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Alaska’s Mileage Plan program has launched a new “mystery” mileage sale In which it’s offering members the chance to buy miles with a bonus of up to 60% thrown in. This is among the very best mileage sales that we see Alaska Airlines publish but for two reasons, this is a sale that most readers should probably ignore.
This sale is targeted, so not everyone reading this will be given the chance to earn a 60% bonus (I know that some people are being targeted for a 50% bonus) but as that’s the best deal on offer, that’s the sale I’ll be focusing on.
First, I’ll give you the sale details. Then, I’ll tell you why the sale can be excellent. And, lastly, I’ll tell you why I think you should probably ignore it. Feel free to skip to the end if the rest doesn’t interest you 😀
- Buy 1,000 – 2,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get no bonus
- Buy 3,000 – 19,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get a 40% bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 39,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get a 50% bonus
- Buy 40,000 – 100,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and get a 60% bonus
- Transactions must be completed between 6:00 AM PST October 10, 2022 and 11:59 PM PST November 2, 2022 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 and QST for Quebec 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 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, MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K 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.
- Bonus miles do not count toward the maximum total of 150,000 miles.
Because Alaska Airlines 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 40,000 or 100,000 miles.
Here’s what a 40,000 miles purchase looks like:
And here’s what a 100,000 miles purchase would look like:
In both cases, the cost/mile comes to ~1.85 cents.
How this sale can be great
One of the biggest positive elements of the Alaska Mileage Plan program is that it doesn’t impose a limit on how many miles you can purchase in a single promotion or in a calendar year if you hold elite status so, technically, elite 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 160,000 miles pre-bonus (240,000 miles post bonus).
You can access the Mileage Plan award charts via this link if you want to check the prices of the 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 and the cost of those awards based on a purchase price of 1.85 cents/mile:
Business Class awards
- Cathay Pacific: USA to Asia = 100,000 miles/$1,850
- Cathay Pacific: Europe to Asia = 85,000 miles/$1,573
- Emirates: USA to the Middle East = 165,000 miles/$3,053
- Korean Air: USA to Asia = 105,000 – 120,000 miles/$1,943 – $2,220
- LATAM: USA to South America = 90,000 miles/$1,665
First Class awards
- Cathay Pacific/JAL: USA to Asia = 140,000 miles/$2,590
- Cathay Pacific: Europe to Asia = 120,000 miles/$2,220
While all of the redemptions I’ve listed above are pretty good, some of them are nothing short of fantastic.
The Cathay Pacific fares are excellent (especially the Europe – Asia awards), but be aware that even though Cathay Pacific awards are now bookable on the Alaska Airlines website, it’s not yet clear if Alaska now has access to all the award seats that you may see when searching on other sites (like BA.com), so make sure you stick to using the Alaska site when searching for award space.
Note: You can also redeem Alaska Airlines Miles on airlines such as Aer Lingus, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, and quite a few others but the awards that I’ve listed above are where most of the best deals are to be found.
Why you should probably ignore this sale
There are two key reasons why this sale may be one that you should avoid.
Firstly, we now know that Alaska Airlines will be “simplifying” its award chart at the end of this year so there’s no guarantee that the great fares that I highlighted above will be bookable come January 1st, 2023. For all we know, Alaska Airlines will rip up its current award charts and unveil a monstrosity. No one who doesn’t plan to use their purchased miles before the year-end should be buying miles in this sale.
If you’re planning to book an award in the next few weeks, the chance that we’ll see a devaluation in late December isn’t really a reason for you to avoid this sale, but there’s another thing that you may want to think about.
Right now, we’re a little over 6 weeks away from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and there’s a chance that whatever sale Alaska Airlines unveils after Thanksgiving, may be better than what’s on offer now. The airline may raise the buying limit for non-elites, it may offer a higher bonus (we saw bonuses of over 60% during the pandemic), or it may throw in some other sweetener that’s not being offered right now.
Yes, if you can see an award that you’d like to book right away, waiting for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales to book it just in case a better deal comes along probably isn’t a very sensible thing to do (award availability could disappear and the next sale could be no better than this one) but unless you’re sure that you’ll be making your award booking before Black Friday, it may be worth waiting to see what the upcoming sale season has to offer.
Use the right credit card
If after all that I’ve written, you still want to buy Alasaka Miles in this sale, please make sure you use the right credit card.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan mileage sales are processed by Points.com and that eliminates the scope to earn a travel/flight/airline bonus by using a credit card that offers bonus points for shopping in one of those categories. With that option closed off, this makes this sale a good opportunity to use a credit card on which you’re working towards a strong welcome bonus (like the great current offer on the Citi Premier® Card).
If you’re not working towards a card’s welcome bonus, the Citi® Double Cash credit card which offers 2% cash back on all purchases would be one of the better options to use.
Most people should be avoiding this sale. The potential devaluation in December is the key reason to stay away but the chance that we’ll see a better sale appear in 6 week’s time is another.
If, however, you’re still determined to buy miles, the key to doing well out of this sale is this: Do your research, find awards that work for you, and only then buy the points you need – it’s hard to get burned when you buy miles and use them within days of the purchase.