Last Chance: Alaska Offering Up To 50% Bonus On Purchased Miles

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In mid-August, Alaska Airlines launched a new bonus on purchased miles. This post is a reminder that this bonus expires tomorrow, Thursday, October 4, 2018, so if you’re interested you’ll want to buy miles shortly.

Alaska is offering a “mystery bonus,” so different accounts will be eligible for different offers — you’ll want to log into your Alaska account to see what you’re eligible for. It looks like they’re offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased miles, which is huge.

For targeted members, this bonus is tiered as follows:

  • Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, receive a 20% bonus
  • Buy 20,000-39,000 miles, receive a 35% bonus
  • Buy 40,000-60,000 miles, receive a 50% bonus

What’s the cost to purchase miles through this promo?

Historically Alaska Mileage Plan seems to offer anywhere between 35% and 50% bonuses on purchased miles.

A 40% bonus is most common, while 50% bonuses are quite rare, so I’d say this offer is excellent, assuming you’re targeted for it. If you buy miles with a 50% bonus you’ll end up paying ~1.97 cents per mile. If you maxed out the promo, you would receive 90,000 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.

Who should buy Alaska miles with a 50% bonus?

In the past I wrote a post entitled “6 Reasons Buying Alaska Miles Is A Good Deal.” Check out that post for full details, though just to summarize, here are some of the things which make Mileage Plan miles so valuable:


Redeeming Alaska miles for Emirates business class is still a great value

To give a few examples of some of the great uses of Mileage Plan miles (all of which allow stopovers on one way awards):


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 several 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

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:

Cards for everyday purchases


Redeem Alaska miles for Hainan Airlines business class

Bottom line

Alaska’s excellent bonus on purchased miles expires tomorrow, so if you’re interested you’ll want to buy miles ASAP. Under certain circumstances, buying Alaska miles could represent an excellent value, especially for redemptions in first class on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qantas (if you can find availability), etc.

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.

If you are going to buy Alaska miles, it’s tough to beat doing so while they’re offering a 50% bonus.

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Comments

  1. I smell something fishy. Does AS believe they’ve received too many points from Marriott travel package transfer and decided to do a point sale before devaluation?

  2. @lucky,

    You might want to edit before your next copy & paste:

    You wrote: “this policy applies for tickets issued through June 5, 2018, though at that point they’re going to start charging $125 per person for all changes)”

  3. Got the 50%, and seeing as the Marriott Travel Packages are not as valuable as they used to be, I supposed I should stock up on Alaska miles.

  4. Got the 50% bonus offer. Very very tempted to buy even though I don’t have a specific redemption as they’re one of the harder currencies to earn quickly.

  5. Can I sell them my miles at the same price?

    People I will give you 1% more than what Alaska is offering you.

    Let’s do business. Lucky you want to do business?

  6. Myself and wife both got 50% offer so maybe everyone is getting it. I can just see them raising CX awards after this

  7. How does Alaska handle award changes to a higher class of service? For example, I book Cathay business class, then change to first shortly before the flight when Cathay releases more first class seats. Does this incur a change fee, or do you just pay the difference in miles (like on an AA award)?

  8. only got 35%, no good 🙁

    I probably should say even for people received 50% should buy for a specific redemption in mind.

    Smell devaluation in the air…

  9. This article is helpful because the examples are all based on using Alaska miles with partners. I find that they fetch only around a penny on Alaska flights, so would caution against buying them if that’s the intended use.

  10. Got the 50% offer, I’m going to pass, I’ve been trying to book a Business Class on Cathay for over a year, there is NEVER space. Starting to regret getting Alaska miles.

  11. Even with the 50% bonus, this equates to 2 cents per point ($.0197). How can you say 2-cents a point is a good deal, when most “experts” place the value less? I was a long term Gold / Gold 75K for over 10-years, and moved my business to Delta last year. I still have over 1.3 million Aslaska miles that I find almost impossible to use.

    Alaska lost it mojo years ago (several articles were published), and their stock is down 40% from its high of $100 per share, which means yet another devaluation is coming soon. While you state all the “great uses of Alaska miles”, good luck finding 2 business class tickets on their partners. You can search for 12-months on Fiji Air and find ZERO availability in business.

