Through December 20, 2014, Alaska is offering up to a 35% 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 35% Bonus
You can purchase up to 40,000 miles in one transaction, so if you purchase the maximum allowed 40,000 miles you’d get a 35% bonus, for a grand total of 54,000 Mileage Plan miles. At a cost of $1,182.50 including tax, that comes out to ~2.19 cents per mile.
Just to compare this promotion to others they’ve offered, here are the most recent ones they’ve run:
- In August of 2014 they offered up to a 40% bonus on the purchase of miles
- In May of 2014 they offered up to a 35% bonus on the purchase of miles
- In March of 2014 they offered up to a 40% bonus on the purchase of miles
- In December of 2013 they offered up to a 35% bonus on the purchase of miles
- In September of 2013 they offered up to a 40% bonus on the purchase of miles
As you can see, Alaska typically offers a bonus on purchased miles once per quarter, and the bonus is almost always between 35% and 40%.
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. As I explained in August, there are only a few restrictions:
- You can purchase a maximum of 40,000 miles per transaction, though can make as many transactions as you’d like
- You can use the same credit card for at most four points.com transactions per 30 day period (they process Alaska mileage purchases)
- Alaska now limits the purchase of Mileage Plan miles to members using credit cards with billing addresses in North America
Alaska 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. I wrote a post in March highlighting what I consider to be the best uses of Alaska Mileage Plan miles.
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. It is worth noting that in many cases there’s not a first class cabin on flights to Hong Kong to those destinations, though. That means you can fly to any of those destinations with a stopover in Hong Kong for as long as you’d like. Being able to purchase enough miles to book that for ~$1,500 is a bargain, in my opinion.
Redeem Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific first class
Similarly, Alaska miles are the best mileage currency to use for redemptions on 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 and Dubai to Bangkok. Purchasing enough miles for something like that for ~$2,200 is also a bargain.
Redeem Alaska miles for Emirates A380 first class
Or the redemption that fascinates me more than any other right now is redeeming 55,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for one-way travel in Fiji Airways business class between the US and New Zealand. I’ve always wanted to visit Fiji, so that’s a great way to do it on a stopover.
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.
This is a heck of a promotion, especially since there’s no limit to the number of miles you can purchase. If you’re someone that doesn’t have a sizable mileage balance but wants to fly international premium cabins on the cheap, this is a fantastic promotion. You also can’t beat that this promotion is available for about six weeks, so there’s no rush in purchasing miles now.
Given that US Airways has increased the cost of purchased miles and that LifeMiles has both increased the cost of purchased miles and devalued their award chart, I think Alaska offers the best program for buying miles.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)