9 Sweet Redemptions with Alaska Mileage Plan

This article was originally published in April 2018. With Alaska Airlines joining Oneworld later this year likely heralding some changes to the program, it’s time to update this list of attractive Alaska Mileage Plan redemptions to reflect the best sweet spots in the present program – consider booking these for your 2021 travels while they’re still around!

For Canadians looking to travel the world on points, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is probably the second most useful bona fide frequent flyer program after Aeroplan, although it hardly ever gets any of the spotlight.

By eschewing the traditional zone-by-zone award chart and instead giving its members the versatility of separate redemption charts for each of its wide range of airline partners, Alaska delivers excellent value that frequent travellers would do well to capture.

Some of these sweet spots are immediately apparent if you study the partner redemption charts, while others are more reminiscent of tricks that you keep up at your sleeve to deploy at a moment’s notice. In any case, I hope you find this refresher helpful in terms of keeping up with all the ways to craft some incredible trips using Alaska Mileage Plan.

In This Post

1. Cathay Pacific First Class to South Africa or the Middle East for 70,000 miles

Let’s start with a fan favourite and perhaps the single most valuable redemption opportunity available to Canadians at this moment. For just 70,000 Alaska miles, you can fly one-way on Cathay Pacific First Class between North America (likely a US gateway airport) and either South Africa or the Middle East, with a stopover in Hong Kong of up to 364 days.

There’s just so much to love about this redemption. Cathay Pacific First Class is simply incredible, featuring world-class dining and service onboard an unbelievably cozy First Class cabin and suite. Having flown this product thrice so far, I can safely say that it’s given me some of the best flights of my life.

You can check out my review of my first Cathay Pacific First Class flight from February 2018, as well as a more recent review of Cathay Pacific’s refreshed soft product in March 2020.


Then you’ve got the possibility of a free stopover on a one-way ticket, which is indeed a huge selling point of the Alaska program overall. As a point of comparison, a program like Aeroplan would charge 105,000 miles for a one-way to Africa or the Middle East, and you wouldn’t be allowed to have a stopover.

Between Hong Kong and South Africa, Cathay doesn’t offer First Class, so you’ll have to “settle” for business class. However, this is still a splendid way to get to a place that’s traditionally quite challenging to visit on points. Traditionally, Cathay flies Hong Kong–Johannesburg year-round and Hong Kong–Cape Town on a seasonal basis.

Similarly, Cathay serves Tel Aviv, Dubai, and Bahrain (as a fifth-freedom tag-on from Dubai), and you can leverage this opportunity to fly to the Middle East in a mix of First Class and business class for just 70,000 miles as well. From these places you can typically find cheap cash or award flights to Europe, so if you ever needed to get to Europe with a stopover in Hong Kong (or elsewhere in Asia!), this is an option you should keep in the back of your mind.

Another noteworthy point about this redemption is that if you’re doing a stopover in Hong Kong, it’s a better deal to redeem for travel TO rather than FROM North America. That’s because you’d then be flying First Class on the outbound from Hong Kong and therefore would get access to Cathay’s incredible First Class lounges: The Wing and The Pier.

The Pier First Class Lounge by Cathay Pacific

If travelling in the opposite direction, you’d only be able to access the business class lounges, since the flights to South Africa or the Middle East don’t feature First Class. (If you’re not doing a stopover, you can disregard this point, since you typically get access to First Class lounges if connecting off a First Class flight on the same day.)

Lastly, you can also do the whole trip in business class, for a lower rate of 62,500 miles one-way. While it’s true that First Class is a better deal, requiring only an incremental 7,500 miles, award space is much tougher to find in First Class: Cathay Pacific generally only releases one First Class award seat to partners on every flight, with the remaining seats subject to the whims of last-minute availability (although the Asia Miles waitlist trick can certainly help your chances).

2. Cathay Pacific First Class to Oceania for 80,000 miles

Similar to the above, booking a flight from North America to Australia or New Zealand in a mix of Cathay Pacific First Class and business class is another awesome deal, even if it’s slightly more expensive at 80,000 Alaska miles one-way.

For comparison, most other frequent flyer programs would charge in the range of 80,000 miles for a one-way flight to Australia in business class all the way, but Alaska allows you to fly the transpacific segment in the ever-excellent Cathay Pacific First Class cabin instead, as well as add a stopover of extended duration in Hong Kong. If you only wanted to fly business class all the way, that would cost you 60,000 miles one-way.

