Great Deal! 40% Bonus When Buying Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

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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.

Alaska-Fall-40

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-StateContinental U.S. and CanadaHawaii
MexicoCaribbean Central and South America
EuropeAfrica – Middle East – India Australia – NZ – South Pacific
Asia

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.

Cathay Pacific

One of my favorite airlines is Cathay Pacific, and Alaska offers great options for awards on Cathay Pacific.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class-777-54

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

Emirates

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.

Emirates-First-Class-A380-61

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.

Bottom line

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?

Comments

  1. Any comments on Alaska apparently confiscating miles people had bought and/or transferred from SPG, claiming that such behavior was fraudulent?

  2. @ Bgriff — I haven’t encountered that with Alaska, though there were some issues with people who were buying miles as part of a ticket purchase and then canceling the tickets and keeping the miles.

    This is perfectly legitimate, so I don’t think there would be any issues. Do you have any more info on the SPG issue you’re referring to?

  3. @Tiffany, from your experience, how hard or easy is it to book two F class seats on Emirates from a South-east Asian country to MCO? We (two of us) don’t mind traveling within a few days’ notice. We tried that earlier this month, absolutely nothing available on CX or Emirates to any major U.S. city!

  4. @ Bgriff:

    I have transferred SPG points to Alaska miles on a few occasions, and I fortunately have not dealt with any issues.

  5. Indeed this is a good offer but not as good as making miles with MS with gift card route. Of course that also means that you have plenty of time, energy and patience so only applies to a certain class of people.

  6. @Tiffany — there was a report on FlyerTalk of someone getting their miles taken away and account closed after transferring in a bunch of SPG points, I believe — though as with other similar reports on FT, it is always hard to know if the person affected was actually doing something sketchier than what they described to the crowd. Was just curious if you’d heard anything else.

  7. Thanks for this! Are there any hidden restrictions on buying miles to get to your credit card spending minimum? Either on a card associated with the airline or not?

  8. I know that you can’t fly to Australia via Asia (from North America) on AA miles. Are you able to book this kind of itinerary with Alaska miles on 1 award?

  9. I posted a recent follow-up in the FlyerTalk Alaska Airlines suspension thread (as ajc1970).

    Summary — never having flown on Alaska Airlines, I bought a b*load of Alaska miles during their last promo (as well as acquiring their credit card and a BofA checking account for a few extra miles), with the intent of getting Emirate F tickets for me, wife, son, USA/DXB/FCO.

    Purchased the miles without any problem, actually found F availability — 3 seats, same flight, SFO/DXB/FCO — but after adding the reward ticket to my cart, when I tried to continue to checkout, I couldn’t — got a message indicating that my account was suspended. Called them about it, they requested proof of address, said copy of driver’s license would be fine. I sent that, a week later, they unlocked my account and I was able to get the (same) tickets.

  10. Lucky, you write that CX can be reedem between Europe and HKG. I thought that Alaska miles can be use only with US departure. How is it works? Can I reedem also EK between Europe and Middle East or Asia?

  11. Tiffany, could you put some more emphasis on the value of such mile-purchases regarding the actual money spent. For instance, for Europe-US:
    Emirates biz round-trip is 150000 miles, is almost 3000 usd
    Air France KLM 125000 miles = more than 2500 usd
    AA a bit less, but their product is not as good
    Probably this is slightly less than a regular revenue ticket (though we all know about recent promotions/error fares, which are 1000-1500 between Europe and US, and will BRING you miles), but anyway i don’t see how this can be called amazing value…
    First class on EK will be about 4300usd roundtrip. Hm hm.

    Is Cathay between US and Asia the only real application?
    I am actually only interested in Europe-US/South America flights, so maybe i overlooked other sweet spots.

  12. @ Tiffany — in your experience, when redeeming under AF/KLM intra-European chart, should I be allowed to do VCE-CDG(stopover)-LED? It’d only let me ticket online (as multi-city) when there was an overnight layover and when I called Alaska rep she said it couldn’t be done. I didn’t press the issue because waiting for some other information before booking but should I even attempt it by HUCA’ing?

  13. @ Mary — Yes, if you look at the charts there is a specific redemption option for awards between Hong Kong and either Europe or Australia on Cathay Pacific only. This cannot be done on Emirates, just Cathay.

  14. @ Igor — Well, if you’re only interested in flights between the US and Europe, and don’t want to connect in Dubai, you’re probably better off buying Avianca LifeMiles or United miles when they have a promo.

