Buy Alaska Miles with a 50% Bonus

 

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a popular program for its great deals on redemptions and frequent mileage sales.

With the current sale on Alaska miles, you can earn up to 50% bonus miles on your purchase. This sale ends at 11:59pm PST on December 23, 2023, so be sure to capitalize on the offer before then if you’re interested.

Buy Alaska Miles with a 50% Bonus

Normally, Alaska Airlines sells miles for 2.75 US cents per mile, plus a 7.5% tax recovery fee, for a total of 2.96 US cents per mile. Luckily, Alaska frequently offers discounts on purchasing miles.

This time around, you can get up to a 50% bonus on purchased miles, although you may have a lower offer available in your account.

The current best-available offer is structured as follows:

  • 50% bonus when you buy 25,000+ miles
  • 40% bonus when you buy 15,000–24,000 miles
  • 30% bonus when you buy 3,000–14,000 miles

Log in to your Mileage Plan account to see the exact breakdown of your bonus, as not all members are given the best-available offer.

With a 50% bonus, you could buy 150,000 Alaska miles for $2,956.25 (USD) including tax, at a cost of 1.97 US cents per mile.

At our current valuation of 1.8 US cents per mile, that price is a bit above our target value, but could still represent a good deal if you have a specific use in mind.

Historically, Alaska tends to offer bonuses in the 35% to 60% range, and we’ve seen rare offers as high as 70%. This offer is pretty much on par with the bonuses we’ve seen recently, so if you have your sights set on an aspirational redemption, be sure to take advantage of it if you stand to benefit.

How many miles can you buy?

Unless you have elite status with Alaska, each Mileage Plan member is limited to receiving 150,000 miles per calendar year from mileage purchases (excluding bonuses), whether buying for yourself or being gifted from someone else.

There’s also a limit of 100,000 miles purchased per transaction (excluding bonuses). If you split your purchase up into multiple transactions, you could buy up to 225,000 miles including the 50% bonus, assuming you haven’t already bought or been gifted Alaska miles this year.

Which credit card should you use to buy Alaska miles?

Mileage Plan sells miles through Points.com. As you aren’t buying directly from Alaska Airlines, you won’t earn any bonus points for using an Alaska Airlines credit card.

The purchase won’t code as travel for the category accelerator either. Instead, you could consider any card with a high base earn rate, or one where you’re working towards meeting the minimum spend requirement.

The purchase will be charged in US dollars. To avoid extra costs, you should use a US credit card.

If you use a card with a Canadian billing address, you’ll be charged GST/HST on top of the Tax Recovery Fee, so even if you have a Canadian card with no foreign transaction fees, use it only as a last resort.

Who Should Buy Alaska Miles?

Buying miles can be a good way to top up your account if you’re keen to make a redemption soon.

Booking an Expensive Aspirational Flight

In late 2022, Alaska Airlines changed its award charts, moving from separate pricing for each airline to having two charts: one for North American redemptions, and one for international redemptions. While the pricing for most of the program’s sweet spots hasn’t changed, it has become less transparent, since the charts all list “starting from” prices instead of fixed prices.

Indeed, most recently, Alaska devalued Japan Airlines First Class awards without notice, increasing the price point from 70,000 miles to 85,000–100,000 miles for a one-way First Class flight between North America and Japan. 

The best remaining sweet spot is most likely Cathay Pacific First Class for 70,000 miles one-way with a stopover in Hong Kong, although it’s anyone’s guess how long it’ll last before it’s subject to a devaluation. Award availability with Cathay Pacific has been dismal as of late, as well.

While the trend of no-notice devaluations is highly disappointing, an award ticket on these routes still represents great value. Purchasing 70,000 Alaska miles at 1.97 cents per mile would cost $1,379 (USD), which is far below the regular cash fare in this class of service – and that’s before considering the option of adding a stopover in Asia for no additional cost.

Japan Airlines First Class

At these rates, it would make sense to buy miles if you have a specific high-value redemption planned. Buying at around 1.97 cents per mile might sound steep, but not when you’re confident that the value will outstrip the cost many times over.

Of course, this only makes sense if you can find award space. Even though they can be booked online on the Alaska search engine, Japan Airlines First Class and Cathay Pacific First Class awards can be tough to snag as they’re notoriously popular.

It’s best that you’ve lined up your award seats before pulling the trigger on a points purchase. You should also confirm that the seats are indeed available to be booked, and not just “phantom” award space.

Quick Top-Up for an Upcoming Redemption

If you’ve identified a good opportunity to redeem your Alaska miles at a value you like, but your account is just shy of the amount you need, you may find it palatable to pay above baseline value to make up the difference.

