Buy Alaska Miles For Cheap Through August 9, 2015

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Through August 9, 2015, Alaska is offering up to a 35% bonus on the purchase of Mileage Plan miles.

Alaska-Buy-Miles

The bonuses are tiered, meaning the more miles you buy, the bigger the bonus you get, as follows:

  • Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles: get a 20% Bonus
  • Buy 20,000 – 39,000 miles: get a 30% Bonus
  • Buy 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 last 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

Why you might want to buy Alaska miles

Alaska made their miles even more valuable in 2013 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 last 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 from those destinations, though. But  you can fly to any of those destinations with a stopover in Hong Kong for as long as you’d like, then continue on in business class.

Being able to purchase enough miles to book that for ~$1,500 is a bargain, in my opinion.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class-777-39
Redeem Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific first class

Nowadays Cathay Pacific isn’t so great about releasing first class award space in advance anymore, though they’re still quite good about releasing business class award space in advance. That’s why buying Alaska miles is a great way to inexpensively book Cathay Pacific business class tickets.

Cathay-Pacific-Business-Class-A330-03
Redeem Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific business 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 if you really want to stretch it, you could actually redeem 100,000 Alaska miles for four Emirates A380 first class flights, thanks to some of their “one stop” services. Four shower suite experiences for that amount is a bargain!

Alaska-2

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 won’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, I’d absolutely consider buying miles under this promotion.

It is worth noting that this promotion is only around for about two weeks, which is substantially shorter than Alaska usually runs these promotions. If I were a betting man, I’d guess that we’ll see a promotion with a 40% bonus in a few months, but the cost difference between those promotions isn’t huge (2.19 cents vs. 2.11 cents).

Do you plan on buying Alaska miles with this 35% bonus offer?

Comments

  1. Extremely tempted to buy into this offer and use them for CX, only issue being that I’m in India. Do you guys now any work around to this issue? Thanks

  2. Could you fly LAX-DXB-SYD on a one way award redemption on EK F? To me that sounds a lot more luxurious than flying LAX-SYD direct (without an inflight shower) 😉

  3. @Jack

    You cannot redeem Alaska miles for an Emirates flight to Australia, per the Alaska Air award chart.

  4. Mine is also 50%, and stated in the email it was because I hold their credit card. Already bought 40+20, thinking about another!

  5. @ Daniel @ Gene — Wow, that’s a heck of a targeted bonus! None of the accounts I manage seem to be targeted for it, though. To those of you who were targeted, enjoy!

  6. @ Jack — Unfortunately Alaska miles can only be redeemed for travel on Emirates to selection regions, including Europe, Africa, The Middle East, and Asia. Noticeable absent are South America and Australia.

  7. How difficult would you say it is to book Emirates first class awards these days? It seemed like it was becoming nearly impossible. Along with Cathay’s diminishing F award space (and possible outright restrictions in the future), it behooves anyone buying a large chunk of miles to have a really good idea that space is actually available.

  8. I haven’t ever signed up to Alaska’s Mileage plan before, but I just did – however in trying to buy miles with this offer, I’m being told I am not eligible. Is it because it was targeted?

  9. @ Shanghai9 — Actually not too tough nowadays. There are frequently two first class award seats available in advance, especially out of their secondary US destinations.

  10. Lucky,

    How many AS miles do I need to book One Way Lax to Syd via HKG on CX J ? Do you recommend me to check availability on qantas or which website? Thanks for your help.

    Ryan

  11. How reasonable is it to get three tickets (one way) on Emirates First. Long shot? Or reasonable if plan ahead / flexible schedule.

  12. Ben, I need to book a trip for 3 in business class from BKK to LAX. What would be the best way to book this with a stop over in ICN using Alaska miles? Korean air on both legs? How can I check availability? Would the cost still be 50k miles per passenger?

  13. This is the ‘traveling for free’ part of the blog: how to pay much less for business/first class. I’ve bought Alaska miles for 4 trips – 3 in Emirates first class and 1 in Cathay Pacific first class. This is the stuff newbies to the blog should learn!

  14. AA has a promotion right now until Aug 5th, offering up to 27,500 bonus miles. I wonder if that is a good deal?

  15. Be, do you see any availability on Korean any more?
    Are they still releasing space to Alaska?
    I’m talking about to/ from anywhere outside the blackout periods.

  16. @Lucky – Hey Ben . Alaska and Visa have joined to offer a target offer of 50% . If you buy 40,000 points, one get 20,000 free (cost is $1,100) so that is 1.8 per mile) . That’s a pretty awesome deal, don’t you think ?

  17. @ Andrew F — Heck of a deal indeed. Wish I were targeted (I’m not, despite the fact that I have the Alaska Visa).

