should i ring up and try to snap up these flights? Wee bit confused

    • Keith Author

      Flights being available on is a good indicator, but not a guarantee, of them being available to partners. US Airways website I am pretty certain never displays Qantas award space, but I think US award space aligns more closely to that of Alaska for Qantas – so definitely give them a call. Alaska website I think is reliable (i.e. what they show you will match what is available over the phone) but again, give them a call to double check.

  49. Jasmine

    Hi Keith,

    This is a great guide, thank you so much!

    Just wondering if anyone else with a new Alaska account is having trouble purchasing miles? I bought three lots of points over the weekend, and just found out that two transactions were cancelled. Alaska suggested using another card, but I’ve tried half a dozen credit and debit cards, and each one comes up saying the card is declined.. has anyone had a similar problem/figured out how to sort it out? Alaska insist it’s an issue with my banks, but I think this is unlikely given I tried cards from many different lenders.

    Many thanks for any insight.

    • Keith Author

      This has happened before and is a sign of Alaska cracking down generally on cards from a specific region. But, not necessarily the case, would be interesting to know if others have the same issues.

      Do your banks even see the attempt to charge the cards?

  50. Jasmine


    Yes, the transactions have been pending for over 10 days, and as far as the bank is concerned the transaction was successful. However, Alaska say that none were successful and but cannot provided any explanation… it’s very confusing!

    If anyone else has had similar issues it would be great to hear from you!

  51. ryan

    i opened my account 10 days ago and have been trying since then to buy these miles. i see people saying it can take up to 10 days but still nothing! anyone having the same issue?

  52. ryan

    im having the same issue. not getting the points. are you getting a rejection notice from alaska? or have you got any updates on your transaction?

  53. James

    Hi Keith,

    I have a 6-month old account, and tried buying points last night. I didn’t get an error message, but my points aren’t yet credited, my CC hasn’t been debited, and I don’t have a confirmation email. I know the points can take a couple of days to credit, but do you recall if you received the email and/or your account was debited immediately? Getting a bit anxious!

  54. Laura

    Hi Keith, I’ve only just started reading about these award point flights in the last few weeks. As soon as I ready about them, I set up multiple accounts, and my Alaska account appears to be allowing me to buy points now, after two weeks of denying access.

    I’m looking for one-way flights between Melbourne and London – firstly one for my in late November, and another for my partner in January as we’re looking at moving over there if I’m successful in getting a job I’ve applied for.

    I’ve signed up to the KVS tool to get access to CX award availability, but the November availability is obviously a bit sketchy at the moment.

    Assuming I get the job, I’m looking to travel between 16-23 November, and I’m open to multiple stops or a creative itinerary that would allow me to stop along the way and see something different. Are you able to provide any tips on booking awards that jump around? For example, routing through the US might give me greater availability because there are more partner airlines, but do I need to literally search through every US city to find availability? How would you approach a task like this?

    • Keith Author

      Well… I’d look at hubs and see where, say, Cathay fly to in the US (or Europe), and match that against your travel preferences. Then start looking at availability options. Maybe using British Airways from the many different places in Asia they fly from to London as well as another option, after getting up to Singapore or Hong Kong.

      In terms of search tools, the British Airways website is a good starting point for CX, BA, Qantas and other oneworld availability. I actually prefer using a paid tool – – which scrapes a range of different sites and you can automate daily email alerts if seats come up. It’s a massive time saver as well – search many dates, many routes and classes of travel all at once.

  55. ryan

    in exactly the same situation with my purchase. processed on the alaska website but nothing else has happened. been so psyched about finally getting these miles! how disappointing. such a pity

  56. DM

    Hi Keith,

    For a Business Class ticket to London from Sydney, which programme or Airline would offer the best value – Dividend Miles of US Airways or Alaska’s Mileage Plan, in your opinion?

    USDM is still offering the opportunity of buying 125,000 ( 80 K + Bonus 45 K) for US $ 2572. Presumably, one can get a return ticket from Sydney to London with that?

    Availability is of course an altogether different matter!

    On the other hand, Alaska requires 145,000 miles (60 k for Sydney-Hong Kong – Sydney & 85 k for Hong Kong-London-Hong Kong) for the same ticket, I think.

    This may entail buying say 162,000 miles via three (maximum) transactions of 54,000 each and the total cost of these would be US $ 3547.50 (admittedly, leaving 17,000 miles or points to be utilised in future)

    So, when I compare both their current promotions, I still reckon that USDM is over a third (over 37% actually) cheaper!

