Extended: Buy Alaska Mileage Plan Miles With a 50% Bonus

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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is our favorite frequent flyer program, and for good reasons. Not only does it partner with several amazing airlines—such as Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and Emirates—but it also offers some of the most lucrative points redemptions to their destinations.

Alaska has recently launched its latest mileage sale, offering Mileage Plan members up to 50% bonus miles. Members who maximize this sale will have the ability to buy Alaska miles for 1.83¢ a piece. But, you'll need to hurry if you want to take advantage of this sale.

A Note on Buying Alaska Miles

Generally speaking, buying miles is not a good idea for most people. The reason for this being that you typically won't be able to redeem miles for a higher value than you purchased them. This is particularly true now, while the world sits in anticipation of when we'll be able to travel again, and financial uncertainty affects many of us—Alaska Airlines included.

With that said, there are some cases where it can make sense to buy miles. First, buying miles can still make sense if you need to top off your balance to complete a specific redemption. Second, you should consider buying miles if the cost is considerably cheaper than paying for the product you want outright. Both of these exceptions are magnified when there's a mileage sale—like there is right now.

Offer Details

This Alaska mileage sale may be targeted, so different members may see different bonuses. You'll have to log-in to your account to see which bonus you've received. The general terms for everyone include the following:

  • Must purchase by September 24, 2020, 11:59 p.m. PST to receive bonus miles
  • Miles are non-refundable and do not count towards MVP and MVP/Gold Status
  • Maximum 100,000 miles per transaction (before the mileage bonus)
  • 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.
  • Members with Alaska elite status (MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K) have no limit on the number of miles that can be acquired through Points.com.

50% Bonus Alaska Miles

Here's how this 50% bonus promotion works:

  • Buy 1,000-2,000 miles with no bonus
  • Get a 40% bonus when buying 3,000-29,000 miles
  • Get a 50% bonus when buying 30,000-100,000 miles

If you were to maximize this offer, you'd be buying 150,000 Alaska miles (100,000 miles + 50,000 bonus miles) for $2,750, or 1.83¢ per mile. This purchase rate is less than the value that most people assign to Alaska miles, meaning it might be a good deal for some people, depending on their situation.

Buying Miles for Alaska Partner Redemptions

In our previous post detailing Mileage Plan sweet spots, we listed several of the top-value redemptions possible with Alaska miles. Let's pick three of these sweet spots and compare the typical cash price with the cost to purchase the necessary miles under the terms of the best offer.

Hong Kong – Dubai in Cathay Pacific Business Class

  • Mileage Rate: 22,500 miles
  • Typical Cash Price: $4,800
  • Redemption Rate: 21.3 cents per mile
  • Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles (at 1.83¢): $412

Los Angeles – Fiji (stopover) – Auckland in Fiji Airways Business Class

  • Mileage Rate: 55,000 miles
  • Typical Cash Price: $3,100
  • Redemption Rate: 5.6 cents per mile
  • Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles (at 1.83¢ per mile): $1,007

Dallas – Sydney in Qantas First Class

  • Mileage Rate: 70,000 miles
  • Typical Cash Price: $11,700
  • Redemption Rate: 16.7 cents per mile
  • Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles: $1,292.50

Alaska Buy Miles History

We have compiled a list of former Alaska buy miles promotions. As you can see, there have been plenty of former promotions that offered 50% bonus miles. There are only a couple of promotions that have offered a better rate:

Promotion EndedMax BonusMin Cents Per MileTargeted
2020-09-2050%1.83No
2020-08-2650%1.83No
2020-06-3060%1.72Yes
2020-05-3060%1.72Yes
2020-02-1640%2.15No
2019-02-2240%2.11No
2018-12-2150%1.97Yes
2018-10-0450%1.97Yes
2018-07-13
40%2.11Yes
2018-07-0350%1.97Yes
2017-10-3150%1.97Yes
2017-07-0150%1.97Yes
2017-04-0640%2.11No
2016-09-2950%1.97Yes
2016-06-1350%1.97Yes
2016-03-3140%2.11No

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that purchasing Alaska Mileage Plan miles won't code as travel, so it's best to use an everyday spending card.