As long as you’re redeeming above the 1.97 US cents per mile cost of buying with this promotion, you’ll come out ahead.

Even if you redeem for less, it may still be worth it. After all, your miles are useless if you don’t have enough to make the bookings you desire. If the bulk of your miles were acquired at a very low cost, you can still get good value on the average cost of your miles, even with a slight premium for the instant gratification of a modest mileage purchase.

Cathay Pacific First Class

Other Ways to Earn Alaska Miles

Before rushing to buy miles at a promotional rate, it’s best to first look to other sources to acquire Alaska miles at lower costs, if you don’t need the miles immediately to make a booking.

US Credit Cards by Bank of America

If you have a social security number or ITIN, you can apply for Bank of America’s co-branded cards.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature currently has a welcome bonus of 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 (USD) in the first three months. 

Meanwhile, the Alaska Airlines Visa Business offer is at 50,000 miles upon spending $3,000 (USD) in the first three months, plus a $100 statement credit.

Both cards have frequent credits equivalent to a first-year fee rebate and occasional elevated points offers. Otherwise, at an annual fee of $95 or $70, respectively, the cost of acquiring points is 0.16 US cents per mile for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature or 0.14 US cents per mile for the Alaska Airlines Visa Business.

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus when transferred in chunks of 60,000 Bonvoy points.

At our present valuation of 0.6 US cents per point, 60,000 Bonvoy points are worth $360 (USD). When transferred to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, this is equivalent to buying 25,000 miles at 1.44 US cents per mile.

This is still lower than the baseline Alaska redemption value of 1.8 US cents per mile, and cheaper than the promotional cost to buy miles outright. Depending on your Bonvoy balance and hotel redemption goals, you’ll have to weigh whether this is a better choice than paying cash for Alaska miles.

Mileage Plan Shopping

You can also turn to the Mileage Plan Shopping portal for bonuses on online purchases at many popular worldwide retailers ranging from technology to sportswear companies. High bonuses can often be found around big shopping days like Black Friday or Boxing Day.

In my experience, miles usually arrive within two weeks, although many stores have restrictions for purchases outside of the US.

Previous Promotions

As you weigh whether this promotion is a good opportunity for you to meet your travel goals, here’s a snapshot of Alaska Mileage Plan’s previous offers on mileage sales, covering all promotions during the past year:

Bonus

Cents per point (USD) 

Start Date

End Date

Up to 50% more purchased miles

1.97

November 13, 2023

December 23, 2023


Up to 60% more purchased miles


1.85


October 5, 2023


October 30, 2023


Up to 60% more purchased miles


1.85


September 13, 2023

100

September 16, 2023

Up to 60% more purchased miles

1.85

July 17, 2023

August 20, 2023

Up to 50% more purchased miles

1.97

June 12, 2023

June 26, 2023

Up to 60% more purchased miles

1.85

April 10, 2023

May 21, 2023

Up to 50% more purchased miles

1.97

March 9, 2023

March 15, 2023

Up to 60% more purchased miles

1.85

January 18, 2023

February 20, 2023

Up to 50% more purchased miles

1.97

November 14, 2022

December 23, 2022

Conclusion

Alaska Mileage Plan’s 50% bonus promotion on buying miles is a great opportunity to push your balance over the hump for a dream trip, or to top-up your balance and use up your Alaska miles before further devaluations.

This time, you can earn up to a 50% bonus when you purchase at least 25,000 miles. If you have a specific redemption in mind, this could be a good way to score an aspirational flight at a fraction of the price.

The offer runs until December 23, 2023, so be sure to have a look at what’s available and then make your purchase if you stand to benefit.

This is a recurring article, regularly updated with the latest promotion. Some comments may refer to past promotions that are no longer available.

3 Comments
  1. Sonny

    Do you know how long does it takes to appear the miles in the balance after purchase? I used a Visa debit card to pay.
    I recived the email of Alaska but on the site says…
    “Thank you for your purchase. Your order has been received. We will notify you by email when your transaction completes.
    Your Purchase is Pending”
    No miles credited yet.
    Thanks

  2. Hoinam

    The problem with getting Alaska miles is that it’s soooo difficult to redeem them. There are barely any availability and their website doesn’t show all airline partners.

  3. Sonny

    I was targeted just for 40% bonus. This has NO sense. Clearly Alaska does not want my money. I guess I will create another alaska account to see if they decide not to scam me with this miserable and depressing bonus they keep offering me which I’ll never buy.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have an Account? Click here to Login