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Alaska frequently offers bonuses on purchased miles, typically as high as 40%. Alaska has just announced their latest such promotion, which is more of a flash sale, and it’s different than the ones they’ve offered in the past.
Through May 3, 2017, or “while supplies last,” Alaska Mileage Plan is offering 4,000 bonus miles when you buy 10,000 miles. This offer is only available to the first 2,500 members who take advantage of the promotion. I assume that if the website shows the 4,000 bonus miles when you make the purchase, you’re good to go.
Each member can take advantage of this promotion at most five times. If you purchase 10,000 miles you’ll receive a total of 14,000 miles at a cost of $295.63 including tax, which is a cost of ~2.11 cents per mile. That’s typically as cheap of a cost as you’ll see on the purchase of Alaska miles.
So, what makes this promotion special? Typically when Alaska offers a bonus on purchased miles, you need to purchase a large quantity of miles to get the lowest cost per mile. For example, during Alaska’s last bonus on purchased miles you could also earn a 40% bonus, but only if you purchased at least 40,000 miles in one transaction, pre-bonus.
Typically you won’t get a 40% bonus if purchasing a smaller quantity of miles, though that’s not the case here — you can earn the bonus for buying as few as 10,000 miles, which is a great offer.
As I’ve explained before, there are many reasons to consider buying Alaska miles:
- 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 (though do note that Alaska may not have access to all Cathay Pacific seats)
- 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 redemption rates (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)
If you buy miles you’ll want to first use a card where you’re meeting minimum spend, and then use a card which maximizes your return on everyday, non-bonused spend, like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, Chase Freedom® Unlimited, Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, Citi® Double Cash Card, etc.
If you’re looking to purchase a large quantity of miles then this promotion isn’t as good as the ones Alaska usually offers. However, if the goal is to just top off a Mileage Plan account, then this is a great option. Here you can acquire Mileage Plan miles at the best rate that’s typically publicly available, even when buying just 10,000 miles. Do note that this offer only seems to be available through this special points.com link, and not if accessing the offer through the website.