11.5K to Hawaii: Now use Singapore miles to fly on Alaska

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Singapore Airlines and Alaska Airlines recently announced a partnership. Today, Singapore released its award chart for travel on Alaska, and it results in the new cheapest awards to Hawaii from the middle of the country westward, with travel as low as 11,500 miles one-way (which should include flights from places like Denver, Pheonix, Boise, Bozeman, Calgary, and more). While British Airways has long been a good redemption for Alaska flights departing the west coast at 12.5K one-way, this award chart opens even cheaper flights from a number of states — and there are some other good values as well. Here’s the new award chart and zone definitions:

Are transfers allowed?

There is a little confusion at this point over the wording of a couple of the rules. This clause can be found in the rules:

• Transfers and stopovers are not permitted.

While that makes the situation clear for stopovers, it’s less clear as to what constitutes a “transfer”. If it did not include layovers, much of the award chart wouldn’t make sense. Additionally, the rules state this about mixed-cabin awards:

• If an award itinerary includes different classes of service, the award
level corresponding to the highest class will apply

The only way for an award that includes different classes of service to exist would be one that includes a layover. I’m really not sure what they mean by “transfers” not being permitted, but I doubt that they aren’t allowing a layover. However, I would expect that you can not have a connection that lasts for more than 4 hours on a single award. This rule has tripped me up on Hawaii bookings in the past as our domestic airlines sell plenty of tickets with overnight layovers on the way to Hawaii, but Singapore won’t let you ticket a domestic award with a stopover of more than 4 hours.

What about east coast to Hawaii and Alaska?

Notably, awards from the east coast to Alaska and Hawaii are nonexistent. You’ll be better off using Singapore miles to fly on United than trying to piece together two awards to get to Hawaii. You’ll also be better off with United for first class as the pricing on Alaska first class awards is non-competitive to Alaska and Hawaii — though good on some of the shorter routes perhaps.

A few other sweet spots

Hops within and between Zones 1, 2, and 3 also look like some really good values. While Alaska also offers good pricing on some of its shortest routes already, flights from Minneapolis to the west coast for 9,500 miles one-way and from Canada or Montana to southern California for 7,500 miles one-way look like a steal.

A few other awards will become nice values once Virgin America flights become operated by Alaska. As an example, New York to Dallas for would ring it at 7,500 miles one-way.

Note that Singapore is known for enforcing a no-backtracking rule. While Alaska will sell you a ticket from New York to Chicago via LAX, I don’t imagine Singapore will allow you to book that award.

Bottom line

It’s great to see this partnership growing to include award bookings using Singapore miles on Alaska. Since Singapore is a transfer partner of all of the major transferable currencies, it’s really easy to build up a balance of miles. Unfortunately, Singapore miles expire after 3 years, regardless of activity. Due to that rule, I generally wait to transfer to Singapore until I am ready to ticket — though transfers to Singapore are not instant, so keep that in mind if you’re looking at tight availability.

H/T: View from the Wing

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