  12. Why do people keep on smelling something? Did they not shower? LOL

    I keed, I keed =0)

    The 50% bonus miles (targeted) happened one time last year and there wasn’t any devaluation. Just because an airline is offering a good buy offer doesn’t mean they are looking to devalue (though it could certainly happen). They devalued Emirates miles that was necessary to use and yet I got 6.6 cents return when I flew Emirates business class which is still a great value.

    By the way using Chase Ink Business Preffered will get you 3X points on purchasing these miles.

  13. Honestly, Lucky – How big are the odds of Alaska devaluing their chart (READ: Cathay awards) in 2018???

  14. I got 50% been trying to book Cathay with zero luck.

    Cathay has those seats locked up! Even JAL is getting less and I can’t find one AY business class seat anywhere.

  15. @ Mark so you’re saying Delta has better availability? How about the cost? Aren’t they know to charge 300-400K for one way flights in Delta One or am I not reading the numerous examples of that correctly?

    You have to flexible with your travel dates and not expect to find a bunch of seats on each flight. Personally I have seen plenty of JAL, Emirates, Korean Air availability and when I called they found plenty of Cathay Pacific business class and some first class. When you are getting anywhere between 10-20 cents of value, the cost of purchasing these miles for 2 cents is nothing

  16. Offered 35%.

    I expect that business class tickets will be harder to find for awhile. There were a lot of Marriott travel packages sold (120,000 miles).

  17. @Mark, curious where you’re trying to go that you find them so hard to use. I just used 30,000 miles to go round trip from SEA to Kona and earlier this year flew EK first to the Maldives and Korean first back.

    I’ve not had much luck getting to Australia (other than coach) but have found it pretty easy to get most other places I’ve wanted to go.

  18. @Brian you’ll just pay the difference in miles and taxes no change fee long as you’re not changing flights or dates.
    I just booked CX F today for my GF to HKG then to DXB a couple days later. Put myself in J and hoping to move up later. This sale comes at a perfect time, I’m a few miles short booking us home from DXB in EK J. I can top up now.
    For everyone saying AS miles are hard to use, I’ll gladly take them off your hands if you don’t want them. When I find the space, you book with miles and I’ll cover the fees 😉

  19. Yeah, anyone wants to trade some AS miles for $ let me know, have had great luck redeeming them for J and F travel…but my dates are always very flexible.

  20. I just booked Cathay first class from HKG-JFK for June next year. Space was pretty easy to find, albeit almost a year out. But space is their for 70k miles 🙂

  21. @ Ben — You point out that the Emirates J award rates are “reasonable'”. Now that it’s been a good while since the shock of the massive no-notice F devaluation a few years ago, aren’t Emirates F award rates reasonable, too, if maximized with a free stopover(s)?

  22. Got 50%. Use for Emirates. Even with devaluation it’s a good deal. Used 200,000 miles for EK First Class to Africa. So 1.97 cents (purchased in July 2018 during a 50% off sale) cost under $4000pp for an $11,500pp ticket per person!

  23. 35%. I’ve got enough miles from the recent Marriott award transfer. I’m not going to hoard more on speculation.

  24. Buy only if you intend to make a booking soon. But first check award availability! Alaska US-Europe in J is getting harder to find. Many times it will be mixed class seating with a slight reduced mileage, but a ripoff. AA does often appear. However some routes in F or J award column only have one of the segments in domestic J or F, with the longer TATL in Y. And many AA routings are exhausting, very goofy, with overnight stays required. Or you will see a lot of BA awards with hefty surcharges. Condor and Iceland Air J awards are 55K o/w TATL, but aren’t full J standard like BA or AA, e.g. smaller and no lie flat seats. Coach to Europe is plentiful, but even with a 50% bonus you’re looking at $1,000 plus for a TATL r/t. With KLM and Air France gone AS isn’t as great. Best use IMHO is Qantas F and CX J, F, N.A.-OZ and Asia-Europe-N.A. respectively.

  25. NO Eric there is nothing fishy here. I am once again targeted for a 50% bonus and will purchase 200k + miles like I have done for the past 3 years. This is a promotion that usually comes around once or twice a year.

