Last Chance: Buy Alaska Miles With Up To A 50% Bonus

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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:

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.

Redeem Alaska for Emirates first class, so you can have your onboard shower!

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

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, 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.

Bottom line

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?

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  1. Lucky,

    Do you know if Alaska allows their members to buy up to status like the main line carriers?

    I am about 10k short of making MVP Gold 75k


  2. It does not allow me to buy miles at all. I keep trying each day, but always get the same error:
    “Something went wrong.
    Please check your login information and try again.”
    But I’m already logged in. Has anyone else had experience with this? Thanks.

  3. I’m checking availability of flights on the Alaska website and whatever date I wouldn’t use, I see nothing…

    I’m looking at routes around BER/WAW – SIN – SYD. Is there any other, better place to check availability for the flights using Alaska miles? Their website doesn’t help…

  4. Ben, You said that one can add in Alaska Airlines flights to connect from the gateway city in North America. I like to book Cathay from SF or LAX, and I live in Houston. Although Alaska flies from Houston to Seattle and then to LAX or Oakland, they said I can only add from Seattle to LAX or Oakland but not the Houston to Seattle portion. Do you know if there are some rules governing connections with Alaska Air?

  5. Hey Ben, Would it be worth it to buy these miles without a specific purchase in mind and no real time to use them until late 2016 or 2017?

  6. Hey Ben,
    Took your advice and bought 20,000 miles from Alaska Air, got 26000. That rounds out a trip to France business class on Delta for me and my husband. Thanks for letting us know they were available.

  7. I’m having a similar frustration with AS when it comes to booking upgrades using AS miles. It seems you can only upgrade at the time of the booking and not at any other time between booking and boarding. I had hoped to use my miles from my outbound to upgrade my return portion. No deal.

    Live and learn.

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