Within Oceania, Cathay Pacific’s route network consists of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Auckland. Most of these are served by their relatively new Airbus A350s, which offer lie-flat business class seats with onboard wifi.

Like before, if you’re planning a Hong Kong stopover, it’s a better idea to book the eastbound journey so that you’re departing Hong Kong in First Class and get to sample Cathay Pacific’s world-class ground experience. And since Alaska Mileage Plan works on a one-way redemption basis, you can always combine this redemption with another one in the opposite direction (perhaps Fiji Airways, as we’ll discuss below, or even the Etihad Apartments for 110,000 Aeroplan miles).

Cathay Pacific A350 business class

3. Japan Airlines First Class to Asia for 70,000–75,000 miles

Besides Cathay Pacific, the other very popular partner redemption for Alaska miles is Japan Airlines. A First Class flight to Japan or Korea would cost 70,000 miles one-way, while a journey to anywhere else in Asia would cost 75,000 miles one-way (oh and of course, you get a stopover in Tokyo of up to 364 days as well).

Enjoy a dazzling gastronomic experience aboard JAL First Class before parlaying that seamlessly into the gastronomic heaven that is the streets of Tokyo. After you’ve had your fill of Japan, connect onto your JAL business class flight – featuring the remarkable Sky Suites – to New Delhi, all for 70,000 miles. As a point of comparison, Aeroplan would charge 105,000 miles for a similar redemption, and you wouldn’t be allowed to have a stopover either.


Another interesting routing possibility is adding a free open-jaw between Tokyo and Osaka, before continuing onwards to other points in Asia – all for a maximum of 75,000 miles one-way.

Note: As reported by The Points Guy, Japan Airlines First Class awards after March 31, 2021 are currently not bookable with Alaska miles due to a change in the back-end fare code on Japan Airlines’s part. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon.

4. Alaska Airlines flights within North America from 5,000 miles

The above redemptions no doubt represent the crown jewels of Alaska Mileage Plan, and are usually the two most talked about opportunities for transforming your miles into unforgettable trips. But there’s plenty more to love about the program, so let’s take a look, starting a little closer to home.

Last year, Alaska implemented region-based redemptions for flights on their own metal (i.e., flights operated by Alaska Airlines themselves, as opposed to partner redemptions). Flights less than 700 miles in distance could be booked for as little as 5,000 Alaska miles one-way.

Ultimately this redemption is going to be much more useful for those of you living in the western parts of Canada, since Alaska operates flights from Seattle to Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary, and Edmonton. For Albertans especially, you can’t beat a weekend getaway in Washington State for just 10,000 miles round-trip.

To make things more interesting, PointsNerd discovered a while ago that the way Alaska calculates distances is a little funky. Specifically, it appears that for some awards, only the distance between the origin and the destination is taken into account, and not the flown distance counting the connection in Seattle.

For example, Calgary and Chicago are 1,385 miles apart, whereas the actual distance you’d be flying (via Seattle) is 2,173 miles. However, Alaska still treats this as a flight under the 1,400-mile threshold, giving you the option to redeem this one-way journey for only 7,500 miles.

Lastly, an excellent place to use take advantage of this opportunity is – surprise, surprise – within Alaska itself! Alaska Airlines is the chief airline dominating this part of the world, and as we all know, cash prices of flights in remote areas like this tend to be quite expensive.

If you’re interested in seeing the captivating beauty of the Alaskan coastline or visiting the indigenous communities of the Aleutian Islands, leverage the ability to redeem award tickets based on distance flown and you can really squeeze some killer value out of your Alaska miles.

5. American Airlines to South America from 20,000 miles

Alaska’s mileage chart with American Airlines provides some excellent value for travelling to certain parts of South America. According to the chart’s footnotes, “South America Zone 2” includes Argentina, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and the redemption rates to this zone are roughly on par with what Aeroplan would offer.

The value lies within “South America Zone 1”, which includes Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Guyana. Alaska only charges 20,000 miles in economy class and 30,000 miles in business class for a one-way trip.

Peru being listed in “Zone 1” is an interesting case in particular: many other award programs group Peru among the “Southern South America” countries, making a redemption to Peru disproportionately expensive in terms of miles. So if you’re looking to hit up Machu Picchu in the near future, redeeming Alaska miles for travel on American Airlines is a possibility you should definitely be exploring.

