Don’t get too excited about that Singapore miles on Alaska announcement

Introduction

There were a lot of blog posts last week that now you can redeem Singapore miles on Alaska air and how it’ll only run you 12K miles one way to Hawaii.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have some orphaned Singapore miles due to a TYP shutdown scare, so I’m glad there’s a way for me to finally use those miles, but the likelihood of me actually redeeming Singapore miles on Alaska is very low because no one has blogged about the diminishing low level award availability on Alaska since they went quasi-distance based.  They’re not even the cheapest airline out of Seattle anymore.  I was booking some flights for 2 friends lately to JFK and SFO and both times, Alaska wasn’t the cheapest (Jetblue and United respectively.)  If you’re not loyal to one airline (like the majority of flyers who want just the cheapest flight,) then you may not be flying Alaska out of Seattle anymore.

 

Seattle to Hawaii

To redeem BA Avios or Singapore miles on Alaska metal, it has to be the lowest award level available.  That means you need to see a 17.5K one way flight from SEA-HNL.  I pulled up mid December availability for 2 people:

 

Don’t get too excited about that 17.5K OAK connection because apparently the Singapore award chart is only for non-stop travel. Now if you live in SF, then this is great for you because that flight would be 12K SQ miles.  For the Seattle folks, I’d have to book it as two awards (either 2 SQ or a mix of an AS and SQ.)  Random February:

 

Random May:

When the calendar opens for end of September 2018.  There was availability on Aug 30 but only 1 flight had availability on the 29th.  Nothing on August 31.

 

You are better off paying cash

If you’re flying with 2 people, you are probably better off using a companion fare and paying cash.  Let’s go back to the first example of the random December flight since that’s more realistic (this is when most people would book December flights, not May 2018 or September 2018 flights.)

Let’s say you book the 9:20AM flight for 2 people using the free companion pass.  You’d be paying about $414 + ~$50 in fees = $456 total for 2 people.  Let’s say you miraculously found low level award availability; that’d cost you about 24K SQ miles for the both of you.  That gives you a valuation of 1.9c, which is great but not Suites level valuation.  Plus remember there are other factors here like: 1) there was no low level availability and 2) I could take the 6pm flight or the Monday flight for $350 for 2 (1.45c valuation) and 3) I also have to get home from Hawaii, so good luck finding low level for that too.  This isn’t even factoring in the Merrill Plus or Flexperks “discount.”  Plus, cash bookings gets me to Hawaii in December (miles booking lets my ass freeze at home.)

I can tell you that out of my 10-12 segments I’ve flown this year on Alaska metal, only 1 used Alaska miles.  Most of the time, paying cash + companion fare is a much better deal.

 

Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy this option exists, but practically, it’s as valuable as a TYP to Hilton conversion.  I’m not going to transfer MR or TYP to SQ for this play!

  • New to FF

    I’m just starting to look at flights for 2 to Kauai for a wedding in early August. I was hoping to use some Avios since I’m flying from Portland, but there don’t seem to be direct flights and of course there’s the low level availability issue. Looks like I’ll be using the companion fare as you mentioned. The other decision is for 5 nights at the Sheraton, does it make sense to use Prestige for 4th night free or 64K SPG? I’d need to MS another 12K as I’m only sitting on 52K.

  • J. Greisman

    You gotta use your Singapore miles somewhere though. It’s very annoying that they can’t be extended. So I guess the moral of the story is that something is still better than nothing.