Alaska Airlines has been steadily increasing the frequency and bonuses that it's offering through mileage sales. Generally, a 50% bonus is the best that Alaska has offered, but we have seen a 60% bonus twice this year.

Traveling is not an option right now, and we aren't sure when it will be again. This means it's probably not a good idea to purchase miles speculatively, even at the best price ever offered. With that said, as long as you're not buying miles intending to travel soon and you recognize all of the risks involved, this can still be a great deal.

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Comments

  • Pablo Quilis says:

    Promotion extension = not sold.
    This is not the time to buy miles for me. It is time to wait and see which airlines are left after the pandemic.

  • Alaska has the best miles sales…..

  • Thank you. I notified a friend and he managed to get a flight from Sydney to Dallas in August next year. Hopefully we can all fly again by then.

    • It is interesting that the QF awards for August 2021 are available when the QF international flying program is suspended indefinitely.

  • This sounds great if it were at any time; but for now it is not time to travel.

  • Pablo Quilis says:

    I will not buy any miles on any airline until next year. I really don’t know who will survive..

  • The promo is very good, especially if you unlock the 60% promo for buying miles in October.
    Anyway, I have already some miles and recently I have cancelled a redemption and I had some miles deposited back in my account.
    For this reason I will pass.

  • I think the best place to use Alaska Airlines Miles is to redeem for Cathay Pacific Business Class. I will buy some Alaska Miles as a spare. Next time I can redeem for a great business class mileage.

  • I can’t believe how good a deal the redemptions featured at the end of the article are. Under $1300 to fly to Australia in First. Wow. Makes me wish I could fly right now even more!! 😭😭

  • Love these AS mileage sales!

  • Looks like this could be one of the few times to buy miles.

  • I never buy miles but am considering this as my existing AS miles are going to expire if I don’t do something soon to extend them…

  • Love flying on Alaska but our flights are on indefinite hold because of Covid 🙁

  • I’m about to fly Alaska for the first time since the pandemic. It should be interesting. I have gotten some great value redemptions with their miles, alsthough today I am crediting the flight to AA.

  • As always the risk here seems to be that alaska is going to join OW by end of the year, which means a devaluation is very likely going to happen.

  • Has anyone successfully redeemed Alaska miles for a partner award lately (in the past two months)? My impression is that partner awards have dried up. Please share any success stories. Thanks!

  • its a shame they got rid of unlimited stopovers on awards in Asia.

  • The only situation that makes sense in buying miles without a bonus is when your miles are about to expire and you don´t have the chage of flying

  • With so many ways to earn points through various cards, why take the chance by buying miles? I rather just keep earning them through my credit card than just to buy on speculation. The risk vs rate of return seems pretty high for something like this.

  • Even though the most recent promotion to buy Alaska miles ended on June 30, 2020, it is interesting to consider buying Alaska miles at the standard rate because there are some values in certain situations.

  • I think that I’m in a wait-and-see what happens to alaska after they join oneworld before considering buying points.

  • Although it is a good offer, I think you have to wait to buy miles. When flights are massively reactivated, airlines will have competitive offers (I hope).

  • I could not find in the terms of service the description of the algorithm that decides who gets the 40% or the 60% bonus. Shouldn’t that be informed somehow in the tos? Thanks as usual AwardWallet

    • Hey Joaquin, in my experience, most programs don’t release any details about the criteria for targeted offers. I haven’t seen anything explaining this one.

  • Agreed, this is the 2nd time that Alaska offered 60% bonus, I always redeem Japan airline and Cathay via Alaska miles but travel is not an option for me right now and miles expire after a certain period of time. So it might not be a good idea to purchase miles without knowing when can we use it!

  • cincbarto says:

    Excellent note, but today it is uncertainty to travel. If we were in a normal situation, I would clearly travel with these promotions, they are an opportunity!

  • Glad I held off on this one! Time to buy

  • I wish they had more transfer partners. This would make it a lot easier to earn miles without having to resort to flying.