Similarly, American Airlines operates a flight between Miami and Manaus, a city in northeastern Brazil that’s situated in the heart of the Amazon and designated as “South America Zone 1”. If an Amazonian adventure is something you’d be keen on trying, I can think of no better way to redeem miles for your journey into the heart of the world’s largest jungle, especially since every other frequent flyer program out there would lump Manaus together with the rest of Brazil and charge you accordingly.

6. Fiji Airways to the South Pacific from 40,000 miles

Some parts of the world are more difficult than others to redeem miles for travel; Australia and New Zealand is one such example. Others, such as the South Pacific, are notoriously difficult. So what if you could knock off both of these in one award trip?

One of Alaska’s chief selling points is the sheer diversity of its airline partners, and Fiji Airlines is perhaps the partner that espouses this notion the most. For just 40,000 miles in economy class or 55,000 miles in business class one-way, you can fly from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Australia or New Zealand, with a stopover in Fiji. Keep in mind that you can add Alaska-operated flights to your itinerary to complete the trip from your home airport.

This is a slick redemption for many reasons. First of all, most programs would charge in the vicinity of 80,000 miles for business class to Oceania, so 55,000 miles is an absolute steal. And a stopover in Fiji on the way to Australia or New Zealand makes for all the ingredients of an affordable yet unforgettable trip, since the South Pacific islands are otherwise quite expensive to reach. 

Fiji Airways is also the most convenient option for using points to get to some of the more remote regions in the South Pacific, such as Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands. Intra-regional travel is only 17,500 miles in economy class each-way, another solid proposition for booking flights which tend to be quite expensive if bought with cash.

7. Hainan Airlines business class to Asia for 50,000 miles

Here’s another nifty airline that Alaska has linked up with to deliver a great redemption opportunity to its members. The Hainan proposition isn’t quite that it’ll deliver as luxurious a travel experience as Cathay or JAL, but rather that it’s very well-rounded in terms of getting a strong value out of your miles.

First of all, while Hainan’s business class product isn’t cutting-edge, by all accounts it offers excellent food and service onboard, and makes for a comfortable way to cross the Pacific. Accordingly, the mileage cost is also very reasonable – flying trans-Pacific business class for 50,000 miles is one heck of a deal; a program like Aeroplan would charge you 75,000 miles for a similar journey.

Hainan Airlines business class

Hainan Airlines business class

Not only that, but availability on Hainan is much more plentiful compared to Cathay and JAL, since those two airlines tend to have their award seats snapped up many months in advance. Furthermore, you of course get to stopover in Beijing for up to 364 days (and if your stopover is less than 6 days long, you can even enjoy visa-free transit in Beijing as long as your onward flight is headed to a different country).

And as if there weren’t enough to love already about redeeming Alaska miles on Hainan, the airline also flies nonstop to both Toronto and Calgary, making it a convenient way for Canadians to get to Asia without having to transit the US.

The one caveat about this possibility is that it does come with some fuel surcharges, typically in the range of US$200 per direction. That’s not unreasonable, I’d say, but it’s worth a mention since it might tip the scales in favour of redeeming your miles on Cathay or JAL instead.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Hainan Airlines economy class is also a great deal, at only 30,000 miles one-way from North America to Asia – savings of at least 7,500 miles when compared to Aeroplan.

8. Singapore Airlines business class to Japan for 80,000 miles

Alaska Airlines and Singapore Airlines formalized the ability to redeem Alaska miles on Singapore flights in late 2019, and have set up a rather unique relationship in terms of the value proposition.

While Singapore Airlines flights will command a relatively higher price point compared to other redemptions you could make with your Alaska miles, they are also accessible in far greater numbers in terms of award availability patterns.

Therefore, Singapore Airlines likely wouldn’t be my first choice for a high-value Alaska redemption. However, it could be the case, if you’ve chosen to travel on a particular day during peak season, that none of the above redemptions with Cathay Pacific or JAL are available, and the best option you’ll find is redeeming 80,000–100,000 Alaska miles (depending on whether your trip ends in Japan or Singapore) for ample award space in Singapore Airlines business class.

