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Alaska Airlines’s Mileage Plan loyalty program is back with a new mileage sale and this time it’s offering members the chance to buy miles with the highest bonus we see Alaska offer – 50%.
This may or many not be a targeted promotion (I can’t tell) but, if it is targeted, it’s targeted pretty broadly as all the accounts I control show the 50% bonus and that’s never happened before.
The Headline T&Cs
- Transactions must be completed between 6:00 AM PST April 17, 2019 and 11:59 PM PST May 19, 2019 to be eligible for bonus miles.
- Miles are purchased from Points.com Inc.
- A 7.5% Federal Excise Tax, and GST/HST for Canadian residents will be applied.
- 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.
- 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.
Buy Alaska Miles With A Bonus Of Up To 50%
It looks like this offer is the same as the targeted offer we saw back in November last year:
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 Mileage Plan miles and get a 20% bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 39,000 Mileage Plan miles and get a 35% bonus
- Buy 40,000 – 60,000 Mileage Plan miles and get a 50% bonus
Purchasing the full 60,000 miles allowed per transaction would cost $1,773.75….
….and would net the purchaser 90,000 miles. That works out to a cost of ~ 1.97 cents per mile.
As Mileage Plan doesn’t alter the pricing within each band members can purchase any number of miles between 40,000 and 60,000 and would be buying them at the same cost per mile.
Here are the costs per mile for the lower bands:
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 Mileage Plan miles at a cost of ~2.46 cents/mile
- Buy 20,000 – 39,000 Mileage Plan miles at a cost of ~2.19 cents/mile
Where Can You Go With Alaska Miles?
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 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…which isn’t too bad.
So, where can Mileage Plan members use all the miles they can buy?
Here are a few examples of Alaska’s airline partners:
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Emirates (only for flights to/from the US)
- Fiji Airways
- Korean Air
That’s a pretty good list and it’s why Alaska Mileage Plan should feature in everyone’s miles/points portfolio….I’ve even written a post explaining why Europeans should be interested despite the fact that Alaska Airlines doesn’t fly anywhere near Europe!
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
- Korean Air: USA to Asia = 105,000 – 120,000 miles (depends on the country in Asia)
- LAN: 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.
As usual I’ll point out 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 award availability is a real issue.
I’ve said this a lot of times in the past but it’s worth saying again – 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.
Still, all of the redemptions I’ve listed above are pretty good and some of them are nothing short of fantastic.
Is It Worth Buying Alaska Miles In This Promotion?
As I always say, it comes down to the 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
- Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia = $1,970
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = $1,675
- Korean Air: USA – Asia = $2,069 – $2,364
- LATAM: USA – South America = $1,773
- Qantas: USA – Australia = $2,167
The Cathay Pacific fares are very good indeed (especially the Europe – Asia award) 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 – it’s always worth calling up to check availability before buying miles for an award you’ve found online.
First Class Awards
Once again the pick of the crop are the Cathay Pacific awards which, excluding taxes and fees, would cost:
Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia = $2,758
Cathay Pacific: Europe – Asia = $2,364
Those are amazing fares for a truly excellent First Class product and well worth buying miles for (I’ve reviewed Cathay’s First Class product between Zurich and Hong Kong and (spoiler alert!) I loved it).
Although Qantas First Class to Australia for $2,758 (+ taxes and fees) looks good, there’s a definite lack of award availability so I wouldn’t buy miles unless I knew there was an award available that I could book right away.
This is the best deal that we see Alaska Airlines offer on its miles so this is the sale to jump on if you need some miles – it’s almost certainly won’t get better than this.
As always I don’t suggest you buy miles speculatively as you never know when a loyalty program will choose to alter the award charts or change the rules unfavourably so stockpiling points is a truly bad idea.
Do your research, find awards that work for you and the buy the points you need – it’s hard for you to get burned that way.