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Back in August, Alaska ran a promotion in which it promised members the chance to buy miles with a bonus of up to 70% if they purchased miles in the promotion that was running at the time and as Alaska Airlines has just launched its October mileage sale, members who bought miles back in August can now make the most of that fantastic bonus.
For those of us who didn’t participate in the August sale, Alaska’s Mileage Plan is currently offering bonuses of up to 60% but the wording of the promotion appears to suggest that these bonuses are targeted.
I have only been targeted for a 50% bonus and this is what my promotion looks like:
- Buy 3,000 – 29,000 miles and get a 40% bonus
- Buy 30,000 – 100,000 miles and get a 50% bonus
- Transactions must be completed by 11:59 PM PST October 31, 2020 to be eligible for bonus miles.
- Miles are purchased from Points.com Inc. for a cost of $27.50 per 1,000 miles, plus GST/HST for Canadian residents.
- You may purchase and gift Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles in increments of 1,000 miles up to 60,000 miles, and in increments of 5,000 miles up to a maximum of 100,000 miles per transaction.
- MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan member (Elite Member) accounts have no annual limit on the number of miles which may be purchased or gifted through Points.com. If you are not an Elite Member, your account may only 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.
- Offer is subject to change and all terms and conditions of the Mileage Plan Program apply.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the sale page.
Because Alaska doesn’t vary the cost/mile within each of its pricing bands, Mileage Plan members will be paying the lowest cost per mile available in this sale whether they buy 30,000 or 100,000 miles.
- If you have been targeted for a bonus of 50% you can by miles from ~1.83 cents each
- If you have been targeted for a bonus of 60% you can by miles from ~1.72 cents each
- If you have been targeted for a bonus of 70% you should be able to by miles from ~1.62 cents each
1.62 cents/mile is a fantastic rate at which to buy Alaska Miles.
Let’s Get This Out Of The Way
To repeat what I always say: If you have no immediate use for Alaska Miles you shouldn’t be taking part in this sale. It’s a bad idea to stockpile miles at the best of times so a full-blown travel crisis isn’t a great time to be stocking up on miles you don’t plan to use short-term (my golden rule applies).
Having said that, across the board there’s still a lot of value to be had if you can find awards that you can book right now (for travel well into the future), so this can be a fantastic opportunity to book a truly amazing trip.
Using This Sale
The better value ways to use Alaska Miles mostly center around using them for premium cabin awards on partner airlines. Here’s what some of the better awards cost in miles and how much you would have to pay for those miles if you were buying all the miles you need in the sales that are running now:
Business Class Awards
First Class Awards
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 far as the Business Class awards go, the Cathay Pacific fares are fantastic (especially the USA – 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.
When it comes to the First Class awards it the Cathay Pacific Fares that stand out once again but if you can find availability on Qantas to/from Australia that would be a very special experience (bear in mind you probably shouldn’t be planning on being able to visit Australia before 2Q 2021).
Note: When considering which awards to search for, consider the entry conditions that various countries are now imposing – there’s no point in getting excited about a great award that you can see is available to book if your destination country won’t let you enter!
Alaska Airlines sells its miles through Points.com so there’s no scope to earn a travel/flight/airline bonus by using a credit card that offers bonus points for shopping in one of those categories. What this means is that this is a good opportunity to use a credit card on which you’re working towards a welcome bonus…
…or to use the excellent Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express which will earn you 2 points/dollar (up to $50,000 in spending per year).
If you purchased Alaska Airlines miles back in August with the intention of purchasing more miles when the airline introduced the 70% bonus sale it promised, now is the time to get buying – you have until the end of the month to make the most of this fantastic deal. If like me, you’re restricted to buying miles with a 50% bonus (which, before this year, was the best deal Alaska Airlines ever offered) there are still some great deals out there but make sure you do your research before you dive in and buy.