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Alaska is once again offering a bonus to anyone willing to buy its currency in its latest mileage sale (is it me or are these becoming more frequent?) and with Alaska Miles being one of the more valuable airline currencies around it’s always worth seeing if it’s worth buying miles when there’s an offer on.
Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles, get a 20% bonus
Buy 20,000 – 29,000 miles, get a 30% bonus
Buy 30,000 – 60,000 miles, get a 40% bonus
- Promotional offer to receive up to 40% bonus miles valid until 11:59 PM PST October 31, 2019.
- Miles are purchased from Points.com Inc. for a cost of $27.50 per 1,000 miles, plus a 7.5% Federal Excise Tax*, and GST/HST for Canadian 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 up 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.
- *Points.com Inc. is collecting Federal Excise Tax on behalf of Alaska Airlines Inc.
- Alaska Airlines Inc. has the obligation to collect Federal Excise Tax and remit the tax to the appropriate government agency.
Because Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t play around with the cost of miles within each bonus band there are just four price points at which miles are being sold in this promotion.
To buy miles at the cheapest rate you’ll need to buy at least 30,000 miles and secure the 40% bonus.
Buying the minimum number of miles to see you secure the best cost/mile would see you paying $886.88 for a net total of 42,000 miles…
…and that would see you paying approximately 2.11 cents per mile.
For the purposes of completeness, here’s the cost of miles in the remaining four bands:
- Buy 1,000 – 9,000 miles at a cost of ~2.96 cents/mile
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles at a cost of ~2.46 cents/mile
- Buy 20,000 – 29,000 miles at a cost of ~2.27 cents/mile
The price differences may not appear to be significant but they quickly add up if you’re buying tens of thousands of miles.
Note: Alaska was selling its miles with a 50% bonus (the best offer we usually see) though 30 August 2019 and that values the miles at ~1.97 cents each.
What Can You Do With Alaska Miles?
The best value uses of Alsaka Mileage Plan miles generally come through international bookings made on partner airlines (although miles can also come in useful if you’re looking to book flights between the mainland and Hawaii).
Here are a few examples of Alaska’s airline partners:
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Emirates (only for flights to/from the US)
- Fiji Airways
- Korean Air
The value you can get from awards booked with Alaska Miles varies from partner to partner and some awards are noticeably easier to find than others.
You can access the Mileage Plan award charts via this link if you want to check the prices of whatever 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:
Business Class Awards
- Cathay Pacific: USA to Asia -> 100,000 miles
- Cathay Pacific: Europe to Asia -> 85,000 miles
- Fiji Airways: USA to Fiji -> 110,000 miles
- Fiji Airways: USA to Australia -> 110,000 miles
- Korean Air: USA to Asia -> 105,000 – 120,000 miles (depends on the country in Asia)
- LATAM: USA to South America -> 90,000 miles
- Qantas: USA to Australia -> 110,000 miles
First Class Awards
- Cathay Pacific: USA to Asia -> 140,000 miles
- Cathay Pacific: Europe to Asia -> 120,000 miles
- JAL: USA to Asia from 140,000 miles
- Qantas: USA to Australia -> 140,000 miles
Note: Taxes and surcharges will need to be factored in but, in most cases, they’re not significant.
Importantly, Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on award tickets and that’s part of what makes these redemptions very attractive indeed.
You may have noticed that American Airlines isn’t listed as an Alaska Mileage Plan partner and that’s because although the two airlines do have a frequent flyer agreement in place right now, American Airlines premium cabin awards are notoriously hard to find and the frequent flyer agreement is ending in March next year.
Still, the issues with American aside, Alaska Miles open up a number of very good redemption opportunities (especially if you can be flexible with your plans) with one of my favorites being the option to fly USA – Fiji – Australia in Business Class (with a stopover in Fiji) for just 55,000 miles one-way.
Is It Worth Buying Alaska Miles In This Promotion?
As I always say, it comes down to math.
Here’s how much some of the awards I mentioned above would cost (excluding taxes & fees) if you were to buy all the miles you need in this promotion :
Business Class Award Costs (Approximate)
- Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia -> $2,110
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia -> $1,975
- Fiji Airways: USA to Fiji -> $2,320
- Fiji Airways: USA to Australia -> $2,320
- Korean Air: USA – Asia -> $2,215 – $2,535
- LATAM: USA – South America -> $1,899
- Qantas: USA – Australia -> $2,320
First Class Awards (Approximate)
- Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia = $2,955
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = $2,535
- JAL: USA to Asia from $2,944
- Qantas: USA to Australia $2,955
There are a number of very good deals here but the Cathay Pacific Business and First Class awards are particularly good value (especially the Europe – Asia awards) and, as I’ve already said, the Fiji Airways awards are pretty special too.
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 and, even though American Airlines has now started showing Cathay Pacific award availability online, the results presented aren’t always reliable so it’s always worth calling up to check availability before buying miles for an award you’ve found online.
I should also point out that although Qantas First Class to Australia for $2,955 (+ taxes and fees) looks fantastic (and it is), there’s a definite lack of award availability so I wouldn’t buy miles with a view to booking this award unless I knew for sure that there was an award available that I could book right away.
With a 40% bonus on offer this is the second-best sale that we generally see Alaska publish…but it’s still a pretty good deal.
As always I don’t think you should be buying miles speculatively as you never know when a loyalty program will choose to alter its award charts or change the rules unfavorably, so stockpiling points is a truly bad idea.
Do your research, find awards that work for you, do the math and then buy the points you need – it’s hard for you to get burned that way.