Alaska Miles’ Legal Boomerang with Stopover

I’m going to show you how to get a oneway to Hawaii and a later ticket to Asia… for the same price.

But this is just one of the many amazing uses of Alaska miles. With all the other airlines devaluing, and getting rid of stopovers, Alaska is a great option.

And while BOA has gotten more strict, it seems you can get the Alaska card (personal and business) if you don’t have one open.

Again, the prices are great, the earnings are good, the stopovers are great… and I’m about to show you how it gets even better.

Let me first briefly give two details that will help you understand the concept overall… then we’ll jump into the trick. Then I’ll go over some more of the trick later this week.

(Those of you who were signed up for the newsletter a few months ago, already know the basics of this trick).

 

1) Alaska allows a stopover on oneways

This effectively gives you two stopovers on a roundtrip.

However, there is a rule that makes it more difficult to use:

You are only allowed to use miles for one partner per oneway, although you can fly Alaska and 1 other partner.

 

This rule means that you really have to stopover in hubs. Like you can’t fly to Seoul on AA, and then fly to Bali on Cathay. But you could fly to Hong Kong (Cathay’s Hub) on Cathay, and then continue from Hong Kong to Bali, also on Cathay.

 

2) Routing rules are somewhat based on the award chart

This isn’t a complete view of the routing rules, but it comes into play. Which is, things allowed in their award chart are allowed.

This only make sense if you’ve seen their award chart.

 

Alaska’s award chart varies airline by airline and region by region.

Here’s an example where I selected “Africa” and “Asia” and the only result is Cathay.

Screen Shot 2016-11-20 at 1.40.16 PM

So, because it doesn’t list Emirates… you can’t fly Emirates between Africa and Asia. Which is odd, but Alaska has a lot of regions left hanging.

And it doesn’t list BA or Air France, so you can’t route through Europe.

However, if it did list British Airways, that would automatically mean that you are allowed to route through Europe on an Africa to Asia ticket.

 

So I decided to look at all the region combinations, and see if it lists any airlines with hubs that are out of the way. This is what I found…

 

Hawaii – US – Asia

When I searched Hawaii to Asia it listed American and Delta as valid options.

Hawaii – Asia on AA (oneway prices):

  • Hawaii to China = 35k/55k/67.5k
  • Hawaii to Japan / Korea = 25k – 32.5k/50k/62.5k

Hawaii to Asia on Delta (roundtrip prices):

  • 80k/140k

The reason I gave Delta prices in roundtrip, is because oneway prices are unfortunately the same. So the better deal is the roundtrip.

 

Trying with a stopover

Think about this. No AA hub is on the way from Hawaii to Asia. It’s very out of the way.

And remember you get a stopover on one-ways, and they can be as long as you want!

This means you can go to the Multi-city booking and do Hawaii to Dallas, and then Dallas to somewhere in Asia.

The prices are the exact same as a ticket from the US to Asia, or Hawaii to Asia. But this way you can get two tickets. (These are the prices I just listed above).

You can do the Hawaii ticket in winter, and the Asia ticket in summer. Or you could do it in reverse.

 

It get’s better: off-peak pricing all year

I just tried doing Hawaii to Dallas in February, and then the Dallas to Tokyo in June and it came out to 25,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2016-11-20 at 1.56.20 PM

First, the 25,000 miles price is because it’s the off-peak price.

This is such a great price, that a oneway from Hawaii to the US would be 22.5k miles on AA. Now, for nearly the same price, you can do both Hawaii to the US and then US to Asia.

 

The crazy part is that without the oneway ticket from Hawaii, just a oneway Dallas to Tokyo in June would normally cost 32.5k.

But since the ticket started in off-peak season (October 1 – April 30) with the Hawaii to US segment, it considers the second segment as part of the off-peak time, regardless of the date.

In other words, the date that the ticket starts on is what qualifies it for off-peak season.

This applies to all AA’s destinations in Asia that aren’t China.

 

Hawaii to Australia works too

There are a number of airlines listed available for Hawaii to Australia, but I’ve only been able to confirm that Qantas works… and only sometimes.

I could do HNL-LAX-SYD and HNL-SEA / LAX-SYD, but I struggled to get much else to work.

The problem is that Alaska only allows 1 partner per ticket, although you’re allowed to fly Alaska and a partner. So I could get Alaska back to Seattle from Hawaii, and then fly Qantas, but it still means there are limited options.

Qantas prices are 42.5k/55k/70k.

 

Conclusion

I think the Hawaii to Asia with a stopover in the US, is one of the best mileage deals around.

It’s two tickets, possibly cheaper than if you had just done one. Crazy good deal.

 

Tomorrow, I’ll do a part two. I’ll go over more good uses of stopovers with Alaska miles, with similar concepts.

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25 Comments

  1. Great – now AS will devalue to close this loophole. Thanks again for personally destroying every possible FF program.

    Reply
    • lol 😀
      What did I personally destroy before?

      Last time you accused me of killing a United trick that I literally never even wrote about. I asked how that made any sense to you, or for examples, and I never got a response.
      Seems like your continued accusations could come with a single example.

      Reply
  2. Can’t believe no one else has commented yet. This is pretty cool, although I suppose some will be upset that this is public domain now. One could pair this with the current $150 WOW Air flight options to Europe in spring and fly back for 20k Alaska miles plus free one-way to Hawaii in the summer and 12.5k Avios back. That’s 32.5k miles + about $200 for rt to Europe and another rt to Hawaii! Would normally be 75-100k miles and similar cash outlay.

