Alaska Mileage Plan is a program that frequently sells miles at a discount, and buying miles with them can represent an excellent value. This is because of their unique airline partners, their attractive redemption rates, and the fact that they allow stopovers on one-way award tickets.
Earlier I wrote about how Alaska Mileage Plan is offering a 40% bonus on purchased miles through February 22, 2019, which is their first promotion of the year. This is an opportunity to buy miles for as little as 2.11 cents each.
There are lots of people who frequently take advantage of these promotions, and one thing that has long made Alaska Mileage Plan unique is that they’ve had no limit on how many miles you can purchase. So while there was a limit on how many miles you could buy per transaction, you could make as many transactions as you’d like.
Well, that has finally changed. Alaska Mileage Plan now limits non-elite members to buying 150,000 miles per calendar year. Meanwhile elite Mileage Plan members (MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K) continue to not have a limit on how many miles they can buy.
Here’s how Alaska has updated the terms of their promotion for buying miles:
Your Mileage Plan account may be credited up to a maximum total of 150,000 miles acquired through Points.com in a calendar year, whether purchased by you or gifted to you. MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K
So, why would Mileage Plan add a limit on how many miles you can buy? In reality they were probably making money on a vast majority of transactions, because even when you’re buying miles for the purposes of redeeming in first and business class on partner airlines, Alaska is only paying a fraction of the normal costs for these tickets.
My guess is that this limit was added due to the number of mileage brokers out there buying and selling miles. Airlines do everything they can to stop these people for a variety of reasons, and I’m guessing they found most people buying miles in big quantities were doing that. Of course this won’t be a foolproof solution, since those people can also get status.
I’d be curious to know to what extent this impacts the total number of miles they sell.
What do you make of Alaska’s new limit on purchased miles?