  26. WOW: Bloggers make a referral bonus if we use their links to purchase miles. Get ready for the onslaught of posts!

  27. Alex Z – my opinion of a Alaska devaluation coming is primarily based on (1.) the stock price is down 40% from its high (despite record markets), (2.) they way overpaid for the purchase of Virgin America and continue to have integration issues, (3.) Poorly managed fuel hedges, (4.) increased labor costs, (5.) Second quarter EPS (earnings) plummeted by 86%, and its RASM fell by 1.5%, LARGELY DUE TO HEAVY REWARD REDEMPTIONS DURING PEAK TRAVEL PERIODS. Given that their lower earnings were effected by reward redemptions, a devaluation or very restricted award availability is most definitely coming soon.

  28. From the news wire: NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE.

    Alaska: Three Headwinds
    Alaska Air faces three stiff headwinds, rising fuel prices, intense price competition in its home market, the U.S. west coast, and problems integrating Virgin America, per another report in The Motley Fool. Second quarter EPS plummeted by 86%, and its RASM fell by 1.5% YOY, largely due to heavy reward redemptions during peak travel periods. The company projects that reward travel will continue to dent revenues in the third quarter, but expects to make changes in the fourth quarter that will fix the problem.

  29. @ james — No one is forcing you to use these links. They have disclosed their financial interest. It is your decision whether or not you use them.

  30. Jesus Mark! That’s a whole economic breakdown and evaluation. Devaluation or inflation always happen and 20, 10, 5 years ago things cost less than they do now. However, you earn more too, look at some states will pay $15 an hour minimum wage to McDonalds workers for crying out loud, they used to make to make $5.

    This post was about an Alaska promo and the question was posed if anyone will take advantage. No need for such negative claims trying to scare people away

  31. I’m confused by everyone saying it’s hard to find Cathay availability with Alaska.

    I booked JFK – HKG – BKK in First, retuning SGN – HKG (2 night stopover) – JFK in Business. Outbound November 26, return is December 23. Both flights were booked in early July. I had to be a bit flexible with dates and willing to take the 5th freedom route via YVR on the outbound but I view that as a plus since I get extra time in First.

  32. Mark Alaska is still a very healthy airline. Their bread and butter is in state Alaska travel where they have little competition. They have positive steady growth and are simply going through growing pains. The Virgin buyout does make sense as it increases AS market share and makes them less vulnerable for a takeover. I don’t think a devaluation is in the cards. AS prides itself on having one of the best frequent flyer programs year in and year out. Devaluing the program would only provide ammunition for Delta and American who are the main competitors right now.

  33. they have these sorts of sales fairly regularly, so I don’t know that this is necessarily a harbinger of a deval. I am leaning toward picking some up. I didn’t realize they were so cheap to Australia on CX. I paid a lot more than that to AA since they charge it as two separate awards

    Now that CX is introducing flights from IAD they are even more interesting to me. No more connecting via ORD or JFK will be a huge plus. I’ve never had trouble finding CX availability when using AA miles. I always book way in advance and I pretty flexible. Do you still have to call AS to book CX awards?

  34. I was also targeted for the 50% bonus, but just like the last few mystery bonuses, I won’t be partaking.

    My partner and I are both 75K from all leisure travel and RDM are very easy to accumulate. We average 500K-600K RDM between us a year.

    Award bookings have been easy and plentiful. I have make 8 CX F/J. 2 EK J, 2 JL F & 1 QF F with stopovers, one was 26 days and one is two months, in the last 9 months. I still have 250K in my account and will be approaching 500K by mid November.

    Unless you have MVPG+ Post June 5th there is a $125.00 fee for changes to award travel from 24+ hours after reservation. This includes a change of cabin. If you booked your award flight before June 5th, you will receive one free change.

    @Lucky missed an opportunity to mention that AY awards can now be booked online. CX F for 70K is also applicable for North America to the Middle East and South Africa too.

    James

  35. @ Alonzo…. How do you check on Cathay availability? Thru BA site? Call Cathay? Tried signing up for Asia Miles account and looks like there’s a $100 signup fee.

  36. @David I checked on BA’s site and then called Alaska to book. They could see just about everything that I could see on BA’s site. Asia miles is free to sign up.

  37. I’ve often looked for business class using AS and find it deeply frustrating to find a pure business route on their partners. Most of the time it’s 3-4 legs to get to where I want to go and the longest leg (e.g., SEA-DBX) can only be found in coach, and sometimes only one small leg will be business and the rest coach – for double the miles. AS may be better than DL value and easier than AA to use, but nevertheless seems quite overrated relative to the hype.

