Since mid-May, Alaska Mileage Plan has been offering a bonus on purchased miles. Different accounts are targeted for different bonuses, with many people being targeted for a 50% bonus, which is the biggest bonus Alaska has ever offered on purchased miles (we’ve seen targeted 50% bonuses a couple of times in the past, but never anything bigger). This bonus on purchased Mileage Plan miles ends today, Saturday, July 1, 2017, so you have just hours left to take advantage of this promotion.
If you max out the 50% bonus promotion you can purchase a total of 90,000 miles (including the 30,000 bonus miles) at a cost of $1,773.75, which represents a cost of ~1.97 cents per mile.
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 Alaska miles are so valuable
In case you’re on the fence, here are some of things that make buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles valuable:
- 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)
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)
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.
Redeem Alaska miles for Japan Airlines first class
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 Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®, Citi® Double Cash Card, etc.
Redeem Alaska miles for Hainan Airlines business class
A 50% bonus on purchased Mileage Plan miles is as good as it gets, so if you’ve been holding off on buying Alaska miles, this is your last chance to do so. There are lots of 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 ways to redeem 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.