The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of my favorite programs to buy miles on, both because of the number of times the program sells miles and the amount of redemptions possible.
Note that Alaska Airlines will join the oneworld alliance in March 2021. While this will bring many new partners to the airline, it is only planned that Alaska will roll out fully reciprocal redemptions of oneworld awards from summer 2021.
A few weeks ago, Alaska Mileage Plan launched its first campaign for 2021 miles that has the potential to be huge. This is a reminder as the promotion expires on Sunday. So this is your last chance to take advantage of this great bonus.
What is the best price to buy Alaska Miles?
Alaska Airlines is offering a bonus of up to 60% on the purchase of miles through Sunday, February 14, 2021. Many of Alaska Airlines’ promotions are targeted so others may receive different bonuses.
It seems to me that the standard offer for a tiered bonus of up to 60% is as follows:
- Buy 3,000-39,000 miles and get a 40% bonus
- Buy 40,000-100,000 miles and get a 60% bonus
Others may see a different bonus so you will need to log into your mileage plan account to see what you are entitled to.
What does it cost to purchase miles through this promotion?
With a 60% bonus, you can buy 160,000 miles for $ 2,956.25, which equates to a price of ~ 1.85 cents per mileage plan mile.
The maximum number of miles you can earn per transaction is 100,000 pre-bonus, and you can earn a total of up to 150,000 miles per calendar year. However, if you are an elite member in Alaska, there is no limit to the number of miles you can purchase.
Historically, the Alaska Mileage Plan appears to offer between 35% and 60% bonuses on miles purchased. The 60% bonus is as good as it gets. So if you want to buy miles, now is the time to do it.
However, the price of miles to purchase is slightly higher than it was in 2020. This is because Alaska Airlines has not applied any excise taxes on miles purchases while they are being re-applied for much of the past year.
Who should buy Alaska Miles with a bonus?
In general, before making any purchases, you always want to think about how you are going to use these miles and what potential value they have in converting your money into points.
Why Buying Alaskan Miles Is A Good Deal
The Mileage Plan program contains several unique elements, which means buying miles with Alaska can be a hassle very good business. In most cases I would not buy miles for domestic flights as the best values are usually for international awards. For more information and some examples of great values, see my guide on how to best use Alaska Airlines miles.
Stopovers at one-way awards
This is something that really makes Mileage Plan unique Alaska also allows stopovers on most one-way award tickets.
Note, however, that the program recently added restrictions and Alaska no longer allows stopovers for awards within Asia (although the mileage plan allows stopovers for awards between Asia and other regions).
Flying from New York to Singapore via Hong Kong? You can stop in Hong Kong for a few days (with no extra miles).
Flying from Dallas to Dubai in the Maldives? You can stop in Dubai (again with no extra miles).
Flying from Los Angeles to Auckland via Fiji? You can stop in Fiji and have two vacations in one.
Note that this also means that if you fly round-trip and book two easy one-way streets – one in each direction, you can make two layovers.
Generous limits on the number of miles you can buy
There are many people who take advantage of these promotions frequently, and one thing that has long made the Alaska Mileage Plan unique is that the program has no limit on the number of miles you can purchase. While there was a limit to the number of miles you could buy per transaction, you could make as many transactions as you wanted.
The Alaska Mileage Plan limits non-elite members to the purchase of 150,000 miles per calendar year. Meanwhile, Elite Mileage Plan members (MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K) still have no limit on the number of miles they can purchase.
Here’s how Alaska describes the terms and conditions for purchasing miles:
Up to a maximum of 150,000 miles that you have earned via Points.com in a calendar year can be credited to your mileage plan account, regardless of whether you bought them or gave them to you. MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K
Why should the mileage plan add a limit to the number of miles you can buy? In reality, the program has likely made money on the vast majority of transactions, because even if you buy miles to redeem them in First Class and Business Class on partner airlines, Alaska will pay only a fraction of the normal cost of those tickets.
I suspect that this limit was added due to the number of miles brokers buying and selling miles. The airlines are doing everything they can to stop these people for a variety of reasons, and I suspect Mileage Plan found that most people who buy miles in bulk have done so. Obviously, this is not a foolproof solution as these individuals can also be given status.
I would be curious to see how this will affect the total number of miles sold in Alaska, but most “normal” buyers shouldn’t be affected.
Unique airline partners
Alaska is not part of any of the three major alliances, although the airline works with a few airlines that are part of oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance, as well as other unique non-alliance airlines.
Alaska works with Emirates, Fiji Airways, Icelandair and Hainan, for example.
How many Alaska Miles do I need for one of these canceled flights?
To name a few examples of some of the great uses of mileage plan miles (all of which allow one-way reward stops):
Alaska Miles are the best way to redeem Cathay Pacific First Class
In some cases, Alaska does not have access to some affiliate award courses.
This is particularly common with Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Qantas. It’s something to be aware of, so I would recommend checking this out before buying miles.
Who can buy Alaska Miles?
As long as you’ve been a member of the Alaska Mileage Plan for at least 10 days, you can earn miles during this promotion.
Redeem Alaska Miles for Japan Airlines First Class
Other ways to earn miles for the Alaska Mileage Plan
Of course, you don’t have to buy miles to take advantage of these offers. Alaska also offers two credit cards that you can use to quickly collect points:
Both offer moderate minimum purchase welcome bonuses and Alaska’s famous Companion Fare, which allows you to “buy one, buy one cheap” for economy flights in Alaska. This is one of the easiest companion tickets to use and the main reason I keep the tickets year after year.
Which Credit Card Should You Use?
Miles purchases in Alaska are processed by points.com, which means that they are not considered a flight purchase for credit card issuance purposes.
As such, I would recommend using a card that you are trying to meet a minimum amount for, or otherwise a credit card that will maximize your return on daily expenses, such as a credit card Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review) that Citi® Double Cash Card (Verification) or The Blue Business® Plus credit card from American Express.
In this post, you will learn more about the best credit cards for point buying.
Redeem Alaska Miles for LATAM Business Class
Alaska Mileage Plan is offering its first promotion of 2021 on miles purchased, and it appears you can get a bonus of up to 60%. In general, I wouldn’t recommend buying miles speculatively now, but if you have short-term usage in mind, it might be worth it.
I really can’t overstate the value of the layovers on most one-way awards, let alone some of the most unique airline partners in Alaska that you can learn about in my guide to the best ways to use Alaska Airlines miles can .
If you’ve thought about this promotion but haven’t made a purchase, the clock is ticking …
Are you planning to use this promotion to earn miles for the Alaska Mileage Plan?