    For flights to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, or Europe on Emirates with a stopover, I do think this is a great value. Ask an Australian how they feel about paying ~$2500 all-in for business class to the US, for example. They’d typically pay at least $4k for business class, so this represents a significant discount.

    As with everything, it really just depends on your situation and your travel goals.

  15. @ Robbie — It’s generally very quick, but some people have reported a bit of a delay in the past.

  16. @ Ivan Y — Well, I’d always call again. The challenge is that FlyingBlue has some really freakin’ annoying married segment “logic” which they’ve started to push out to partner availability as well. So that could be the issue.

    That being said, I’ve never tried to add a stopover on an intra-Europe award with AS miles. I’ve heard of intra-region stopovers within Asia, but I honestly don’t know if it’s allowed in Europe/on Air France. My guess would be no. Maybe someone else can chime in?

  17. Is there anything to prevent Alaska or any airline from devaluing points that have been purchased with cold, hard cash?

    It’s bad enough when points earned through flights and CC payments are devalued. But, I would feel like a real idiot if I bought 40,000 points thinking I might use them towards next year’s vacation, only to find that month of two later, that 25,000 point ticket now costs 35,000 points.

  18. Alaska seems to be engaging in deceptive scam where they shut your account and remove your miles at their own convenience and for some T&C that never exists and can’t be proven. Card not having paid fees, downgradings, even fee waivers and SPG points transfer results in shut down.

    What Alaska wants is you using the card for years and save hundreds of thousands of miles and than yrs later when you use the miles, they would lie to you about some violation of T&C that they themselves can’t show you where it is and how it is. You can fight back and win against their deceptive scam.
    Alaska doesn’t want to honor the awards you booked because they don’t want to pay for it.

    They don’t want you redeeming your miles for flights. If you don’t redeem miles for flights, you are OK and safe. if you do, you risk shut down.

  19. @ Josh — Nope, that’s why we are generally so adamantly against speculative purchases.

    Realistically though, the worst case generally involves ~90 days notice (there have been some exceptions, of course, but that’s pretty common). So if you’re planning travel in the next 12-15 months you’re probably safe. Otherwise I’d wait until the next promo, as this one generally happens twice a year.

  20. @ sam — Have you experienced this personally? I’ve redeemed many many many Alaska miles, and have never heard of this.

  21. I WOULD be willing to connect in Dubai, very much so, to experience Emirates biz class. The question is whether 3000usd is such a good deal…
    Of course, it all depends on many factors. But we, Europeans, are getting used to 1000-1500 deals to US and Asia, even to South America recently, and those flights BRING you miles.
    My question was what are the sweetest spots in your opinion. Australia-US, ok, agreed. 1500 first class oneway on Cathay, yes. Maybe anything else i overlooked…

  22. @Tiffany – Thanks. I need to think about that and maybe purchase my miles early next year, or find another way to fill up with what I need.

    I think sam is being a bit overly negative. I have known some frequent AL flyers who redeem miles for trips. None has ever complained about being cheated at the last minute and robbed of their miles. Why would Alaska do that if they want to keep their customers? If anything the current battle with Delta over the Seattle hub gives them a reason to be even nicer.

  23. My account started showing “discrepancies” a couple of month ago after purchasing some miles. When I called they said someone was looking into it and would contact me. They then proceeded to reverse the purchases, taking away the miles from the account and crediting the money back to my card.
    Today I called again and was told I had requested credit for a flight I did not take and would no longer be allowed to be part of the program. I only requested credit once and I certainly was on that plane.
    Last week I credited a couple of DL flights to that account, I guess those miles are now gone…
    Anything I can do?

  24. So just to be clear – USA to Aus via HKG on Cathay is possible as one award because it’s there on the redemption chart, but Europe to Aus via HKG on Cathay must be two awards because that trip is not on the redemption chart? (Still a good deal, though!)

  25. @ Tiffany – any idea what sort of ‘delay’ people have reported in receiving their confirmations? It’s been 18 hours, card has been debited, no email received and showing no miles in the account…

  26. Hey Tiffany. Sorry for the potentially novice question and maybe I wasn’t clear before. Are there any hidden restrictions (or maybe not so hidden) from cc reward companies if you want to buy miles to also obtain your spending minimum? I know transferring a balance won’t count so I was wondering if there was a similar restriction. Thank you!