Singapore Airlines business class

(Plus, I know there’s always a small community of hardcore Singapore Airlines fanboys out there – unless you earn KrisFlyer miles, Alaska might be your best bet at booking Singapore Airlines’s premium cabins using partner miles.)

However, the reason that Singapore Airlines is relatively low on this list is because, despite the ample award space when the partnership was first announced, there is actually little-to-zero award space available at the moment. This is likely due to Singapore Airlines’s uncertain long-haul route network during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hopefully the award space will come back online sometime soon in order to give us the opportunity to take advantage of a partnership whose days, given Alaska’s imminent entry into Oneworld and Singapore Airlines’s proud membership of Star Alliance – appear to be numbered.

9. An Emirates First Class Extravaganza!

Before March 2016, Alaska used to be everyone’s favourite program for booking Emirates First Class, before all of a sudden an overnight devaluation was implemented and the cost of many awards doubled in price. Nowadays, Emirates First Class awards are disproportionately expensive, and usually it’s better to try to use another program – such as JAL Mileage Bank – if you really want to try it.

Nevertheless, there’s still a great trick to know for redeeming Alaska miles for the most ostentatious First Class cabin in the world, if you have the miles to burn and would like to splurge on a truly epic experience across both the older Emirates A380 First Class with the onboard shower and bar, and the newer Emirates 777 First Class with the fully enclosed suites, ultra-modern interiors, virtual LED windows, and disco lights.

Emirates First Class

Emirates A380 First Class

I’ve covered this sweet spot in detail back when I booked it for myself in May 2019.

Basically, Alaska usually charges 150,000 miles for an Emirates First Class award between the Middle East and North America. But by taking advantage of Emirates’s intriguing route network, you can book something like Dubai–Geneva–Dubai–Toronto, all in quick succession of each other, and experience three flights on Emirates First Class for the price of one!

To book this, you need to get a little creative with the way you search for the itinerary on the multi-city tool:

Note that this routing possibility doesn’t actually allow you to spend any meaningful time in your European point of turnaround, nor in Dubai when you’re passing through. You’re limited to a 24-hour layover in both cases.

Therefore, it’s really only useful for those who’d like to indulge in 27+ hours of Emirates First Class purely for the sake of it – but I know there’s plenty of you like myself out there. 😉

Emirates 777 New First Class


Alaska Mileage Plan is a truly underrated program. Its miles derive value from the program’s unparalleled diversity in airline partners, giving you the option of redeeming miles – at extremely favourable rates, no less – for travel on so many partners to so many regions of the world.

As Alaska looks set to join Oneworld in late 2020, the future of some of these sweet spots is looking uncertain. While it’s pure guesswork at this moment, most observers agree that some award rates are likely to increase (such as the Cathay Pacific First Class for 70,000 miles), while some partnerships may be phased out entirely. If you’d like to redeem Alaska miles for truly outstanding value under any of these sweet spots with a view to travel in 2021, now’s the time to take action.

  1. Sonny

    you should update the post since there’s no more possible to book EK first class with Alaska Miles. (neither other porgram than EK itself)

  2. EinDC

    It appears that you can no longer use BA or Qantas website to find Alaska Airline’s award seat availability of Cathay seats (since you cant search Alaska and have to call. For a series of dates Im seeing business class seats on BA and Qantas’s website but the Alaska phone agent is not seeing them.

    How do you recommend I proceed?

  3. Raul

    Hey, is the 3 month rule before re-applying for this card on mbna’s website?
    I could not find it. I already have the mbna WE card and was thinking of changing it to a no-fee card and then apply for a new one.

    Just curious where the 3 month rule came from, thanks.

    1. Mak YYZ

      I am on the same boat and already downloaded to no fee rewards plat plus card and waiting for this new promo.
      even if there is 3 month rule.. i will be short by 4 days as the new promo expires on jan 1,2022 where as my downgrade happend on Oct 5th 2021
      any dp of getting the sub with in the 90days rule will be appreciated

  4. Mak YYZ

    Hi Ricky,
    It looks Manaus (MAO) is not longer offered by AA from MIA.
    Probably you can fix it or leave as is as AA might bring back post pandemic..you never know..for now its not available in this route.

  5. Jan

    With Alaska Airlines joining the oneworld alliance, do you think they will be changing this reward chart? And if so, would it still be worth it to try to save up points right now Cathay business class

  6. Lechron James

    Are you sure about USA-India on JL F for 70K I see 75K on the redemption chart on Alaska’s website.

