As you probably know by now, I am a HUGE fan of Alaska Airlines and their Partner Redemptions. In fact, I’ve written a very extensive series on how to redeem on partner airlines.
Well today, Alaska has once again proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it is THE MOST powerful program for Canadians, especially if you live on the West Coast.
This is an excerpt from the official announcement that can be found here (the emphasis is mine):
SEATTLE, Aug. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Alaska Airlines announced today that Singapore Airlines will be its newest Global Partner. Members of Alaska Mileage Plan and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer loyalty programs will begin earning miles on each other’s flights beginning Sept. 27. Mileage Plan members will be able to redeem miles for travel awards on Singapore Airlines-operated flights at a later date.
In addition, the two carriers will enact a codeshare partnership, pending government approval, which will allow guests booking through Singapore Airlines to travel on both airlines and enjoy seamless reservations and ticketing, one-stop check-in, baggage checked to final destination and coordinated flight schedules.
What Does This Mean?
This isn’t the first rodeo for Alaska in terms of signing up a new partner. In fact, their latest partnership with JAL was officially announced on June 29, 2016. The partnership started with the ability to earn miles on Alaska when flying on JAL and vice versa. It later allowed award bookings with Alaska Miles on December 6, 2016.
It took just over 5 months to be able to book awards but once you were able to, it opened up a world of possibilities on an excellent airline. In fact, I wrote about some great redemptions on JAL in my series and suffice it to say, redemptions are ridiculously good.
My hope is that the negotiations for the award redemptions on Singapore Airlines are faster but there’s no knowing exactly how long it will take.
Currently, there are only 4 cities in North America that are serviced by Singapore Airlines and I personally expect all of these routes to be opened up for Alaska Partner Redemptions but that’s just my guess. The cities serviced by Singapore Airlines (SQ) are:
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Houston (IAH)
- New York (JFK)
While this doesn’t seem all that great, there are some exciting possibilities here. First off, all the above cities are reachable through Alaska’s network of Alaska flights and Virgin flights. If you recall, for Alaska redemptions, you are allowed to fly the partner airline (in this case Singapore Airlines) and Alaska’s own flights which include Alaska and Virgin flights.
So for example, from Calgary, you can fly on an award from Calgary to Seattle and then to any of the above airports with a direct flight. So while there is a bit of legwork involved to catch a Singapore flight, I STRONGLY believe that it’s worth it. Also, remember a flight like YYC-SEA-LAX-NRT would be considered one redemption.
Singapore Airlines is known for flying a lot of Fifth Freedom Flights, and flights from North America are no exception. You should also keep in mind that Alaska redemptions also allow for you to stop in a hub city and then fly onward to another destination serviced by the partner. I’ll provide some interesting possibilities after I work through the routes for each city.
With Singapore Airlines, you can fly to both Hong Kong (HKG) and Singapore (SIN) from San Francisco with the HKG flight being the Fifth Freedom Flight.
Singapore Airlines flies from Los Angeles to both Seoul (ICN) and Tokyo (NRT) with both of these flights being Fifth Freedom Flights.
Houston is probably the most interesting routing because it just seems so random. You can fly from Houston (IAH) to Manchester (MAN) in the UK. This route has been around for about a year but I still find it fascinating.
Sticking with the random route theme, New York (JFK) joins the party by flying a Fifth Freedom Route to Frankfurt (FRA).
What is great about these North American routes is that there are a LOT of Fifth Freedom routes that you can fly and because these are not routes that people normally think about, they often have a lot of award availability. That’s probably the most exciting aspect of it but there’s more.
As I had mentioned earlier, Alaska redemptions allow you a free stopover on a one-way flight, which is extremely generous. Typically these stopovers are in the hub city of the airline, which for Singapore Airlines is Singapore (SIN), however, I have seen where these stopovers have been allowed in the city serviced by the Fifth Freedom Flight. So what does this mean?
Well, if you are connecting in Houston, you could theoretically fly from Houston to Manchester, tour around all of Europe for up to 364 days and then jump on a flight from Manchester to Singapore … on a one-way award!
Or if you are flying out of Los Angeles, you could fly direct to Seoul (ICN), spend a bunch of time there and then fly onward to Singapore (SIN) … again, on a one-way award!
Now I’m not certain that this will be the case when the award redemptions are finalized but if history is any indication, it’s a very strong possibility.
How Amazing is Singapore Airlines?
In a word, AMAZING!
Singapore Airlines is consistently in the top 3 airlines of the world every single year. In 2017, they finished second only to Qatar Airways who is facing some real issues of their own.
Singapore consistently finished at the top because of their incredible service and amazing hard product which includes the Singapore Suites Class on their A380.
The North American routes serviced by Sinagpore’s A380 are:
- New York to Frankfurt (JFK-FRA)
I can’t promise that Singapore Airlines will make First Class redemptions available but Alaska has had an excellent history of being able to make those redemptions part of their award chart.
Getting Enough Miles
Outside of the amazing redemption possibilities, one of the best parts about Alaska Partner Redemptions is that the flights are extremely affordable. In my opinion, Alaska has been the most generous amongst airline programs for redemptions when viewed as a whole. Sure, there are other programs that have a generous sweet spot or two, but Alaska is affordable all the way around, with the notable exception being Emirates redemptions.
Getting enough miles is incredibly easy. As a Canadian, you can get 25,000 Alaska Miles through the MBNA Alaska Credit Card’s sign up bonus. Normally the annual fee is $75 but I teach you how to get it for $15 in my review of the card.
The MBNA Alaska Card is also the most churnable card in Canada, meaning that you can theoretically get the card up to 4 times in a year and accumulate 100,000 miles for only $60! That’s bonkers.
While it may take up to 6 months for Singapore and Alaska to come up with a redemption chart, I’m fairly confident that it will be reasonably priced. Take this time to start accumulating your points with the Alaska program.
Alaska Airlines once again outdoes itself with a new powerful partner airline. This is especially exciting news especially considering that Singapore Airlines is about to release their new Suites Class and has already revamped their Business Class to much fanfare.
If you haven’t started collecting Alaska Miles, I would encourage you to start!