Alaska Mileage Plan is offering its members an opportunity to earn up to 40% bonus miles when they either buy or gift miles between now and 31 March 2016 (so there’s no need to hurry!). Alaska Mileage Plan regularly offers bonuses like these with 40% being a middle-of-the-road promotion. We’ve seen bonuses as high as 50% while bonuses as low as 30% aren’t uncommon either.
The current offer is tiered so you’ll only earn the full 40% bonus if you purchase upwards of 40,000 Alaska Miles.Alaska Mileage plan sells miles in a slightly different way to a lot of its counterparts in that, although you’re limited to buying 60,000 miles per transaction (excluding the bonus), you can perform as many transactions as you like.
Opting for 60,000 Alaska Miles will net you 84,000 miles after the bonus and will set you back $1,773.75…..
….which comes out to 2.11c/mile.
That’s not exactly a great price to be paying but some may be able to make use of it…especially on some of Alaska’s partner airlines.
Although Alaska isn’t part of any alliance (OneWorld, Star Alliance etc…) it does have a pretty respectable stable of partners:
- American Airlines
- Air France
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Delta Air Lines
- Fiji Airways
- Korean Air
- Ravn Alaska
Out of those airlines the ones that are the most tempting are Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and Emirates.
Annoyingly, Alaska doesn’t have a simple award chart from which you can work…they have a whole series of them….
- Continental US & Canada
- Africa – Middle East – India
- Australia – NZ – South Pacific
- Central & South America
Under each of those region links you’ll find separate charts for the different partner airlines and, as you’ll be able to see, there are some reasonable deals to be had.
American Airlines Business and First Class awards to Europe will be cheaper using Alaska Miles than AAdvantage Miles following the AAdvantage devaluation on 22 March:
Cathay Pacific First Class awards between North American and Asia look interesting at just 70,000 miles one way:
Emirates Awards between North America and the Middle East may work for some….
…but that’s still a pile of miles to be handing over so make sure it’s worth it.
At 2.11c/mile I’m not a buyer of Alaska miles…at least not to buy a full award. For topping up an account to get an award it’s not bad. It’s not uncommon to find Business Class fares between North America and Asia or Europe at under $2,000 and that makes these miles pretty expensive.
While award travel is great for allowing us to sample airline products that we may not otherwise sample, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Award travel has its limitations and inherent costs:
- You need to be able to find award availability
- Some awards will incur carrier imposed surcharges which increases the cost of the award
- Award flights don’t earn miles or give credit towards elite status qualification – they both have an inherent value which you are giving up when buying an award ticket.
Also, just because an Emirates First Class costs $10,000 doesn’t mean that it’s correct to buy 200,000 Alaska miles at 2.11c each to buy the ticket. You’re still expending $4,220 and, if you wouldn’t be prepared to pay that for a ticket in the first place, you shouldn’t be buying the miles.
Lastly, if you are going to buy miles, remember that Alaska uses Points.com to process all their miles sales so you won’t get any credit card bonuses for purchasing directly from the airline.