This is an update to a previous post to note that Alaska’s bonus on purchased Mileage Plan miles ends tomorrow, Friday, February 22, 2019. So if you’re interested in buying Mileage Plan miles, you’ll want to do so now.
Below is the original post from January 25 (when the promotion was launched) in its entirety.
Alaska Mileage Plan is one of my favorite programs to buy miles from, both thanks to the frequency with which they sell miles, and what a good deal their redemptions can be.
Alaska has just launched their latest bonus on purchased miles, which is worth considering
Alaska Mileage Plan is offering a bonus of up to 40% on purchased miles through February 22, 2019. This bonus seems to apply as long as you purchase at least 20,000 miles in one transaction (pre-bonus).
I can’t guarantee this is the promotion that will be available to everyone, as you do have to log into your Mileage Plan account to see the offer. However, that’s the offer for all the accounts I manage, so I’m guessing that’s just the standard offer. Feel free to check the offer on your own account, and please report back if it’s different.
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 the 40% bonus isn’t quite as good as it gets. The way I see it, it could make sense to buy points with an immediate use in mind, but if you’re buying points speculatively it makes sense to wait for a 50% 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.
The maximum number of miles you can purchase per transaction is 60,000 pre-bonus, and you can purchase a total of up to 150,000 miles per calendar year. However, if you’re an Alaska elite member there’s no limit to how many miles you can buy.
Who should buy Alaska miles with a 50% bonus?
In general, you always want to think about how you’ll use these miles, and the potential value for converting your cash to points before you make any purchases.
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:
- You’re allowed a free stopover, even on a one-way award
- 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 quite a few business class award seats; 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)
- Alaska partners with Japan Airlines, so redeeming Alaska miles for JAL first & business class is an exceptional value
- Redemption rates in Emirates business class are reasonable, which is a great way to get to many regions, including India, Africa, Asia, etc.
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):
- 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
- LATAM 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
In some cases Alaska doesn’t have access to some partner award seats. This is especially common on Cathay Pacific, Emirates, and Qantas. It is something to be aware of, so I’d recommend looking into this before buying any miles.
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 an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spend. However, anecdotally points.com purchases earn 3x points on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, so that would be the card I recommend for these purchases.
If you don’t have that, I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach minimum spend, or otherwise a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Citi® Double Cash Card.
See this post for more on which credit cards are best for buying points.
Redeem Alaska miles for Hainan Airlines business class
Buying Alaska miles can be a great value, and them starting off the year with a 40% bonus is potentially a good deal. This can be an incredible value 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.
Do you plan on buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles with a 40% bonus?