Alaska Airlines’ Incredible Offer To Convert Wallet Funds Into Miles

Filed Under: Alaska

Alaska Airlines has brought back its lucrative promotion to convert ticket credits into Mileage Plan miles. This promotion was first offered about a month ago, and is now being offered once again.

Generate Mileage Plan miles for one cent each

Alaska Airlines is offering an incentive to Mileage Plan members who have wallet balances (this is where credit goes from unused tickets):

  • Members can convert wallet credit into Mileage Plan miles, at the rate of one cent per mile; for example, a $100 wallet credit can be converted into 10,000 Mileage Plan miles
  • Members are able to exchange their wallet balance into miles in increments of 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of the current wallet balance
  • This promotion is valid through 11:59PM PT on Friday, November 13, 2020
  • Any Mileage Plan member with a wallet balance can follow this link to take advantage of the offer
  • This is based on whatever wallet balance you had as of November 3, 2020

“Buying” Mileage Plan miles for one cent each is amazing

Suffice to say that being able to generate Mileage Plan miles for one cent each is a phenomenal deal. On a per-mile basis I value Alaska Mileage Plan miles more than any other airline mileage currency.

When Mileage Plan has a promotion on purchasing miles, costs are typically in the range of 1.7-2.1 cents per mile, so this is significantly lower than that.

If you are eligible for this promotion I’d highly recommend taking advantage of this. Obviously there’s some risk here, though:

Even so, one cent per Mileage Plan is so far below my valuation of Alaska miles that this is a risk I’d be willing to take.

Unfortunately you can’t get creative here… or can you?

I’m sure when many people first heard of this opportunity they wondered if they could buy an Alaska Airlines ticket now, convert it into wallet funds, and then take advantage of this promotion.

As I mentioned when writing about the terms above, unfortunately this only applies to wallet funds as of November 3. In other words, they’re specifically excluding ticket purchases during the promotion, or even in the couple of days leading up to the promotion.

I’m sure some people may be thinking the same thing I’m thinking now:

  • This is the second time this promotion is being offered
  • Is it worth speculatively buying tickets now in hopes of this promotion being offered again a month from now? If it’s being offered twice, surely it could also be offered three times, no?

At the end of the day it’s probably not worth the risk. It could be the promotion isn’t offered again, and it could also be that next time there’s a promotion the conversion rate is different.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m tempted…

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines isn’t the first airline to allow program members to convert unused ticket credits into frequent flyer miles (we’ve seen this from Air Canada, Frontier, Southwest, and more). However, this is by far the best value we’ve seen from any airline, in my opinion.

If you do have any wallet funds with Alaska, then I’d recommend taking advantage of it. Unfortunately wallet funds generated during the promotion aren’t eligible, or else I’d guess that Alaska would see a lot of ticket sales right about now. šŸ˜‰

If you have any credits with Alaska Airlines, do you plan on taking advantage of this promo?

Comments
  1. Hah I couldn’t find a use for the $160 I’ve had in there forever, so converting that to 16,000 miles would be so awesome! But I haven’t received an email, hopefully it comes at some point. Otherwise I’ll try reaching out to them. Thanks for pointing this out!

  2. You know there doing this for themselves not for the customer.

    Pretty much expect a mileage plan deval or other negative major change with going to OW.

    Imagine if they can get $ liability off the books and convert that to miles ā€œsalesā€ it looks like a growth in the miles biz if they need to borrow around MP ala AA. Or it could be better for BK planning etc as they can deval mileage plan valuation more easily then alter the value of $ based credit balances.

    Iā€™m a long time MVPG75k, but pretty clear thereā€™s a reason behind it.

  3. OK, so now we know AS values miles as low as 1.0 cents each. So purchasing miles at 1.72 cents each at the 60% bonus level isnā€™t that great of a deal after all.

    And to think I almost bought miles.

  4. Update: I just got the email! And it’s true that with them joining OW who knows where the value is going to go, but living in NYC I really have no use for Alaska money anyway so points it is.

  5. @BallardFlyer – No doubt that is exactly what they are doing. They don’t want the liability on their books. While I am sure there are people who would do this, I would much rather have what amounts to being a “gift certificate” that I can use at a later date. Additionally, I have several flights in my wallet that were biz trips that are essentially their property, meaning I have to use them for future work travel. Dumb promo.

