40% Bonus on Unlimited Purchase of Alaska Airlines Miles

Alaska Airlines is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased miles through March 15.

Here’s the breakdown of the bonus:

Limited Time Offer: up to 40% Bonus 
Purchase miles between February 1 and March 15, 2014 and get up to 40% more miles!

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 40% Bonus

This isn’t all that uncommon an offer. For the majority of November and December they were offering up to a 35% bonus. This offer of 40% is, of course, better than that.

A purchase of 40,000 points earns 56,000 miles at a total cost of $1182.50 or ~ 2.1 cents per mile.

Key things to know:

  • 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.
  • Since the transactions are processed by points.com, not the airline, these purchases aren’t treated as airfare by credit card companies and as a result don’t earn airfare bonuses.
  • You can buy miles for just over 2 cents apiece (so marginally cheaper) in conjunction with buying tickets on Alaska’s website. However there are reports of Alaska cracking down on buying tickets in order to buy miles and then cancelling those tickets. So this offer seems like a much better deal, since it’s about the same price.

I’m not going to be a buyer at this price. And certainly for the first 30,000 miles I needed, if I didn’t have to have them immediately, I’d just buy those for $75.

But it’s great you can buy enough miles for an award from scratch, although Alaska doesn’t hold award tickets and let you buy the miles later. At a minimum you’d have to either find availability, buy miles, and go back to ticket… or work with a phone agent to set up a reservation while you try their patience and complete the mileage purchases online.

I really like Alaska Airlines miles because they’ve begun offering one-way awards on nearly all of their partners and brought most booking functionality onto their website. Alaska partners with many of the airlines both in oneworld (like American, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, LAN) and Skyteam (like Delta, Air France, Korean) and also non-alliance airlines like Emirates. While you cannot book first class awards on either Air France or Korean (business is the highest cabin offered) you can book first class even on the A380 on Emirates — though award charts are region-specific and travel isn’t permitted to and from all regions of the world.

There are even some 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 as well, on their Airbus A380 (with the showers!) — where it might be worth buying the points from scratch.

But I’m not in favor of hoarding miles at this price, I figure at something closer to a penny I’ll always get my money back out of the points no matter what happens in the future but at two cents I’d prefer cash — so I’d only do this for an immediate need, which I don’t have at the moment.

(HT: Lucky)


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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Comments

  1. Do you know how long do the miles take to post to your account after the purchase is complete? Is it 24-48 hours or shorter/longer? Thanks

  2. I was a buyer of 200,000 AS miles back in 2010. At the time, the credit card phenomena was just taking off, and I was fully prepared to pay for coach tickets for the x and I to travel to Asia.

    A friend of mine pointed out an AS sale, and when I looked at the fine print, voila, no maximum purchase limit! All said and done, I think two J tickets cost me $4600 from JFK to BKK/DPS on CX. That was reasonable.

  3. One question: say one is buying a very cheap, non-refundable ticket on AS together with the 10,000 miles fly&buy and one does NOT cancel the ticket but simply does NOT take that flight. Would this trigger AS’s attention?

  4. @Mihai – no way to know if it would trigger attention even if you DO cancel. But your costs would be way too high not cancelling…

  5. Hi there,
    any idea if alaska is running any new bonus miles promotions when I buy miles?

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