    1. Ricky YVR

      I’m late here, but I’ve corrected this – Alaska must have moved India back to the “Rest of Asia” zone at some point.

  7. Timbo2

    JFK or ORD via LAX to NAN (stop) to BNE for only 55K in J….a deal. Just waiting for someone to discover a vaccine.

  8. CT YOW

    Thanks, Ricky for this update. Are there still any sweet spots to fly Intra-Asia with Alaska MP redemption? I know there was a sweet spot for SIN-HKG-KUL, with a stopover in HKG. but it’s gone now.

  9. ben

    Hey Ricky, is there any other trick to get to Aus/NZ for only 150k alaska miles now that EK no longer flies SIN-CMB route? Thanks!

    1. Scott Strang

      Best bet now is to take advantage of their AKL-DPS route. YYZ-DXB-AKL-DPS is 180k Alaska Miles.

    2. Ricky YVR

      Not that I’m aware of at the moment. Let’s hope Emirates adds some more interesting fifth-freedom routes soon!

  10. Aleks

    Is Emirates first class to Sri Lanka via Australia still bookable?

  11. Guy

    Can we fly YVR to Bali on Cathay?
    When I look to Alaska award chart, Bali do not show on Alaska’s little map when selecting ‘Asia’; it seems highlighted on the map only by selecting ‘South Pacific’… but then Cathay is not listed (only Fiji and Korean)… I’m trying to confirm the number of miles required in business.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yes, you should definitely be able to do that. The little map isn’t really accurate.

      1. guy

        OK so Bali is 50 000 Alaska miles on Cathay, right?

  12. Garfinder

    I’m trying to find the Toronto Peru redemption kin economy, but no matter what dates I search there’s only mixed cabin available at 30k one way. Annoying since only one of the two flights would actually be business. Also I’m guessing certain dates are blacked out? I can’t find anything around christmas/ new year through search. Not really sure what to do with my points.


    1. Ricky YVR

      Not "blacked out" per se, but likely the fact that American Airlines doesn’t want to release those seats as awards since they’re confident of selling them to paying customers.

      I’d say an economy class redemption to Peru is still good, since the business class on these flights isn’t really anything special anyway.

  13. Al

    Hi Ricky,

    If I just got the WE Card 2 months ago (and hit the MSR), is it possible to Product Switch over to a No Fee card, and then apply in a month for the Platinum Plus? Or is the time frame too aggressive. Thanks!

    1. Ricky YVR

      I think that would be possible. MBNA is rather lenient on these things.

  14. Matt

    Hey what cycle of churn do you recommand for MBNA MC? How long should I keep the card to cancel and how long should I wait to reply? I’ve churned this card 3 time over few year but it seems too passive.

    1. Ricky YVR

      General rule of thumb is hold 6 months, wait 3 months. MBNA seems quite lenient, so going more aggressive than that might indeed pay off.

  15. Dan

    Hey Ricky,
    Is this JFK-DXB-MEL-SIN-CMB routing still available ? Cant seem to search for it ?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Nope, Emirates no longer flies the SIN-CMB route.

  16. bingo

    Hey Ricky, for the JFK-DXB-MEL-SIN-CMB routing, are you limited to those layovers being a short period? If not, are you able to check-in your luggage and grab it in MEL?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yeah, you can’t have stopovers unless it’s in DXB. You could probably short-check your luggage to MEL if it’s an overnight layover. Note that Emirates doesn’t fly SIN-CMB anymore, so that reduces the value of this sweet spot.

  17. Guy

    Those are so clever examples! I’m trying to package flights in business class from south-east of BC to Bali (DPS), stay there and visit a couple of islands during 3 weeks and then visit Viet-Nam from south to north, during one month and then fly into Japan for 3 weeks, before flying into Montreal. Goal is to use minimum miles and pay minimum surcharges/taxes.
    I was thinking:
    1) using Alaska to position flight from Spokane to Vancouver or Seatle
    2) then Alaska on Cathay to Bali (maybe with a 2d stop-over in H-Kong, but not really interested)
    3) find a way to fly to Saigon
    4) Alaska on Japan Airlines to Tokyo (stop-over 3 weeks), manage a couple of local flights (using Low-cost, or other Alaska miles on JAL, or Avios??), and then continue with JAL to either Chicago, NY or Boston to find a connection to Montreal.
    Any comments?

