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The coronavirus pandemic is driving airlines to offer passengers more flexibility. Change-fee waivers continue to be extended, new bookings offer flexible rebooking options and mileage expirations are temporarily suspended.
Generally speaking, you won’t get a full refund when you voluntarily cancel a flight. Instead, you get a travel voucher valid for 12 or 24 months that you can use toward a future flight.
In an effort to provide passengers with more flexibility, Southwest recently added the ability to convert travel funds into Rapid Rewards points. Now, Alaska Airlines is following suit.
The airline allowed a handful of customers to convert wallet funds to Mileage Plan miles in August on a targeted basis. Today, the airline rolled out the feature to all members, but only through Oct. 12. Better yet, it’s processing these conversions at a preferred rate of 1 cent per point, so $100 equals 10,000 miles.
Here’s everything you need to know about transferring Alaska wallet funds to miles.
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Converting Alaska wallet funds to miles
Alaska is allowing those with wallet funds to convert funds to Alaska miles for a limited time. This offer is available for all members with existing wallet credit. If you’re interested in converting your wallet funds, head to the conversion page on Alaska’s website and log in to your account.
Transfers process at a rate of 1 cent per point, so 1 cent = 1 mile. You can convert Alaska funds to miles in increments of 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of your total wallet balance. So if you have a $100 credit, you can convert $25, $50, $75 or $100 of your funds to 2,500, 5,000, 7,500 or 10,000 miles respectively.
Want to take advantage of this promotion? You’ll have to act fast. You can convert wallet funds to miles from now until Oct. 12 at 11:59 p.m. PT. It’s unclear if this promotion will return in the future.
Related: 5 things to know about Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Is it worth it?
Again, transfers process at a rate of $0.01 per mile. TPG values Alaska miles at 1.8 cents apiece, so you’re getting a huge discount if you agree with our valuations. You can use these miles to book travel on Alaska’s partners, including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines at excellent rates. Plus, you can add a free stopover on one-way and round-trip itineraries.
For example, you can use 50,000 miles for a one-way Cathay Pacific business class ticket from the U.S. to Asia. With the free stopover, you can book something like Newark (EWR) to Hong Kong (HKG) and Seoul (ICN), giving you hours in the airline’s top-notch business class product. You can “buy” this flight for just $500 (equal to 50,000 miles) if you have enough wallet credit to convert.
This is an especially good deal if you buy Alaska miles regularly. The airline recently offered a 60% bonus when buying Alaska miles. In effect, the airline was selling miles at 1.72 cents per mile, so the above conversion is a far better deal. Just note that miles can be devalued at any given time, such as in 2021, when the airline officially joins the Oneworld alliance.
Finally, Alaska wallet funds expire one year from the original travel date. By converting funds into redeemable miles, you would unlock much greater flexibility as miles don’t expire as long as there’s activity in your account once every 24 months.
Related: Best sweet spots with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
It’s great to see Alaska give members more ways to use their travel credit. I highly recommend taking advantage of this offer if you value Alaska Airlines miles as highly as the TPG team does. Buying these miles at just 1.0 cents per point is an excellent deal, especially when you consider how much value you can get when booking flights on Alaska’s global partners.
Additional reporting by Benji Stawski
Featured image by Michael Rosebrock/Shutterstock
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.