Great Deal: Buy Alaska Miles With Up To A 40% Bonus

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Alaska Mileage Plan is one of my favorite programs to buy miles from, and they’ve just announced their latest promotion on purchased miles. Alaska is offering a bonus of up to 40% on purchased miles through April 9, 2018. The bonus is tiered, as follows:

  • Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, receive a 20% bonus
  • Buy 20,000-39,000 miles, receive a 30% bonus
  • Buy 40,000+ miles, receive a 40% 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, so this is right in the middle (the most recent promotion they had was in January, when they also offered up to 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.

Who should buy Alaska miles with a 40% 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 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

Which credit card should you use?

Alaska mileage purchases are processed by, 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 Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressCiti® Double Cash Card, etc.

Redeem Alaska miles for Hainan Airlines business class

One useful alternative

Through March 16, 2018, Starwood is offering a 35% discount on purchased Starpoints when you buy at least 5,000 points in one transaction. This is an opportunity to buy Starpoints for just 2.275 cents each. Starpoints convert into Alaska miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. This means you could buy 20,000 Starpoints for $455, and that could be converted into 25,000 Alaska miles, which is just 1.82 cents per Alaska mile.

So, what’s the catch?

  • The transfers aren’t instant, so expect for it to take a few days for the miles to post
  • You’re limited to buying 30,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year, meaning the most practical number of miles you could generate is 25,000 (by buying 20,000 Starpoints)

If you haven’t maxed out your limited on purchased Starpoints for the year, buying Starpoints could be a good place to start.

Bottom line

This isn’t the best bonus we’ve seen on purchased Alaska miles, though it’s still a very good offer. Buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles can be a great deal under the right circumstances.

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.

Do you plan on buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles with a 40% bonus?

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  1. Wouldn’t it be better to max out your yearly SPG points purchase first? With the current SPG deal, 30K Starpoints cost $682.50, and convert to 35K Alaska miles. That means you would be paying 1.95 cents per Alaska mile via SPG, below the 2.11 cents per mile Alaska is charging direct. Plus, SPG points’ transferability adds a lot of option value.

  2. @Ben,

    It’s true, but some have already maxed out on SPG. You can only buy 30K per year, so this may be useful for people in that situation. A note in the piece may be helpful though.

  3. While you can only buy 30k on your own SPG accounts, you can create additional accounts for wife, brother, sister, father, etc. Give them all the same address and then transfer into your own account. I just did it for 150k points which is 450k Marriott now. Travel package here I come, thanks chumps!

  4. @Ben
    I agree. Also if you can transfer SPG 90K to Marriott 270K then use “Hotel + Flight” for AS 120K miles + Marriott 7 nights is even better value.

  5. Can you make multiple transactions up to the 30k points? I was thinking about using Gift cards to purchase so I can get 5x.

  6. @ Francis — Nope, each transaction has to be for at least that amount, unfortunately, and you can only use one card per transaction.

  7. One thing to note, which I discovered when booking my flights: while you can have a free stopover in general, you are restricted from having a stopover in Asia if that’s where your origin is and you’re flying Cathay. For example, TPE-HKG-SFO is no good.

  8. I think this has been live for a couple of weeks as I made a purchase for some awesome j flights via Hk from ord to akl. Five people in December and free changes! Thanks for all the great heads up on how to do this lucky!!! Seriously made my life so much easier with small kiddos!!!

  9. @lucky Any reason you didn’t mention Qantas other than availability. The business class redemption rates are unbelievably good.and I’m flying RT in September thanks to great availability on the new SFO->MEL route and flexibility on the return (was flying Cathay through HK and then BNE->LAX magically became available. Jumping on the SPG value also, basically you can get RT Qantas J for one Marriott Travel package. And I’d you cancel the hotel certificate, basically your RT costs 75K SPG points which is an insane value at 35% off.

  10. Lucky – so basically $3500 for a first class Trans Pacific seat buying AS miles per person….how hard is it to find availability?

    New to hobby, what this looks like is buying AS or SPG at a discount to what actual flights would cost…which is great as long as there are seats available and can be booked.

    Love to find a way to do this for Europe trip in June to reduce my $3500r/t bis class cost for wife and me!

  11. @Steven L. That’s a bummer. If you’re already in Asia then that’s just much less incentive to even transit in Hong Kong, then. Oh well, less tourism dollars for them.

  12. Do you know if Alaska still allows flights to be booked with Cathay to Africa?? I’ve been looking for biz class from Washington DC to JNB and have not found Cathay even listed on the results. I switched it to LAX-JNB and still no results from Cathay. I’m using the calendar view and can easily tell Cathay isnt there since the “lowest” awards has a huge co-pay meaning it’s on British Airways.

  13. Alaska points not as valuable as before. Used to make a killing selling Emeirate flights, they killed that. Now they are evening cutting Asian booking. Sad!

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