Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles On Sale — Up To 40% Bonus

Through March 15, 2014, Alaska is offering up to a 40% bonus on the purchase of Mileage Plan miles.

Alaska-Mileage-Plan-Promotion-101

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.

Alaska_Buy_Miles_Bonus3

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.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class
Cathay Pacific first class

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.

Emirates-A380-First-Class
Emirates A380 first class

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)

Comments

  1. I took advantage of the last 40% offer to top up award on CX SFO-HKG-JNB in F. 2 tickets r/t are ~$52K retail. Fantastic value.

    Only problem is CX changed metal from 747 to 777 and put me in J (and never told me). Have a call into AS MileagePlan to see of they can put me back. Any recourse if they can’t/won’t? The plane was changed because they wanted lower cost – had planned to phase out 747 mid October but they pushed forward to Sept 1 with no advance warning to those already booked – have a Sept 12 flight.

  2. @asar

    I think Scott over at Hack My Trip stated the problems of buying miles using that method. May be good for low amounts, but not for a large number of miles.

  3. @ Paul — Not much recourse unfortunately, since it’s out of Alaska’s control. If your transpacific segment to Hong Kong is in first class it would still price at the first class rate either way.

  4. @ asar — That doesn’t include tax, so it’s actually ~2.05 cents per mile total. This is a better option for ease and that it’s not risky.

  5. Hey Lucky –

    1.) Can you mix and match award tickets – e.g. Emirates, KLM, AA (for the final leg)?
    2.) How is Emirates availability for trips in e.g. Jan 2015.

    TIA

  6. @ Steve — The one downside to Alaska miles is that you can’t mix partner. You can fly Alaska to position to a partner gateway, but that’s it. The one exception is Air France/KLM, as you can include both of them on a single award. Emirates availability in first class is generally quite good if planning far in advance.

  7. Is it possible to fly from Asia (say HKG) trough dubai and back to the us or do emirates awards using alaska miles have to originate in the us?

  8. @ Evan — Most Alaska awards have to originate or terminate in the US. That being said, Asia to the US via Dubai works just fine.

  9. Sorry for the newbie question, but just to make sure I’m understanding this and other posts, I could book SIN-HKG, have a stopover and then HKG-ORD in for 70k in F on CX?

  10. This is such a great deal. I just scored a CX F SFO-HKG-BOM for 70K three weeks out. I was shocked I didn’t have to look closer in. And then in June I’m using AS miles to take my mom on a big trip – EK F LAX-DXB, visiting Doha and Abu Dhabi before DXB-CDG. These 40% deals are great.

  11. @ Ryan — You can search space on ba.com as availability should match what they have access to, though to actually book you’ll have to call Alaska.

  12. I know you mentioned that “most” awards need to start/end in USA but would a variation of HKG-LAX-JNB work?

  13. @ Ryan — Nope, that’s not possible. Awards are only allowed is Alaska publishes an award chart between those regions, and as you’ll see most of those are for travel between the US and elsewhere. There are some exceptions, like intra-Asia awards, but not all that many.

  14. How many Alaska miles to fly emirates first class from us to MLE?

    How many Alaska miles to fly an aspirationtional first class to Australia and Thailand?

    What’s the swankiest way to get to bora bora these days?

  15. FWIW – think you have malware on your site – something from a site called dlll.com (or something similar) wants to install itself when you visit your site.

  16. can you do two stopovers on a one way Alaska award on Emirates? …say JFK-DXB-stop-HKG-stop-BKK? it’s all on one partner… would be cool.

  17. Hey Lucky. I want to book an Emirates award but don’t understand how to do it flying from MCO? Is it possible? Only delta results when searching MCO->DXB but when searching JFK->DXB emirates shows up?

  18. I have had my Mileage Plan account for a few months now, just incase, and I tried to purchase enough miles for two one way First class CX tickets from HKG to JNB but I got an email saying my CC could not be confirmed and that I should try again, now that I tried again it says my account ineligible to buy miles. Any advice???? I really need these tickets since I already booked the return flights!

  19. @ Dmaon — You can’t mix partners, so the best you could do is purchase a separate paid ticket to a gateway and then take Emirates from there.

  20. I’ve had the account since October 2013! I tried to make three purchases, got my confirmation, and now I got an email saying my transaction has been cancelled because my CC could not be confirmed and that I should try again. I used two different CC’s and they did work for my Flying Blue miles purchase a few weeks back. Now that I tried again it said that my account is ineligible!

  21. Hi Lucky. I live in Europe. Anyway possible to use my Alaska miles to fly from Europe to US or from Europe to Asia? Thank you

  22. Hi,

    Are the stopovers on one-ways allowed on domestic trips or just internationals?

    I am thinking of a Qantas redemption within Australia – eg HBA-Mel-CBR (stopover)-Syd-OOL

    Thanks,

    Dale.

  23. Lucky,

    When you say there are some exceptions to awards originating from US, it’s those that states ‘Intra-Europe’, ‘Intra-Asia’ like on CX which means going from NRT-HKG-SIN would be 22,500 Alaska miles one way and 45,000 round trip in business, am I correct?

  24. hey Lucky,
    i’m flying out of JFK and in the end need to end up in ARN (Stockholm). I’d like to do a stopover somewhere fun – I was thinking JNB but it doesn’t seem it’s legal. Would preferably like to not do DXB, do you know any other routings that would work?

  25. @ JBM – Correct, you can only book an award if Alaska publishes an award chart between those regions, and only on the carriers it’s published for.

  26. @ Damon – As far as I know, Emirates is the only Alaska partner serving Europe that will allow a stopover in another region, and they only allow stopovers in Dubai. You could look at using other partners if you wanted to stop in Paris, Amsterdam, London, etc.

  27. I called the Mileage Plan Customer Service desk and the agent told me that only residents of the US can buy Alaska miles, do you know if this is true or do I have a misinformed agent?

  28. Hi, Do you know if they are going to bring back the sale any time soon? Missed the boat, want to buy miles to book an international flight

  29. signed up for the Alaskan air plan as you suggested and never got an e-mail from them – but when I tried to use the Mileage Plan number affiliated with my account I got this message”
    The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles.
    Please enter your name and Mileage Plan number to get started.
    Please advise!

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