6 Reasons You Should Consider Buying Alaska Miles

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For a while now Alaska Mileage Plan has offering a mystery bonus on the purchase of miles. You can earn between 35% and 50% bonus miles when you buy Alaska miles, depending on what your account was targeted for. It’s worth noting that this is a limited time promotion that expires on Thursday, September 29, 2016, so you only have a few days left to take advantage of this offer.

Alaska-Mystery-bonus

There’s no doubt there have been some negative changes to Mileage Plan lately, including a devaluation of Emirates first class awards and them not having access to all Cathay Pacific award space.

However, it’s still one of my all around favorite airline programs, and if you were targeted for a 50% bonus on purchased miles, there are many circumstances under which I’d consider buying miles. With a 50% bonus you’re paying just ~1.97 cents per mile.

With that in mind, I figured I’d share six reasons you should consider buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles, in no particular order:

Stopovers on one-way awards

This is something that makes Mileage Plan unique, as Alaska allows stopovers even on one-way award tickets. This creates so many great opportunities to visit multiple destinations on a single award.

Flying from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Bali? You can stop in Hong Kong.

Hong-Kong-Sunrise

Flying from Los Angeles to Fiji to Auckland? You can stop in Fiji.

Sheraton-Fiji-Resort - 36

I can’t think of another lucrative frequent flyer program that offers complimentary stopovers on one-way awards booked on partner airlines.

Keep in mind this also means that if you’re flying roundtrip and booking as two one-ways, you can actually do two stopovers — one in each direction.

Crazy generous routing rules

Not only does Alaska Mileage Plan allow stopovers on one-way awards, but they also have very lenient routing rules, which is great, as it easily lets you explore two places on one award.

You can route from the US to Europe via Dubai.

You can route from the US to South Africa via Hong Kong.

You can route from the US to Australia via Korea.

routings

This presents some opportunities where other programs would charge you for multiple awards.

Reasonable change & cancellation policies

It’s amazing how much some airlines charge in change and cancellation fees nowadays. Want to make a minor change to a Delta SkyMiles award ticket 10 months out? It’ll cost you $150 per person.

Want to cancel the United MileagePlus award you booked for your family of four to Europe, and have the miles redeposited? That’ll cost you $200 per person, or $800 total.

Perhaps aside from Korean Air SkyPass, Alaska has the most reasonable change & cancellation fees.

With Alaska, there are no fees if you cancel or change your award at least 60 days before departure. So you can make as many changes as you want prior to the 60 day mark, and can even redeposit the miles for free. Changes within 60 days of departure will trigger a $125 change or mileage redeposit fee, though.

No limit to how many miles you can buy

A lot of loyalty programs will sell miles, though most of them will cap how many you can buy per account per calendar year. Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t — you can buy as many miles as you want. The major restrictions are simply:

  • You can purchase a maximum of 60,000 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)

But other than that you can buy as many miles as you’d like. That’s awesome because buying miles can be a great way to get premium cabin tickets at a discount, and this allows you to buy enough for the whole family.

Unique and varied airline partners

Alaska doesn’t belong to any of the “big three” alliances, though they partner with some airlines that belong to both oneworld and SkyTeam, as some other unique, non-alliance carriers. This presents some pretty cool award opportunities you couldn’t book with most other airlines.

For example, there aren’t many airlines that partner with Fiji Airways, Hainan Airlines, Icelandair, etc.

alaska-partners-1 alaska-partners-2

Great premium cabin redemption rates

Not only does Mileage Plan have great airline partners and allow one-way awards and have reasonable change fees and generous routing rules, but the redemption rates are industry leading for the most part as well. To give a few examples:

  • Cathay Pacific or Hainan business class between the US and Asia for 50,000 miles per person
  • Fiji Airways business class between the US and New Zealand (via Fiji) for 55,000 miles per person
  • Qantas business class between the US and Australia for 55,000 miles per person
  • LAN business class between the US and South America for 45,000 miles per person
  • Cathay Pacific first class between the US and South Africa (via Hong Kong) for 70,000 miles per person

LAN-Business-Class-787 - 25

Bottom line

Alaska Mileage Plan continues to be one of the most valuable frequent flyer programs for premium cabin redemptions. There are lots of circumstances under which it can make sense to buy Alaska miles, and you only have a few days left to do so under the current offer. Mileage Plan has some redemptions that aren’t possible through any other programs, so there’s tons of value to be had.

