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Alaska has just launched their latest promotion on the purchase of Mileage Plan miles.
Alaska is offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased miles through June 13, 2016. You have to log-into your account through this link to access the offer, which suggests that different accounts are targeted for different offers. However, all the accounts I have access to seem to be eligible for the 50% bonus.
Through this offer the bonus is tiered, as follows:
- Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, get a 20% bonus
- Buy 20,000-49,000 miles, get a 35% bonus
- Buy 50,000-60,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
If you buy miles with a 50% bonus you’ll end up paying ~1.97 cents per mile, which is pretty darn good. For example, 75,000 miles will cost you $1,478.13.
While the maximum number of miles you can purchase per transaction is 60,000 pre-bonus, you can buy as many sets of miles as you’d like. So you could buy a million miles if you wanted to, for example.
Alaska mileage purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as airfare spend for the purposes of your credit card. If you buy miles you’ll want to use a card which maximizes your return on everyday, non-bonused spend, like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, etc.
Redeem Alaska miles for Hainan Airlines business class
Wait, but didn’t Alaska just devalue?
Now I know the first thing you’re thinking — “wait a minute, didn’t Alaska just devalue Emirates first class redemptions without notice?” They sure did, and it pissed me off. I wasn’t pissed at the fact that they devalued as such, but rather that they did so without notice, and then turned around and blamed their members for the devaluation… and then changed which of their members they were blaming.
However, I’m confident they’ve learned their lesson (as a countless number of other programs have in the past after making a devaluation without notice), and I suspect we’ll get notice of devaluations in the future.
As I recently explained, Emirates first class was only one of the excellent uses of Alaska Mileage Plan miles, and there are still plenty of other great ones out there. On a per mile basis, I still value Mileage Plan miles more than any other mileage currency. They have so many great partners, and some great routing, stopover, and change policies.
Why you should buy Alaska miles for under two cents each
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 are some of the things which make Mileage Plan miles so valuable:
- 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 pre-bonus per transaction, but can make as many transactions as you’d like)
- Alaska has some unique airline partners, like Fiji Airways, Hainan Airlines, Icelandair, 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
- Now that American greatly devalued first class redemptions on partner airlines, redeeming Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific first class is the best way to book that award
- Redemption rates in Emirates business class are still reasonable, which is a great way to get to many regions, including India, Africa, Asia, etc.
To give a few examples of some of the great uses of Mileage Plan miles (all of which allow stopovers on one way awards):
- Cathay Pacific first class from the US to Asia for 70,000 miles
- Cathay Pacific business class from the US to Australia for 60,000 miles
- LAN business class from the US to South America for 45,000 miles
- Hainan business class from the US to Asia for 50,000 miles
- Fiji Airways business class from the US to Australia/New Zealand for 55,000 miles
- Icelandair business class from the US to Europe for 55,000 miles
- Korean Air business class from the US to Southeast Asia for 60,000 miles (roundtrip required)
Alaska miles are the best way to redeem for Cathay Pacific first class
While I’m of course not happy about the Mileage Plan Emirates devaluation, Alaska miles are still extremely valuable. I’ve never seen a targeted bonus on Mileage Plan miles which is better than this (last year we saw a comparable offer, which was narrowly targeted), so if you’re in the market for Alaska miles and are targeted, this is a great opportunity.
I really can’t undersell how valuable the stopovers on one way award are, not to mention some of the unique airline partners which Alaska has.
So while I wouldn’t completely speculatively buy miles through this offer, with a redemption in mind, I think it’s an excellent deal.
Were you targeted for a 50% bonus on the purchase of Alaska miles?
(Tip of the hat to CharterBox)