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Alaska Mileage Plan has been running its first points sale of the year since the end of January and the offer comes to an end today. Right now Mileage Plan members have the opportunity to earn a 40% bonus on purchased miles when they buy 30,000 miles (or more) by 11:59 PM PST today (22 February 2019).
This sale is mostly in line with sales we’ve seen in the past but there is one big difference this time around – Alaska has introduced a maximum purchase limit of 150,000 miles/year for non-elite members (there’s no cap if you have Alaska elite status).
Buying Alaska Miles – 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 there’s still time to sign up and hope your account is targeted).
- Transactions must be completed by 11:59 PM PST February 22, 2019 to be eligible for bonus miles.
- Miles are purchased from Points.com
- 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.
- 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.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the offer page
The Offer & The Math
- 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
Buying 60,000 miles would net you 84,000 miles (after you account for the bonus) at a total cost of $1,773.75:
84,000 miles at a cost of $1,773.75 comes to ~ 2.11 cents per mile.
Here’s how the cost per point looks for each tier of the promotion:
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles at ~2.46 cents each
- Buy 20,000 – 29,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles at ~2.27 cents each
- Buy 30,000 – 60,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles at ~2.11 cents each
We occasionally see Alaska sell its miles with a 50% bonus (~1.97 cents each) but this is the next best offer we see….and its worth remembering that a lot of the 50% bonus promotions are targeted.
What Makes Mileage Plan An Attractive Option?
Alaska’s Mileage Plan miles can be used to great effect if you’re booking premium cabin awards on airlines like Korean, Cathay Pacific or even LAN and that’s why they’re now the only currency that I still find myself tempted to buy each time a reasonable bonus offer comes along.
Here are just a few reasons why I really value Alaska miles:
1. Alaska Airlines doesn’t belong to any of the 3 main worldwide alliances but it has built up an impressive range of airline partners with whom Alaska miles can be used.
2. Mileage Plan has some very flyer-friendly rules which offer good mileage redemption opportunities.
These are two of the rules that make life a little easier:
- Mileage Plan allows flyers 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.
There’s a third flyer-friendly rule but it only applies to Mileage Plan elite members. This rule says that you can buy as many Alaska Miles as you like in a calendar year so it’s easy to purchase enough miles for whatever trips you’d like to book.
Here’s how some of the better awards you can book with Alaska Miles cost up based on a purchase price of 2.11 cents/point.
Roundtrip Business Class Awards
- Cathay Pacific: USA – Asia costs 100,000 miles ($2,110)
- Cathay Pacific: Europe – Hong Kong costs 85,000 miles ($1,794)
- 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 added to the costs above.
Roundtrip First Class Awards
- 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 added in to the costs above.
American Airlines is also an Alaska Mileage Plan partner and is, technically, a very good option if you have Alaska Miles to use – you can fly from Europe to Hawaii in roundtrip Business Class for just 115,000 miles.
Unfortunately, American Airlines Business Class saver awards are so scarce nowadays that they can’t justifiably be called a reasonable option – if you can find them then that’s great but no one should be buying Alaska Miles with the idea that they’re guaranteed to get a chance to book a premium cabin saver award on American Airlines.
Alaska Mileage Plan has been known offer bonuses of up to 50% so, if you’re not convinced you should be buying miles now (e.g. if there aren’t any awards available right now), you may want to hold out to see what Alaska offers later in future sales year….but don’t forget that there are no guarantees.
Having said that, you can still get some great value with the sale as it stands 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.