Score Incredible Awards for Cheap by Buying Alaska Miles With a 50% Bonus




Alaska Mileage Plan miles are some of the highest-valued airline miles in TPG’s valuations. And that’s not just because of the sweet spots you can get on Alaska flights. Alaska also has partnerships with a number of highly useful international airlines and features reasonable award rates on many, with free stopovers even on one-way flights. This means smart mileage collectors can score some incredible redemptions.

The trouble is, there aren’t many great ways of racking up Alaska miles. You can score a best-ever 40,000-mile bonus — plus the “Famous Companion Fare” from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22)— by signing up for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card and making $2,000 in purchases within 90 days.

Or, you can transfer Marriott points to Alaska at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 Marriott points. That means you can get 25,000 Alaska miles for transferring increments of 60,000 Marriott points.

But, there’s another easy way to rack up miles for cheap if you’re tapped out of the above options: Alaska Mileage Plan periodically puts its miles on sale, allowing you to top up — or stock up. And one of those sales just popped up Monday morning with Alaska offering its best-ever rate.

Now through August 30, you can buy Alaska miles with up to a 50% bonus. This is a targeted offer and unfortunately not everyone is going to get the maximum 50% bonus.

Checking around the TPG office, there seems to be two versions of this promotion being offered. The better offer gives members a chance to buy miles at just 1.97 cents per mile. Here’s how that offer breaks down:
Buy or Gift Bonus Buy 1,000 — 9,000 miles No bonus or discount Buy 10,000 — 19,000 miles 20% bonus Buy 20,000 — 39,000 miles 35% bonus Buy 40,000 — 60,000 miles 50% bonus


For the rest of us, we only have the chance to buy Alaska miles with up to a 40% bonus — dropping the price to 2.11 cents per mile:
Buy or Gift Bonus Buy 1,000 — 9,000 miles No bonus or discount Buy 10,000 — 19,000 miles 20% bonus Buy 20,000 — 39,000 miles 30% bonus Buy 40,000 — 60,000 miles 40% bonus


Even though TPG values Alaska miles at 1.8 cents apiece — and this bonus brings the effective cost down to no less than 1.97 cents per mile — taking advantage of this promotion is still a great deal in some cases. A combination of Alaska’s excellent business/first-class award rates and this modest purchase price means that this is a deal definitely worth considering if you’re a premium-cabin traveler.

Let’s take a look at what you can do with this bonus offer.

One-way to Asia in Cathay Pacific’s top-notch business class for 50,000 miles
Cost: $985 at the maximized 1.97 cents per mile rate



One-way to Japan in American Airlines’ retrofitted 777-200 business class for 60,000 miles
Cost: $1,182 at the maximized 1.97 cents per mile rate



One-way to South Korea in American Airlines’ 787-9 business class for 60,000 miles
Cost: $1,182 at the maximized 1.97 cents per mile rate



One-way to Asia in Cathay Pacific first class for 70,000 miles
Cost: $1,379 at the maximized 1.97 rate
Cathay First Class on a 777-300ER. (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)
One-way to Asia in Japan Airlines first class for 70,000 miles
Cost: $1,379 at the maximized 1.97 rate



Those are some incredible options at rates that are just fractions of the revenue cost for these flights. Even better, Alaska awards allow a free stopover on a one-way booking, so you can use these redemptions to see a few different destinations as part of one award.

For example, I flew business class on Cathay Pacific’s Washington DC (IAD) to Hong Kong (HKG) flight with Alaska miles. The 16-hour, nonstop flight costs just 50,000 miles one-way in business class. Then, after stopping over in Hong Kong for two weeks, I continued onto Singapore (SIN) in business class on Cathay Pacific for no extra cost in order to catch the world’s longest flight home.

Alaska Mileage Plan hasn’t historically had a cap on the number of Alaska miles you can buy per year. However, there’s now a new cap of 150,000 purchased miles per calendar year for Alaska non-elites. MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan member accounts will continue to have no annual limit on the number of miles purchased or gifted.



Your purchase will be processed by Points.com — not Alaska. So, you won’t earn bonus rewards for using a card with airline spending as a bonus category. While Points.com purchases on the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card have previously earned 3x points (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary), recent purchases have only earned 1x point per dollar.

That means that you should use a card that offers a solid return on non-bonus spend, such as The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about Alaska Airlines’ “buy miles” promotions, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for the latest offer. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older deals below.
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