    Have I got my arithmetic right or am I missing/miscalculating something?

    Would be wonderful to get your thoughts in detail.


    • Keith Author

      This all looks spot on to me – I can’t see anything you’ve missed. The only other differences to consider are that:

      1. You can put US Airways flights on hold for up to a few days, before buying points / allowing time for your purchased points to Alaska. This is pretty helpful vs Alaska.
      2. US Airways only allow return redemptions, not one ways. This is pretty unhelpful vs Alaska.

      Hopefully you have already looked at availability, but US Airways should be more flexible given more oneworld partners and routing options to Europe.

  57. Chris

    What do you think about banking these AS points for Dec 2015? looking for Melb – USA, and wondering if early Dec and return min Jan, is likely to be impossible in business via any carier. Any thoughts??

    • Keith Author

      I personally am risk averse, and this isn’t a good enough deal for me to bank them without having a use in mind. You could look in December as the deal runs for a while, but maybe not quite long enough for your purposes.
      Having said that, if you are going to be relatively flexible with your dates, there would be a good shot of finding availability, say on Cathay via Hong Kong, but no guarantee.

  58. arrebnac

    Thought I’d share my recent experience, might be helpful to some readers:
    1. Purchased miles via PAYPAL: waited for a few days with no response and then contacted
    -for some reason did not go through, they said ‘it automatically got cancelled’. not sure what that means.
    2. Purchased again via Australia AMEX, points credited within 24 hours
    3. Used the points to book the following, all in J:
    72,500 points, approx USD 158 taxes and fees
    Very happy with the result.

  59. Lance

    Tried searching for Melbourne – Nadi in Aug 2015 but all that is coming up is Coach. There’s a check button for J but couldn’t select this – was automatically set to Lowest availability. Am I doing something wrong or there isn’t any availability? Tried searching via Qantas and can book J straight away. @@

    • Keith Author

      Give Alaska a call, they may have different availability to Qantas, or the booking engine may not be doing what you want.

  60. Allison

    Hi All,

    I booked a successful ticket using my Alaska miles to Australia. LAX to BNE on Qantas in Business and SYD to HKG to YVR to NYC on Cathay Pacific in Business on the way back.

    The Alaska site can be a little persnickety at times, and does not always choose the best route, so I looked on the American Airlines and British Airways sites to confirm availability and then called the Award help desk and got it all sorted and booked.

    Can’t wait for my trip later this year.

  61. Ben

    There were a few deals previously on purchasing Alaska Airlines miles during their quarterly mileage sale, and using the bonus miles for other airlines’ bookings such as Emirates.

    Took this method and booked a business class round trip via Dubai to America (LA inbound, JFK outbound) back in Oct last year, and arranged for chauffeur transfers. Our first leg was late Jan; 2 days before we flew out from Singapore to Dubai we logged in to check in on our seats, and realized all pre-arranged transfers were erased, and we no longer had the option to rebook. The missus called Emirates and was told the tickets were booked under Alaska Airlines and we should communicate any queries thru Alaska. Called Alaska and were told to call Emirates as all services associated with the business class tickets were already booked thru, and any changes would have came from Emirates. Getting abit annoyed now, the missus called Emirates and asked to talk to a supervisor; was told back in Jan they had a policy change and partner airlines tickets were no longer entitled to chauffeured transfers. Had we not called Emirates 2 days before departure to check, we would be waiting like silly fools for an airport transfers that will never materialize.

    On our outbound at Changi airport, we wanted to visit the business lounge only to be asked if our tickets were staff tickets. After a few calls here and there, was told even though we had business class tickets, we are not entitled to use the lounge.

    On arrival to Dubai, there was no chauffeur transfer waiting for us at the airport, so we had to take a cab to our hotel. Lo and behold, on our outbound day where we are supposed to fly to LA, an Emirates chauffeur turned up 3 hours at our hotel lobby, and we had to turned him away because we already paid for a transfer from our hotel. We arrived at the Dubai airport, after checking in we head straight to customer service and asked for clarifications. Was told (1) yes the policies had changed for partner airlines redemption, (2) our transfers were all still in the system with the exception of the Singapore outbound transfer,and the rep printed the transfers for us, (3) no partner airlines redemption are not entitled to lounge usage.

