Goodbye, mother of all sweet spots

For years, you could redeem just 25,000 Alaska miles for what was known as JAL Stopover Trick. This ‘trick’ took full advantage of Alaska Airline’s generous free stopover rule and its lack of division of the Asia region.

Being in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta puts you in prime position. For example, you can redeem a flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur with a stopover in Japan for a vacation before returning to Kuala Lumpur and then finding another flight home. This stopover in Japan can be up to a year long and you will be flying about 14 hours in total in a very good business class cabin!

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Fly longer?

Yes, I did a double open jaw route and even got to spend one night in Taipei! This gave me 21 hours flying time for the same amount of miles.

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Even longer?

Yes you could. A glitch in the system used to allow you to fly from Jakarta to Tokyo to Bangkok to Nagoya and then from Tokyo to Singapore. That is 27 hours of flying time with only 25,000 miles!


How it ended

Singapore Airlines has been a partner of Alaska Airlines since August 2017, giving everyone the ability to credit their SQ flights to Alaska’s Mileage Plan and vice versa. As of last week, you could redeem Alaska’s miles for SQ’s seats. A mistake in the system puts China and Hong Kong in the Southeast Asia region. The problem here is that you could redeem some amazing SQ business class (25k miles) and suite (35k miles) seats with the stopover trick above. I called this a problem as this was too good to be true.

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Singapore Airlines must have realized how fast their seat inventory was depleting and it did not take long for Alaska to remove long stopovers from their search engine and move Hong Kong and China to the North Asia region. This was a quick damage control measure while still holding on to Alaska’s free stopover perk. You could still do a stopover but now, you will have to take the next flight out.

While doing so, it effectively killed the JAL Stopover Trick which has been around for years. You now need 50,000 miles and do a proper round trip booking. That is still good value, when considering the fact that Singapore Airlines charges 70,000 miles for a round trip to Japan.

I know, all good things must come to an end. We will talk about those amazing routes to Japan for years to come.

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