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Through April 6, 2017, Alaska Mileage Plan is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased miles.
Sometimes Alaska offers several mystery targeted offers, where different accounts are targeted for different bonuses. This promo seems to be the same for everyone, and the more miles you purchase the higher your bonus percentage.
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles = 20% bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 39,000 miles = 30% bonus
- Buy 40,000 – 60,000 miles = 40% bonus
What’s the cost to purchase miles through this promo?
When Alaska sells miles they typically offer a 35-40% bonus, so the 40% bonus is typically as good as it gets. Alaska last offered a bonus on purchased miles last month, which also maxed out with a 40% bonus.
If you buy miles with a 40% bonus you’ll end up paying ~2.11 cents per mile. If you maxed out the promo, you would receive 84,000 miles for $1,773.75.
While the maximum number of miles you can purchase per transaction is 60,000 pre-bonus, you can buy as many sets of miles as you’d like. So you could buy a million miles if you wanted to, for example.
Why are Alaska miles awesome?
There are many reasons, but to give a few examples of some of the great uses of Mileage Plan miles (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)
Alaska miles are the best way to redeem for Cathay Pacific first class
Who can buy Alaska miles?
As long as you’ve been a member of Alaska Mileage Plan for at least 10 days, you can purchase miles during this promotion.
Given the promotion is valid for a few weeks, I’d recommend joining Mileage Plan today, and then you have time to think about whether or not to make a purchase.
Redeem Alaska miles for Japan Airlines first class
Who should consider purchasing Alaska miles?
There are lots of fabulous uses of Alaska miles, and buying them is generally a good deal. Fundamentally, however, there are three main groups of people who will most benefit from purchasing miles as a strategy:
- Those who can pay for flights, but would like to save money on a premium cabin flight
- Those who can’t avail themselves of credit card bonuses and need other ways to rack up miles
- Australians! Business class space on Cathay Pacific is great outside of school holidays, and purchasing Alaska miles is much less expensive than your other options
And, for tough regions like Africa, Emirates business class redemptions are generally widely available, and are still a good value.
Don’t buy miles if you don’t know what you’re doing
If you aren’t sure if this is a good deal for you, if you don’t know what your travel plans are, if you haven’t considered the flexibility required for leveraging award tickets, if you have a history of letting miles expire, if you don’t know what award space looks like for your dates — stop.
This deal might not be for you, at least not right now.
By all means sign up for an account so you’re eligible, but it’s okay to take your time or even wait for the next promo.
Which credit card should you use?
Alaska mileage purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as airfare spend for the purposes of your credit card.
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, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®, Citi® Double Cash Card, etc.
Redeem Alaska miles for Hainan Airlines business class
While we’ve seen some narrowly targeted bonuses in the past that were higher, a 40% bonus on the purchase of Alaska miles is typically as good as it gets. There are tons of other great values to be had, and the recent introduction of Japan Airlines as a partner adds a lot of value to Alaska miles, in my opinion.
While I wouldn’t buy miles without a use in mind, there are so many great uses of Alaska miles. I really can’t overstate how valuable the stopovers on one way award are, not to mention some of the unique airline partners that Alaska has.
Of course there’s some calculus involved in accounting for the miles you’re not earning, and you of course want to make sure there’s actually award availability around your dates. But for many people, this can be a fantastic way to splurge on a more comfortable flight while saving quite a bit over the retail cost.
So while I wouldn’t speculatively buy miles through this offer, especially as these promos seem to be happening more frequently with Alaska. With a redemption in mind, however, I think it’s an excellent deal.
Have you purchased Alaska miles? How did you use them?