35% Bonus On Purchase Of Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

Through December 20, 2014, Alaska is offering up to a 35% bonus on the purchase of Mileage Plan miles.

Alaska-Mileage-Plan-1

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.

Alaska-35-Bonus-1

Just to compare this promotion to others they’ve offered, here are the most recent ones they’ve run:

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.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class-Bed
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.

Emirates-A380-Shower
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.

Bottom line

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)

Comments

  1. @ Lantean — Shoot, I misread. Thought jake was asking about US to DXB to SEZ. You’re correct, just DXB to SEZ wouldn’t be possible.

  2. lucky,
    A question on stopover policy on one way awards. Does the stopover needs to be at hub of partner or can be anywhere on the route? For example, can I do FCO-DXB-DFW on emirates, stopover and continue DFW-SEA-OGG?

    I tried to search Alaska website with multi city option. When I pick DXB as stopover it shows flights, but if I pick DFW as stopover it does not display any flights. So I’m guessing stopover has to be in hub city of partner you are flying. Is it correct?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Hi Lucky,

    On a separate note, when according to you will Alaska once again offer an increased sign-up bonus for their co-branded credit card?

    Thanks!

  4. Interesting about using AS miles to Fiji then on to New Zealand. Only problem is availability. I only see 4 days from now until August where I stopped searching.

    Does the AS website show all availability from LAX to Fiji or is there other hidden availability somewhere I am not looking? Does Fiji only fly LAX-NAN or is there another route? Or would you search via Honolulu or some where else from North America?

  5. @ Greg — That’s true, availability does look pretty bad. Bleh. Unfortunately LAX is their only mainland gateway.

  6. @ tar_000 — They don’t really seem to offer many promotional sign-up offers, at least not without huge minimum spend. Frankly I’d apply for it anytime since the card is heavily churnable.

  7. @ Ashok — Correct, I believe the stopover does have to be in Dubai in this instance. I could be wrong, though.

  8. @ DCK — Don’t know if there’s a hard and fast limit. You can have multiple at once, and should have no problem applying once every few months, perhaps even more often.

  9. If you churn and don’t cancel the previous card you may get burned and be stuck with the “platinum card”. I got stuck with one and got 5000 points only AND had to pay the $50 fee.

    So you must cancel your original card before.

  10. @ churn tip — Appreciate the feedback! Not sure I’d go so far as to say that you must cancel the card before applying for another one, since I have several personal Alaska Cards open at the moment.

  11. @churn it

    this is definitely not true for everyone… i have never had that happen and i churn them constantly.
    your credit score probably fell below certain threshold in between your churns.

  12. Lucky,

    Can I do 70k one way from JFK – HKG – FOC, having HKG as a stopover and then fly dragon air to FOC? Since Cathay doesn’t fly to FOC, but they partner or code share with dragon air. Or does the whole award have to be on Cathay?

    Will I have to search segment by segment for this award on AA, BA and JAL?

    Thanks in advance,

  13. @ Ginny — Most airlines consider American/Dragonair a single airline for the purposes of awards, though not Alaska. They don’t allow redemptions on Dragonair, unfortunately. Sorry!

  14. Hi,

    I can’t confirm personally but have had it confirmed by other Australian AFF forum members that can purchase miles with Australian credit cards thankfully. It was blocked for a time but Aussies are fine to go again.

    Dale.

  15. Hi Lucky,

    If I am from Canada and purchase AS miles, can I redeem flights out of YVR since it is a North American Destination ? Are there any blackout dates with using Alaska Miles to book on CX? Is there a need to still pay taxes and fees for the air ticket ?

    Thanks !

    Desmond

  16. @ Desmond — Yes, you can book out of Canada. There aren’t blackout dates per se, but there is limited award availability. You’ll have to pay the taxes and fees on the ticket, though no fuel surcharges for travel on Cathay Pacific.

  17. @Lucky

    Thanks for the reply, is it possible to call in to find out availability before purchasing flight awards, what is your suggestion ?

    Thanks

    Desmond

  18. Hi Lucky,

    Do you need to have the account active for a period of time (day/s) before you can purchase miles? I’m residing in Australia and an error message of “The Mileage Plan account you specified is not eligible to purchase miles.”

  19. Just a warning here:
    I tried purchasing miles with Alaska back in August, but I was out of the US at the moment, they never credited the miles because they read my I.P as out of the U.S

    Now for this current promotion tried buying again (from the U.S), since I didn’t use my own credit card, they didn’t post the miles, although they did debited the funds and have not received a refund yet.

    Then, there was one award flight I really wanted to buy, so I called them, they explained why the previous transactions weren’t successful, so they offered me to buy the miles over the phone with a 25$ fee, at the normal rate without the 35%, so I agreed and I did the transaction over the phone with my own credit card, but the ticket wasn’t for me, they said it was ok, credited the miles and redeemed on the phone through an agent immediately… the flight was several hours later, the other person whom I booked for showed up at the airport to find out the ticket had been cancelled, called Alaska.. turns out ticket was cancelled, I had to find out last minute while the person was at the counter, somebody from the fraud department blocked my account for trying to buy miles from Costa Rica back in August. They also claimed paying the miles with somebody else’s card was illegal, and they wouldn’t credit the miles done with own credit card either.. ticket cancelled, no more explanations, the agent was really rude, she also said I couldn’t book for somebody else !

  20. Hey Lucky,

    you can remove this part:
    “Alaska now limits the purchase of Mileage Plan miles to members using credit cards with billing addresses in North America”

    Me and some other German people where able to buy them using Paypal.

  21. Hey Ben, how likely are the chances of getting 2 F seats from US to Hkg with CX as early as possible? Do they have the same award availability as BA, so I can check on their Website and call to secure the seats?

    Thanks

  22. @ Flo — They should have access to the same space as the BA site shows. Cathay doesn’t release two seats in first class on one flight all that often anymore when the schedule opens.

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