Alaska Promo Ends Today: How Many Miles Did I Buy?

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Since mid-November, Alaska Mileage Plan has been offering a “mystery bonus” on the purchase of points. Through this promotion, different Mileage Plan accounts are targeted for different bonuses — some 35%, some 40%, and some 50%.

As I posted a reminder of a few days ago, this promotion expires today, so this is your last chance to buy miles with up to a 50% bonus. Typically when Alaska offers a bonus on the purchase of miles it’s a maximum of either 35% or 40%, so if you were targeted for a 50% bonus that’s much higher than usual.

As of a few days ago I was still trying to decide how many Mileage Plan miles to buy. I have 225,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles in my account, and couldn’t decide whether to buy more. What went into making the decision?

  • Alaska miles are extremely valuable, though I also don’t like to buy miles too speculatively, since there could always be a devaluation (hopefully with a good amount of advance notice)
  • Short term my focus is on redeeming AAdvantage miles before they’re devalued, so I asked myself how soon I’d be able to redeem Alaska miles
  • At the same time, a 50% bonus on the purchase of Alaska miles is an even bigger bonus than usual, so I didn’t want to “miss out” on it

So did I end up buying Alaska miles? Yes… but not for my account. My dad’s account was targeted for a 50% bonus, and he had 22,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles in his account before today.


That’s not really a useful mileage balance, and at the same time his account was the one in the family which was targeted with a 50% bonus. So I ended up buying a total of 78,000 miles for his account — that’s 52,000 miles plus a 50% bonus.


The cost of that, including taxes, was $1,537.25. I used the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, which earned me 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (since Alaska mileage purchases are processed by, the purchase wouldn’t have counted as airfare spend).


With that, my dad’s account now has 100,000+ Alaska Mileage Plan miles, which is enough for a one-way Emirates first class award ticket between the US and Africa, Asia, or Europe (via Dubai, of course). And long time readers will know how my dad feels about Emirates first class. 😉

The Emirates A380 shower spa, possibly my favorite part of any plane

Bottom line

While Alaska miles for under two cents each are a fantastic deal, I wasn’t going to load up on them too much. My short term aspirations for Alaska miles are redeeming them for travel on Fiji Airways to New Zealand, and then hopefully soon enough I’ll book another Emirates first class award, given how much my loved ones enjoy Emirates.

In this case I thought topping off my dad’s account was the right move, given that he was targeted for the 50% bonus and I could get his account to a “round” and useful balance.

Did you buy Alaska miles through the promotion which expires today?

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  1. Stories like these are what drive me crazy about travel blogs. It’s so hypocritical. They go out and spend $1500 on miles and then turn around and say that you can fly first class for nearly nothing.

  2. $1,500 for an international first class is in fact nearly nothing. One gets that perspective after having paid cash for international business and first class flights.

  3. I had a few thousand Alaska Miles from an economy flight to Milan, Dubai and back to NY. I ended up buying 91000 miles (50% bonus included) and I’ll be flying LGW-DXB-JFK on EK First! Very excited 😀

  4. If you read the blogs, you’ll know that none of the travel is free. It costs money to fly and earn the miles in addition to the spend on CC.

    Go price out a first class one way ticket and you’ll see $1500 for that trip is indeed a bargain. Doesn’t mean it was free, but it’s most definitely cheaper than paying full price for the first class fare.

  5. Lucky, I came to same conclusion – time to use as many AA miles as possible. No need to purchase any more Alaska miles and muddy up that strategy.

  6. You shouldn’t uldbrename your blog to $$$ at a time instead of one mile at a time.

    Of late you’ve posted about dropping $$$ on paid business flights to London and Panama and other several ones, $$$ in expensive hotels calling them a great bargain at several hundred a night, $$$ to buy miles, $$$ on annual card fees.

    Basically you’re now a rich kid dropping cash on every luxury experience, pretending its miles. So stop pretending you’re not by posting the occasional “save $5 on lyft!” posts.

  7. Are Alaska miles with Emerites only good between Dubai and the US? I can’t seem to book between London and Dubai?

  8. @Amtexfly Most of Alaska’s award tickets must originate or terminate in North America with few exceptions. EK between Europe & ME is not an exception that Alaska allows.

  9. Devaluation is not the only risk that travelers have in their frequent flyer accounts. Another major risk factor is the possibility of an airline going out of business. I had accumulated about 130,000 Global Rewards miles (all actual miles flown through their various airline partners, and no mileage transferred from credit cards and/or hotel guest programs) which was totally wiped out back in 2001 when Ansett Australia very suddenly went under. That’s why I’m not a big fan of accumulating too many miles in any one particular FF account, and buying miles with cash is not a wise thing to do. I have been diversifying my mileage between 5 FF programs (JAL Mileage Bank, Emirates Skywards, United Airlines MileagePlus, Lufthansa Miles & More, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer) ever since which spreads the risk and I don’t transfer miles from credit cards and hotel frequent guest programs until the last few weeks before I actually redeem an award ticket.

  10. Having bought these miles before it is a great deal for EK F! I did not buy any right now as I have no travel planned for most of 2016. My company will be buying the tickets. EK is fun don’t get me wrong but I have seen enough of DXB for a while. AS has this promotion at least 2-4 times a year. It will be back.

  11. @Amtexfly you can use Alaskan Points for flights ex-Europe with Emirates, but it has to be europe-dubai-america

  12. @Amtexfly Instead of selecting one way or round trip flights, select multi-city and input the flight manually. For example, LHR-DXB and DXB-JFK, if you were flying between London and New York. FYI, EK also flies out of Gatwick and the UK departure taxes are bit cheaper there, compared to LHR

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