Alaska Airlines is offering up to a 40% bonus when you purchase or gift miles.
That’s actually a pretty good deal compared to other airlines with similar bonuses, because the starting price on their points is lower.
Through October 6, there’s a tiered bonus in place.
At the top end you’re buying miles for 2.1 cents apiece.
They offer this occasionally, the most recent purchased miles bonus over the summer was 35%. The last time they ran 40% I did buy some miles.
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.
It’s great that you can buy enough miles for an award from scratch, although Alaska doesn’t hold award tickets and let you buy the miles later. You’d have to 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. One way awards allow an enroute stopover. So booking roundtrip allows two stopovers in addition to your destination.
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.
You can use Alaska miles to fly US – Asia via the Middle East.
You can fly to just the Middle East or to India or Africa.
You can also fly between the US and Europe on Emirates (this is what worries American, Delta, and United so much).
Cathay Pacific first class inventory is tighter than it used to be although they still reliably make unsold first class seats available close to departure.
I’m not in favor of hoarding miles at this price. But it’s strategically useful and I’ve purchased Alaska miles with a 40% bonus.