  6. I had a trip to Kauai booked in late March and decided to cancel right when everything started to shut down. Was happy to have $892 in wallet credits.
    Was quite a bit happier to have that convert to almost 90k Alaska miles! I almost didn’t believe the Alaska email when it came in.
    There is no crystal ball for everything opening up before OneWorld changes or when I want to fly international, but thats almost enough for round trip business to Asia for under $1k… Happy Friday

  7. I saw this email in my inbox this morning and assumed it was conversion at some stupid rate. 1 cent per mile is a good rate – but – I have a lot of Alaska miles and not enough time to use them all for high-value international trips (let alone factoring in the uncertainty around the OW membership and future redemptions).

    OTOH, wallet funds I can use with my BofA Visa companion vouchers for cheap family trips on AS metal.

    I’m still going to consider this but I think I’m leaning no. YMMV.

  8. Yea I have about $1200 in wallet funds. I fully expect that they are going to massively de-value the Mileage Plan program, meaning 120,000 would be worth significantly less by the time I can actually use them for an international dedemption.

    Even if that weren’t the case, my travel patterns take be trans-con and intra-West Coast a lot, so that $1200 can actually go a long way given current pricing. As a 75K I’ll most likely get the upgrades, as well as a 75% mileage bonus.

    So while the $0.01 per mile value of this conversion looks great on paper compared to usual rates, it’s not always clear that it’s just automatically worth it.

  9. I had $900 when this all started. but have used some to see my parents regularly. Got the offer for the $236 I have in the wallet now.

    I need to think about it. That’s a round trip to see the parents, but mileage round trip would be 15K so the miles probably do make sense.

  10. 75k here. Has anyone done the analysis of covering wallet funds vs using wallet funds to purchase tickets and gain miles flown + mileage bonus?

  11. Ben, this is interesting as I had received an email from Alaska in August offering to convert a balance to miles and it was at a much worse rate. I don’t remember exactly, but I recall it was something like $1,381 wallet balance for 42,000 miles. I received the current offer today, it it is for 138,100 miles, same wallet balance. I am not that inclined to take it though. With the Alaska Gold mileage bonus, I can earn thousands of miles and help re-qualify for Gold by flying discounted transcons using those funds instead of cashing them in for miles.

  12. Most of great AS redemptions, imo, are international on partners. So unless you can travel internationally, keeping the miles in your account is not a good idea.
    They want to convert the liability from $ to miles, then devalue the miles, boom, reduce liability and make money. $ in your wallet, be that physical or virtual, is still better than miles.

  13. Thanks for the timely post. I had actually deleted the email thinking it was just another buy miles promo.

  14. I have over $2000 in wallet credits with Alaska. But I also have over 200K miles current sitting in my account unused while waiting for the rest of the world to open back up. So I’m not sure that I have much of a need for additional Alaska miles right now. However, if your wallet funds are close to expiring and you can’t think of a way to use them before then, this seems like a great way to preserve some value, even if the miles end up getting devalued next year.

  15. I did not receive the email. However, I logged into the website and I see the offer at the bottom of the page. It’s allowing me to convert my wallet balance.

  16. You could likely get quite a few domestic trips at a discount this way if you didn’t mind not earning status/mileage. It’s not that hard to find off-peak rewards, and especially if you include a stopover something like SFO-SEA-EWR for 12,500 points = $125 isn’t a bad deal.

    That said, I’ll be using my wallet funds to book flights in 2021. That’s money I would be spending anyway and I have plenty of Alaska miles for the forseeable future

  17. @ Ben — This is further (actually very concerning) evidence of a massive devaluation on the way…

  18. Southwest did this many weeks ago
    What good is a promotion you can’t participate in except if targeted?WT#
    Yes thats the new Alaska with 80k one way awards to Hawaii pathetic with no seats sold on board.And no lie down seats ever or decent dining in First yet over charging
    We booked Hawaiian for 40k each way in First and bough revenue tickets on American that were near half the price of Alaska without having to go backwards to Seattle now that they canceled many of their non stops
    Gold confirmed upgrades you can’t use as everything is blocked .Over priced revenue tickets and awards during a pandemic with near empty planes
    Alaska blew up my loyalty not the pandemic
    I likely will never be back.Terrible decision making with no shame or apology from a once great caring responsible airline.I’m done with them.Sad

  19. “This offer is not intended to apply to new purchases of gift certificates occurring during the offer period. If you acquire a gift certificate during the offer period, or receive a gift certificate acquired during the offer period, and exchange that gift certificate for Miles in violation of this condition of the offer, we will reverse the transaction, remove the Miles from your account, and re-issue the amount exchanged as wallet credit.”