  27. @ JoelA — That’s a great question! These post as just a regular purchase, so nothing to worry about there.

    That being said, I wouldn’t buy points just to meet minimum spend unless you were already going to buy points, if that makes any sense.

  28. I want to do 4 flights with Emirates first class based on Ben previous post, I don’t have any Alaska Airlines miles however I am thinking of buying all or should I also apply the credit card? Also can I have my parents apply for it as well and be able to transfer their miles or not worth it?

    How likely is it to get these flights for 2 individuals. How much would it cost me overall for this. Thanks in advance for ur help

  29. @syed – You can transfer miles between accounts, but it costs a fair amount of money to do so IMO.

    https://www.alaskaair.com/mileageplan/ssl/TransferMiles/TransferMiles.aspx

    As for cost, you can find all of that information on the Alaska Award charts (it’ll depend on where you want to go).

    https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/award-chart/award-chart-domestic-canada.aspx?lid=nav:mileage-charts&INT-_AS_NAV_-prodID:MileagePlan

    I just booked an award trip for next May for my wife and I from the US to the Maldives. SEA-DFW-DXB-MLE-DXB-DFW-SEA, and the cost was 360,000 miles plus about $150usd in taxes and fees. We are flying F in all segments except between DXB-MLE-DXB (where we were forced into J due to lack of F availability). I found that there was plenty of F availability between the US and DXB during that timeframe, though I was also looking in July, and did not see ANY F availability no matter what days I searched. I’m not sure if they release that space a little further down the road or not, but it was definitely noticeably absent after May of next year on the routes I was looking for.

    Hope this helps.

  30. @Ang – Yes. From the Alaska website:

    “If no mileage is credited to your account during the first 9 months after opening, or if your account is inactive for longer than 2 years, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ reserves the right to delete your account and reassign the number. If mileage has been deleted from your account, you can reinstate it for up to one year by paying a $75 fee.”

  31. As I understand it, any activity will keep your miles ready for use. If nothing else enroll in Alaska’s dining partnership and take your mom to a partner restaurant for Mother’s Day or her birthday. Bingo! You have another year or so before the miles expire. Any activity resets the expiration clock.

  32. If you buy these miles, Emirates 1st class roundtrip comes at a cost of $4,220.00 and if you’re traveling with a companion, the cost goes up to $8,440.00 plus the booking taxes and fees.
    I love to travel 1st class and Emirates is one of the best, but I do not consider these prices cheap when we are seeing so many cheap fares for business class.

  33. It is mostly if you want to fly first class on Emirates; don’t want to pay full price for EK, but willing to pay BC fares without mileage earning.

  34. I just rang Alaska and to enquire about booking MEL-HKG-TYO return flights on Cathay for me and my family (three of us) in late June 2016. First I was told that this redemption was not possible as Alaska does not publish flight redemptions with Cathay from Australia to Asia. I pointed out that this was not correct as I was looking at one on their site. The operator checked and agreed I was right.

    I was then told that I would need to book MEL-HKG as one redemption and HKG-TYO as a second redemption as “stopovers are not allowed”. That’s certainly not what I’ve read! I was also told that the redemption rate on J on CX for MEL-HKG was 42,500. I pointed out that it was on their redemption chart as 30,000 and was told “that’s wrong”.

    Finally, when I asked the operator to check the availability of the flights on which I had managed to find three J award seats on the BA site (and confirmed on both the Qantas and JAL site), I was told they weren’t actually available – so it was all moot, anyway.

    My impression is that Alaska really cannot be bothered with partner awards. My operator couldn’t get me off the phone fast enough.

  35. @ Adam — Sounds like a bad agent indeed! There’s no reason why that shouldn’t be bookable, but I will say that the weekend crew at Alaska tends to not be as good as the folks there on weekdays.

  36. Will Alaska let me redeem award tickets for my parents and charge all fees to my credit card (me being a non-traveller)?

  37. Hi Tiffany, I’m pretty new to the points and miles world. On your excellent advice, I’ve just signed up for Alaska’s Mileage Plan, and hope to buy some points after 14 days towards HKG-LHR biz flights on Cathay next year. Using just my own account, can I redeem points for flights for both me and my family members? Or do they have to have their own Alaska accounts?

  38. Hi i was wondering if I am able to purchase AMP Miles and redeem it for travel via CX J from SIN-HKG-LAX RT. Is that possible? Thanks! It seems like a great redemption option

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