I woke up to a very pleasant surprise this morning: Alaska Airlines announced that Singapore Airlines and its KrisFlyer loyalty program will be the newest addition to Alaska’s suite of global partners. These are two of my favorite airlines, so I’m very excited. It could also open some interesting opportunities to redeem transferable points.
Back when the merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America was first announced, I dismissed the idea that Alaska would automatically take over all of Virgin’s existing partnerships. There were too many competitive issues. And, in fact, I don’t think we’ve seen progress on a lot of those. But I did leave the door cracked for Singapore Airlines. I wasn’t sure if there’d be enough motivation to add them given existing service provided by Cathay Pacific and Qantas. I’m glad to see they made it happen.
I was not expecting Alaska to add so many other partners, such as Condor, JAL, etc. But that has happened, too. Alaska has never been part of a formal alliance. Even so, it now has so many partners around the world — and with fairly reasonable award rates — that I consider it a great place to stockpile miles.
You’ll be able to earn miles with Mileage Plan beginning September 27 when you attach your desired frequent flyer number to a Singapore Airlines flight, and vice versa. Redeeming miles for award travel on a partner carrier will not be possible until a later date (potentially months based on the experience of other new partners). The two carriers will also pursue a codeshare arrangement for more seamless travel between North America and Singapore’s international destinations.
The good news is that Singapore Airlines is already a transfer partner with several other bank loyalty programs including Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards. It’s actually one of the few international loyalty programs where I bank miles even without an immediate reason to use them.
But Alaska is not partners with any of these bank programs. Once it becomes possible to redeem miles on each other’s flights, I expect we’ll see an opportunity to transfer points, such as Ultimate Rewards, to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and then redeem them for a partner award flight on Alaska Airlines.