Currently, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan does not allow for awards on Singapore Airlines or mixed partner awards on a one-way ticket. If you want to mix partners, awards can only include Alaska Airlines and one partner in each direction of travel. Award rules on Alaska are uniquely their own.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a fantastic program which has many gems and sweet spots for award travel. Yet, it also has its own problems. Alaska Airlines is not a member of any alliance, therefore their award program is very different. For example, each partner has its own award chart. This is very limiting, because Alaska does not allow for around the world or global awards. Or awards between all regions. Instead, it is a very US to the world centric program.
One way Alaska Airlines could improve their frequent flyer program, is by allowing mixed partner awards. This would be especially helpful when traveling beyond North America. Let’s say you wanted to get to Thailand, but you can only find transpacific award space on Japan Airlines, and then intra-Asia flights on Cathy Pacific. Under Alaska’s current rules, you will need to book two awards. One from the US to Japan on JAL and then another one from Japan to Thailand on Cathy. Not only is this annoying, but it costs more miles!
Are Mixed Partner Awards Coming?
On April 9th, InsideFlyer posted an article about using Alaska miles to book Singapore Airline awards. Currently, Singapore Airlines is an Alaska Airline partner, but Alaska’s miles cannot be redeemed on Singapore Airlines. This on its own is another major flaw with Alaska Airlines, but not the point of this article. The article said that award flights with Singapore Airlines could only be booked between Male, Maldives and Cancun, Mexico. Interesting enough though, Singapore Airlines does not serve Cancun.
The article has several screenshots of the Alaska Airlines website, showing a mix award on Singapore Airlines and Condor. The flight was Male to Singapore, Singapore to Frankfurt, and then Frankfurt to Cancun. The Cancun to Frankfurt segment was operated and marketed by Condor (another Alaska partner). The other two were Singapore Airlines flights.
After reading the article on April 6th, I quickly went to Alaska’s website to see if I could reproduce this search. Unfortunately, I could not. Not only could I not find any mix itineraries, I could not find any award flights on Singapore Airlines.
Did Alaska Leak a Future Enhancement?
As of frequent user of Alaska’s website, I would say the screenshots on InsideFlyer are legitimate. This leaves me to question, did a rogue IT employee accidentally release an enhancement temporarily? Or is this something that is still being tested? We’ve seen other airlines release “enhancements” before formal announcements, only to quickly roll them back.
If Alaska is rolling out both Singapore Airlines awards and mixed partner awards, this is fantastic news for Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan frequent flyers. Especially when looking at the cost of these awards.
Incidentally, we also might have a preview at Singapore Airline award travel prices when using Alaska Airlines miles. The screenshot shows awards starting at just 35,000 miles from Southeast Asia to Mexico. Typically, Alaska Airline charges the same number of miles to the constantly United States as it does to Mexico when connecting from an overseas location.
If this is a bigger leak, 35k miles in economy on Singapore Airlines from Asia to Mexico is the same Alaska charges for AA awards. Meanwhile, 65k miles for business class awards are similarly price as Japan Airlines awards between Southeast Asia and the US.
More to come, but in the meantime, let’s hope this was a leaked enhancement for the improvement of the program!