Biz Class to Hawaii (with Free Stopover!) for ~£700 of Miles + Tax, One Way

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On Sunday I wrote a reminder that the current 35% SPG Starpoints sale is finishing on the 29th December, and mentioned that I’d be sharing some of my ‘greatest hits’ redemptions this week to show why you might want to take advantage of the sale.

As I demonstrated in that post, through the Starpoint sale,  you can effectively purchase a vast range of different frequent flyer miles for 1.4p each. For some types of miles (like BA Avios) that’s far too expensive, but for more ‘exotic’ miles, it can make a lot of sense. Have a read here for the details.

Business Class to East and West Coast of North America on the same one way trip for 50,000 Alaska Mileage Plan Miles – £700.

A one way Business Class ticket on American Airlines, booked using Alaska Miles, would set you back about £700 if you bought the 50,000 Miles via the SPG Starpoint sale. That’s really not bad at all, particularly if you want to head to the West Coast or to somewhere where cash fares are usually high.

Alaska Mileage Plan is brilliant though, because when you redeem Miles you can build in a free stopover for as long as you want en route!

So, for example, stop off in Philadelphia (or New York, or Chicago, or Dallas, etc) for a few days on the way to San Francisco (or Seattle, or Los Angeles, etc)- all for the same 50,000 Miles.

Note that the taxes seem quite high, but ~$200 of that is UK Air Passenger Duty. If you were booking in the other direction or starting from somewhere else in Europe, it would be much lower.


Yep, the pricing is exactly the same for Hawaii too!

What about Economy?

Obviously flying Business Class is more fun, but if you’re actually buying the Miles, then Economy might be a more prudent option. The good news is the deal is, perhaps, even better!

For travel on ‘Off-Peak’ dates (between January 10 – March 14, and November 1 – December 14), you only need 20,000 Miles for a one way to Hawaii (or anywhere in North America) with a stopover for as long as you want somewhere en route. During ‘Peak’ dates, you need 30,000 Miles.

Via the SPG Starpoint sale, you can effectively buy 20,000 Miles for ~ £280 (if we stick with the~1.4p per Mile price for the sake of simplicity, though the exact cost per Mile depends on how many Starpoints you transfer).

Note that the award prices mentioned here are only valid until the end of the year. For bookings from 1st January 2018, Business Class will rise to 57,500 Miles and Economy ‘Off Peak’ to 22,500. Economy Peak stays the same. You can book now though and still get the current prices, regardless of when you want to actually travel, as long as it’s within the current booking horizon.

What else do I need to know?

Alaska Mileage Plan is amazing, but it is also a little quirky.

The first thing you need to know is that rather than a standard award chart encompassing all partners, Alaska charges different amounts of Miles depending on which partner airline you fly with. Everything above relates only to redeeming Alaska Miles for American Airlines flights. You can check out the various award charts here.

Due to that peculiarity, you can’t mix different partners on the same award. If you want to redeem for American Airlines flights, the only additional airline that can be used on that award is Alaska itself.

The precise rules are a little vague, but the Alaska award search tool doesn’t like backtracking very much in my experience (Craig begs to differ, so YMMV). It is certainly possible though, for example, to fly from London to Los Angeles, stopover for as long as you like, and then fly back East to New York – all on the same one-way award ticket! Clearly this can lead to some truly extraordinary value, particularly if you combine an Alaska award like that with a one way back across the Atlantic using a distance-based programme like BA Avios, or a cheap cash ticket on Norwegian. It may require a good amount of patience when searching though.

To add stopovers you need to use the multi-city search option here.

The examples above are all one way – you can therefore have 2 stopovers (one in each direction) if you book your flights as 2 one ways, which can be incredible if you really want to explore a region.

Bottom line

There are plenty of good reasons to consider buying SPG Starpoints with a 35% discount, but the ability to transfer them to Alaska Mileage Plan is one of the best. I’ll be covering more Alaska redemption highlights and other SPG transfer sweetspots throughout the week!

What’s your favourite use for SPG Starpoints?


  1. Craig Sowerby says

    Actually Joe, it’s quite simple to book London to Los Angeles, stopover, then fly back to New York for 20 / 30 / 50K miles. The problem is that award space on the direct flights from the West Coast to East Coast is very difficult to find, especially in Business / First.

    Working on a MAN-LAX-JFK-TYO-DEL?!?! 😉

    • Joe Deeney says

      Is it really? – I’ve always found backtracking (not just for USA) a real pain to get the site to show, so just kind of assumed that it was a happy mistake on the occasions I’ve managed it, rather than actually permitted. That makes things even more interesting…

      (Post since edited for clarity on the above)

  2. New Card says

    Really enjoying this series and looking forward to more! Especially as am just about to redeem for a Marriott Travel Package…

      • New Card says

        That’s precisely the reason I’m awaiting the next instalments of this series!

