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Alaska Airlines has just announced their new promotion for purchasing miles, and if you’ve been salivating at the recent images of
Matt Emirates first class, you’ll want to pay close attention!
For those who don’t have access to credit cards in the US, this is also one of the best opportunities for accruing miles reasonably, so you’ll want to take note as well.
Through October 6th, you can purchase Alaska miles at a 40% discount.
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 40% 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 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 (which is a good price).
Why buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles?
Overall, if you’re going to buy miles, you typically want to use those miles for travel in international premium cabins. That’s where the best value is going to be, and buying miles can even be a great way to reduce the overall cost of your trip.
Alaska also has a fantastic award chart, or rather, a pile of award charts. Each of their partner carriers has a different chart by region. It’s worth noting that Alaska doesn’t publish award rates for all regions, and if they don’t publish a chart between regions you can’t redeem miles for that route. A lot of their award charts are simply for travel originating or terminating in the US.
But you can still fly Cathay Pacific between Hong Kong and Europe or Australia, for example, or Fiji Airways intra-South Pacific. You can find all the award charts by region here:
|Intra-State||Continental U.S. and Canada||Hawaii|
|Mexico||Caribbean||Central and South America|
|Europe||Africa – Middle East – India||Australia – NZ – South Pacific|
On all of these awards, the following rules apply:
- One stopover of more than 24 hours (in addition to the destination) is allowed, even on one-way awards
- You can’t mix partners on an award ticket, but you can add in Alaska Airlines flights to connect from the gateway city in North America
- With the exception of British Airways and Air France/KLM, fees on awards are very mild
That last point is key if you live outside of the US — Alaska seems to have recently removed the restriction preventing foreign residents from buying miles. So in many cases (especially for Australians!), it might make sense to buy miles with Alaska versus paying the very high fuel surcharges you’d typically pay when redeeming other miles.
Best uses of Alaska Mileage Plan miles
Ben has gone over this extensively, so I’ll just highlight a few of my favorite redemptions using Alaska miles.
One of my favorite airlines is Cathay Pacific, and Alaska offers great options for awards on Cathay Pacific.
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 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 less than $1,500 is fantastic, especially considering that Cathay’s other partners don’t have nearly as generous of routing rules.
There are also great values in business class!
- Between the US and Australia is 60,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles one-way
- Between Australia and Hong Kong is just 30,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles one-way
- And you can travel between Europe and Hong Kong for 42,500 Alaska Mileage Plan miles one-way
Here at OMAAT we can’t talk about using Alaska miles without mentioning Emirates first class.
Yes, it’s almost horrifyingly blingy, and yes, we talk about that shower maybe too much as it is.
But it’s also truly, outrageously, fun to fly.
And given that it costs just 100,000 miles to fly A380 first class from the US to either Europe or Asia (with an optional stopover in Dubai), this is definitely an award to consider before it’s devalued.
One downside of Emirates’ awards on Alaska is that they’re only valid on routings to and from North America, so you can’t redeem miles for travel between other regions. But if this fits in your travel plans, go for it — it’s a really fun experience.
Getting enough Alaska miles for an award
One of the great things about Alaska is that they don’t have an annual cap on how many miles you can purchase. They also don’t limit the number of miles you can buy during a specific promotion.
- 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)
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 great deal.
I’ve already purchased Alaska miles this morning to bring some accounts up to “redemption levels,” but even if you’re starting from scratch, this can be worthwhile.
You have to be a member of Alaska Mileage Plan for ~14 days before you can purchase miles. So everyone should sign up for an Alaska account today, even if you’re undecided, just in case.
While I’d still recommend being cautious and checking space if you’re hoping to use these for immediate travel, this is one of the rare cases where I think it’s okay to make a more speculative purchase.
Who else is buying Alaska miles? How are you hoping to use them?