Through March 15, 2014, Alaska is offering up to a 40% bonus on the purchase of Mileage Plan miles.
The bonuses are tiered, meaning the more miles you buy, the bigger the bonus you get, as follows:
- Buy 5,000 – 19,000 miles: get a 20% Bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 34,000 miles: get a 30% Bonus
- Buy 35,000 – 40,000 miles: get a 40% Bonus
You can purchase of up 40,000 miles in one transaction, so if you purchase the maximum allowed 40,000 miles you’d get a 40% bonus, for a grand total of 56,000 Mileage Plan miles. At a cost of $1,182.50 including tax, that comes out to ~2.11 cents per mile.
To put this promotion into the context of past promotions, through December of 2013 they offered up to a 35% bonus on the purchase of miles, while through September of 2013 they offered up to a 40% bonus on the purchase of miles, which was an identical promotion to this one. This promotion is typically as good as they get for purchasing miles.
What’s cool about Alaska is that they don’t limit the number of miles you can purchase per account per calendar year or per promotion, so you can more or less purchase as many miles as you’d like. They cap each transaction at 40,000 miles, but you can purchase up to that number as often as you’d like. The only restriction is with points.com, which doesn’t let you use the same credit card for more than four mileage purchases per 30 day period.
Typically when miles are for sale at a rate of over two cents each I’d give it a pass, but Alaska is an exception under certain circumstances, in my opinion.
Alaska actually made their miles even more valuable last year by adding Emirates as a redemption partner, and by not only allowing one-way redemptions at half the cost of a roundtrip, but also allowing a stopover on a one-way award, making them one of the only airlines with such a generous policy.
For example, you can redeem 70,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for one-way travel in Cathay Pacific first class from the US to Africa, India, the Middle East, and all of Asia. That means you could fly something like San Francisco > Hong Kong > Johannesburg in first class, with a stopover in Hong Kong for as long as you’d like. Being able to purchase enough miles to book that for under $1,500 is a bargain, in my opinion.
Similarly, using their partner Emirates, you can redeem 100,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for one-way travel in Emirates first class from the US to Europe, Asia, or Africa. Again, you could have a stopover in Dubai for as long as you’d like. That means you can potentially book two Emirates A380 first class flights for that price, like Los Angeles to Dubai (the longest A380 flight in the world) and Dubai to Bangkok. Purchasing enough miles for something like that for ~$2,100 is also a bargain.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that since mileage purchases are processed through points.com, the purchase of miles wouldn’t count as airfare for the purposes of credit card spend.
(Tip of the hat to @4321ka)