Buy Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles with up to a 60% bonus, if you're targeted for the current offer. Earlier this year Alaska had a similar offer, although my account was only targeted for a 50% bonus. This time, I was targeted for a 60% bonus, and I wouldn't be surprised if Mileage Plan has targeted more accounts for the highest bonus–after all, who wants to buy miles these days, during a pandemic, unless they're being targeted for the highest offer amount?
Those targeted with the 60% bonus are buying miles for 1.7 cents per point, while those targeted for the 50% bonus are buying miles at 1.83 cents per point.
- To buy Mileage Plan miles with the up to 60% bonus, go to the Alaska Buy Miles page, where you'll need to login with your Alaska Mileage Plan account.
- You must buy at least 40,000 miles to qualify for the up to 60% bonus miles (assuming you're targeted for the offer)
- Mileage Plan members may buy a maximum of 100,000 miles and there's a maximum of 150,000 miles acquired through Points.com that may be credited to your Mileage Plan account in a calendar year.
- Elites (MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan member accounts) may purchase or be gifted any number of miles during the year.
- Deadline for the up to 60% bonus: October 31, 2020, by 11:59pm PST
- Since the transaction is processed by Points.com, it's not possible to earn any category bonuses on the transaction.
- All miles purchases are non-refundable
Pros of Alaska Mileage Plan Miles
Alaska Mileage Plan miles have several pros relative to some other frequent flyer programs:
- Good award chart, especially for travel to Asia: JAL First Class and Cathay Pacific First Class between the U.S. and Asia is just 70,000 miles each way, and JAL Business Class between the U.S. and Asia is 60,000 miles each way.
- Free stopover on one way awards: Usually frequent flyer awards only permit free stopovers (if at all) on round trip award tickets; Alaska Mileage Plan permits a free stopover on a one way award. Note that the stopover must be at the airline's hub, for example Hong Kong in the case of Cathay Pacific, or Tokyo or Osaka in the case of Japan Airlines.
- Many partner airlines: Alaska Mileage Plan is joining Oneworld (expected in Q1 2021), so in addition to partnering with Oneworld airlines such as Cathay, JAL and AA, Alaska also partners with some other non-Oneworld airlines such as Korean Air, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Icelandair, and others.
Cons of Alaska Mileage Plan Miles
Sadly, there are some downsides with Alaska miles that should be taken into account before buying Alaska miles:
- Delayed Opening of the Alaska Mileage Plan Award Calendar: Alaska's award calendar only opens up 330 days before the travel date, while American AAdvantage opens up 331 days in advance and British Airways Executive Club opens up 354 days in advance. That puts Alaska Mileage Plan members at a significant disadvantage compared to British Airways Executive Club, and even AAdvantage frequent flyer members, who could book space before Alaska even opens its award calendar. Similarly JAL Mileage Bank Awards are Now Bookable 360 Days in Advance, so Mileage Bank, British Airways Executive Club and AAdvantage members ahead of Alaska Mileage Bank members when booking those awards.
- Alaska Mileage Plan Doesn't Have Access to All the Award Space that Oneworld Frequent Flyer Programs Do: It's happened a few times, for Award Booking Clients as well as my own Cathay Pacific and JAL awards: we've been able to book space using Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, JAL Mileage Bank, British Airways Executive Club, and even AAdvantage, that isn't available using Alaska Miles. See also AAdvantage Trumps Alaska Mileage Plan Again.
- Emirates Awards Expensive and/or Unavailable: Although Emirates is still a Mileage Plan partner, most members will refuse to pay the high award rates to book Emirates First Class: 150,000 miles one way between NYC and Dubai.
Overall, if targeted for the 60% bonus, 1.7 cents per mile isn't bad if planning to redeem Alaska miles within the next year or so for a business class or first class partner award, but with so many countries closed to U.S. travelers, it may make sense to wait on mileage purchases until there's a path forward for more international travel.
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