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Alaska 50% ‘buy miles’ bonus until 27 August

Alaska Mileage Plan is offering up to 50% bonus when you buy its miles between now and 27 August

EXPIRED This article relates to an offer or promotion which has now expired.

AS Tails (VDB Photos SS)

Update 16 Aug: Check if your account has been targeted for a 70% bonus in October, provided you make a minimum purchase in this offer (i.e. by 27th August).

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We haven’t been targeted, but see this One Mile at a Time article for details.

Most of our readers, quite understandably, haven’t been in the market for buying miles for the last few months. The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many of us grounded for an extended period and there looks to be no immediate end to the global travel restrictions.

Alaska Airlines hardly waits five minutes between its ‘buy miles’ promotions, so of course another one is in full swing. This time the airline is offering up to 50% bonus for those purchasing or topping up their balance between now and 27th August 2020, allowing you the opportunity to buy Alaska miles from 1.8 US cents each.

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The July 2020 offer

This is the fourth Alaska miles bonus offer since the coronavirus situation took hold, with a previous week-long bonus 40% sale and not one but two up to 60% bonus sales already offered.

This month the airline appears not to be offering its top 60% bonus, with 50% being the top level and some of our readers reporting a 40% bonus. The exact deal is targeted specifically for your account, so log on to check. Not everyone receives the same offer.

Remember that these miles are very regularly on offer at these 40-50% bonus levels.

Pro Tip: Never buy Alaska miles at full price, unless you need a small top-up quickly to achieve a specific redemption, or to urgently keep your existing balance alive if it is about to expire. These miles are almost always available on offer (there were seven purchase bonus offers in 2019 alone).

AStrans

50 Bonus Jul20

At the top end you’ll have a 50% bonus (that used to be the maximum, but recently Alaska miles have been sold at a 60% bonus).

Here’s a typical 50% deal:

  • 1,000 – 2,000 miles: No bonus (2.75 US ¢ / mile)
  • 3,000 – 100,000 miles: 40% bonus (1.96 US ¢ / mile)
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Why buy Alaska miles?

In normal circumstances we’d recommend buying Alaska miles at 50%+ bonus rates for excellent value First and Business Class award tickets with airlines like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

That’s because even if you don’t earn Alaska miles through other means (e.g. Kaligo hotel bookings, or crediting miles from paid Emirates / SIA bookings to the programme), the effective ‘fares’ you are paying for these redemptions are highly competitive even having only acquired your miles in one of these sales.

In many cases, taxes are low with no fuel surcharges levied and Alaska allows free stopovers for no additional miles on most itineraries.

Let’s look at some examples, with the effective cost shown based on buying all the miles you need for the booking.

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AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 50%
Singapore to New York
First Class*
75,000
miles
$1,473 $1,375
Singapore to New York
Business Class
65,000
miles
$1,276 $1,191
Singapore to Tokyo
Business Class
25,000
miles
$491 $458

* Business Class Singapore to Tokyo, First Class Tokyo to New York

Singapore to the USA in JAL First Class for 75,000 Alaska miles is one of the standout redemptions in the programme, and just in case you thought it wasn’t possible:

JAL F SINJFK

This itinerary would cost you just US$1,375 if you bought Alaska miles at a 50% bonus rate, though to be fair no one will be complaining much about spending US$1,473 for the experience at the lower 40% bonus level.

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JAL Boeing 777 Business Class from Singapore to Tokyo. (Photo: Melv_L – MACASR via Flickr)

While the first flight up to Tokyo is in JAL’s Business Class seat, you’ll be in First Class for the longer overnight flight to New York.

JL First Class (JAL)
JAL Boeing 777 First Class from Tokyo to New York. (Photo: JAL)

Better still, you can search and book JAL award tickets using Alaska miles wholly online, including availability view by month, no fuel surcharges are added so the taxes are low, and you can have a free stopover in Tokyo on this itinerary for no additional miles (just US$22 in additional taxes).

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AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 50%
Tokyo to Los Angeles
Business Class
80,000
miles
$1,571 $1,467

There aren’t really any great value ways to use Alaska miles on Singapore Airlines, since the intra-Asia stopover ‘tricks’ were shut down in October 2019.

Perhaps the only decent value option is a Business Class ticket on one of the airline’s fifth freedom routes between Tokyo and Los Angeles, usually 92,000 KrisFlyer miles but available for 80,000 Alaska miles or the equivalent of US$1,467 with a 50% purchase bonus.

It’s not an incredible deal but personally we would probably rather buy the Alaska miles for this one and save the 92,000 KrisFlyer miles for a better value redemption, assuming we needed to fly this city pair in isolation.

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AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 50%
Singapore to Los Angeles
First Class*
70,000
miles
$1,375 $1,283
Singapore to Los Angeles
Business Class
50,000
miles
$982 $917
Sydney to New York
First Class*
80,000
miles
$1,571 $1,467
Sydney to New York
Business Class
60,000
miles
$1,179 $1,100
Hong Kong to London
Business Class
42,500
miles
$835 $779
Singapore to Tokyo
Business Class
22,500
miles
$442 $413

* Business Class to Hong Kong, then First Class to the USA

There are some great value ways to use Alaska miles on Cathay Pacific, including Singapore to the USA in Business Class for US$917 (if you buy at the 50% bonus rate).

Even Singapore to Tokyo or Seoul for example drops to US$413 in Business Class at a 50% bonus.

1A Boarding
Singapore to Los Angeles, including the Hong Kong to Los Angeles sector in Cathay P