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One of the things I really like about Points/Miles is how they can expand what is possible when it comes to travel. They can get you thinking ‘big’ about your trips – where you can go, who you can see etc. Even if you don’t always end up doing it, the planning, thinking (and daydreaming) can be enjoyable in itself.
A slightly (ok, very!) esoteric sounding detail announced last night – that you can now use Alaska Mileage Plan Miles to book flights on Japan Airlines (JAL) – provides a great example of what I’m banging on about. 30 seconds with a new award chart had me mentally flitting in premium cabins from India to Japan to America, and all for just 70,000 Alaska Mileage Plan Miles.
It works like this:
Alaska Mileage Plan Miles are great, and one of the key reasons why is that they allow a free stopover even on one-way redemptions.
Slightly inexplicably (but wonderfully!), Alaska Mileage Plan has decided to put India and Japan into the same region for their JAL award chart, even though the vast majority of Asia is in a separate region. This means that you can now fly between the USA and India one-way for 35,000/40,000/60,000/70,000 Miles respectively for Economy/Premium Economy/Business Class/First Class.
Add these two things together (and take a look at the JAL route map here), and you can see that you can fly from Delhi to Tokyo, stopover as long as you like, and then fly all the way to the East Coast of the USA for the number of Miles listed above.
That’s nearly 10,500 Miles of flying and some incredible destinations!
I should point out that my title was a little over-enthusiastic, you’ll actually have to slum it in Business Class on the Delhi – Tokyo leg because there isn’t a First Class cabin.
How do I get Alaska Miles?
In the UK, it’s relatively tricky to get hold of them in large quantities, but you can transfer SPG Starpoints (and therefore indirectly Amex Membership Rewards Points), and RocketMiles etc quite often have some decent Miles bonuses for hotel bookings.
If you want to buy Alaska Miles, you can currently pick them up for about 1.7p each due to a 40% bonus until the end of the year.
Alternatively, you might be better off buying discounted SPG Starpoints and transferring them across. If you were lucky enough to be targeted for a 50% discount on Starpoint purchases (runs until end of year), you can effectively buy Alaska Miles indirectly for about 1.12p each (so long as you transfer across in blocks of 20,000 Starpoints in order to get the 5,000 transfer bonus).
Alaska Mileage Plan Miles can be enormously valuable if used smartly. If you’re wondering about how best to get to India and then back home from the USA, I’ve got some great ideas I’ll share later in a ‘Round-The-World’ for 55,000 Miles (I think 55,000, I still need double check some details!) post.