  • Never a good idea to buy miles, especially when no promotion.

  • Removal of the stopover rule was heartbreaking for AS redemptions. RIP

    • JT Genter says:

      As far as I saw, the stopover rule was only removed for certain intra-Asia awards — not all AS awards. Let me know if you see otherwise because that would be a huge blow!

  • I am glad to be able to make a comment here.

  • I could not find in the terms of service the description of the algorithm that decides who gets the 40% or the 60% bonus. Shouldn’t that be informed somehow in the tos? Thanks as usual AwardWallet 🙂

  • im glad i waited to get miles. this is even a better deal than it was a few weeks ago!

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    This is a good offer. Watch for deals like this as the covid panic subsides. Oh, they’ll try to keep the phobia alive while the election season is alive, but hospitalizations are down, so people will be travelling. Pack your suitcase and jump on these deals!

  • I like Alaska as an airline and from a customer service perspective. Any time I’ve had an issue they’ve always given me extra miles or award certificates to use. Wouldn’t hesitate to buy some miles from them.

  • So many offers, and here the nation is waiting for a vaccine.

  • Ah, too bad we have no plans to travel any time soon.

    • It probably can make sense, but only if you have something specific in mind. You can afford to wait until then, definitely not wise to buy without a specific redemption lined up.

  • I’m a bit nervous about when it will feel safe to fly again, but there are definitely great opportunities now for stocking up on discounted miles for when you’re comfortable using them again!

  • Gwyntip Karnasuta says:

    Agreed, this is the 2nd time that Alaska offered 60% bonus, I always redeem Japan airline and Cathay via Alaska miles but travel is not an option for me right now and miles expire after a certain period of time. So it might not be a good idea to purchase miles without knowing when can we use it!

  • Thanks for the update on Alaska offers. I took advantage of the previous offer in May for two reasons: 1.) To top off my Alaska miles to give me a little extra cushion for the trip I plan to take and 2.) To quickly meet the spending requirement on a new card that will give me another cushion with that airline for a future trip I am looking forward to taking.

  • Orapin Komenkul says:

    Alaska is definitely my favorite points next to AA and UR. I would like to purchase some right now to fly CX and JL on F to Thailand. Appreciate Award Wallet for the AA points.

  • I wonder when is Alaska going to offer a 100% bonus?

  • Some of the best uses of Alaska miles is on partner awards eg Cx F and QF F….and these airlines are barely, if at all, flying currently due to Covid 19…so no matter how cheap they are, i will be holding off buying til there is more travel certainty in the post Covid 19 world.

  • I am not going to buy the miles right now, but I will get the Alaska credit card to keep . I don’t think buying miles will be worth it right now

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    The price for Alaskan miles is a good deal. I expect that after all the silly covid panic, that there will be many such deals to watch for. I like this one though.

  • Nice! I just wish all these guys would figure out how to give bonus points for using their own credit card to buy the points. United did that for me at Black Friday 2018

    • That’s awesome. United does seem to understand that as buying gift card on the United app gives a 25% mileage bonus just for holding the card and they also have a separate category on the shopping portal that offers higher values for cardholders.

  • Wasim Zahid says:

    Am I missing something? It’s showing me maximum 50% bonus.

    One week only! Buy miles now and get up to 50% bonus miles. Hurry—this offer ends on June 28, 2020.
    Buy 3,000 – 29,000 miles, get a 40% bonus
    Buy 30,000 – 100,000 miles, get a 50% bonus

    • JT Genter says:

      Ah bummer! It didn’t seem like this was a targeted offer as we all received a 60% bonus. But it seems clear from your data point that it is targeted. I’m updating the post to indicate that.

  • I buy Mileage Plan miles if there is a good offer and I know how to use the miles soon.

  • I can see the logic behind buying the miles. Alaska I believe is pretty solid with not devaluing. But still my trip is several years off. But I can still buy miles later and that is a great idea. I like their elite promo right now, I just don’t think it’ll help me with even charging on their credit card to earn some elite points.

