35% Bonus on Purchased Alaska Airlines Miles

Alaska miles are one of the most valuable points currencies right now.

The value of their points jumped substantially when they began allowing one-way awards on partners. (Previously to book an award on a partner you had to find availability both directions on the same airline.

In addition to offering one-way awards, they allow a stopover on those one-ways.

This means you can mix and match airlines in each directions and have a total of two stopovers in addition to your destination on a roundtrip.

Alaska made big progress with their online bookings and has most of their partner airlines now bookable on their website.

The only downside to these changes is that you used to be able to book partner awards as soon as the partner opened their schedule, even if it was farther out than the 331 days prior to travel when Alaska opens their own schedule. This is no longer permitted. (It’s also really not necessary for all except Qantas between the US and Australia.)

Given the increase in value I pay attention when they offer miles for sale with a bonus:

This is a tiered bonus, processed by Points.com (so no airfare category spend bonus on the card you use for the purchase), available through May 25 as follows:

Buy 5,000 – 19,000 miles: get a 20% Bonus
Buy 20,000 – 34,000 miles: get a 30% Bonus
Buy 35,000 – 40,000 miles: get a 35% Bonus

Alaska’s normal purchase price on miles is 2.75 cents so a lower bonus than other carriers that sell miles at 3.5 cents apiece can be worthwhile.

40,000 points purchased yields 54,000 total points at a cost of $1182.50 inclusive of tax, or 2.19 cents per mile.

That’s not a price at which I’d stock up, but it’s reaosnable at which to top off.

And there are awards like Cathay Pacific first class for 70,000 miles each way (fly, say, Seattle – San Francisco on Alaska and then San Francisco – Hong Kong [stopover] – Johannesburg for just 70,000 miles and Emirates first class on their Airbus A380 (with the showers!) — where it might be worth buying the points from scratch.

Earlier this year they offered a 40% bonus, and late last year they offered 35%. So this isn’t the best offer they’ve made, and it isn’t unusual, but some may find it useful.

You can buy up to 40,000 miles per transaction. But you can make as many transactions as you like — there’s no limit to the number of miles that Alaska will sell you, or to the number of bonus miles you can earn with this promotion. But you can only use the same credit card up to 4 times per 30 day period for any Points.com transactions, so if you’re going hog wild you’ll need to spread the purchases across multiple cards.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary: I thought Alaska awards are limited to only one partner + Alaska positioning flight, if needed? Any experience otherwise, perhaps call center of something?

  2. I won’t be buying miles this time. Don’t have the immediate need for them. But just as a reference point, how often do these promotions usually happen? Thank you.

  3. @Robert they are limited to one partner + Alaska flight but they have one-way awards now so you can fly one partner in one direction and a different partner the other direction.

  4. So in your example to J-berg it would cost 70k from US on CX and then 100k back on emirates for a total of 170k round trip?

  5. I would carefully consider your intended destination before you purchase AS miles. I have never been able to find saver award tix to Mexico or Hawaii on peak dates. If you are planning to use on international partners (as suggested by Gary) then maybe this makes sense. But don’t count on AS flights on peak dates to popular places. (And yes, I’ve been able to redeem UA miles for Mexico and Hawaii, so this isn’t an across-the-board issue)

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