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Alaska’s Mileage Plan program has launched a new sale in which it’s giving members the chance to buy miles with a bonus of up to 50% thrown in. Sadly, not only is this no longer one of the best mileage sales that we see Alaska Airlines publish, but there’s also at least one further reason why most people should probably be avoiding this sale.
This sale may be targeted so there’s a chance that not everyone reading this will be given the chance to earn a 50% bonus, but as that’s the best deal that I can see being offered, that’s the sale I’ll be focusing on.
First, I’ll give you the sale details. Then, I’ll tell you why the sale can be ok. And, lastly, I’ll tell you why I think you should probably ignore it.
- Buy 1,000 – 2,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get no bonus
- Buy 3,000 – 9,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get a 30% bonus
- Buy 10,000 – 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
- Transactions must be completed between 6:00 AM PST November 14, 2022 and 11:59 PM PST December 23, 2022 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 and QST for 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, MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K 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.
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.
How this sale can be ok
One of the biggest positive elements of the Alaska Mileage Plan program is that it doesn’t impose a limit on how many miles you can purchase in a single promotion or in a calendar year if you hold elite status so, technically, elite 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 150,000 miles pre-bonus (225,000 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 round-trip 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 awards
- Cathay Pacific: USA to Asia = 100,000 miles/$1,970
- Cathay Pacific: Europe to Asia = 85,000 miles/$1,675
- Korean Air: USA to Asia = 105,000 – 120,000 miles/$2,069 – $2,364
- LATAM: USA to South America = 90,000 miles/$1,773
First Class awards
- Cathay Pacific/JAL: USA to Asia = 140,000 miles/$2,758
- Cathay Pacific: Europe to Asia = 120,000 miles/$2,364
While most of the redemptions that I’ve listed above are pretty good (I could make a solid argument to say that some are fantastic), I find it hard not to remember that Alaska Airlines frequently sells its miles at just 1.85 cents and that makes it difficult for me to get overly excited about this particular opportunity.
Note: You can also redeem Alaska Airlines Miles on airlines such as Aer Lingus, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, and quite a few others, but the awards that I’ve listed above are where most of the best deals are to be found.
Why you should probably ignore this sale
Leaving aside the fact that this isn’t the best deal that we see Alaska Airlines offering, there’s another key reason why you should probably avoid this sale – an upcoming change to the Mileage Plan program.
Alaska Airlines has told us that it will be “simplifying” its award chart at the end of this year, so there’s no guarantee that the great fares that I highlighted above will be bookable come January 1st, 2023. For all we know, Alaska Airlines will rip up its current award charts and unveil a monstrosity so anyone who doesn’t plan to use their purchased miles before the year-end should be staying well clear of this sale.
Sure, if you’re planning to book an award in the next few weeks, the chance that we’ll see a devaluation in late December isn’t really a reason for you to avoid this sale… but there’s another thing that you may want to consider before diving in.
Right now, we’re only a couple of weeks away from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and although this sale runs through 23 December, there’s nothing to stop Alaska Airlines from sweetening the deal (for a limited time) in the post-thanksgiving melee.
Yes, if you can see an award that you’re like to book right away, waiting to see what happens in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales probably isn’t a very sensible thing to do (award availability could disappear and nothing better may materialize), but unless you’re absolutely sure that you’ll be making your award booking before Black Friday, it may be worth waiting to see what the upcoming sale season has to offer.
Use the right credit card
If after all that I’ve written, you still want to buy Alaska Miles in this sale, make sure you use the right credit card.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan mileage sales are processed by Points.com and 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 the great current offer on the Citi Premier® Card).
If you’re not working towards a card’s welcome bonus, the Citi® Double Cash credit card which offers 2% cash back on all purchases would be one of the better options to use.
Most people should be avoiding this sale because we don’t know what Mileage Plan will look like after the upcoming changes are introduced.
If, however, you’re still determined to buy miles, the key to not wasting your money is this: Do your research, find awards that work for you, buy the points that you need, and then make your booking as soon as you possibly can – you’re much less likely to get burned if you use your miles within days of purchasing them.