  • Apathorn Karnasuta says:

    It’s definitely not a good idea to purchase miles speculatively, especially during this time when COVID is still around. I’d rather buy it and burn it!

  • i would not buy anything at this time unless 200% bonus is offered.

  • IMO buying miles without any kind of discount makes no sense, unless one really needs to top off an account by fewer than 10,000 miles.

  • Definitely worthwhile if you need to reach a certain number of points.

  • Pity I was NOT targeted for 60% bonus. But anyway would hold off buying anything in this uncertain time.
    Who knows when AS will start changing award charts. Most likely when the join OW officially.

  • dharmesh says:

    im gonna have to get the visa alaska credit card. it will soon be a good time to go alaska and use miles

  • This should be the standard advice for everyone. Absolutely no, you shouldn’t, unless topping off. Heck, I’d pretty much say the same thing about discounts, unless you already have travel in mind.

  • worthwhile if you just needed a little to top off towards a flight you were looking to book anyways

  • I will hold off on this as too pricey. We have no travel plans for the foreseeable future. My feeling is better deals will be coming our way when the airlines start to attempt to ramp up their operations.

  • Time to stock up on some miles during this brief period of no flying due to covid. It’s only a matter of time before things pickup again.

  • Finally a bonus higher than 50%.
    I’m taking my chances and buying some miles this time…hopefully the COVID19 situation will improve a lot in the coming months.

  • Im going to take your advise and not buy as I dont have any where I want to travel to right now.

  • I wonder how the system decides who gets how much bonus.

  • 60% sounds awesome, but yet again flying when COVID is still around…

    • Not to get political, but I think 10 years from now we’ll all see that this was blown way out of proportion. Studies are already showing that large percentages of random people have the antibodies meaning they had the virus and didn’t even know it.

  • No deal on any airline’s miles no matter how good could tempt me to buy at the moment. The risk for an airline failing in the current environment is too high for comfort. For the airlines that survive a devaluation of their mileage program is an easy target to reduce liabilities on the balance sheet to help them recover.

  • I know why they’re doing this but this is a catch-22. They need cash to help stay afloat but I’d never buy miles speculatively as the risk of devaluation or worse, bankruptcy, is higher than ever. Ok that’s not really a catch-22 but you see my point.

    • I don’t think airlines will bankrupt this time around but I will not buy miles because of the current situation anyway.

      • I don’t think bankruptcy is on the table but as Warren Buffet said, the industry may come out very different. At least I think he said that.

    • I’d agree with this. We already have so many points, I can’t imagine paying money for more. Cash is king.

      If someone was going to book right away, then maybe. But in these times, I think purchasing points is a bad idea.

  • I never flew this airline before but everything I read is great.. this is another example

    • I’ll have a choice for Hawaiian or Alaska business soon and I think I’m going to go with Hawaiian but I am intrigued to see what Alaska has to offer. I’ve heard good things.

  • 60% is only slightly higher than their previous promotions. Looking for 100%+ before I buy any miles.

  • As you said, “it’s probably not a good idea to purchase miles speculatively.” I’m going to take that advice to the bank 😀

  • I agree. I think that the airlines will run more saver awards in the near future to entice people to fly again. Fares would also be cheaper until people start to feel comfortable flying again so buying the miles might not be the cheapest option.

    • They’re in quite a predicament. Yes, they’ll want to entice people to fly again… somehow. But, most predictions I’ve seen is that airfare will have to be more expensive, for many reasons. They’re desperate for money. They need to spend meaningful $s on new safety precautions. And, they’ll probably be forced to limit seating in a significant way due to social distancing requirements.

      • Agreed. I think it may turn into the economics of business class. Airlines definitely use statistics and have algorithms to set business class prices knowing how many they want to sell to turn the profit they want.

        It may be the same case here. A higher fare may turn some away and cause some empty seats but if 80% of the plane is booked at a higher rate, it’s worth losing a couple seats of revenue for that.

        Like many have said, the air travel industry may have just been changed forever and will take a long time to return to normal, if that happens.