  38. Buying miles from Alaska is now highly NOT recommended. I purchased 60000 miles (includes 40% bonus) for A$1800, now I’ve tried to find seats on CX from Australia to Hong Kong and found NONE, not even in economy, for next 12 months. REALLY FRAUSTRATING! Lucky, please stop recycling old contents in Alaska miles from 2015 and 2016, it’s quite misleading.

  39. I agree . Alaska has poor availability on Cathay, even worse than American Airlines. Even worse if one wants more than one seat, this is in any class of service. And American allows free date changes, discounts their fees for second and further person on the same itinerary. Also not very good availability on Japan Airlines. Hainan has high fees and one has to go through impolite Chinese line ups and delays.

    To europe expect many connections and enormous fees to get space,

    I can not comment on Alaska domestic flights as I don’t have a need for them.

  40. Who says it’s highly not recommended? I have bought close to a million miles over the past few years and never had an issue redeeming them. Just got JAL business and first class seats rt from LAX to Manila. You need to be flexible that is all.

  41. Is this targeted? When I hit your link and enter my info it says “Something went wrong. Please check your login information and try again.”

  42. People who are complaining about buying miles & not finding any availability on JAL and CX, why don’t you just look for availability before you buy the miles ???
    I found 2 JAL F and 2 CX J tickets on dates I wanted and booked with this promo, awesome deal.

  43. Terrible availability on CX through LAX. They also ninja devaluated by blocking booking CX flights within 3 days of travel as of feb of this year, which is when CX releases award seats to partners. I’d wish I could get rid of my alaska miles for 1.8cpp.

  44. I have found availability on Cathay to Hong Kong etc for the past 3 years in business class using Alaska. Do these points code as travel when charged since I could use Barclay Arrival? I have also found tickets in Cathay First last minute. So if IU am booked in business Ill wait until final day or two in case first opens up

  45. You have to search Cathay awards on BA and call it in to Alaska air. I just found space to HKG
    Jun1 Newark to HKG 4 business seats available, June 2 5 seats,

    There is plenty of available seats to HKG

  46. If I have just received an Alaska Mileage Plan credit card, would using it to purchase Alaska miles count towards minimum spend?

    I asked Alaska and they told me to call the bank/issuer, which I did, and they seemed confused by the question but said as long as it was classed as a purchase then it would count.

  47. @Webby, you will get 1 Mileage Plan mile per dollar spent when purchasing miles, not 3 miles per dollar spent.

    The purchase of miles is done through points.com and is not a direct Alaska purchase. It only qualifies for 1X miles.

    James

  48. @James,

    Forgive me, I’m new the this lol…

    I guess what I was asking was would spending $ purchasing miles via this offer count towards a miniumum spend ($1k) on the Alaska Mileage Plan Mastercard that I just opened (before I even knew about the miles sale).

  49. @Webby, I did make a second post addressing your question directly but it doesn’t appear to have posted properly.

    You mile purchase WILL count towards your $1K requirement just as if you were purchasing anything else.

    James

    Your bonus should post to your Mileage Plan account about 5 days after the CC account closing date in the month you reached the threshold. It will be dated in Mileage Plan as your CC closing date.

    Companion pass will post to Mileage Plan after the first billing cycle similarly.

  50. Was able to find more F on JAL for the day I wanted less than 2 weeks out so I went ahead and bought some more miles, all is good again!!

  51. Bought 100k miles last year and redeemed them all on JAL “one-way” tickets in South East Asia.

    Just bought another 75k miles this time round, at 50% bonus.

  52. I’ve had no problem booking JAL first (multiple seats) as well as CX first and business. Of course I was looking 3+ months out but still seeing availability for routes I fly.

  53. In the past month, I’ve booked 5 segments on Cathay F (two of which were using this 50% bonus from Alaska) and I am so tempted to buy more of these … but I have no use for them at least till next spring and even then maybe…… should I?

  54. I just completed a RTW Mileage run. I flew ICN-NRT by crossing 4 continents and two oceans earning 34K EQM & 90K RDM for slightly more than the cost of purchasing them. Much more fun too. I used Mileage Plan miles to position from North America to Australia in QF F and back from Australia via HKG on CX F.

    I will fly EK A380 upper deck in J for USD $275.00 anyday. 😉

    James

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