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Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program has launched a flash sale which is running through 30 June and is offering miles with a 30% discount. Not be confused with a sale offering a 30% bonus (which isn’t a great deal), the price on offer in this sale is one of the best we see Alaska Airlines publish.
Alaska miles can be used to great effect if you’re looking to book premium cabin awards on the likes of Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, and even LAN and that’s 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.
Buying Alaska Miles – Headline T&Cs’s
- Transactions must be completed by 11:59 PM PST June 30, 2019 to be eligible for the discount.
- 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 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.
- Offer is subject to change and all terms and conditions of the Mileage Plan Program apply.
The Offer & The Math
- Buy 1,000 – 19,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles with no discount
- Buy 20,000+ Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get a 30% discount
Buying 60,000 miles would cost $1,241.63…
… which works out to a cost/mile of ~2.07 cents.
That’s a better cost per mile than we see when Alaska offers a 40% bonus.
This Is Why Mileage Plan Can Be Great
1. Alaska Airlines may not be part of any big airline alliance but it does have an impressive set of airline partners with whom you can use Mileage Plan Miles.
2. Mileage Plan has some flyer-friendly rules which offer good mileage redemption opportunities.
Here are the main ones:
- Mileage Plan allows one free stopover on award tickets – even when booking one-way awards.
- There are no charges for canceling an award and re-depositing the miles, regardless of your status, as long as you’re more than 60 days away from departure.
- Mileage Plan allows elite members to buy as many miles as they need – there are no restrictions on the number of miles that elite members can buy in a calendar year. The maximum purchase per transaction may be 60,000 miles but there’s no limit to the number of transactions you can make.
Here 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 (~$2,070)
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Hong Kong costs 85,000 miles (~$1,760)
- JAL: USA – Asia costs from 120,000 miles (~$2,484)
- Korean Air: USA – Asia costs from 105,000 miles (~$2,174)
- LAN: USA – South American costs 90,000 miles (~$1,863)
- Qantas: USA – Australia costs 110,000 miles (~$2,277)
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 (~$2,898)
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Hong Kong costs 140,000 miles (~$2,898)
- JAL: USA – Asia costs from 140,000 miles (~$2,898)
- Qantas: USA – Australia costs 140,000 miles (~$2,898)
Note: Taxes and surcharges will need to be factored in.
Alaska doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on the award tickets listed out above and that’s part of what makes these redemptions very attractive indeed.
American Airlines is also an Alaska Mileage Plan partner and, technically, a very good option if you’re looking to use Alaska Miles (e.g. Europe – Hawaii roundtrip Business Class for just 115,000 miles). Sadly American Airlines Business Class saver awards are so scarce nowadays that I can’t justify including them in the list above.
Is This A Good Sale?
Because Mileage Plan allows elite members to buy as many miles as they want (in batches of 60,000 at a time), this promotion allows you to buy as many miles as you need at a cost of around 2.07 cents each.
This means 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 (not a hard award to find), LAN Business Class from the US to South America and Korean Air Business Class between the US and Asia.
If you find an American Airlines international Business or First Class saver award then they can be a great deal too but find such awards can be incredibly tough.
All the example awards I’ve provided in this post would allow you to fly in premium cabins for considerably less than the cash price of that cabin…and that’s what this hobby is all about.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Alaska Mileage Plan occasionally offers sales where miles are offered at ~1.97 cents each so this isn’t the cheapest rate you’ll find miles (although it’s still a very good rate).
It’s also worth pointing out that for those who don’t hold Alaska elite status this may not be the ideal promotion.
Using this sale the most miles a non-elite will be able to buy is 150,000 while a sale in which a bonus is offered (rather a discount) will allow non-elites to breach that total as bonus miles do not count towards the yearly cap.
Have a think about what works best for you, do the math to see if the miles are worth it and only then should you dive in and buy.