Alaska Airlines miles can now be used to book Hainan Airlines! Award space is searchable on alaskaair.com, insanely cheap, and widely available to Asia, though there are mild fuel surcharges.
The partnership was announced last year, and the Alaska-Hainan page originally said award bookings would be available in November 2015. That changed to “early 2016” and then “March 30, 2016.”
Hainan Airlines flies from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Seattle to Beijing, Shanghai, and Changsha, China with connections throughout China and Asia. Here are its flights from Beijing, which it serves from Boston, Chicago, San Jose, and Seattle:
Hainan Airlines flies 787 Dreamliners to the United States with flat beds in Business Class (the highest cabin).
Alaska has a different chart for every partner to every region.
Incredibly, in 2016 after huge devaluations in the last few years from American Airlines, United, and Delta, especially in premium cabins, Alaska offers up a chart that looks like it is for travel to Europe in 2011.
You’re reading that right: 50,000 miles one way in a flat bed on flights that are over 13 hours, and connect anywhere else you’d like in Asia for no additional miles, including places like Bangkok, Phuket, and Taipei.
One way in economy between USA and Asia: 35,000 Alaska miles One way in Business between USA and Asia: 55,000 Alaska miles
Now before you go and book these. Remember that Alaska also has an insanely cheap award chart to fly Cathay Pacific, which is a slightly better product (and has no fuel surcharges.)
Alaska charges 50,000 miles one way in Cathay Pacific Business Class to Asia or 70,000 miles one way in Cathay Pacific First Class.
There are fuel surcharges when redeeming Alaska miles on Hainan. A one way award has $177 in out of pocket expenses…
This is a bummer, but the very low miles price will make the out of pocket cost bearable for many. For instance, American Airlines charges 70,000 miles one way in Business Class to China and Southeast Asia. I’d happily pay $150 in fuel surcharges and fees to save 20,000 miles.
Especially because out of pocket costs don’t really have to come out of pocket.
Use your Citi Prestige® Card to pay the taxes and fuel surcharges, and the $250 airfare/airline fee credit will take care of them, so you are not out of pocket at all.
Roundtrip awards have $282 in fuel surcharges, which is just more than the Prestige’s Air Travel Credit for a single year.
Award space is searchable on alaskaair.com. Award space is excellent for two passengers on most flights, as I anticipated.
Airlines always seem to (at least initially) offer excellent award space to their first American partners. Americans dominate the frequent flyer world, and until Hainan sees how many of us have Alaska miles and want to use them to fly to Asia, it will probably underestimate us and offer tons of award space.
You cannot combine partners on Alaska awards. You either need to fly only Hainan or Hainan and Alaska.
You can get a free stopover en route on a one way award or two on a roundtrip! See both Beijing and Phuket for 50,000 miles.
Alaska miles are so cool because of the diverse array of partners that reaches across alliances and even include non-alliance airlines like Hainan.
Hainan is the newest redeemable partner.