    Fast forward 4.5 weeks later; we are now in NYC and departing JFK in the next few days to Dubai on our return back to Singapore. Even with the printout that the Dubai Emirates rep gave, we decided not to take any chances and called to confirm the transfer to JFK. Guess what; the rude contact centre rep said it was not on their system! This was getting tiring with the back and forth. I was staring at the logged in itinerary and the transfers for Dubai were in the system, only the JFK had been erased.

    1- Passing the buck: We paid for the miles thru a legit manner, only for Alaska Airlines to tell us there was nothing they could do, and for us to go thru Emirates. Emirates tried to shove us to Alaska saying the tickets were purchased thru Alaska and we should go thru them for queries. Absolutely no ownership here once the money changed hands.
    2- Thru the mileage programme, we purchased legit business class tickets from Alaska Airlines. Now without zero perks ie lounge access or transfers and being treated like second class customers whenever we called both airlines, it’s seems more like a sham; selling business class tickets thru miles, and getting bare minimum treatment. We thank god that we managed to get seats in the business class section, for we are fearful Emirates would even go as far as to downgrade us to economy seats.
    3. What gets me is – if ya gonna give the transfers, give it! Don’t freaking give it, then take it away without even the basic courtesy to call or email us. Had we not call to confirm/ check, we would be idiots waiting at the hotel lobbies for the airport transfers that will never turn up.

    Key lessons:
    For all you folks who purchased the Alaska miles, and planning to use it on Emirates; CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK your bookings, I wouldn’t be surprised if Emirates decidedly change your booking to Economy without telling you.

    And don’t bother buying from Alaska Airlines mileage programme, zero customer service after they get your money!

    Good luck and safe travels!

    • Hey Ben – that experience from Emirates flat-out sucks. Blame should be laid primarily at Emirates for thinking you were on a staff fare with lower benefits when that’s plainly not the case. You are also right to raise it with Alaska, they don’t have much immediate power of recourse with Emirates but should at least compensate you (in points I imagine) for your poor experience with one of their partners. I would push this with them.

  62. Kaleb

    So how are people looking at using these to get from Brisbane to London? I’ve got a trip planned coming up in September this year and for the life of me, I cannot find any real availability to travel that way using these points. I’ve rung AA who had 1 CX flight from HGK to London and that was it. I’ve even tried looking at award nexus and can’t really see anything with their partners.

    I am a new to it all so happy to take any advice.

    • Michael Kao

      CX is probably your only option. But you have to redeem them as 2 separate redemption. One BNE-HKG, then HKG to LHR.

      The problem with Alaska’s program is that it’s North America-centric. Many of the partner airline’s redemption will require US/Canada as origin or destination, and they won’t allow you to mix partner’s airlines in one award. (You can only mix Alaska plus one partner). It is not a program for residents outside of North America. (In fact, do they accept OZ credit card this this time?) So unless you have USA/Canada in your itinerary, it will be hard for you to redeem with Alaska miles.

      If you are looking at heading to Europe, I would recommend that you look at USDM.

    • Michael Kao

      If you are trying to find award seats on QF, all I can say is good luck. It’s a needle in the haystack, literally! Don’t get me wrong, it is there, but you really have to look hard, by that I mean check day by day. Qantas search engine on the monthly view is useless, as most of the dates that shows “availability” in business class, which you look into it, it’s those with a little “!” mark => “your flight between SYD-LAX will be in economy”!

      To improve the chances, I suggest looking at departure on Tues/Wed, and and BNE-LAX as these days and route tend to have more seats.

      Otherwise you need to look into CX, which has more award seats but unfortunately won’t show on Alaska’s search engine. You need to use BA’s search engine or simply call in.

      Occasionally you can also find seats on Fiji or Korean, but they are also hard to find.

      Put it this way, Australia to US in F/J is the hardest award to redeem. That is widely recognized problem by frequent flyers. So despite it being a good value, I find Alaska miles not that useful.

        • Michael Kao

          BTW Keith, do you know if this promotion accepts AUS credit card? According to Ben Schlappig it seems that this time is restricted to American CCs.

          • I tested with AU Paypal and AU credit card in previous and this promotion, and both went through. Unless they limit it for large transactions, it should be usable.

  63. Dave p

    Trying to find 2 bus class seats from SYD to
    HKG on CX but availability looks really bad nearly every month but esp for sept when I need to go. Looked up JAL and BA, am I missing something Good from HKG to LON
    Thanks. D

    • Yes, CX availability out of Sydney can be poor, but I find that it can open up closer to departure. Not great if you are trying to book a trip, but you should also research out of BNE, MEL, ADL etc to cover all bases.