        At the moment it’s a toss up between Avios (safe option), Alaska miles (if I’ve understood correctly, 120k would get 2 of us from London to Hawaii in Business @ 57.5k each?) or… possibly… United MileagePlus miles (which is why I’m also looking forward to Part 3 of the Excursionist Perk series) 🙂

        • Joe Deeney says


          I would strongly advise against Avios personally (but everyone’s requirements are different of course!).

          Alaska could be a great option- yep 57.5k each one-way. I wonder if you could potentially do London-Hawaii(stopover)-East Coast for 57.5k (and then back using Avios or whatever)? I had a quick look and can’t get anything to show, but that could potentially just be an availability issue? What do you reckon Craig? – you seem to be able to get it to sing better than me!

          United could be a really good shout too, particularly given the higher transfer rate from Marriott. Sorry, yes, I know I keep promising Part 3!- it’s basically drafted now, but Christmas stuff and more pressing subjects keep preventing me from finishing it off. I’ll certainly do my best to get it out asap.

          • New Card says

            The pull factor for Avios is of course the 2-for-1 (we have one to use at the moment) but that’s not necessarily decisive!

            For Alaska, I was thinking to do the US stopover on the way to Hawaii, so LON – West Coast (or, frankly, East Coast) stopover for a few nights – Hawaii. Then would need to book something else to get back home – possibly via Asia for a true RTW route (the dream here is to combine this with a Hilton Rangali redemption on the way back…)

            No worries about United – I wasn’t meaning to prod! So many factors to consider!

            Can’t believe it’s taken me so long to find this site by the way, but am really enjoying it. Thanks for all the hard work you put into your posts, and your engagement with visitors in the comments! 🙂

          • Joe Deeney says

            Haha, yes ‘the curse of the 241′(I’ve genuinely stopped aiming for one myself these days – I need to do a proper analysis at some point, but for my particular travel pattern I’m 99% certain I’m considerably better off putting my effort/spend elsewhere).

            Ah – if you’re thinking about a full RTW (which would be amazing), the options are endless! You can certainly travel a VERY long way using the Alaska free stopover on a one way – for example, North America (or Hawaii) – Tokyo (stopover) – Delhi for 60k in Biz or 70k in First on JAL. Same with Cathay but stopover in Hong Kong and head to South Africa instead. It’s a lot of very nice flying and some tremendous destinations for not very many Miles.

            There should be some rather interesting things you could do with United too now I think about it…

            Singapore KrisFlyer allows for some remarkable redemptions as well.

            For the Maldives, overall I think I’d probably still recommend Etihad Biz/First using American/ANA/Asiana Miles

            Many thanks for the kind words – it’s an absolute pleasure! Particularly good to stretch the old grey matter now and again talking about more complex redemptions too.

          • Craig Sowerby says

            With AS miles to fly on AA, the stopover has to be at an “international gateway” within the zone of your final destination. It’s a bit of a trial and error process (since there is no publicly-available list) but that means you can’t stopover at HNL (same miles but different region). Nor, in my experience, can you stopover in Canada or Mexico (again, same miles but different region), or at airports such as LAS that are big but don’t have AA long-haul / international flights.

            But you can definitely stopover at LAX, SFO, SEA, ORD, etc. and continue onwards (or backwards) after a stopover. You don’t have to fly there direct either as a LHR-CLT-LAX/stopover/-DFW-JFK is perfectly fine.

          • Joe Deeney says

            Interesting – yeah, sort of like a better version of the old AA policy. I’ve been playing around with it a bit more and stopovers for domestic US flights seem to be different again, with a much stricter ‘natural route’ policy, but I still haven’t been able to discern precisely what the rule is for them. Turning awards into international by including Caribbean/Mexico seems to really open things up though – for example, Cancun – Boston (stopover) – LA for 17.5k

          • Craig Sowerby says

            Seattle and Portland are the real sweet spots if flying AS. You can pretty much go from anywhere to anywhere (US domestic) with a stopover in an Alaska hub. With some clever planning, you can get a cross-country return for the price of a one-way, as long as you want to visit Seattle or Portland!

          • Joe Deeney says

            Hmmmm, I can’t seem to get Boston- Seattle – New York, even though availability on the one ways looks ok.

          • Joe Deeney says

            San Jose works too as well as Portland + Seattle (probably any Alaska ‘hub’) if you want to be a little further south.

  3. Ian Macky says

    The thing I find surprising is that AA will not offer PHL-DFW-HNL on jan 14th as a MileSAAver award when trying to book with AA miles on AA. I’m assuming Alaskan only has access to AA MilesAAver awards like other partners.

    It’s a minimum of 2 stops unless you use AAnytime award. This is very typical of saverawards, they are often a undesirable routing. It’s possible I suppose that Alaskan’s rule that allows a free stop-over defeats AA’s booking algorithm that wants to offer less than desirable routings on saverawards.

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