A week ago I wrote about the latest Alaska MileagePlan bonus on miles purchases. Alaska is running a “Mystery Bonus” until September 29, 2016, where you can get up to 50% bonus when you buy miles. Under this promotion, if you are targeted for a 50% bonus, though, you are looking at a rate of 1.97 cents per mile, which is the lowest they have ever offered.
You will have to log in to your MileagePlan account to see what your offer is. Alaska does offer promotions pretty often, so if you are targeted for a lower tier, there is no rush to stock up on Alaska miles. If you are eligible for the 50% bonus, though, it’s a great opportunity to buff up the account for a great trip.
Why Alaska Miles are GREAT
Alaska does not limit the number of miles you can buy in a calendar year. You can buy as many miles as you want, which makes it great for people just getting started, or those looking to get a “cheap” Business or First Class ticket through miles. Alaska also allows stopovers on one-way awards, and they don’t add fuel surcharges on all carriers (except British Airways). Furthermore, you can make changes to your ticket for free up to 60 days prior to departure.
Alaska’s award charts are also pretty great for the most part. For example, look at the award chart on Cathay Pacific flights from the US to Asia. Here, you can redeem 50,000 miles for a one-way trip from the US to Hong Kong, and then onto say, Tokyo or Bangkok.
If you are targeted for a 50% bonus, that means you are paying ~$985 for a one-way business class ticket from the US to Hong Kong, and then onto a second Asian destination. That is awesome value!
Should You Buy?
It goes without saying, buying miles is not the same as buying a ticket outright, since you are subject to award availability. Alaska Airlines also had a one-time history of devaluating their award chart without notice, when they doubled the rates for some Emirates redemption overnight. It’s up to you to decide whether you trust them with the current charts.
Should you buy Alaska miles speculatively? If you are targeted for the 50% bonus, I’d seriously consider it. At a rate of 1.97 cents/mile, there are tons of great awards. Using the example, above, you can redeem for Cathay Pacific’s renowned Business Class product for less than $2,000 (+taxes/fees) roundtrip!
The promotion is running for another 2 days, until September 29. Miles usually post instantly, though I have found that when making multiple purchases sometimes it takes a few days.