Alaska Offering Bonus On Purchased Miles

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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:


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

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

Bottom line

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?

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Comments

  1. You must received Alaska’s commission fee or MVP 75K status in exchange of promote sales frequently. Alaska miles are now (close to) useless. Nowadays Cathay Pacific NEVER released long-haul business class awards to Alaska, even the space that can be redeemable by AAdvantage miles or Avios.
    Lucky, I would prefer you to be honest and stop promoting a useless mile program.

  2. Please stop promote Alaska miles. They’re close to useless. I did not see any longhaul Cathay Pacific business class awards to anywhere in North America or Australia from Hong Kong available to Alaska members. You must received commission fees or upgraded to MVP 75K in order to promote mile sale.

  3. Could’ve used this a few weeks ago when I spent ~$500 to top off for JAL business class redemption. Still worth it, but I couldn’t wait for the next promo.

  4. @A I’ve found Alaska miles to be incredible value compared to the cost of buying business/first class tickets outright. Availability does depend on the routes though (I usually fly JFK-HKG where there are 3-4 flights/day).

    @Lucky, it looks like Alaska has added a new limit on the amount of miles you can purchase. As per their T&C:
    * 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 Mileage Plan member accounts have no annual limit on the number of miles which may be purchased or gifted through Points.com.

    That’s going to be a pretty big constraint on some of us.

  5. It looks like Alaska has now introduced an annual limit on how many miles you can buy.

    From the terms and conditions:

    “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
    Mileage Plan member accounts have no annual limit on the number of miles which may be purchased or gifted through Points.com”

  6. Need to purchase at least 30k on my end for the 40% bonus.

    Ben, you may want to update the second half of the post which still claims a 50% bonus fyi.

  7. @Blake, my purchases have usually posted within a few minutes. You should call them and escalate if you’re on day 3.

  8. @Lucky: FYI these updated posts of ongoing topics don’t get pushed to RSS (Feedly). Same goes for posts like monthly top 10 CC signups, points currency valuation, etc. I had no idea this was published until you referenced it in the subsequent post about Alaska adding an annual purchase limit.

  9. @ GoAmtrak — We know 🙁 We believe it’s a limitation on Feedly’s end, as other RSS-driven feeds, including the BoardingArea homepage, recognize the refresh just fine. Not that many OMAAT readers come to the site through Feedly (fewer than .03%), but we still hate to make it harder for anyone to see content. We’re looking at making some adjustments to how our RSS feeds are handled, which might help, but in the meantime we’re a bit stuck.

  10. Stephen and A you simply don’t know what you are talking about. I have recently used AK points to book J class on Cathay and am going over seas in a few weeks using JAL J and F class. You simply need to be patient, flexible and look

  11. The way I read it the cap applies to miles purchased only, excluding whatever bonus you receive.
    A bad development regardless.
    Would have been more honest of Alaska to have announced this prior to the start of 2019 to allow members to top up their accounts in 2018, if required for 2019 travel plans. I though they may have learnt lessons from the great Emirates fiasco of a year or so ago, but no, they blunder on disrespecting their membership base. Sad.

  12. [email protected] and sorry for a little OT question. I am going to Sydney from Vienna roundtrip on Emirates First which would get me 52.000 Skyward Miles and Gold status on Emirates Skywards programm.
    Would it be wise to join the Alaska milage programm to redeem Alaska Miles for this particular flight, would be around 70.000, or should i stay with the Emirates programm?
    Thank‘s in advance for helpful answers.

  13. I agree with the comments regarding some frustration finding good awards using AS miles. However like any award search it can take some flexibility in dates and searching early. Doing so we have had some good luck. I scored 5 seats in J on AA, SEA-ZUR for this summer (57.5K each); last summer 5 seats in J on AF (prior to their disappearance), PDX-CDG-FLR (free stopover in Paris; 62.5K each). All J, no mixed cabin. Cathay has a lot of J awards (use BA site to search, then call), up to 5-6 seats many times. Japan airlines has plenty of J awards from the west coast at least, I have seen as many as 5 and almost booked. Lack of ‘business’ awards on Iceland is disappointing. Finnair has some space but is not the cheapest way to get to Europe on miles. (70K I think). South Pacific etc is tough. Even though the price is great, there is nothing on Fiji. I have yet to find any business space to Australia/New Zealand however, even for 2. There is nothing on Qantas on the AS site.

  14. I, for one, love that you alert us to stuff like this. Emails from Alaska about purchase bonuses usually go to my “promotions” folder in gmail and I don’t always check there. I think Alaska miles are great and even though I don’t use it creatively, I can’t recall the last time I’ve flown anything but JAL first class when going to/from Japan to NYC (and I’ve done that probably 3-4 times last year).

    I will admit though, I am totally comfortable waiting till the last minute to book because I’m comfortable with how the award space opens up near departure date (unless it’s like peak season).

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