    Reply
    • Or Hawaii to US in off-peak, and then to Europe in summer for the off-peak price.

      Yeah, you could go back and forth, tacking on Caribbean and Asia in future rounds. Gotta rotate in the Caribbean to not get tired of Hawaii. 😀

      Reply
  3. I wasn’t quite following the stopover in the US. Is it any city where AA (or Alaska flies). So I could do Kansas City?

    Reply
    • Well, it’s very YMMV – depends on the route.

      You can have Alaska and just 1 partner. So if you flew home on Alaska, you could do the next leg on AA.
      If it doesn’t work, you can always try an open jaw… so you fly home from Hawaii, and then for the trip to Hong Kong or Asia, start from ORD or SEA… or whatever works.

      But unfortunately, generally I find what works best for stopovers are the hubs.

      Reply
  4. Another trick with Alaska involves Emirates to get to Colombo or Male (middle east)…with a fun stopover…

    Reply
    • Both sound like good destinations. :-)

      Reply
  5. WoW, your brain can sure come up with some incredible ideas. love it

    Reply
    • 😀 Thanks Faye! Glad you enjoyed it, and hope it comes in handy or sparks ideas.

      Reply
  6. Great tip! I’m looking at how to get from the South Pacific to Australia, and according to the chart, there’s no way I can do that. But when I try punching in something like say NAN -> SYD, it gives me the option of Fiji Airways? If it’s not in the chart, it shouldn’t be bookable, but it somehow is. What’s with that, and are there ways to say do HNL -> APW (stopover) -> NAN, NAN -> TBU (stopover) -> SYD?

    Reply
    • Well, first, their website does some very interesting things… and it can be very inconsistent.

      Second, it often seems to be confused about what South Pacific is. So South Pacific to South Pacific is allowed on Fiji… and that price will likely include all of it’s Australian destinations.
      Destinations are not consistently in the same region with the same airline.

      With the APW stopover on the way to wherever… I don’t think it’s possible. I haven’t had good luck with that area, other than NAN. But maybe I’m missing a trick.

      I mentioned in my Miles to The Pacific Series that AA miles can be used to get around that region too, but without stopovers.

      Reply
  7. Hm, are you sure this isn’t restricted by the airline being flown? I have an award ticket booked on Iceland Air with Alaska miles and I decided to see if I can extend the layover. As soon as I go over a week layover, it gives me an error. So, at least in this instance, the stop over can’t be longer than a week.

    Reply
    • Yea, must be the Alaska/Iceland Air combo…I can do a month stop over on AA with a test itinerary.

      Reply
  8. This may make me reconsider Alaska Airlines. I flew them from Anchorage to Juneau first class and they ran out of food. Tried to get them to refund me difference in points first class to economy. They refused gave me a couple useless vouchers and I swore I would never fly them again.

    Reply
  9. There appear to be some additional restrictions. For example, a simple domestic itinerary: I can book San Francisco –> Portland (stopover) –> Seattle on a single award. But I can’t book San Francisco –> Medford, OR –> Seattle on a single award. The flight from SFO-MFR connects in Portland, as does the flight MFR-SEA, so perhaps going through Portland twice on a single award is not allowed. Or possibly “backtracking” is illegal.

    Reply
  10. Drew coming through again, you’re literally the only blog these days that still posts useful articles on how to use miles.

    Reply
  11. Great job once again Drew–I am finding this trick really useful! As always thanks for all your hard work sifting through the rules/variations :) Happy Thanksgiving to you both!

    Reply
  12. I can’t get alaska miles to book any air france or klm awards to cdg or ams from any US city.

    Reply
  13. Any data points on the US>HKG>DPS example?
    According to the maps, DPS is now in the South Pacific region, which is not available on CX. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if the AS’s IT department just isn’t talking to the Art department.

    Reply
  14. I could go Avios to get to Hawaii. What is my best option to get home from Asia?

    Reply
  15. Drew, I noted the ability to redeem w JAL. My folks live in Indonesia. I am thinking of treating them on a round trip business class to Japan. The route I am thinking is SIN-NRT (stopover), HND-KUL (end destination).

    They can buy cheap CGK-SIN and KUL-SIN with AirAsia. Last week, they were selling KUL-CGK at $16 per pax.

    If I am reading the redemption rules, correctly, the itinerary above is treated as a one way from SIN to KUL, correct? Business class will cost 25K miles? Is this a valid itinerary?

    Reply
  16. Drew – Thanks for posting this. I appreciate all your original content.

    This one has really got me thinking. The family and I are looking to hit Munich this March then take our first trip to Hawaii in August.

    From what I’ve read here and tried on Alaska’s website, it looks like I can do MUC-DFW-HON only. Net one free flight? Certainly not complaining, just asking…

    And would love an update on your new business venture…

    Reply
  17. Can you clarify which code share airlines are bookable online and which are by phone? And if/when stopovers have to be made by phone?

    Reply
  18. Wow amazing write up. Really hope they don’t change this. I’ve yet to find a more creative way to use miles “from” Hawaii. This could potentially be a great way for me to visit my family before heading out on a vacay.

    Reply

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