Does Alaska Allow Stopovers Within Asia On Award Tickets?

I find Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to be among the most valuable mileage currency out there, especially for high-end aspirational redemptions. I’ve written in the past about what I consider to be the best uses of Alaska miles.

There are definitely some downsides to the program as well though, like:

  • Mileage Plan doesn’t let you mix partner airlines on an award ticket, so at best you can fly one partner airline, along with Alaska Airlines to their international gateway city
  • Mileage Plan doesn’t publish award charts between all regions, so just because Alaska partners with an airline doesn’t necessarily mean you can redeem miles on all of their routes
  • One of their best partners is Emirates, and they’ve gotten really stingy with releasing premium cabin award space in advance lately

But there are some really awesome things about their program as well. One massive selling point of Alaska’s Mileage Plan is that they allow stopovers on one-way award tickets. There are very few airlines that allow stopovers on one-way award tickets, let alone airlines with redemption rates as lucrative as Alaska’s.

For example, you can redeem 62,500 Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific business class between the US and South Africa, and then have a stopover in Hong Kong.

Cathay-Pacific-Business-Class
Cathay Pacific business class A330

Intra-region Awards On Cathay Pacific

I frequently get asked if it’s possible to have a stopover on a one-way Cathay Pacific award within Asia. As you’ll see on their website, Alaska does publish an award chart for intra-Asia travel on Cathay Pacific — one-way business class costs 22,500 miles, for example.

Alaska-Mileage-Plan-Chart-2

Unfortunately the answer is no — Alaska doesn’t allow stopovers on Cathay Pacific awards within Asia.

What counts as “Asia”?

Along the same lines, another question I was recently asked is what qualifies as “Asia” for the purposes of Alaska Mileage Plan awards. As you may have noticed from looking at their award charts online, Alaska doesn’t actually list which countries belong to which regions.

So I called up Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to do some research, and you’ve gotta love them… because they don’t have an internal chart either. The way it was explained to me is that the agents at the Alaska partner desk can just enter a city pair into the computer, and it will automatically price if it qualifies. But the agent actually tried to dig up a list and even checked with a supervisor, but couldn’t find one.

The two destinations I was recently asked about are Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Male, Maldives. Based on calling it seems as if Alaska:

  • Prices awards to Colombo, Sri Lanka as Middle East/India awards
  • Prices awards to Male, Maldives as Asia awards

That’s funny because it’s exactly the opposite of American AAdvantage — they price Colombo in Asia and Male in Middle East/India.

As you’ll see on Alaska’s Middle East/India award chart, Mileage Plan does publish rates between the Middle East/India and Asia, and they charge 30,000 miles for Cathay Pacific business class one-way.

Alaska-Mileage-Plan-Chart-1

The good news in this case is that since it’s no longer an intra-Asia award, you could do a stopover on such an award.

Hopefully this clarifies a couple of common questions I get about Alaska Mileage Plan.

Comments

  1. If I were to book an ORD-HKG ticket on CX F as soon as it became available, could I call back a week later and add a second segment in F (say HKG to TYO) or would I have to book the entire itinerary at once?

  2. That’s very useful info. It looks like they have a nice calendar search function as well. But it doesn’t look like it shows KE award availability. Or maybe there just is none for the dates I was looking at. Lots of AA and DL as well as a decent amount of EK flights. And they allow US to Asia via Middle East routing.

  3. One cool thing I realized recently is that using EK from the US you can get a stopover in Colombo if your start/end is Singapore. Almost booked it but decided I didn’t have enough time in Sri Lanka to make it worth it, so just booked US-DXB-SIN.

  4. Thanks for another great post, Ben. Also worth noting that AS doesn’t allow stopovers on oneways in South America. I tried to do GRU-SCL(stop)-IPC but got shut down…I’m not sure about round trips, though.

    See you in Chicago!

    Cheers,
    Max

  5. Lucky, are free one ways allowed (similar to what American used to allow)? For example, could you do Puerto Vallarta to LAX (on Alaska), do a long stopover, and then go from LAX to Hong Kong on Cathay?

  6. what about flying from Japan? how do i get a stopover on a one way? with AA i just set mt home aiport to DFW and was able to stopover from NRT-DFW-PDX

    any information appreciated!
    thank you
    evan

  7. Great post – can you transfer to Alaska from chase UR, AMEX MR or Citi or do you have to use CC signups and (gasp) actual flying to accumulate miles?

  8. Lucky – can you expand on the south Africa & Hong Kong from north america routing? I’m sitting on about 150k of AS miles and lax-hong kong-south africa on Cathay sounds like quite the score – 2 12+ hour long hauls on CX?!? Wouldn’t the little bit extra mileage for F be more than worth it in this case?

  9. Alaska becomes even more valuable…….but wouldn’t you burn your AA miles intra region Asia on Cathay first if no stop is needed? Same availability?

