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Alaska Cuts Free Stopovers on Intra-Asia Award Tickets

Nov. 1, 2019
Reward Optimization, Travel
Alaska Airlines Makes Changes to Stopovers on Some Award Tickets
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There are many reasons to love the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. One of the most notable features of its award chart is that it allows stopovers on one-way bookings. Many other airlines don’t offer stopovers at all, or only offer them on round-trip bookings.

However, recent changes could limit the way you use your Alaska Airlines miles if you want to include a stopover on certain awards. Here’s what you need to know.

Alaska has cut stopovers on intra-Asia awards

Alaska Mileage Plan has silently eliminated the ability to book flights with stopovers when booking flights within Asia. We found this out from a footnote on their award chart while researching redemption rates.

What this means

Previously, it was possible to book one-way flights from one Asian city to another with a stopover in between. This made it possible to book a multi-city trip for the cost of a one-way ticket every time you booked a flight. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option for travel within the Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian and Indian regions of Alaska’s award chart.

This limitation was set shortly after the long-anticipated announcement that you could finally redeem your Alaska Airlines miles with Singapore Airlines. Up until a few weeks ago, their partnership only allowed you to earn Alaska miles through flights on Singapore Airlines.

» Learn more: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Your complete guide

It’s not all bad news

While this limitation definitely puts a damper on the excitement of booking Singapore Airline flights with your Alaska miles, the good news is that this condition has only been implemented on flights within Asia. At least so far.

You can still book a stopover on international flights, even if Asia is your destination. For example, you could fly from New York to Bangkok, with a stopover in Tokyo, as long as you can find a flight with available award seats.

You can also still do this on other international and domestic flights by using the multi-city option on the award flight search tool on alaskaair.com. The tool is fairly intuitive and easy to use, but sometimes the easiest way to find a flight is by talking with an Alaska Airlines reservation agent over the phone. In the case of Cathay Pacific and LATAM, you’ll have to do this anyway, as these flights cannot be booked online.

The bottom line

The main issue with this new condition is that it came with no notice — it was simply added as a footnote in the award chart. Of course, airlines have the right to change their terms and conditions as they see fit, but some customers may not take this well.

With the introduction of Singapore Airlines redemption possibilities and the nixing of Intra-Asia stopovers, it seems the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program is undergoing some significant changes. With the airline remaining silent on the matter, there’s no way to know for sure what those changes will ultimately look like.

If you’re looking to maximize your Alaska miles, it might be a good idea to redeem them sooner rather than later, especially if you already know when and where you want to travel.

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