    Would you have any ideas to be creative with:
    – the flight from Bali (or Lombok LOP or Labuan Bajo LBJ) to reach Saigon. Avios? Low cost? Through KUL or CGK?
    – how to include internal flights in Japan by the same token? Instead of flying from HAN>NRT on JAL, move to Taipei to use the interconnections on JAL between Taipei-Osaka KIX-Sapporo CTS and NRT to somehow get stopovers in those 3 areas ??

  18. Brad

    Is there any point to collecting Mileage Plan if I live in Winnipeg? I know Alaska doesn’t fly here. I’m most interested in first class flights to Asia.

  19. Mike

    Does Alaska have Mini RTW Options or Stopovers of over 300 days?

    1. Ricky YVR

      No Mini-RTW, but you can have one free stopover on a one-way booking of up to 364 days.

    2. bingo

      They should, or at least a stopover that you can push well into the year; I believe Ricky has a post mentioning the Cathay routing of Hong Kong-Vancouver-New York, and if you live in Vancouver, you can take the Vancouver-New York leg later on in the year.

  20. Jason

    Does the Emirates routing via Australia with a destination of Colombo still work? When I search on the Alaska site, no availability is coming up, even for economy class.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Unfortunately, I believe Emirates recently discontinued their service between Singapore and Colombo, which kills off that possibility. You can now only route back as far as Asia.

  21. Mike

    How has this now changed with Mariott Merger? Is the only practical way to earn through Bonus and regular spend?

    "Before we begin, a reminder of the best ways to earn Alaska miles here in Canada:

    The MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard gives you 25,000 Alaska miles upon spending $1,000 in the first three months; this card can also be “churned” repeatedly so as to obtain the bonus multiple times

    SPG Starpoints can be transferred to Alaska Mileage Plan at a 1:1 ratio; you also get a bonus of 5,000 miles for every chunk of 20,000 Starpoints you transfer

    Marriott Travel Packages allow you to trade in 270,000 Marriott Rewards points for 120,000 Alaska miles, PLUS 7 nights at a Category 1–5 hotel

    1. Ricky YVR

      You can still transfer points via Marriott (now at a 60,000:25,000 ratio, taking into account the 1:3 conversion from SPG), as well as through the Marriott Travel Packages. However, the Travel Packages have been devalued significantly in the new program, meaning that they aren’t nearly as great value anymore.

  22. Val

    Hi Ricky,
    Avid reader of your blog here. Thanks very much for the valuable information you put out there! I now have enough points for a flight from Canada to Japan in First or Business class , and I am trying to book a seat on Alaska’s website, but… what a let down! There is NO availability whatsoever from Eastern Canada (Montreal, Toronto) or even Boston, other than mixed cabin with the long leg of the flight in coach… I have tried every date from January to August, no luck. Ricky, how do you find those amazing seats?? I would very much like to enjoy the fruit of your advice, which I have been following for over a year now… 🙂

    1. Ricky YVR

      Hey Val,

      Alaska doesn’t operate flights to Toronto or Montreal, and also doesn’t let you combine multiple partners in one reward. This means that you basically can’t redeem Alaska miles for a Japan Airlines First/Business class award to Japan starting from Eastern Canada – you have to start from the US and book a separate ticket to that US gateway.

      From the US gateways, space on Japan Airlines in business/First is not exactly plentiful, but it’s certainly there. For example, First Class for 2 passengers is available ORD–NRT on Jul 1 or Jul 6, and business class for 2 passengers is available on Jul 8 or Jul 9. The farther in advance you look, the better your chances of securing the best seats.

  23. francois

    thanks. I had hoped Alaska would have some decent business awards, but it seems it mainly for first class. I’ll skip the card then . much appreciate the work

    1. Ricky YVR

      Cathay and JAL business class are pretty great as well. It’s not that the value isn’t good for business class (it is!) just that the value is SO good for First Class that business class sometimes gets glossed over.

  24. amir nakhuda

    Hey Ricky,

    Thanks for posting this! There are rumours that cathay might be pulling out of Alaska. Do you think this is a possibility?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Partner airline changes are always a possibility for any program. Until we hear anything official though, I wouldn’t put too much faith in rumours.