  10. Lucky,

    If i understood correctly, JFK – HKG – NRT , the HKG – NRT will be counted as intra-asia instead of a stopover, correct?

  11. How would you do a stopover on a CX award from HKG – India/Middle east ? Are there some 5th freedom routes that work?

  12. Hi Lucky,

    I was looking to book a one-way award from ABQ to BOM. I prefer Cathay Pacific, but since Cathay does not fly to Seattle and the only Alaskan flight out of ABQ is to Seattle (commencing in a couple of weeks), what options do I have?

    Thanks so much!

  13. Okay, I am a little bit confused… Are stop-overs in Asia not allowed on the “intra-Asia” award (e.g. SIN-HKG-NRT), N. America to Asia awards (Ginny’s example: JFK-HKG-NRT), or both?

  14. Hi Lucky, I am just wondering whether North America to Asia like this YVR-HKG (Stopover)-BKK is valid for the one-way policy? And how about this one like YVR-JFK (Stop)-HKG is valid or not? Thanks.

  15. tar000,

    From SEA you will need to fly to LAX, SFO or YVR to fly Cathay to BOS via HKG. There are reports that Alaska may also allow you to use ORD or EWR as well but I have not confirmed this.

    Jimmy

  16. Lucky,

    I don’t think AS allows stopovers in any city other than HKG. For example, I wanted to book HKG-DXB stopover DXB – BAH (yes CX flies this as continuation of one of their HKG-DXB flights). I was told by the AS agent that it’s not possible. I asked her to try it in her computer and she was not able to make it work (despite each individual segments showing availability. Have you had luck with stopovers in CX cites other than HKG?

    Jimmy

  17. @ JDH — You could, as long as all travel is complete within a year of the date the ticket is originally issued.

  18. @ Phil — They do allow stopovers on one ways, so assuming all your travel is on Alaska and just one partner airline then yes, in theory that should be possible.

  19. @ evan — Well if just flying American then you can route via a US gateway and stopover there before continuing somewhere else in the US. But you could also do something like Tokyo to Hong Kong (stopover) to Los Angeles, for example.

  20. @ Niels — The only major points currency they partner with is SPG. So have to earn it through their credit card or actually flying, for the most part. The horror. 😀

  21. @Phil — what you’re proposing, PVR-LAX(stop)-HKG, is not technically what is colloquially referred to as a “free one-way,” as it doesn’t exploit a stopover and an open-jaw; it’s simply a one-way with a stopover. However, such a routing is not allowed by AS, as your award originates in Mexico, and AS does not publish a chart for Mexico-Asia. You could, however, do for example SEA-LAX(stop)-HKG on a combination of Alaska and Cathay.

    @jay — it would absolutely be worth it, IMO. 7.5K additional each way is a paltry premium to pay for CX F, especially with an allowed stopover in HKG. It just amazes me that USA-Asia in CX F = 70k AS, while
    USA-Asia-Africa in F with a stopover in Asia is also 70K AS. No brainer.

  22. @ Jay — It would be worth the extra mileage for first class, but do keep in mind they no longer offer a first class cabin to Johannesburg. Still worth paying the extra 7,500 miles to be in first class from the US to Hong Kong, though.

  23. @ Ginny — Not sure I follow. You could do New York to Hong Kong to Tokyo on a single award with a stopover in Hong Kong, if that’s what you’re asking. The post refers specifically to awards entirely within Asia.

  24. @ Tom — They do have some routes to India via Bangkok, so that’s an option. But in general a stopover in Hong Kong would be more valuable if originating somewhere else in Asia.

  25. @ tar000 — You can potentially double connect to your gateway and do something like ABQ-SEA-YVR-HKG, for example.

  26. @Lucky,

    Phil asked if PVR-LAX(stop)-HKG would be allowed, and you responded that “They do allow stopovers on one ways, so assuming all your travel is on Alaska and just one partner airline then yes, in theory that should be possible.” You sure? As I noted above, that itin originates in MEX…

    (Boy this comment would have been easier with nested comments 🙂 )

  27. @Lucky, Thanks, i’m going to look into this for a potential CGK-HKG-MLE routing, where the MPM is extremely low. Are you going to take advantage of JL F to CGK anytime soon?

  28. If you were starting with Starwood points which would you use to fly Emirates intra Asia……JAL or Alaska?

  29. If I travel from JFK – HKG – BOM in business class with a stopover in HKG, will I redeem 50k alaska miles?

  30. Lucky,

    I wanted to do a trip from Brisbane Australia have a stopover in Hong Kong for 3 days and then fly to NYC. Is that allowed?

    Thanks
    Martin

  31. Hi Lucky, sorry to revive an old post, but I tried what you mentioned for the India to Asia award with a stopover in HKG, and was told that it is merely an award chart to HKG (which is exactly what you show in your screenshot) and not to any other parts of Asia. And that if I was to do a stopover on my way to TPE, it would be two oneway awards.

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