40% Bonus on Alaska Miles Lets You Buy Emirates First Class at a Deep Discount

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.

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. Near the bottom, “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.”

    While that is a true statement…

  2. There was talk about Emirates not giving lounge access to passengers using Alaska miles. Is that the case or was it resolved?

  3. @gary: do you know how much a roundtrip bvetween Europe and asia would cost using either CX / EK in F? cant find the mileage required for trips not originating or arriving in the USA.


  4. The negative here is that I often see MIXED awards for Emirates and very hard to find first class anymore.

    so disappointing.

  5. While I appreciate the info on sale and inner details for new followers, I really wish you wouldn’t sensationalize the title so blatantly. I think you are a wizard with words and could easily title such posts a bit differently.
    These sort of titles and publicity will make these go away faster. I truly believe that.
    ps, love the blog

  6. @StargoldUA – Not sure why the title of this post is “sensational” to you? Is the content incorrect? Is it misleading? Is it bolded or filled with exclamation marks? Is Gary making you buy an AS MC card via his blatant referral links? Or are you just worried that someone else may actually follow Gary’s advice and then EK will surely stop offering award space for you? I guess it’s probably best if we all write in code so the silly newbies won’t understand….

  7. @Stephan
    I don’t think you understood what I said. No, have no problem with content. No problems with details in the post either and by all means, have CC links. Don’t need to be cryptic either.
    But the title could be simply AS miles being sold at a significant at a discount.

    yeah! doesn’t make a splash though.

  8. I am not an expert like Gary in finding seats and rely on the Alaska site as well as others
    But I would argue that Alaska frequently disappoints almost every time I go to look at booking
    When seeking Emirates First Class awards I find almost always mixed cabin awards when I try to book>Yes its a a great deal providing the space is there:)
    When I try to book/redeem American with Alaska miles in coach something blah and basic there is a fee to redeem a mere coach ticket those added costs add up unless you are buying under 2 cents a mile
    And AA premium cabins are higher priced then using Americans program
    Booking Delta awards is a complete joke but no different than the Sky Pesos program
    Cathay is crazy tough to book except close to departure and who wants to book a trip that way?
    I cant recommend buying miles unless for a specific award that’s reasonably obtainable
    Ive got 300K in Alaska and can barely find a use for them that’s reasonable and fair
    Rather have AA miles and I do.I suppose one day Ill find a good use for them as others talk glowingly of Alaska mileage Plan.Not for me:(
    My two cents

  9. I agree with @stephan. And I see no difference between your suggested headline and the actual one…as far as any sensationalism

  10. If you buy these miles, Emirates 1st class roundtrip comes at a cost of $4,220.00 and if you’re traveling with a companion, the cost goes up to $8,440.00 plus the booking taxes and fees.
    I love to travel 1st class and Emirates is one of the best, but I do not consider these prices cheap when we are seeing so many cheap fares for business class.

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