DEALS: Three Good Airline Mileage Sales On Offer Right Now (Two Are The Best Rates Of The Year)


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Considering that it’s Black Friday it’s a little surprising to see that only three of the major airlines are running mileage sales today but, on the positive side, two of the three airlines are offering the best rates we’ve seen them offer this year and the third is only a little way behind.

Right now, the American Airlines AAdvantage program and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan are offering their members the best deals that they’ve offered all year long with United MileagePlus being the only one of the three that hasn’t fully stepped up to the plate today.

Here’s what the airlines are offering:

Alaska Mileage Plan

The Offer:

  • Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles, get a 20% bonus
  • Buy 20,000 – 39,000 miles, get a 35% bonus
  • Buy 40,000 – 60,000 miles, get a 50% bonus

Headline Terms:

  • Transactions must be completed by 11:59 PM PST December 23, 2019 to be eligible for bonus miles.
  • You may purchase and gift Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles in increments of 1,000 miles to a maximum of 60,000 miles per transaction.
  • Your Mileage Plan account may 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.
  • MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan member accounts have no annual limit on the number of miles which may be purchased or gifted through Points.com.

Full terms are available on the sale page.

Cost Of Points:

  • The minimum number of points needed to ensure purchases are made at the cheapest price is 40,000.
  • The cheapest cost per point is ~1.97 cents.

Quick Thoughts:

  • This is the cheapest rate at which we generally see Alaska Airlines offer its currency so if this deal doesn’t work for you it’s unlikely any subsequent deals will work for you either.
  • There’s no urgent hurry to buy miles today as this offer runs through to 23 December.
  • The best uses of Alaska Miles are for partner Business Class awards and at this cost per point awards on the likes of Cathay Pacific, LATAM and Korean look very attractive.
  • Don’t forget that although you can only buy points in increments of 60,000 (+ bonus), Mileage Plan elites can make as many purchases as they need to while non-elites can buy up to 150,000 miles.
Buy Alaska Miles

American Airlines AAdvantage

The Offer:

  • Buy 10,000 – 24,000 miles, get 3,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 25,000 – 49,000 miles, get 9,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 50,000 – 74,000 miles, get 27,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 75,000 – 99,000 miles, get 48,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 100,000 – 149,000 miles, get 72,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 150,000 miles, get 120,000 bonus miles

Headline Terms:

  • AAdvantage members must purchase at least 10,000 miles or more in a single transaction from the Buy or Gift Miles program by 11:59:59pm CT December 3, 2019, to be eligible to earn bonus miles.
  • Members may purchase for themselves or receive as a gift, a maximum combined total of 150,000 AAdvantage miles in a calendar year.
  • Bonus miles do not count towards the annual purchase limit.

Full terms are available on the sale page.

Cost Of Points:

  • The minimum number of points needed to ensure purchases are made at the cheapest price is 150,000.
  • The cheapest cost per point is ~1.78 cents.

Quick Thoughts:

  • This is one of the cheapest rates at which we generally see American Airlines sell AAdvantage Miles (the cheapest being ~1.72 cents per point) so by American’s standards this is a very good deal.
  • If you’re not going to buy the maximum number of miles available, be aware that the cheapest cost per point for all the other pricing bands is to be had by buying the lowest number of points in each band (10,000, 25,000, 50,000, etc…)
  • AAdvantage Miles can be hard to use for American Airlines premium cabin saver awards as availability is very poor, but there can be amazing value to be had when using AAdvantage Miles for Business & First Class awards on partners like Etihad, Qatar Airways, JAL and Cathay Pacific.
  • There’s a little time pressure here as the current deal is only available through 3 December.
  • Don’t forget that American Airlines processes its own mileage sales so, when you’re buying miles, be sure to use a credit card which gives you a great return on spending made directly with airlines, eg:
Buy AAdvantage Miles

United MileagePlus

The Offer:

  • Buy 5,000 – 19,000 miles, get 30% bonus miles
  • Buy 20,000 – 34,000 miles, get 50% bonus miles
  • Buy 35,000 – 94,000 miles, get 85% bonus miles

Headline Terms:

  • Promotional offer valid until 11:59 p.m. CT on December 11, 2019.
  • You may purchase up to 175,000 miles per account per calendar year.
  • Bonus miles count toward the 175,000-mile annual limit per account.

Full terms are available on the sale page.

Cost Of Points:

  • The minimum number of points needed to ensure purchases are made at the cheapest price is 35,000.
  • The cheapest cost per point is ~2.03 cents.

Quick Thoughts:

  • The sale that United ran before this one offered a maximum bonus of 100% so, somewhat strangely, United has chosen not to run its best offer on Black Friday.
  • United Miles are generally easier to use for premium cabin awards on United than American’s miles are to use on American but that doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to find the exact awards you need – make sure you check award availability before you make any purchases.
  • United’s mileage sales are processed by Points.com so a purchase of miles will not trigger a credit card travel/airline category bonus. If you plan to buy United Miles I suggest you buy them using a card which offers you a good rate of cash back or a card on which you’re still trying to earn the welcome bonus.
Buy United Miles

Bottom Line

We’ve seen Alaska offer a 50% bonus on its miles at least a couple of other times this year but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is still probably the best value mileage sale we see on offer.

Alaska Miles can be used to great effect to book premium cabins on some very good airlines and as long as you’re careful to check that awards you’d like to book are available before you buy any miles you’re unlikely to go wrong with this deal.

The best use of AAdvantage Miles is for premium cabin travel on American’s partners as you’ll have to get very lucky to find premium cabin award availability on American’s own flights that matches the dates you can fly.

Still, at under 1.8 cents/mile, there’s a lot of value to be had if you’re booking Business Class or First Class flights on JAL, Etihad, Qatar Airways and even LATAM (don’t forget that LATAM is leaving oneworld on 1 October 2020) so if you can find awards that work for you this sale may help you book a very nice trip at a serious discount to the cash fares on offer.

As far as the United sale goes I have to confess to being a little underwhelmed. As United sales go this is one of the better ones but it may be worth waiting to see if the airline brings back its 100% bonus offer at the end of the year if you’re not in a desperate hurry to buy miles right now.

Buy Alaska Miles   Buy AAdvantage Miles   Buy United Miles

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