Up to 35% Bonus on Purchased Miles.. One of the Few Buy Miles Offers to Consider

Alaska Airlines is offering up to a 35% bonus on purchased miles.

Limited Time Offer: up to 35% Bonus

Give the gift of miles to yourself and earn up to 35% more in Bonus Miles. For a very limited time, you can earn up to 14,000 extra Bonus Miles when you buy miles by December 20, 2014.

Here’s the bonus earning chart:

This isn’t all that uncommon an offer. Sometimes it’s 30%, sometimes 35%, and sometimes 40% — as often as not Alaska offers some sort of bonus on purchased miles. In fact, up through mid- last month the offer was up to a 40% bonus.

A purchase of 40,000 points earns 54,000 miles at a total cost of $1182.50 or ~ 2.2 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 myself — although I found myself topping off an account recently just after the last bonus ended because I needed a few more points to redeem for an Emirates A380 first class award.

I don’t have an immediate need for more miles, so I prefer a credit card signup bonus as a way to ‘stock up’ on Alaska miles. But for top-off purposes, this is great.

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 to and from Asia or Asia enroute to Africa for 70,000 miles each way 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.

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. @Mike S – they really haven’t reduced their F availability close to departure, they’ve just been selling more seats. (In other words, seats that remain unsold still do get released)

  2. I would never buy AS miles for speculative future travel on AS. It is impossible to redeem miles for >.02cpm for peak season saver award level travel to Mexico, Hawaii, etc. I can’t comment on most partner awards except BA which is equally difficult from West Coast airports.

    In short I value AS miles well below UA and AA, maybe on par with DL. Only worth buying to top off.

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