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In terms of the value per point, the single mileage currency I value most is Alaska Mileage Plan. Since mid-November, Alaska has been offering a mystery bonus on the purchase of Mileage Plan miles. Through this promotion, different Mileage Plan accounts are targeted for different bonuses — some 35%, some 40%, and some 50%.
This post is a reminder that this promotion is only valid through Wednesday, December 23, 2015. So this is your last chance to buy Alaska miles with up to a 50% bonus.
As is the norm with these promotions there are tiers, meaning the more miles you buy, the bigger the bonus you get. For example, if you were targeted for a 50% bonus, the tiers are as follows:
- Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, get a 20% bonus
- Buy 20,000-39,000 miles, get a 35% bonus
- Buy 40,000-60,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
You can purchase up to 60,000 miles in one transaction, which is an increase from the previous maximum of 40,000 miles per transaction.
If you were targeted for the 50% promotion, you could purchase a total of 90,000 miles at a cost of $1,773.75, which is ~1.97 cents per mile.
Usually when Alaska offers a bonus on the purchase of miles it’s 35-40%, so this is the highest bonus I’ve ever seen on the purchase of Alaska miles.
Why you should consider buying Alaska miles
A while back I wrote a post entitled “6 Reasons Buying Alaska Miles Is A Good Deal.” Check out that post for full details, though just to summarize, here’s what makes Mileage Plan so unique:
- You’re allowed a free stopover, even on a one-way award
- Mileage Plan has generous change & cancellation policies (up until 60 days before departure you can change and redeposit your award for free, and within that timeframe the cost is $125 per person)
- There’s no limit to how many miles you can buy per promotion, so this is great for people just getting started in the hobby (you can buy up to 60,000 miles per transaction, but can make as many transactions as you’d like)
- Alaska has some unique airline partners, like Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Fiji Airways, etc.
- Alaska miles are especially useful for travel in Cathay Pacific business class, where there are often five business class seats available per flight; the ability to do a “free” stopover in Hong Kong enroute to elsewhere is awesome as well
- Alaska miles are probably the single best currency to redeem for Emirates first class, which is one of my favorite products out there
Redeem Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific business class
Best uses of Alaska 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 Icelandair, fees on awards are very mild
Redeem Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific first class
Which credit card should you buy Alaska miles with?
Alaska mileage purchases are processed by points.com, so wouldn’t count as airfare for the purposes of credit card spend. Therefore you’ll want to use a credit card which maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express.
As I said above, historically when Alaska offers a bonus on purchased miles it’s 40% at most. This promotion has really been exceptional for the accounts targeted with a 50% bonus. Even if you were “only” targeted for a 40% bonus, that’s usually otherwise as big as these bonuses get.
With American AAdvantage miles devaluing in March, the relative value of Alaska miles is increasing even further.
There are so many great things about Alaska miles, especially that there’s no limit to how many you can buy, that they allow stopovers on one-way awards, and that they don’t charge change or cancellation fees up until 60 days before departure.
If you’re looking for premium cabin international award tickets, I’d seriously consider buying Alaska miles with up to a 50% bonus. You only have a few days left to do so.
Personally I have ~225,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles, and am seriously considering picking up some more with a 50% bonus. I need to decide for sure in the next couple of days.
Do you plan on buying Alaska miles using this promotion?