  18. @Lucky – Ben, I have two Alaska Visa cards, and I got targeted email offers for 50% on BOTH cards ! I remember on one of your old blogs you had mentioned that one can buy Alaska miles multiple times.. This deal of 50% is awesome.. I am planning on buying the50% on both cards, since it will get 120k miles while paying for 80k.. wondering if I can buy a second round as I can truly get 2 first class trip rounds for 2 from US-Australia on Emirates for a measly $4,400

  19. @ Terry R — I do see some space, though they’re certainly not the most generous airline when it comes to releasing business class award space.

  20. @ nem — Yep, exactly! For me that’s the beauty of this hobby! Paying (close to) economy prices for first class.

  21. @ Luis — Yeah, the only way to do a stopover in Seoul Incheon would be if flying Korean Air. The space should show up online, though it can be tough to find three seats on one flight.

  22. @ BBTBphile — In advance that’s really tough. Close to departure it’s not impossible.

  23. Lucky,

    Thanks for your response.

    When I looked up seat on ba.com, I found that there is no first class on the first leg SYD to HKG. If I book F on CX from SYD to LAX, do I still pay 80,000 AS miles for J from SYD to HKG and F from HKG to LAX? Also, another option to redeem AS on this route, have you ever tried Biz on FIJI Airways? Do they have lie flat seat? Thanks

  24. Alaska is partnered with LAN, which merged with TAM. Trying to use Alaska miles to book intra-Brazil flights on TAM (Rio-Iguazu Falls) but the Alaska system doesnt recognize TAM as part of LAN. Any idea if/when that will change?

  25. I hate how you never have links to the actual website promo in your posts. All links are bait to old posts.

  26. I got targeted for 40% bonus miles. Not 50% but still a heck of a deal. Any insight as to who gets targeted with what? I’ve never flown Alaska, have several Alaska Visa cards and only interaction with program so far is 1 upcoming F redemption on Emirates.

  27. Does Alaska website display Korean Air availability? I can’t find any KAL flights on either BKK-ICN or ICN-LAX. Not sure if it’s just a case of no award space available or if the Alaska website just doesn’t display KAL awards.

    Also, would it be possible to fly BKK-HKG-ICN on CX w/ a stopover and then fly ICN-LAX on Korean Air on a single award?

  28. These purchased miles will not expire as long as I keep my account active within 24 months right?

  29. hi ben
    i was trying to book a flight from hkg to mxp operating by cathay for using my alaska miles.
    but they told me they dont allowed to book that route.
    i was remember that mxp to hkg in the beginning of year.
    is there any change of alaska mile policy?
    thx!

  30. Hi Ben,

    Have a few questions on this…
    1) when did the promo start? I joined last week but wanna know if I’m eligible.
    2) how is Cathay with their F availability. Is there some there but not a lot or is it non existent? Looking ex JFK next year.

    Thanks!

  31. @Ben – I am not based in the US, nor do I have a us credit card, but was able to purchase the miles disclosing my accurate details. So it does seem to work for people outside US too.

  32. How long does it take for the miles to deposit? 24 hours down and nothing…and the flight I wanted is now gone.

  33. Hi Ben,
    I’m new to your blog. Very crazy things I already read here.
    Maybe this is a dumb question, but I’m new to these things… Is it possible to buy these alaska miles to fly business class (four people) from Germany or Switzerland to Miami? Flight will be in August already…

  34. I love their program…and I used Alaska miles to head back to Prague next year:

    SEA to LHR in BA first.
    LHR to PRG in BA business.
    PRG to DXB in EK business.
    DXB to SFO in EK first on the A380…I can’t wait to try out the shower.

    /Flew first on EK from PRG to DXB on a 777 last year.

  35. Hi Ben, I assume this only works if you are based in US? What about those of us based in EU, any promos I need to keep an eye on? Thanks!

  36. @Reine

    You can redeem 60K Alaska Air miles for a CX flight from Australia to the U.S. The easiest way to search for CX award space is through the British Airways website. You must be registered with their frequent flier program (Avios) to search.

  37. Thanks Charlotte. I just did a quick search on BA.com and there’s no space available for my dates. I might just rack up for another trip though.

  38. @Reine

    Make sure you are searching segment by segment, not US-Australia direct. You’ll want to search for a CX departure point in the U.S. (like JFK, ORD, or Boston Logan) to HKG, and then HKG onward. 2 separate searches. All CX flights will have you connect in HKG. You can use your free stopover on a 1-way here too with an Alaska Air redemption.

  39. Hi Ben, love you blog. We seem to be a little left out down here in NZ. What is the best way to earn and spend miles this side of the world?

  40. Ben, do you know If it’s possible to issue tickets that doesnt include North American? Example: Europe to Asia, UAE to Europe, etc… I’v tried on their website but didn’t work.

  41. Hi Lucky,

    I’ve just signed up with Mileage Plan and tried purchasing miles and was advised I couldn’t, is there a waiting period?

    Cheers!

    Joel

  42. Joel,

    Same thing happened to me. Apparently you needed to be a signed up member *before* the promo started to be eligible. Next time.

    LTF

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