Alaska Airlines is offering an extra 20% to 35% more when you purchase miles for its Mileage Plan loyalty program through May 25. I discussed several ways you could put these miles to good use in my presentation on Alaska Airlines for Frequent Traveler University, including round-trip from Seattle to Johannesburg, with a stopover in Hong Kong, for just 140,000 miles in first class. I’m not sure that’s the best use of buying miles, but it’s an example of some of the valuable award opportunities when you redeem miles on a partner airline.
- 5,000 – 19,000 miles get a 20% bonus
- 20,000 – 34,000 miles get a 30% bonus
- 35,000 – 40,000 miles get a 35% bonus
Purchasing 40,000 miles with a 14,000-mile bonus works out to 54,000 miles and a total cost of $1,182.50 (including taxes and fees), or roughly 2.19 cents per mile.
You can also buy up to 10,000 more miles every time you book a flight on Alaska Airlines for about 2 cents each. The catch is that you better make sure you take that flight. Customers who make a habit of canceling their tickets after taking advantage of this discount at the time of booking can expect Alaska to come back for the difference. If you don’t normally travel on Alaska Airlines, then the 35% discount offer above may be the better deal.
It goes without saying, I hope, that you should only buy miles if you expect to get more value on the redemption side of the equation. Buying miles speculatively at anything over 2 cents per mile is usually not a good deal. So use these miles for travel coming up soon or if you need to top off your account for a big award. As Alaska says in it’s marketing message: are you “a few miles short of your destination?”