Alaska Airline has a new 50% bonus for buying miles targeted at some Mileage Plan members. Note that members not targeted for the 50% bonus are to receive either a 35% bonus or 40% bonus. In our family, I was only targeted for the 35% bonus, but my husband, whose account we rarely use, was targeted for the 50% bonus. Unless you urgently need Alaska miles for an award, I'd recommend only taking advantage if you are targeted for the 50% bonus. Taking into account the taxes, even with the 50% bonus you're paying 1.97 cents per Alaska mile.
- Go to the points.com Buy Alaska Miles site and enter your credentials to see if you're targeted for the 35% bonus, 40% bonus or 50% bonus
- Note that the bonus is tiered, depending on how many miles you purchase. You'll need to purchase at least 40,000 miles to earn the 50% bonus, if targeted for it.
- Offer period is 9am ET August 21, 2017 until 11:59pm ET October 5, 2017
- Miles purchases are subject to a 7.5% Federal Excise Tax and GST/HST for Canadian residents
- Miles are purchased from Points.com (so no airline category bonus on purchased miles)
- Miles are non-refundable once purchased and do not count toward MVP frequent flyer status
Best Uses of Alaska Mileage Plan Miles
Some of the best uses of Alaska Mileage Plan miles, if you can find award availability, are awards such as:
- Cathay Pacific First Class between the U.S. and Asia for 70,000 miles each way
- Qantas First Class between the U.S. and Australia for 70,000 miles each way
- Cathay Pacific First Class to HKG and Business Class to New Zealand for 80,000 miles each way
- Cathay Business Class to New Zealand via HKG for 60,000 miles each way
- Cathay Pacific Business Class between the U.S and Asia for 50,000 miles each way
- Qantas Business Class between the U.S. and Australia for 55,000 miles each way
- JAL First Class between the U.S. and Southeast Asia for 75,000 miles each way
- JAL First Class betwee the U.S. and Japan/North Asia for 70,000 miles each way
- JAL Sky Suite Business Class between the U.S. and Southeast Asia for 65,000 miles each way
- American First Class between the U.S. and Europe for 62,500 miles each way
- British Airways First Class between the U.S. (especially West Coast) and Europe for 70,000 miles each way
- Air France Business Class (if you can get the new Air France Business Class) between the U.S. and Papeete, Tahiti for 60,000 miles each way
What's especially great is that, if you can find award availability, you can include a stopover even on one way awards, or two stopovers on a roundtrip award. If your final destination is somewhere in Southeast Asia but you also want to stop in Tokyo, that can make Alaska miles a better deal than American AAdvantage, which doesn't allow stopovers of >24 hours in any city, and charges 70,000 for a one way in JAL Business Class to Southeast Asia.
Why It May Not Be Worth Buying Alaska Miles Even with the 50% Bonus
Alaska miles look great on paper, thanks to a more attractive award chart with lower mileage costs for many awards than other frequent flyer programs, and many partners. But there are several issues that have caused me to stop actively collecting them, as I described in 3 Reasons Alaska Miles Aren't Worth Earning.
The biggest one is that Alaska lacks equivalent award availability for many Cathay Pacific First Class, Cathay Pacific Business Class, JAL First Class and JAL Business Class awards. So even if you can book these awards via American AAdvantage or British Airways Avios, it doesn't mean you'll be able to using Alaska miles, rendering the lower mileage cost irrelevant.
Another aspect is that Alaska is the last to open its award chart, compared to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, British Airways Avios and American AAdvantage. So particularly if you're eying a Cathay Pacific First Class award, it may well have been already booked by members of the above three programs by the time the Alaska award calendar opens.
Emirates First Class awards are ridiculously expensive now, after Alaska Mileage Plan award prices increased to 150,000 miles each way from 90,000 miles each way last year. Plus, as Alaska's own Web site will warn you, even if you're willing to pay these rates, many Emirates First Class and Emirates Business Class awards are not confirming, even though the awards seem to be available when searching on the Alaska Airlines Web site. Another detractor is that if you book Emirates First Class or Business Class using Alaska miles, you don't get access to Emirates Chauffeur Drive; only awards booked through Emirates' own Skywards frequent flyer program have access.
The Best Credit Card to Use for Buying Miles
Since Alaska miles transactions are processed by Points.com, you don't earn an airline or travel category bonus on these purchases. The best credit card to use is either the one you're working on minimum spend for, or a card such as the AMEX Blue Business Plus that earns 2X Membership Rewards points on all purchases.
Were you targeted for the buy Alaska Miles with a 50% bonus?
Need Award Booking Help? Our fee is as low as $75 per ticket if you book your hotel through us.
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Amenities!