      • Michael Kao

        Unbelievably, I tried to look for CX award space out of BNE, and I can’t find any direct flights to HKG even 11 months out! (I searched on, on dates starting from 12/2 and the week after that) Only 1 business class seat found on Thurs the 18 (and that is a flight with one stop over in CNS), not even economy. Most of the flights required transit in SYD and that is economy too!

        I read somewhere that CX award space is supoosedly wide open but this is not what I can see. Unfortunately AS only has access to CX space 331 days out, so it looks like most space have been taken by the time AS has access to CX? Am I missing something here? Or is it just CX has been stingy with award space to Australia, just like every other airlines in the world? Making Australia the hardest region to redeem award space?

        • Kaleb

          Hi Michael,

          This is the problem I have been having. I would love to use the AA miles to book and was happy to book BNE-HGK, HGK-LON and then return.

          I cannot find anything out of Brisbane on any partner using AA miles. I’ve come across some limited avails from HGK – LON, but nothing back.

          Pulling my hair out. Wondering what other ways I might be able to attempt this with other mileage programs.

  64. Keith,
    This is very timely for me as I’ve just emptied my Alaska mile account booking a one-way from Milan to Anchorage (with a stopover in Seattle). Emirates Business to Seattle and then last hop on Alaska. The stopover was a great incentive to go with Alaska miles even though from Milan we have to fly to Dubai where we connect for the direct Seattle flight. Just have to prepare myself for all the bling in the Emirates premium cabin 😉

  65. Adam

    Does anyone have any further information on stopovers? Can they be worked out online, or do you need to ring their call centre? How long can you stop over?

    • Keith Author

      I think they will most likely need to be done over the phone. If you can have a stopover on an award the length of time should be unlimited as long as you book the onward flight at the same time

  66. Not sure if anybody has mentioned this before, too lazy to read through all of the comments, but…

    North America for most partner airlines includes Hawaii. Alaska will also include a flight on their metal from your gateway city to your final destinations.

    Add it all up, it means you can use 60k miles to not only fly Cathay to North America, but take your stopover for your actual holiday, then also get a flight onwards from there to Hawaii in Alaska first class to get you much of the way home. The rules about where you can have your stopover city on such an itinerary don’t seem to be published, but the general rule seems to be west coast only (including Vancouver and Anchorage), has to be a Cathay destination or Alaska hub. You could try your luck with JFK/EWR/BOS/YYZ/ORD, but I wouldn’t bet on being successful.

    This is also a good way to get a “free” Hawaii mini holiday on your way home. 48k QF points for a JQ Starclass 787 daytime flight home from there is good value.

  67. Adam

    I was hoping to book flights for three in biz from Melbourne to Tokyo, with Cathay so with a stopover of a few days in Hong Kong on the way over. I rang Air Alaska this morning and was told this wasn’t possible – the flights to and from HK is one redemption, and the flights from Hong Kong to Tokyo and back are a second redemption. This seems to contradict what we’ve been told about stopovers being allowed, or have I misunderstood something.

    It was all rather academic, since the availability of three seats I found on the BA site – and confirmed on the Qantas and JAL sites, couldn’t be seen by the woman I was speaking to. She could see only one.

    Incidentally, it may have just been the operator I spoke to, but Alaska air seems very reluctant to lift a finger to help. The overall impression I got was that they really can’t be bothered with all of this. The woman I spoke with didn’t even know the correct redemption rates.

    • Keith Author

      Hey Adam – sounds like you got a bad agent. Bummer.

      They were correct about it being two redemptions – Sydney to Tokyo crosses tw0 awards in the Alaska award chart. You can have a stopover when an award between two regions in an award chart requires two flights, but the Alaska award chart is for Australia – Hong Kong and then Hong Kong – Asia so requires two awards.

    • I’ve found that JAL availability is not always visible to the operators (Qantas or Alaska). When I tried to book JAL through Qantas, I could see availability on the BA website but they couldn’t see anything and said nothing was available. Called back and spoke to another agent and they could see most of them but not the specific one I wanted (ended up booking one of the ones they could see rather than call up and try again).

  68. Andy

    Do you know if one way CX LAX-HKG-BNE with LAX-HKG in F and HKG-BNE in J costs the higher amount of 80,000? There is no F on the HKG-BNE leg.

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