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The current Alaska mileage sale has been running since mid-February and ends on Monday 9 April so you have this weekend to decide if you have an account that needs topping up.
This mileage sale is offering bonuses of up to 40% but, as this is a targeted promotion, Not all accounts will have been targeted for a bonus that high (bonuses appear to range between 20% and 40%) but, based on anecdotal evidence, the 40% bonus offer is reasonably widespread.
Alaska miles may not be an obvious currency for a lot of people to collect but they can be very useful if you’re trying to book premium cabin awards on airlines like Cathay Pacific, Korean Air or even LAN.
The flexibility and value that Alaska Miles offer are the main reasons why it’s one of the few currencies that I still find myself tempted to purchase every time there’s a reasonably good bonus on offer.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Sale – Headline T&Cs’s
- Mileage Plan accounts need to have been active for at least 10 days to participate in this promotion (if you don’t currently have an account you should sign up now to make sure you’re eligible when the next promotion comes around).
- The promotion runs until 11:59pm PST on 9 April 2018
- All purchases of Alaska Miles are processed by Points.com so you won’t earn a credit card category bonus when buying miles.
- Miles must be purchased in increments of 1,000.
- There is no limit to how many miles you can buy in Alaska Mileage Plan promotions. You can buy up to 60,000 miles (+ bonus) per transaction but there’s no limit to the number of transactions you can make.
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and earn a 20% bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 29,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and earn a 30% bonus
- Buy 30,000 – 60,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and earn a 40% bonus
If you were to purchase the full 60,000 miles you would net 84,000 miles (after accounting for the bonus) at a total cost of $1,773.75:
84,000 miles at a cost of $1,773.75 works out to ~2.11 cents per mile.
This may not seem like an earth-shattering offer (because it isn’t) but it’s still one that can be used very effectively for good value premium cabin redemptions.
This Is How Mileage Plan Can Be Great Value
1. Alaska Airlines may not be part of any big airline alliance but it does have an impressive set of airline partners with whom Mileage Plan Miles can be used.
2. Mileage Plan has some very flyer-friendly rules which aren’t found in a lot of airline loyalty programs and which offer good mileage redemption opportunities.
Here are ones which will be of interest:
- Mileage Plan allows one free stopover on award tickets – even when booking one-way awards.
- There are no charges for cancelling an award and re-depositing the miles, regardless of your status, as long as you’re more than 60 days away from departure (I love this rule as it gives travelers a lot of flexibility)
- Mileage Plan allows members to buy as many miles as they need – there are no restrictions on the number of miles that can be bought in a calendar year. You may only be able to buy 60,000 miles (plus the bonus) in one transaction but there’s no limit to the number of transactions you can make.
These are some of my favorite Mileage Plan redemptions:
Roundtrip Business Class Awards (and cost to buy the miles needed in this sale)
- Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia costs 100,000 miles ($2,110)
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Hong Kong costs 85,000 miles ($1,794)
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class
- JAL: USA – Asia costs from 120,000 miles ($2,532)
- Korean Air: USA – Asia costs from 105,000 miles ($2,216)
- LAN: USA – South American costs 90,000 miles ($1,899)
- Qantas: USA – Australia costs 110,000 miles ($2,321)
Note: Taxes and surcharges will need to be factored in.
Roundtrip First Class Awards (and cost to buy the miles needed in this sale)
- Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia costs 140,000 miles ($2,954)
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Hong Kong costs 140,000 miles ($2,954)
- JAL: USA – Asia costs from 140,000 miles ($2,954)
- Qantas: USA – Australia costs 140,000 miles ($2,954)
Note: Taxes and surcharges will need to be factored in.
JAL 777-300ER First Class
Importantly, Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on award tickets listed and that’s part of what makes these redemptions very attractive indeed.
I should mention that American Airlines is also an Alaska Mileage Plan partner and, technically, can be a very good option on routes like Europe – Hawaii (115,000 miles for roundtrip Business Class)…..but availability is a BIG issue.
American Airlines Business Class saver awards are so scarce nowadays that I can’t justify including them in the list above – I suspect that most people will struggle to find any saver award availability unless they’re very flexible with dates and also very lucky.
Should You Buy Miles?
Because Mileage Plan allows you to buy as many miles as you want (in batches of 60,000 at a time excluding bonuses) this mileage sale allows you to buy as many miles as you need at a cost of ~2.11 cents each.
What this means is that there can be some great value to be had if you select the right redemption options – like Cathay Pacific in Business or First Class between Europe and Asia (a reasonably easy award to find), LAN Business Class from the US to South American and Korean Air Business Class between the US and Asia.
All the examples I’ve provided above would allow you to fly in First & Business Class cabins for considerably less than the cash price of that cabin and that’s part of what makes Mileage Plus Miles such an attractive proposition.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Alaska Mileage Plan occasionally offers bonuses of up to 50% (Joanna was targeted for this last year) so it may be possible (at some point in the future) to purchase miles for slightly less than the 2.11 cents they’re being sold for in this sale….but 50% bonuses don’t come around very often and, when they do, they’re usually targeted offers.
This promotion may “only” offered a 40% bonus on miles purchases but, at 2.11 cents/mile, you can still get great value out of this promotion and, as long as you check that the awards you’re looking to book are actually available (never stockpile miles), you can’t go too far wrong.