  25. Tim

    Hi Ricky!
    Thank you for all of the great tips! I was wondering, based on my churning schedule, I believe I can redeem for a CX J or F one way trip to australia. However, I’m stuck for the return – do you have any recommendations on which program would be best for me to get back to canada? Thanks!

    1. Ricky YVR

      If you’re doing Alaska in one direction only, combine it with an Aeroplan trip on the way back! You could fly any of Singapore Airlines, EVA Air, ANA, etc. and experience their outstanding business class cabins as well. You can’t do any stopovers on a one-way, but could work in a few long layovers here and there.

      1. Tim

        Thank you, that’s a great idea! I definitely want to try a trans-pac on EVA Air.

        Do you have any experience booking with SQ? Online sources suggest that they rarely release availability to partners but that was dated a few years ago, I want to try their J class from australia to SIN.

        1. Ricky YVR

          I recently booked SQ J on my crazy Aeroplan trip for next year. Totally doable between Australia and SIN (I had booked to PER with the new 787-10 business class).

  26. Claire

    "You can fly from Singapore to Tokyo, stay for up to 364 days, and then fly to Kuala Lumpur. Alaska treats this routing as a one-way redemption, even though it’s for all intents and purposes a roundtrip flight "

    As for the layover case in Japan as above, would I be able to take my luggages out or I would only see my luggage again in KUL? because I would like to spend a week in Japan and a carry on bag would not carry as much as I would like…

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yes, you can check your bags to Tokyo, since it’s still considered a stopover and therefore makes perfect sense that you’ll be needing your bags.

  27. Russ

    Great article. Living in southern Ontario. Interested in the American Airlines redemption to Peru. Would love to fly out of dtw but also would consider yyz. Would this be possible?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Should be possible, as American Airlines flies from Toronto to quite a few destinations.

  28. Kyle

    Great article. Fiji is definitely next up for us unless we get can get the ultimate stopover for YVR residents, HKG-YVR-JFK with YVR being the stopover and using the YVR-JFK leg later in the year so you get two trips in F for the price of one. Of course, you need to get to or already be in HKG for that.

    Thanks for the reminder of the diversity of the Alaska program. There’s a reason we love its churnability in Canada.

  29. Ashwin

    Can we do stopover in DXB or any other city while booking Emirates rewards ?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yes, you can stopover in DXB. There are also a handful of other cities where you can stopover, but they’re not quite as useful: CMB, MLE, LUN, ACC, BKK. They tend to be cities where Emirates operates some fifth-freedom flights onwards to other destinations.

      1. Mike

        When searching up the Emirates combination, would you have to call to force the stopover in the particular city you want or is it only for two segments at a the airlines hub? I noticed when you search JFK-MEL-CMB or MLE, it would not combine or link the segments together when separating the searches.

        1. Ricky YVR

          If you can’t get a route to show up on the search engine, but it should be bookable in theory (i.e., no layovers in the same city twice and stopovers in one of the allowed cities indicated above), then you can try your luck calling in to book.

  30. Bernartd

    Thanks Ricky. Love those kind of reviews. very informative.

  31. Amy

    Very informative, just what I was interested in. I just started reading about all the amazing things you can do with points. I have always just stuck to one card until the Marriot card was discontinued. I have started with the spg and will also apply for the Alaskan MC. My goal is to redeem a one way ticket in business class from Toronto to Australia. Should I be focusing on Alaskan miles to redeem on Cathay flights? Still new to this. Thank you

  32. Amy

    Very informative, just what I was interested in. I just started reading about all the amazing things you can do with points. I have always just stuck to one card until the Marriot card was discontinued. I have started with the spg and will also apply for the Alaskan MC. My goal is to redeem a one way ticket in business class from Toronto to Australia. Should I be focusing on Alaskan miles to redeem on Cathay flights? Still new to this. Thank you

    1. Ricky YVR

      Hey Amy,

      Business class from Toronto to Australia would certainly be doable with Cathay, and would cost you 60,000 Alaska miles for a one-way ticket. You could also look at Aeroplan, whose miles are easier to earn, where you’d get charged 80,000 miles. Note that you would be able to do a stopover in HKG with the Alaska/Cathay option, but Aeroplan doesn’t allow stopovers on one-way awards.

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