Last month saw several lucrative buy miles offers come from different airlines, and there is still time remaining if you want to supplement your account balances. Here are some of the more generous offers that remain available for U.S. carriers.
Up to 40% Bonus on Alaska Airlines
Buy or Share
Alaska Airlines rarely offers such generous offers to buy miles at a discount. Yes, you can always buy 10,000 miles at the time you book another, paid fare on Alaska Airlines through their website for about 2 cents per mile. That’s a decent price given the quality of their partners and some flexible routing rules that include stopovers even on one-way international and domestic awards. Also check out this post I wrote for the Alaska Airlines blog on some of their best award redemptions.
If you need more miles faster, you can get a 40% bonus when you buy between 35,000 and 40,000 miles through this limited time promotion. The effective cost is 2.11 cents per mile after taxes and fees. It’s slightly higher, but you can buy more at once and buy them even if you aren’t flying on Alaska sometime soon. Don’t forget: Several Alaska Airlines award tickets are on sale now, with prices as low as 5,000 miles one-way!
Up to 100% Bonus on US Airways
US Airways runs lots of promotions throughout the year to get twice as many miles when you buy more. They can be an easy and inexpensive way to purchase business class awards to Europe or Asia, and until recently were particularly effective while awards to North Asia (including Tokyo and Hong Kong) remained available at only 90,000 miles.
However, the price of these miles does vary even when the same 100% bonus is being offered. Now is a good time to buy, and it may be even better if you want to speculate on when US Airways and American Airlines will eventually merge frequent flyer balances. (You can use the accounts to book each others’ flights, but that isn’t quite as flexible.) If you buy between 30,000 and 50,000 miles, you’ll actually receive between 60,000 and 100,000.
Up to 35% Bonus on American Airlines
Don’t forget there are promotions on transferred miles, too. American Airlines tends to offer a bonus on one or the other most of the year, and while I am strongly opposed to paying again for something that was already earned (by someone) I will still consider paying the fee for transferring miles between accounts when it makes sense, and if you need to transfer them in a hurry you can call American to expedite the request.
A friend recently told me she had not enough miles to book a ticket and wondered if I would want them before they expired. I’m not sure that she was aware these transfers still have fees, but in this case reimbursing her for the cost would be better than letting them disappear. Ultimately I told her it was about the same price for her to buy a few miles for her own account so she could book an award in the future (and keep her account active in the meantime). Also be aware that when transferring miles, the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax does not apply — because the miles were already earned — but the transfer fee is slightly higher than the fee to buy miles.