Last Chance: Buy Alaska Miles With A 40% Bonus

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Since late May, Alaska Mileage Plan has been offering a bonus on purchased miles. I consider Alaska Mileage Plan miles to be one of the most valuable mileage currencies out there, so with a specific use in mind I think buying Alaska miles can be a great deal.

If you’ve been considering buying Alaska Mileage Plan miles, the clock is ticking. Alaska’s current bonus on purchased miles ends tomorrow, Friday, July 13, 2018Alaska is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased miles, tiered as follows:

  • Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, receive a 20% bonus
  • Buy 20,000-49,000 miles, receive a 35% bonus
  • Buy 50,000+ 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 March, 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?

A while back 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 that make Mileage Plan miles so valuable:

Redeeming Alaska miles for Emirates A380 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.

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:

Cards for everyday purchases

Redeem Alaska miles for Hainan Airlines business class

One useful alternative

Through July 20, 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 Starpointscould be a good place to start.

Bottom line

This is your last chance to buy Alaska miles with the current 40% bonus. While I wouldn’t recommend buying miles without a use in mind, this can represent an excellent deal if you have a partner airline premium cabin redemption in mind. There are so many great uses of Mileage Plan miles, especially if you can take advantage of doing a stopover on a one-way award, etc.

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  1. 40% is public, my account is actually targeted for 50%! both an email was sent to me, and when i go through my AS account to buy miles, it will say 50% instead of 40%

  2. @Lucky Did you see the Four Seasons AmEx offer this morning? It got it on my personal Platinum – spend $750+ for 15,000 MR points.

  3. Crickets on mentioning portal cash back for this. You literally wrote this yesterday:

    “Online shopping portals can be a great way to pick up additional miles & points for purchases you’d make anyway. Just for following a specific link you can earn bonus points in addition to the ones you’d earn anyway for credit card spend. The number of bonus miles you earn per dollar spent varies greatly by retailer.”

  4. I used this sale to purchase Alaska miles to fly Cathay biz, BUT folks should be aware that Alaska CANNOT book all space that CX’s oneWorld partners can. e.g., just because you find CX space on the website(s) of AsiaMiles, BA, Qantas, etc. does not make it safe to assume you can book that space thru Alaska. Call Alaska to verify that they can book you into what you want; then ask the agent to hold the space for a few minutes, and THEN buy the miles while still on the line. Alaska won’t hold space beyond the length of your phone call, but thankfully, their purchased miles GENERALLY post instantly (although not always, so best to have a few backup flights selected).

  5. You wrote “Mileage Plan has generous change & cancellation policies (up until 60 days before departure you can change and redeposit your award for free, and within that timeframe the cost is $125 per person)”

    I don’t think that this is correct. I thought it has changed No?

  6. @Lucky – What is your experience with finding CX F space using AS miles?

    After doing some searching on AS’s site, I don’t see much – if any – CX availability. While 70k and a stopover is far better than the cost and restrictions of using AA miles, it doesn’t matter if there’s no space…

  7. @ Andrew — You won’t see Cathay space on Alaska’s website because Cathay space is only bookable by phone with Alaska. Often they have access to one fewer award seat per flight than other partners do, so that is something to be aware of, though I’ve still had good luck with them.

  8. I have so many issues with the Alaska website. 1. I don’t understand the whole “upgrade type” on the fares. 2. They don’t make it easy to search for dates with good premium fares. 3. First class miles to/from Hawaii usually price out at 1c. Certainly not worth spending 2+ for the points. 4. They show some funny routing. I just searched for Hawaii to Malaysia and they showed me a flight from Hawaii to SFO to the Middle East to Malaysia. But at least they show partner flights and at a decent number of miles. There was a better JAL also.

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