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 March 31, there’s a tiered bonus in place.

At the top end you’re buying miles for 2.1 cents apiece.

They offer this occasionally, sometimes 35% and sometimes as high as 50%. I’ve purchased miles with a 40% bonus.

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.

  • 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. Checking on Alaska air website I dont see any flights to Europe via Emirates, only AA,BA and Delta mostly. If they are available they dont show online. Maybe you have to call for those redemptions.

  2. Not sure how this is a decent deal. To get business class one way you would need to spend $1450 or $2900 r/t… Emirates just ran a sale roundtrip business class for $1999.. NY to Milan.

  3. Also keep in mind that much of EK Business Class (except on the A380) is angle-flat. Hardly an exciting product.

  4. EmiRates is sooooo overrated
    I don’t want to follow some icky pax who has just showered
    While Emirates has a little availability Alaska has said Australia is not permitted for travel on redemption
    Many of their well dressed team members are surly and the flights I have been on with one exception the food was Dissapointing though their first class lounges quite good
    Yesterday in Heathrow the Emirates lounge was awful though it isn’t a dedicated first class lounge to be fair
    They do First class lounges well
    They did have good reading options at terminal 3 but the desk agent not at all friendly
    At least she answered a few basic questions
    I do fly them and like the hard product but I’m still happier on Qantas and Cathay and Singapore because a fair amount of the dining is reasonably good or excellent
    I’ll be trying JAL twice in the weeks ahead
    Did I mention booking Emirates in all business class or first is highly challenging without getting a host of economy segments?
    I’m out on this one

  5. I’m flying SFO-Dubai and the Dubai to Rome in the fall. So, I can confirm they do have European cities that they serve. Kind of crazy routing. 14 hours for the first flight and 6 or 7 for the second but should be a kick. Got F using ALK miles. Also, Emirates has a non-stop Milan to JFK.

  6. I remember reading before that the Alaska Airways website used to show a lot of phantom availability for Emirates flights. Has that been fixed?

  7. Can fly to/from Australia in CX business 60,000 one way with a stopover in HKG ( or Fiji on Fiji airlines with slanted flat). That is a great deal at 120K round trip with up to 2 stopovers I am LAX bases)

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