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Alaska Airlines has launched a new mileage sale that runs through most of December and which is offering a solid bonus of up to 50%. Ostensibly this is a perfectly good sale, but while I’ll provide you with all the details you need about it in the post below, be aware that I think that this is a sale that most people should be avoiding for at least the next 10 days.
- Buy 1,000 – 2,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get no bonus
- Buy 3,000 – 29,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get a 40% bonus
- Buy 30,000 – 100,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get a 50% bonus
Headline terms & conditions
- Transactions must be completed between 6:00 AM PST November 15, 2021 and 11:59 PM PST December 23, 2021 to be eligible for bonus miles.
- Miles are purchased from Points.com Inc. for a cost of $27.50 per 1,000 miles, plus GST/HST for Canadian residents. QST will be charged to Quebec residents.
- Miles are non-refundable and do not count toward MVP and MVP/Gold status.
- You may purchase and gift Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles in increments of 1,000
- miles up to 60,000 miles, and in increments of 5,000 miles up to a maximum of 100,000 miles per transaction.
- MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan member (Elite Member) accounts have no annual limit on the number of miles which may be purchased or gifted through Points.com.
- If you are not an Elite Member, your account may only 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.
- Bonus miles do not count toward the maximum total of 150,000 miles.
- Offer is subject to change and all terms and conditions of the Mileage Plan Program.
Because Alaska Airlines doesn’t vary the cost/mile within each of its pricing bands, Mileage Plan members will be paying the lowest cost per mile available in this sale whether they buy 30,000 or 100,000 miles.
Here’s what a 30,000 miles purchase looks like:
And here’s what a 100,000 miles purchase would look like:
In both cases, the cost/mile comes to ~1.97 cents.
To buy or not to buy?
The usual disclaimer that I post says that if you have no immediate use for Alaska Miles you shouldn’t be taking part in this sale because it’s a bad idea to stockpile miles. Today, however, I’m going to go a little further than that. I’m going to say that unless you absolutely have to buy miles in the next 10 days (to lock in a great award), nobody should be buying miles in this sale just yet.
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are just around the corner and I’ll be more than a little surprised if we don’t see Alaska Airlines boost this offer (possibly for just a few hours or days) to coincide with these two events.
A 50% bonus isn’t the best bonus we’ve been accustomed to seeing from Alaska Airlines (60% seems to be the new best offer) so I expect to see an improved offer published shortly after Thanksgiving. If I’m right, everyone wins. If I’m wrong, no one loses because the 50% offer will be available through 23 December.
If you still want to buy miles, read on…
One of the biggest positives of the Alaska Mileage Plan program is that the airline doesn’t impose a limit on how many miles you can purchase in a single promotion or in a calendar year if you hold status. Technically, status holders can keep buying miles until they run out of money.
If you don’t have Alaska Mileage Plan status you’ll have to make do with buying a maximum of 100,000 miles pre-bonus (150,000 miles post bonus).
You can access the Mileage Plan award charts via this link if you want to check the prices of the awards you’re interested in but, to save you some time, here are a few examples of premium cabin roundtrip awards that you can book with Alaska miles and the cost of those awards based on a purchase price of 1.97 cents/mile:
Business Class Award Costs
- Cathay Pacific/JAL: USA – Asia = $1,970
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = $1,675
- Korean Air: USA – Asia = $2,069 – $2,364
- LATAM: USA – South America = $1,773
- Qantas: USA – Australia = $2,167
The Cathay Pacific fares are very good indeed (especially the Europe – Asia award), but be aware that Alaska doesn’t always have access to all the award seats that you may see when searching on sites like BA.com so it’s always worth calling up to check availability before buying miles for an award you’ve found online.
First Class Awards
Once again the pick of the crop are the Cathay Pacific awards which, excluding taxes and fees, would cost:
Cathay Pacific/JAL: USA – Asia = $2,758
Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = $2,364
Those are amazing fares for a truly excellent First Class product.
Although Qantas First Class to Australia for $2,758 (+ taxes and fees) looks good, there’s a definite lack of award availability (and Australia is still closed right now) so I wouldn’t buy miles unless I knew there was an award available for late this year or early next year and that I could book right away.
Note: I haven’t bothered quoting the number of miles needed for travel on American Airlines because American Airlines is terrible at opening up saver award space its routes and I don’t want to give the impression that you can buy Alaska Miles and book American Airlines awards with ease.
Use the right credit card
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan mileage sales are processed by Points.com so that eliminates the scope to earn a travel/flight/airline bonus by using a credit card that offers bonus points for shopping in one of those categories. With that option closed off, this makes this sale a good opportunity to use a credit card on which you’re working towards a strong welcome bonus (like this one).
If you’re not working towards a card’s welcome bonus, the Citi® Double Cash Card which offers 2% cash back on all purchases would be one of the better options to use.
As I’ve said, I don’t think anyone should be buying miles in this sale before we’ve seen what (if anything) is offered over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period but if you’re determined to buy anyway, please make sure you do your research – find awards that work for you, and only then buy the points you need – it’s hard to get burned when you buy miles and use them within days of the purchase.