40% Bonus When You Buy Alaska Miles – This Promotion Could Be Worth A Look

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Alaska Airlines has published its first “buy points promotion” since September and it’s offering Mileage Plan members up to 40% bonus miles on a purchases of 30,000+ miles and an automatic entry into a sweepstakes with a grand prize of 1,000,000 miles….but just how good is this promotion?

While Alaska Airlines has been in the news quite a bit over the past year thanks to its pending takeover of Virgin America, Mileage Plan isn’t usually the first program most people think of when it comes to airline loyalty….but it definitely has its uses and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Not only should Mileage Plan not be overlooked by US flyers but, as I’ve explained in a previous post, it should definitely not be overlooked by UK and European based flyers either.

First lets look at the current promotion.

Headline T&Cs’s

  • Mileage Plan accounts must have been active for at least 10 days to participate in this promotion.
  • Promotion runs until 31 December 2016
  • The bonuses available range from 0% to 40% depending on how many miles are purchased.
  • All purchases of Mileage Plan Miles are processed by Points.com so there are no credit card category bonuses to be had with this deal.
  • Miles must be purchased in increments of 1,000.
  • There is no limit to how many miles you can buy in Alaska Mileage Plan promotions

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

The Cost

  • Buy 1,000 – 9,000 Mileage Plan Miles – Get a 0% Bonus
  • Buy 10,000 – 19,000 Mileage Plan Miles – Get a 20% Bonus
  • Buy 20,000 – 39,000 Mileage Plan Miles – Get a 30% Bonus
  • Buy 40,000 – 60,000 Mileage Plan Miles – Get a 40% Bonus

And this is what those number look like when translated into cost per mile:

  • Buy 0 – 9,000 Mileage Plan Miles – 2.96 cents per mile
  • Buy 10,000 – 19,000 Mileage Plan Miles – 2.46 cents per mile
  • Buy 20,000 – 39,000 Mileage Plan Miles – 2.27 cents per mile
  • Buy 40,000 – 60,000 Mileage Plan Miles – 2.11 cents per mile

Why Is Mileage Plan Attractive To Miles & Points Collectors?

Alaska isn’t in a worldwide alliance but that has given it the freedom to partner with a mix of airlines that most other carriers can’t compete with. That, and the fact that Mileage Plan has some very traveler-friendly rules, has led to some interesting mileage redemption opportunities.

Here are the primary traveler-friendly rules are:

  1. You’re allowed one free stopover on award tickets – even on one way awards.
  2. There are no charges for cancelling an award and re-depositing the miles, regardless of your status, as long as you’re more than 60 days away from departure.
  3. The airline allows you to buy as many miles as you like – there are no restrictions on the number of miles you can buy in a calendar year.

And here are a few of my favorite award options:

Business Class Awards – Roundtrip

  • American Airlines: USA – Europe = 100,000 miles
  • American Airlines: USA – South America = 60,000 – 100,000 miles
  • Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia = 100,000 miles
  • Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = 85,000 miles
  • Emirates: USA – Middle East = 165,000 miles
  • Korean Air: USA – Asia = 105,000 – 120,000 miles
  • Qantas: USA – Australia = 110,000 miles

cathay-pacific-a350-5-1Cathay Pacific Business Class on the A350

First Class Awards – Roundtrip

  • American Airlines: USA – Europe = 125,000 miles
  • American Airlines: USA – South America = 80,000 – 125,000 miles
  • Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia = 140,000 miles
  • Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = 120,000 miles
  • Qantas: USA – Australia = 140,000 miles

Alaska doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on the award tickets I’ve noted above and that makes those redemptions very attractive indeed.

Should You Buy Alaska Miles?

Because Mileage Plan allows you to buy as many miles as you want (in batches of 60,000 at a time excluding bonuses), this promotion allows you to buy as many miles as you need for an award at 2.11 cents each.

Here’s what that pricing looks like when applied to the awards I highlighted:

Business Class Roundtrip

  • American Airlines: USA – Europe = $2,110
  • American Airlines: USA – South America = $1,266 – $2,110
  • Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia = $2,110
  • Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = $1,794
  • Emirates: USA – Middle East = $3,482
  • Korean Air: USA – Asia = $2,216 – $2,532
  • Qantas: USA – Australia = $2,321

qantas-a330-business-suite-qantasQantas Business Suite – A330

First Class Roundtrip

  • American Airlines: USA – Europe = $2,638
  • American Airlines: USA – South America = $1,688 – $2,638
  • Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia = $2,954
  • Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = $2,532
  • Qantas: USA – Australia = $2,954

cathay-pacific-777-first-class-0007Cathay Pacific First Class on the 777-300ER

There is some amazing value to be had out of those options – especially Cathay Pacific in First Class between Europe and Asia (not a hard award to find) and Korean Air Business Class from $2,216.

Bottom Line

It should be noted that some Mileage Plan members were targeted for a 50% bonus in Alaska’s last promotion (I wasn’t one of them) so, if you’re feeling lucky, you may want to hold out to see what Alaska offers in the New Year.

On the other hand you can still get some great value with the promotion as it stands and, as long as you check that the awards you’re looking to book are actually available (never stockpile miles), you can’t go too far wrong.

Link to Alaska Mileage Plan Buy Miles Promotion