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