Comments

  1. I just clicked on my Alaska acct and was offerd 35%…anywat I can get 50%? also if I use my Alaska Visa will I get 3xmiles?
    Thanks

  2. “Perhaps aside from Korean Air SkyPass, Alaska has the most reasonable change & cancellation fees.”

    Singapore isn’t bad either… especially since inside of 60 days (when you’re arguably most likely to cancel) the same low fee applies.

  3. “Cathay Pacific first class between the US and South Africa (via Hong Kong) for 70,000 miles per person”.
    Too bad CX doesn’t fly F to/from JNB.

  4. Roundtrip US to JNB via HKG in CX F for 140000 AS miles was the greatest redemption I ever had. Unfortunately CX no longer offers an F cabin on HKG-JNB flights.

  5. @lucky a few questions

    1. You cannot search availability for CX awards via Alaska online can you?
    2. It is crazy value even at 40% bonus for example asia to europe is only 85,000 miles return and that at 40% bonus is only $1,773.75 USD.

    Now question is… is it even bookable….

  6. @lucky “You can purchase a maximum of 40,000 miles per transaction, though can make as many transactions as you’d like” that does not seem to be true it looks like you can purchase up to 60,000. At least that is what it is showing me.

  7. “You can route from the US to South Africa via Hong Kong”

    Nice routing but the availability is almost non-existent……

  8. 1) I miss the old redemption rates with Emirates…and I am just glad I had the chance to fly with them twice.

    2) I am definitely taking advantage of this…I’m trying to fly to Munich next year for Oktoberfest…fly there via Icelandair, and come back on BA.

  9. @ Jay — Correct, you need to search CX space on another site, like ba.com, and then can call Alaska to book. Even with a 40% bonus that can still represent an excellent deal.

  10. Tiffany had an article recently about Alaska blocking CX premium cabin award space. How frequently is this happening?

  11. Hey Lucky,
    Any idea how long one has to wait to take advantage of the promo after signing up for a new Mileage Plan account? I’m not having any luck after signing up today. Thanks

  12. @lucky ah ok ba ok great yes it def is great value 900 usd for a Cx from Asia to Europe is super cheap btw does Alaska charge YQ ? or what are taxes gonna be like? Thanks

  13. @lucky my account isnt working because I screwed up long story anyways my husbands account is the one with the 40% bonus.. it works just like any other miles systems right? the points can be used for tickets in anyone’s name?

    Thanks !

  14. So Alaska miles are a great deal! But as soon as everyone has heard this through you or the points guy or some other site everyone and their dog is now an Alaska member buying miles and competing for space. Great!
    I have been flying SEA-JNB on Alaska/Cathay for several years. Each year it gets harder. Last year we scored F from HKG-LAX but this year only one seat (one of us in Y). Tried to book next year a year out and no availability. Finally found CX space and guess what – ALASKA WOULD NOT CONNECT FROM SEA TO LAX so I could not book the flight.
    Double guess what – switched to AA and booked Qatar from CPT-SEA on the same dates and ALASKA HAD SPACE FOR THE AA FLIGHT – but no space for their own CX connect – same day same time.
    So go figure! Alaska gets the money for points but then will not release the flights ON THEIR OWN METAL.

    We are outbound using EK to CPT in January and have had the tickets 5 months – WE ARE STILL WAITLISTED ON AS for the flight SEA-SFO – even though there are still NO sold SEATS in F on AS366 they still will not release a seat to us.

    Too many people buying points means too little rewards for the purchasers. Purchasers beware this is not as good as it sounds.

  15. Alan is right on I started one year out booking 3 business class award tickets RT Anchorage to Cebu with a stopover in Hong Kong. Still have not been able to fully complete the itenary. Have called more times than I can count. Using BA site to check availability.

  16. People need to get a grip and fly in Y for their short connections. Good grief, you need F for SEA – SFO? You’re flying F or J on your big international legs. Isn’t that where the value is? Talk about first world problems. No sympathy from me.

    The real problem is availability on these amazing routes that Lucky talks about, when the reality is, that there is almost zero availability on many of these.

  17. @spamman808 and you make that sound like a bad thing.. what is your problem with that? Is he supposed to be doing this for free? STFU…

  18. I was searching for available award seats to book from Brisbane, Sydney, or Melbourne to LAX in business, every single one that popped up routed you through a different Australian city in business for then economy for the long haul, while charging the business class redemption. Is this
    always the case???

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