Luxury Bargains Using the Alaska Mileage Plan Mile Sale!

Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

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Until 1st July 2017, you can get (up to) a 40% bonus when buying Alaska Mileage Plan Miles.

The bonus is tiered and gets higher the more Miles you buy:

  • 5,000 – 19,000 = 20% bonus
  • 20,000 – 29,000 = 30% bonus
  • 30,000 – 60,000 = 40% bonus

Alaska Mileage Plan Miles cost a consistent ~£23 ($29.56) per thousand without a bonus.

With the bonuses, your cost per Mile would therefore work out as follows:

  • 20% = ~1.91p per Mile
  • 30% = ~1.75p per Mile
  • 40% = ~1.64p per Mile

If you bought the maximum amount possible in one transaction, you would end up with 84,000 Miles for ~£1,375.

Note that according to the terms, your Alaska Mileage Plan account must have been open for at least 10 days to take advantage of the sale.

Why would I want to buy Alaska Mileage Plan Miles?

Very fair question – it does sound a bit weird!

The short answer is that Alaska Mileage Plan Miles are brilliant.

The slightly longer answer is that the Alaska award chart has some fantastic sweetspots on it, great partners, and some unique features that really help you to stretch the value you can get from your Miles. The most important aspects to understand are that there aren’t any ‘surcharges’ on most partners and that you can (usually) get a free stopover even on one-way awards!


Starting with a relatively simple example, you could buy 50,000 Miles for ~£820 and use them to fly Business Class on American to New York, stopover as long as you like, and then Business Class to the Los Angeles – all on the same ticket!

Using Avios, you would need just under 100,000 and would pay a hefty chunk of ‘surcharges’ on top too!

More exotically, what about flying from New York to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific First Class (stopping over as long as you like) and then continuing on to Johannesburg in Business Class for 70,000 Miles.

That’s A LOT of luxury flying for~£1148, and could be an amazing redemption if you used it as part of a Round-The-World trip!

Bottom line

I’ve just skimmed the surface here on what you can do with Alaska Miles – they really are great!

That said, I’m not enthusiastic about buying any sort of Miles most of the time, and the price here is good but not amazing.

In some circumstances buying Miles can make sense though, so if you already buy Miles, regularly pay cash for Business/First Class, or are a planning a special trip, you could be well served by getting to know Alaska Mileage Plan a little better!


  1. Andrew M says

    Does Cathay fly to Cape Town? Johannesburg to Hong Kong was the only African route that Cathay serves the last time I checked and there is no First on the route, only Business Class and Economy. I have virtually the same superb Alaska miles redemption booked for later this month JNB-HKG-LAX in Business and First, thanks in part to insideflyer!

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I believe JNB is the only African destination. I didn’t know it was only a two-class (or 3 with Premium Economy?) service so cheers for that.

      Malaysia Airlines used to have a Kuala Lumpur to Cape Town to Buenos Aires, with fifth freedom rights for the transatlantic leg. I managed a CPT-EZE with them several years back that was a great deal…

      • Andrew M says

        Yes, I think the JNB-HKG route probably has Premium Economy as well. I remembered after I posted the comment but couldn’t see a way to amend it.

        It would have been sweet if there was a First cabin from JNB to HKG but I’ll settle for Cathay’s impressive Business Class and look forward to enjoying the First segment to LAX. For the record, in case anyone’s interested, the Cathay First ticket one way from HKG to LAX that I booked with Alaska miles would have cost £10250 if I was paying cash!

        • Craig Sowerby says

          I believe a government minister in Malaysia owned some property in Argentina and liked to visit – so the national airline obliged with a KUL to EZE route. I can’t recall the exact details of the story, but eventually somebody more important came along to impose common sense…

          Cost me no more than £200 in Economy with an entire row to myself…

    • Joe Deeney says

      Cheers for spotting that Andrew – I had got mixed up with the Singapore Airlines flight that stops at both. No excuses for not realising there isn’t a First cabin on the JNB leg. I’ve amended the article accordingly.

      Amazing redemption by the way! – I’m considering something similar (the LONG way home) back from the US in the Summer.

  2. Andrew M says

    I assume buying SPG points with a 35% discount and transferring to Marriott for a travel package with Alaska miles would make more sense at the moment?

    I’ve maxed out on SPG right now but I’m curious to know how their current points buy offer compares with 40% discount on buying Alaska miles direct.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      75K SPG = 120K Alaska miles via a Marriott package (not using the hotel week and requesting a refund of some MR points as per the blog post I posted a few weeks ago)

      So, I think it’s 2.28 US cents per Starpoint = $1,710 for 75K Starpoints / 120K miles = 1.42 US cents per Alaska mile. Definitely cheaper… although if you don’t need 120K miles you might still look at the more expensive offers for a smaller top-up…

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