    They got smart this time and closed the loopholes. Last promo, you could add to your alaska wallet simply by buying tickets and immediately canceling. Also by buying $1,000 a day in gift cards and converting to wallet.

    Kudos to them. I’m glad someone inside is paying attention to things.

  20. As an Australia based AS member locked down in Australia with money in my wallet expiring soon, this was a great way to preserve some value for the future. I now have two more years on my mileage account. Hopefully, Australia will let us leave the country before then.

  21. Got my Alaska email for both myself and my wife. Clicked on the link, signed in, with another click directly go to the page that converts my wallet from credit to miles. With another click to confirm… Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am. Got my miles. Back in Sufragette City.
    Does Alaska fly to Sufragette?

  22. Bought a ticket on 10/9, but was unware of this promo. Trying to refund the ticket back to my wallet (ticket was bought from funds that were already in my wallet, not new cash). I think Alaska is processing the wallet refunds with delay (they have up to 7 days), but from my experience I see it normally after a few in.. but not this time.

    Anyone else see this?

  23. @Roberto,

    At the moment they’ve blocked anything from being credited to the wallet. Likely while this promo is going on. Even the reps at the MVP desk are unable to move anything into or back into the wallet.

  24. @Roberto
    I’ve consistently had a few days delay on refunding tickets purchased with wallet funds, purchased with cash goes to wallet immediately but 3-4 days otherwise

  25. @John G
    @Zymm

    Thank you both!
    I went ahead and converted the balance that I had, without waiting for the additional funds to get deposited into my wallet. As you said, it is not going to come before the promo ends.

  26. Good thing is if your wallet money is going to expire fairly soon, you can convert to miles and no expiration date as long as your acct stay in active status. But itā€™s my understanding that you must receive email invitation to do this.

  27. Originally I was going to extend the wallet credit (look online on how to do this) beyond the already covid pushed expiration, but then I took up the offer so that I could use the mileage on non-AS flights since the wallet could only be used on AS.

  28. Yikes! Is this article last-minute recycling or what??
    Not even presented as a “Last opportunity~ here today, gone tomorrow!”
    Hope this doesn’t become a trend on OMAAT.

  29. With a heavy heart, I converted to miles. For several years, I was generating more miles than I could use and didn’t like it but I see the pandemic raging on even if a vaccine (due to the vaccine not being 100%, needing boosters that some will miss, and because of anti-vaxxers). If I didn’t convert to miles, then the wallet funds would eventually be lost.

  30. I’m with you derek. I too decided to convert my wallet to miles. I have peace of mind with a 2 year window instead of booking by July 5, 2021and now have AA as an option.
    I’m not going anywhere soon.

  31. I do not fly frequently and live on the east coast. I had to cancel a trip to California with my daughter because of covid and so I have $1350 in my Alaska wallet and trying to decide if I should convert to miles. That is how I found this discussion. We are unsure of when we can schedule our trip again. Would like to think we could go May of 2021 but unsure of virus. I figured I could rebook the trip and keep changing the flight. Is that the case that there are no more change fees? Does it make sense to book the flight sooner with the wallet cash and then convert remainder to miles? How difficult is it to book a flight with miles. Would I get a better value if converted to miles now and then soon booked the flight which I could then change if needed?

  32. I’m not banking on any international redemptions anytime soon, but even for domestic flights I’ll take in January, the cash price is $500+ vs. just 25,000 miles. That says “exchange” to me.

  33. Costco has a 10% off offer for AS gift cards
    If you have spare change – get 500$ card for 450$
    book and cancel – have funds in wallet ready for next exchange offer
    cost 0.9 cents per mile

  34. Well looks like there’s a loophole…

    I had no wallet balance as of Nov. 3. I actually managed to get the Costco gift cert, applied it to my wallet today, and then converted it to miles. Success.

    The Nov. 3rd restriction seems not to apply?

  35. My email says I would get a dollar a mile. I have never used millage before so I am unsure what to do. I have over 600 in my wallet due to having to cancel for covid travel restrictions. I have until july to use them. Any advice?

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