Buy Alaska Miles with 35% Bonus: Worth It to Fly Emirates First Class?

Buy Alaska Miles with 35% Bonus Worth It?


You can buy Alaska miles with a 35% bonus until August 9, but is it worth it? It could be–if you redeem for Emirates A380 First Class and value that experience. That said, if you're sitting on plenty of Alaska miles from previous Alaska Buy Miles with a 40% bonus promotions, you'll want to sit this one out.

Note that you'll need to buy 40,000 Alaska miles to earn the 35% bonus miles (14,000 bonus miles), and the total cost, including taxes, is $1182.50, which works out to buying miles at a cost of 2.2 cents per mile. Now, most folks value their miles at somewhere between 1.8-2 cents per mile (well, except for miles such as Delta, which are worth so little that I've never bothered to earn them) so you might wonder how buying Alaska miles could be worth it at this price.

3 words: Emirates First Class. Let's take as an example my husband's recent flight in Emirates First Class on the A380 from Dubai to San Francisco. This is an almost 16 hour flight that would retail for about $8000, depending on dates (note that the roundtrip from San Francisco, SFO-DXB-SFO, can easily exceed $26,000). He really enjoyed his flight, as well as the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai. While Emirates doesn't have the most comfortable first class beds, in my view (see Best First Class Airline Beds), Emirates First Class on the A380, along with Etihad's The Residence and Etihad First Apartments, have the only onboard showers on commercial flights, and my husband also appreciated the Emirates First pajamas, which managed to fit him well despite his 6'5 frame, as well as the caviar service.

Let's say that I have no Alaska miles, so I buy 40,000 miles with the 35% bonus twice, for a total of $2365, giving me 108,000 Alaska miles. I can use 90,000 of them, which cost $1971, to book an Emirates A380 First Class award, if available for my date. That 25% the cost of the retail price, although of course many of us would not be able to afford retail price for first class. For my family, however, miles purchases such as this make sense for such a long journey, and particularly as my husband is so tall and needs to fly first class or business class anyway.

Emirates A380 First Class Shower



Can I Earn Category Bonuses for Buying Alaska Miles?

No; unlike American AAdvantage miles purchases, which are processed by AA directly, when you buy Alaska miles processes the purchase. Hence, you won't earn any category bonuses, either via the Alaska Visa or via any credit card (such as the Citi Prestige, AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card, etc.) that bonuses airline spend.


Are There Limits to How Many Times I Can Buy Alaska Miles with the Bonus?

If you're a U.S. buyer with a U.S. credit card, no; although you are limited to 4 transactions using the same credit card, within a 30 day period.

Are There Any Other Good Ways to Earn Alaska Miles, Apart from Flying Alaska?

You can earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles with the Alaska Visa Signature card, although the current and usual signup bonus is only 25,000 miles. Note that the $75 annual fee is NOT waived the first year, unfortunately.

You can also transfer Starwood SPG Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan, and as usual with SPG's airline partners, if you transfer in increments of 20,000 points, you'll receive 25,000 Alaska miles.


How Many Alaska Miles Will I Need for Emirates First Class?

You'll need 90,000 Alaska miles each way for Emirates First Class between North America and the Middle East, India and the Maldives, and 100,000 Alaska miles each way for Emirates First Class between North America and Europe or North America and Africa.


What's a Great Award That Maximizes Flying in Emirates First Class?

A great thing about Alaska Mileage Plan is that a stopover is allowed on a 1 way, so if you find space, you could book something like San Francisco to Dubai with a stopover, then Dubai to Bangkok. Or if starting from the East Coast, JFK to Milan to Dubai to Hong Kong to Bangkok.

Can I Redeem for Emirates First Class or Business Class Between Non-North American Cities?

No; when using Alaska miles, your award must depart from or return to North America. For awards that don't touch North America, you'll need to redeem other miles, such as Emirates Skywards or JAL Mileage Bank miles.


What Fees Are Charged to Change or Cancel an Alaska Miles Award?

A nice benefit of using Alaska miles is that changes and cancellations done online are free if over 60 days before departure. If within the 60 days, any change or cancellation incurs a $125 change/cancellation fee. But note that the $25 partner booking fee is non-refundable, as is the $15 call center fee if you make a booking by phone.


If I Book Emirates First Class as An Award Ticket, Do I Receive Complimentary Chauffeur Service?

No, unfortunately passengers traveling on Emirates award tickets no longer receive Emirates Chauffeur service; see Emirates Devaluation: Retroactive No Chauffeur for Partners


Do you plan to book Emirates First Class awards now that they are again bookable on Alaska's Web site?

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Emirates First Class A380 Review: Hong Kong to Bangkok

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