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Alaska Airlines has launched a new mileage sale in which it is offering targeted members bonuses of up to 50% when they purchase a minimum of 30,000 miles. This sale is running through 25 June so while there’s no need to hurry, now may be a good time to perform a few award searches to see if miles purchased in this sale could save you money on your next trip.
- Buy 1,000 – 2,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get no bonus
- Buy 3,000 – 14,000 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 by 11:59 PM PST June 25, 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 40,000 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?
Before I go any further, here’s the usual disclaimer: If you have no immediate use for Alaska Miles you shouldn’t be taking part in this sale. It’s never a good idea to hoard miles that you don’t plan to use short-term (my golden rule applies).
Now that that’s out of the way…
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 Mileage Plan elite 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 150,000 miles pre-bonus/225,000 miles post bonus) and if my memory serves me correctly, that’s the second-highest number of points a non-elite has ever been able to buy from Alaska Airlines (it was only in the recent past that Alaska Airlines stipulated that bonus miles wouldn’t count towards the yearly maximum).
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 Awards
- Cathay Pacific: USA to Asia = $1,970
- Cathay Pacific: Europe to Asia = $1,675
- Emirates: USA to the Middle East = $3,251
- Korean Air: USA to Asia = $2,069 – $2,364
- LATAM: USA to South America = $1,773
First Class Awards
- Cathay Pacific/JAL: USA to Asia = $2,758
- Cathay Pacific: Europe to Asia = $2,364
While all of the redemptions I’ve listed above are pretty good, some of them are fantastic (despite this not being the best sale that Alaska Mileage Plan offers).
The Cathay Pacific fares are excellent (especially the Europe – Asia awards), 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.
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 mostly where the best deals are to be found.
Use The Right Credit Card
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan mileage sales are processed by Points.com which 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 current offer on the Chase Sapphire Prefered® Credit 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.
The key to doing well out of this sale is this: 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. Also, make sure you check (carefully!) what entry restrictions (if any) are in place for any countries you’re planning to visit. While a lot of counties have now lifted their travel restrictions or at least made provisions to permit vaccinated visitors to enter with limited testing, there are still some counties that are continuing to take a cautious approach so don’t make any bookings without checking if you can actually fly.