Bank of America is offering 40,000 Mileage Plan miles upon approval of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Signature Visa credit card through July 30, 2011. In addition you get two Board Room passes and a $99 companion certificate, which is incredibly useful, given that it’s even valid for first class tickets. An Alaska Airlines employee in this FlyerTalk thread suggests it’s a targeted offer, though I don’t see that in the terms and conditions.

Alaska Airlines miles can be some of the most valuable out there, assuming you’re looking for certain types of awards. They partner with so many different airlines across all three alliances, giving lots of flexibility. The frustration is that they don’t let you mix and match partners, which makes it tough to book certain types of awards. In other words, you can’t mix American and Cathay Pacific on the same award, or Delta and Air France, etc.

One of the best redemptions is for Cathay Pacific first class to Asia, which costs 140,000 miles, and they even allow a free stopover. While you can’t add an award flight on another airline partner to get to the Cathay Pacific gateway (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Vancouver on the west coast), you can include a flight on Alaska Airlines as part of the award ticket.

If you’re really into getting the most flying “bang for the buck” it’s also only 140,000 miles to fly Cathay Pacific first class from the US to South Africa… via Hong Kong! That’s a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong, and then another 15 hour flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg. So that’s nearly 60 hours of international first class flying for 140,000 miles, with the option to stopover in Hong Kong on your way to South Africa.

It might just be time to apply for this credit card (assuming it’s not targeted), fly Alaska Airlines to Hawaii, and transfer some points from Starwood to have enough miles for a first class award to Asia or South Africa.

  1. June 16th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Carl said,

    I am booked later this year for the Cathay first award to South Africa with the stopover in Hong Kong. The gateway flights with Alaska are also included. Was very easy to book with the Alaska Air call center and seats seemed plentiful, as there are 2 of us traveling. I highly recommend it.

    Keep in mind the first class to JNB on Cathay is seasonal, basically S. African summer. Remainder of the year it is business class.

  2. June 16th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Golfingboy said,

    @Carl, I am doing HKG-JNB on CX in June/July and CX is operating the 77W 3x a week this summer [South Africa winter]. However, there are no guarantees that they will bring the 77W flights back next summer.

    I would rate AS’s CX award to South Africa as one of the best redemptions in the system. For South America, 90K on LAN is very decent too, especially if you are going to Easter Island ;)

  3. June 16th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Gene said,

    Ben, so given all your Alaska Airlines posts lately, are you’re status matching to Alaska?

    Your posts have convinced me to do a match to Alaska after October 1 (good through the end of 2012; an earlier match would only be good through 2011). This will finally solve my “Delta problem”. I can buy the same K-class domestic DL tickets as usual, upgrade them with the SWUs I have left or 12,500 SkyPesos each way (got enough Pesos for about 200 of these upgrades!), and then credit all of the miles to Alaska! Yeah!

  4. June 16th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Gene said,

    I really should check my spelling better. :-)

  5. June 16th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Carl @ Golfingboy — Enjoy your trips, I’m jealous!

    @ Gene — I’m very, very tempted, though haven’t yet. Keep in mind I’m a new Exec Plat, so I have about 70,000 miles of flying to still do with them this year. The issue with Alaska for me is that they don’t fly to Tampa. Yeah, I could fly one of their partners to hubs to catch them, but that’s really not worth it. I don’t believe there’s anything great about Alaska as an airline, aside from the few promotions they’ve been running lately that are worth a mention.

    I do however feel it might be worthwhile to status match, fly first class to Hawaii, and earn 35,000 miles. Then get their credit card and have 75,000 miles, and then to transfer the balance from SPG to get one of those Cathay Pacific awards.

  6. June 16th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Rod said,

    My wife and I just applied and got accepted for the 40k with this link. We had been planning to apply for the card soon. Great to get extra miles. Thanks for the tip.

  7. June 16th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Gene said,

    @lucky — I think that’s an excellent plan! Welcome to California. ;-)

  8. June 16th, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Dicken said,

    Went through the application and got a “We apologize for any inconvenience.The application you are requesting is currently unavailable. Thank you for your interest.” message. Luckily there was a phone # to call and verify the application:
    * United States 1-800-551-0839
    * Canada 1-877-862-7759

    I called and found out I had been approved. Alaska airline’s a great airline to use given that I live in Southern Oregon.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  9. June 16th, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Rod said,

    I also got the “We apologize for any inconvenience.The application you are requesting is currently unavailable. Thank you for your interest.” message and just filled out the application again and it went through the second time. Persistance pays off.

  10. June 17th, 2011 at 8:05 am

    BostonFlyer said,

    Is there any minimum spend on this card? The companion fare for $99 is very appealing.

  11. June 17th, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Iowan said,

    Cathay Pacific will start flying from CHICAGO to HKG in September.

  12. June 17th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    caveman said,

    The companion fare for $99 is very appealing but the catch is it cannot be used on any of the partners. Can anyone comment on some of the best destinations in Asia or Europe from SFO to use the companion ticket just on Alaska airline

  13. June 17th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    lucky said,

    @ BostonFlyer — It doesn’t seem like there is.

    @ caveman — Alaska Airlines only flies within North America, so you can only use it for that. One good use is paid first class tickets to Hawaii, as Alaska has very reasonable fares for that.

  14. June 17th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Jason said,

    How easily can you redeem the $99 companion airfare? Are they very restrictive?

    Also, would you be able to use the companion airfare to Hawaii but both get credit for the miles on American?

  15. June 18th, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Gary said,

    @Jason there are no restrictions on the companion fare. It books into whatever fare class you buy for the paid fare. You can even use it for paid first class and the second ticket is $99+tax. You can use it online for any ticket that can be booked online, meaning creative routings that you can get the website to spit out. And online booking isn’t required. You can use it to Hawaii, both passengers get credit for miles, and you can credit those miles to a partner like AAdvantage.

  16. June 22nd, 2011 at 12:12 am

    M said,

    The 140,000 seems like an AMAZING deal! Are there any other ways to hit that besides transferring from SPG or a 1:1 card?

  17. July 23rd, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Solomon said,

    Has anyone seen a biz card offering the 40k? Thanks!

  18. December 8th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    rl said,

    Great post Lucky. Can you also do this for destinations also requiring 140,000 first class miles? In other words, can you do US-Hong Kong – South America on Cathay Pacific 1st class?

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