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Alaska Mileage Plan is back with a new mileage sale and, as is the case more often than not with this loyalty program, the promotion is targeted and the maximum bonus available can vary from person to person.
This time around I’m one of the lucky ones as I’ve been targeted for the highest bonus Mileage Plan ever offers (50%), while other bonuses on offer include 30% and 40% – you can check what bonus you’ve been targeted for via this link to the sale.
Headline Terms & Conditions
- Only Mileage Plan™ members who receive this offer directly from Alaska Airlines via email are qualified to participate. This is an exclusive, non-transferable offer for the intended recipient only and may not be forwarded.
- Transactions must be completed between 6:00 AM PST July 22, 2019 and 11:59 PM PST August 30, 2019 to be eligible for bonus miles.
- 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 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.
My Offer (Maximum Bonus Of 50%)
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles and get a 20% bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 39,000 miles and get a 35% bonus
- Buy 40,000 – 60,000 miles and get a 50% bonus
Because Alaska Mileage Plan doesn’t play around with the price of its miles within individual bonus bands it doesn’t matter if you buy 40,000 miles…
….or the full 60,000 miles in this sale…
…or any number of miles in between.
In all cases you’ll be buying miles at the best rate on offer – approximately 1.97 cents/mile.
Where To Redeem Miles?
The best vlaue uses of Alsaka Mileage Plan miles tend to come through international bookings made on partner airlines (althought they can also come in useful for 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
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.
If you’ve been targeted for a 50% bonus this is the best deal that you’re likely to see Alaska Airlines offer so this is the sale to jump on if you need some miles – if you have been offered a lower bonus the math will dictate whether you should by miles or not.
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.